March 3rd, 2008
11:47 PM ET

Blog from the Back Row

Texas and Ohio are going to be the two big stories tomorrow (Apologies to voters in Vermont and Rhode Island.) but tonight in the control room we already had to cast our ballots. Let the record show Ohio beat Texas.

Joe Johns did a really interesting explainer piece for us tonight on the uniqueness of the delegate allotment process on the Democratic side in Texas. While most states have either a primary or a caucus, Texas Democrats do both, a two-step process if you will.  This was supposed to run at about 10:15 pm until ...

Network meteorologist Chad Myers called 20 minutes before air to advise us that there were severe storms that would dump inches of ice or rain on Ohio tomorrow, potentially affecting power and/or turnout at the voting stations so ...

We added Chad live on the Ohio storms at 10:12 pm for 90 seconds which should have bumped down Joe's Texas two-step by the same amount except Anderson spent more time than anticipated at the top of the show with Candy Crowley (on Obama backlash) and Dana Bash (on McCain at the finish line) so we had to move down Joe's Texas two-step by 20 minutes until after the panel of David Gergen and Candy Crowley and John King (on Hillary Media Bias) however that too went longer than expected so in the end we had no choice but to not air Joe's Texas two-step at all. (And yes that was intentionally written without interruption for punctuation because that's how it felt in the control room, like we were gasping for air from the first few seconds of the show until Anderson signed off at the end.)

(Apologies to Joe and his producer Steve. We tried.)

– Sean Yates, Sr. Producer

Filed under: Behind The Scenes
March 3rd, 2008
09:25 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 3/3/08

Anderson's back.

He'll devote most of the program to tomorrow's critical races in Ohio, Texas, Vermont, and Rhode Island.

We'll start posting at 10p ET and close the blog to comments at 11p ET.  As always, please keep the conversation focused to what's on tonight's 360°.

Filed under: Live Blog
March 3rd, 2008
05:58 PM ET

Catholics for Clinton.. Lots of them...

This probably won't make Hillary Clinton feel better, but if it were only Catholics voting in the Democratic presidential nominating contests, she would be in the driver's seat.


Clinton has dominated the Catholic Democratic vote, winning big states like California and New York by a more than 2 to 1 margin among Catholics which helped propel her to overall victory in those states.

She even won the Catholic vote in Illinois despite losing the overall primary to native son Barack Obama.

We spent some time in Rhode Island to explore why this is. The nation's smallest state has the nation's largest percentage of Catholics and they vote in their primary Tuesday along with Texas, Ohio, and Vermont.

We went to Masses, and talked to Catholics on the street, and most of the Democrats we talked to indeed supported Clinton.

– Gary Tuchman, 360° Correspondent

Program note: See Gary's report on why so many Catholics have been supporting Hillary Clinton on 360° tonight at 10p ET.

Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
March 3rd, 2008
05:22 PM ET

Afternoon Buzz

Hello!  Here are the latest headlines on the top stories, raw politics & more.  Click on the links below and enjoy the afternoon buzz.

Top Stories 

Deadly Wendy's shooting
A gunman dressed in a suit and tie burst into a Wendy's restaurant at lunchtime Monday, killing one person and himself and injuring five others, officials and witnesses in West Palm Beach, Florida said.

Two million dollar homes torched in possible ecoterrorism
Fire engulfed five luxury homes Monday morning at a subdivision north of Seattle in what could be a case of ecoterrorism, officials said.

Iran's president: No one likes Americans
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, heading home after a two-day visit to Iraq, again touted his country's closer relations with Iraq and reiterated his criticism of the United States.

Raw Politics

McCain looks to clinch the nomination
Sen. John McCain could clinch the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday, but Mike Huckabee refuses to call it quits.

Clinton to press ahead after Tuesday's primaries
Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton  suggested Monday she'll press on with the campaign after Tuesday's crucial primaries, arguing that momentum is on her side despite 11 straight losses to rival Sen. Barack Obama.

Your guide to the March 4th contests
Four states - Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont - hold contests on Tuesday that could be make-or-break for both parties' presidential hopefuls.

Crime & Punishment

Doctor accused of hastening death for patient's organs
A respected California transplant doctor faces charges he hastened a comatose man's death to retrieve his organs - a far-reaching case that could impact the nation's organ donation industry.

Lotto official sentenced for role in scam
A judge has sentenced a former Hoosier Lottery security official to eight years of home detention for revealing the store where two men could buy a winning $1 million scratch-off ticket.

What YOU will be TALKING about TONIGHT

Oscar winner u-turns on 9/11 conspiracy
French actress Marion Cotillard was forced into an embarrassing climb-down after accusing America of fabricating the 9/11 attacks.

First Sioux receives Medal of Honor 
Nearly 26 years after his death, Army Master Sgt. Woodrow "Woody" Keeble was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor Monday for his efforts during the Korean War

JLo reveals baby names 
Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony's newborn twins are named...

March 3rd, 2008
04:58 PM ET

Stick a pin in it!

Have we gotten so petty that we now judge people's patriotism by a flag lapel pin?


Roland S. Martin is a nationally syndicated columnist, Chicago-based radio host, and frequent contributor to the AC360° Blog.

Listening to talk radio and reading some fanatical blogs and hearing the super-duper patriots drone on about a lapel pin is pathetic. I know some folks who walk around with those pins and they are zealots who don't always represent the best of America.

And did you see that guy on MSNBC ripping Obama for not having a flag lapel pin, and then Dan Abrams points out that the critic wasn't wearing one?!

Classic hypocrite.

Right now, I'm wearing a shirt made in the image of the Texas flag. Why? Because I want to and am proud of my home state. And when I'm not sporting a Texas belt buckle, I'm still a proud Texan.

I've never worn a flag lapel pin, and am a proud American. And I wouldn't judge your love for America by a lapel pin, bumper sticker or window decal.

I really don't care if Sens. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or John McCain wear a pin. In fact, they have their own distinctive pins: each member of Congress gets one. Their policies matter more than anything else.

But since the flag lapel pin freaks are going bonkers over such a silly issue, I'm going to start wearing a lapel pin every time I'm on TV.

But no flags.

Tonight, it will be my Texas A&M Century Club pin. I send a nice check annually and I'll show it off. Another night, it will be the Sickle Cell Anemia stamp pin. Another night, it might be my Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity life member pin. And another night it will be something else.

If you want in on the act, great.

Send me your lapel pins to:

Roland S. Martin
1 Time Warner Center
8th Floor
New York, NY 10019

The only pins not allowed: those from Big 12 schools, especially the University of Texas. That's crossing the line. No self-respecting Aggie would reduce himself to do such a thing!

So let's get to pinnin'!

– Roland S. Martin, 360° Contributor

Filed under: Roland S. Martin
March 3rd, 2008
04:54 PM ET

The TSA gets it right… an author gets it wrong

Erica Hill

A security line just for families? Hallelujah! The TSA got this one right. As most of you know, I have a young son. My husband and I are pretty good at air travel as a family; we started with the little guy at 6 weeks, and he’s been flitting around the country ever since. We pack light, we wear shoes that go on and off easily, our one-quart bag of toiletries and milk for the baby are easily accessible. But just because we have the drill down, doesn’t mean we sail through the checkpoint before every flight.

In Atlanta, they almost always put families with strollers and young children in the same line as other travelers who need a little more time getting their belongings on and off the conveyor belt. I think it’s as much for our own sanity and stress levels as it is for the other travelers without kids… and for the TSA agents who have to deal with all of us.

It’s not just families who will have the option of a friendlier security line – expert travelers will, too. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been stuck behind people who seem to have somehow missed all the travel updates in the past seven years. I fell like screaming, “Yes! You, too, have to take off your shoes and you’re limited to the one little Ziploc bag of liquids, just like the rest of us. That laptop? TAKE IT OUT and run it through separately. We’ve only been doing this since forever.” Of course, really I just smile and grit my teeth, silently cursing myself for choosing the slow-poke security line. I also remind myself that even on my best day, there’s probably someone behind me in that non-family friendly line cursing me and my stroller.

Here’s some more info on what I like to call the TSA’s “sanity-saving plan.”  

Tough to overlook this next story on a Monday morning. Apparently, a good number of us are multi-tasking at work, but probably not in a way the boss would like: a third of the people surveyed by the National Sleep Foundation say they’ve fallen asleep on the job. I once worked with a guy who took a nap under his desk every day. Most people knew about it – and keep in mind, we worked on the web side of a start-up technology network in San Francisco during the tech boom… you could get away with a LOT during those days! No one had a problem with it because he was very talented and always got his work done… it didn’t hurt he was basically hidden during his siesta. Good thing he wasn’t a loud snorer!

The boss may also not like the reason most people are hurting for shut-eye:
Work is what’s keeping them up.

And this story just made me mad. A Belgian woman wrote a book detailing how she survived the Holocaust as a young Jewish girl, forced to make her own way at the age of four. Her story is gripping – she claimed to have walked nearly 2,000 miles across Europe, that she killed a Nazi in the Warsaw ghetto, and was eventually “adopted” by a pack of wolves. Misha Defonseca’s “memoir” was translated into 18 languages and made into a feature film. One problem: it’s fiction. Not only did she make up the details of those four years she spent alone wandering through Europe, she also lied about being Jewish. 

So that’s what caught my eye this Monday. See something you think I’d be interested in? Post it here.

– Erica Hill, 360° Correspondent

Filed under: Erica Hill
March 3rd, 2008
03:42 PM ET

Beat 360° 3/3/08


It's time for 'Beat 360°' Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption. Our staff will get in on the action too.

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite! Can you Beat 360°?

Here is today’s “Beat 360°” pic of the day.

Beat 360

Here's one to get you started:

“Why am I doing this? I thought it was Huckabee's job to stir the pot?”

Have fun with it.

Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

Filed under: Beat 360°
March 3rd, 2008
03:30 PM ET

Heading into Texas and Ohio, and keeping score…

Coming into the CNN headquarters in New York a couple of days ago, I was greeted by a guard, "It's crunch time, isn't it?"  And so it is in the Democratic presidential race as we look toward this Tuesday.


It is becoming an article of faith among Hillary Clinton supporters that she is having trouble because the press has been fawning over Barack Obama.  I don't share that view.  While there have been some tough stories about her and her campaign, that goes with the territory when you enter a race as the "inevitable winner" and are then upended by a virtual unknown who draws huge, boisterous crowds.  Certainly, many news organizations like CNN have given her a pretty fair shake.  Indeed, who can forget how much criticism CNN received for the YouTube debate in Florida when we were accused of being in the tank for Hillary?  Remember the catcalls that we were "Clinton Cable News"?

Heading into Tuesday night, some are saying that the way that commentators interpret the results could shape how the candidates are seen the day after.  Given the controversy over media fairness, it might be good to see if we can build some guidelines up front so that viewers know where we are coming from.  So, let me offer up the the score sheet I am currently working from - and invite viewers to tell me how to make it better: 

The current polls suggest a wide victory for Obama in Vermont and perhaps a narrow victory for Clinton in Rhode Island.  But the headliners Tuesday night are Ohio and Texas – it is the outcomes of these races that will determine the future of the race.  There are several possible outcomes, each of which will deserve a different interpretation:

1) Clinton wins both the popular vote and the majority of delegates in both Ohio and Texas:
She would clearly revive her campaign and become a serious threat to Obama's candidacy.  After 11 wins in a row, his momentum would come slamming to a halt and Clinton could legitimately claim that voters are having second thoughts. But she would still be far from winning the crown - Obama will still have won far more states and have far more delegates.  So, the two of them would look to a yet another showdown in Pennsylvania, on April 22, and possibly North Carolina, on May 6. 

2)  A split 
the mostly likely being Clinton wins Ohio; Obama wins Texas - each race now seems slightly tilted in this direction.  If so, Clinton will face strong calls from within her party to retire from the race, as Obama will still hold a sizable pledged delegate lead.  This will be very hard choice for her as she will clearly want to go on (after all, Ohio is a bell weather).  But with the chances of the nomination extremely slim, she may prefer to leave with grace - helping the party in the fall and keeping her options open for the future. Remember that Bill said she had to win both to be viable. 

3) Clinton wins Ohio and wins the popular vote in Texas, but Obama wins more delegates on the strength of a strong showing in the Texas caucus
In this case, Clinton will still have had a strong night and will have a much more plausible argument for staying in, even though she will still be far behind in delegates and face a steep hill to climb.

4) Obama wins Ohio and Texas
It's over.  Obama is the undisputed champion - ahead nationwide in popular votes, states, delegates, donors, fundraising, momentum, popular enthusiasm and more.  You name it, he will have won it.    

    That's the way I would score it.  What do you think?

– David Gergen, 360° Contributor

Filed under: David Gergen • Raw Politics
March 3rd, 2008
06:17 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Good Morning!! We are 24 hours away from possibly knowing who the democratic front runner will be!!! You can cut the tension on the campaign trail with a knife.  Check out Raw Politics for the skinny... There are new details in the Utah ricin story and just a bizarre killing in Texas...some are calling it a 'Romeo and Juliet' reversal...So take a look at Crime & Punishment.  AND don't let your kid spike his hair, he just might be suspended... NOT kidding!!! So grab your coffee and let's get this headline party started...

Top Stories
Utah home searched in ricin case...
F.B.I. agents on Sunday searched a home and storage space in Utah for evidence that might explain why a man believed to have been exposed to ricin had the deadly substance and what he intended to do with it.

Car bombs in Iraq...
A pair of car bombings targeting Iraqi security forces killed at least 18 people and wounded dozens Monday morning in the Iraqi capital, an Interior Ministry official told CNN.

Bush silent on troop cuts...
President Bush declined Saturday to promise more U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq before he leaves office, and underscored the need for a strong military presence during Iraqi provincial elections in October.

Link between Equador and FARC...
Three captured computers from a deceased rebel leader document "tremendously revealing" and "very grave" links between Ecuador and Colombian rebels, the Colombian director of national police said late Sunday.

Russian elections...
Still, though the results were never in doubt, Mr. Medvedev’s future role very much is, given that the man who anointed him..

Raw Politics
Last ditch effort from Obama & Clinton...
Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama tried to convince Ohio voters they have what it takes to fix the economy as they campaigned before contests that could decide the Democratic presidential nomination.

McCain record...
Senator John McCain likes to present himself as the candidate of the “Straight Talk Express” who does not pander to voters or change his positions with the political breeze.

Inside the Clinton campaign...
As they mapped out a campaign schedule for Bill Clinton, top aides to Hillary Rodham Clinton kept his time short in South Carolina. They were probably going to lose the state, they figured, and they wanted their most powerful surrogate to move on to Georgia, Alabama and other Southern states.

McCain looking to nail nomination...
John McCain looks to formally nail down the Republican presidential nomination this week, though he is already operating in one fall campaign mode: fending off opposition attacks.

Live from New York...
Like many of his fellow Americans, James Downey was a bit surprised to see Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on "Saturday Night Live" over the weekend, satirically protesting the treatment she has received from the news media.

'Super delegates' feel pressure...
Rhine McLin is a woman in demand. Actress Alfre Woodard has phoned McLin, the mayor of Dayton, to chat about Woodard's presidential choice, Barack Obama. So has Obama's wife, Michelle. Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband each have tried twice to speak to McLin about the race, but the mayor won't return their calls. So many people want to bend McLin's ear that her phone messages at the office are littered on her chair, while her e-mail account and home answering machine are stuffed with entreaties.

Crime & Punishment
Texas murder...
A teenager has been formally charged in the killings of her mother and two young brothers, a crime that has left the family's tiny Texas town of Alba reeling.

Crack convicts could be free...
New sentencing guidelines were expected to lead Monday to the early release of more than a dozen federal inmates convicted on crack-cocaine charges.

Keeping Them Honest
13K claims of abuse at juvenile facility...
The Columbia Training School — pleasant on the outside, austere on the inside — has been home to 37 of the most troubled young women in Mississippi.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
Spiked hair gets kindergartner suspended...
A kindergarten student with a freshly spiked Mohawk has been suspended from school.

Chinese youth getting hot and heavy...
The no-tell motels in Beijing's university districts pulsate with sex. Every weekend, lusty college couples make a beeline past greasy spoon restaurants and bootleg video game shops for the dim hotel lobbies to book three-hour blocks of privacy.