March 14th, 2008
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 3/14/08

Tonight, Anderson interviews Sen. Barack Obama.

 We'll open the blog to comments at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET

Filed under: Live Blog
March 14th, 2008
07:42 PM ET

Erica's News Note: Serial nightmares

The man convicted of abducting and killing a young Georgia hiker earlier this year – who is also charged in the deaths of two hikers in North Carolina – apparently dreamed up a movie plot about a serial killer more than a decade ago.  In that film, he suggested the crimes take place in the woods.

It is creepy, eerie, unsettling… nearly any adjective that makes your skin crawl fits here.  Gary Michael Hilton is now serving a life sentence for the death of Meredith Emerson, the young woman who went missing New Year’s Day on Georgia’s Blood Mountain. FULL STORY

"Sorry about that FBI surveillance truck… we had to sell it for parts to make ends meet." OK, that’s not really what happened, but when I saw the headline, "Theft of FBI spy truck blamed on budget cuts" that was my first thought.

The reality is much more disturbing.  The Federal Protective Service – the agency that secures federal buildings and grounds – has been hit with major budget cuts, and according to a new GAO report, that means security is suffering; there simply isn’t enough of it to go around.  It’s not just a stolen trailer, nearly two dozen guns were stolen from a federal building in Atlanta.  And most disturbing, in Kansas City, MO, a man died at a vacant federal complex and his body wasn’t found for three days.  How does that happen? FULL STORY 

Comments made by Sen. Barack Obama’s former pastor have taken on a life of their own. Today the presidential candidate is speaking out – and not just through his aides.  He’ll talk to Anderson tonight on the show.  Find out what he thinks of the controversial comments, and how often his pastor said things like this during a Sunday morning sermon.

You have responded overwhelmingly to this story – some of you don’t see the outrage, others can’t understand how anyone could miss the controversy, and nearly all of you have questions of your own.  Keep them coming!

Program note: Anderson's interview with Sen. Barack Obama will be
on Friday's 360° at 10p ET

Filed under: Erica Hill
March 14th, 2008
06:51 PM ET

Afternoon Buzz

This afternoon,  the CIA said it has snagged another high-level al Qaeda operative even as House lawmakers were passing a revised surveillance bill that aims to curb controversial eavesdropping tactics. Meantime, Michigan democrats have moved a step closer to a do-over primary. Here's your afternoon buzz:

Top Stories
Top Bin Laden associate in custody
The U.S. military has put a close associate of Osama bin Laden in prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Pentagon said Friday.

House challenges Bush on surveillance
The House of Representatives voted Friday to back the Democratic-sponsored revisions to federal surveillance laws.

Bernanke outlines mortgage plan help
Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke outlined the central bank's proposal Friday to stem the subprime meltdown.

Fed takes rare path to aid Bear Stearns
The Federal Reserve invoked a rarely used Depression-era procedure Friday to bolster troubled Bear Stearns Cos. and said it will provide even more help to combat a serious credit crisis.

Raw Politics
Michigan Dems agree to a do-over
Michigan Democrats agreed Friday to push for a do-over primary in early...

Democratic rivals agree to play nicer
Advisers to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama shed some light Friday on the private chat the two candidates had Thursday on the Senate floor.

Documents: Bush asked for weaker smog standards
The Environmental Protection Agency agreed to weaken an important part of its new smog requirements after being told at the last minute that President Bush preferred...

360 follow
Sugar refinery blast claims 13th victim
Another burn patient has died of injuries suffered in an explosion and fire at a sugar refinery, bringing the death toll to 13.

Crime & Punishment
 'King of Torts' pleads guilty in judge-bribing case
Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, the legendary trial lawyer who made Big Business tremble every time he set foot in court, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiring to bribe a judge - a crime that will almost surely send him to prison and perhaps spell the end of his storied legal career.

Doctors cleared in actor Ritter's death 
A jury cleared a cardiologist and a radiologist Friday of negligence in the diagnosis and treatment of actor John Ritter.

Man in ricin case wakes up
A man who may have been exposed to ricin in his motel room a month ago has regained consciousness and was being questioned by investigators...

What YOU will be TALKING about TONIGHT
$12,000 engagement ring flies away in helium balloon
It is the one moment every man wants to get right - and which London floor-fitter Lefkos Hajji could hardly have got more wrong.

Ashley Dupre cashing in with downloads of her songs
Eliot Spitzer's high-priced hooker already has banked a bundle - as much as...

83-year-old great-grandmother foils purse snatcher
Great-grandmother 1, would-be robber 0. How did Bernie Garcia fight off her attacker?

Filed under: The Buzz
March 14th, 2008
05:42 PM ET

Obama answers critics on 360° tonight

We had been working on this story all day  – the controversy over Barack Obama’s pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

360° tonight

Anderson talks with Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, responding to his pastor’s firestorm of controversy. 360° Tonight, 10p ET.

Rev. Wright recently had this to say, "Hillary was not a black boy raised in a single parent home, Barack was.  Barack knows what it means to be a black man living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people. Hillary, Hillary ain’t never been called a n*****!  Hillary has never had her people defined as a non-person.”

Harsh words from a man Obama has called his spiritual mentor (he officiated the Obamas’ wedding and baptized their two children).  Yesterday, Sen. Obama was not commenting, so our plan for tonight was to run a story looking at the history of this kind of rhetoric in black churches and what Rev. Wright’s comments could mean for the his most famous congregation member.

But late in the day, the Obama campaign had a change of heart, offering up the Senator himself to address the issue.  So we’ll have that tonight, Anderson and Senator Obama responding to his pastor’s firestorm of controversy.

Program note: Anderson Cooper 360° airs live at 10p ET on CNN

Filed under: Barack Obama
March 14th, 2008
04:46 PM ET

Beat 360° 3/14/08


It’s Friday! It also happens to be Pi day! (That would be “π”day: 3/14... a holiday held to celebrate the mathematical constant. I'm not saying I celebrate it or anything... I'm not saying that you should designate your Friday night as 'math night' ... But if you're out for dinner tonight... for dessert? Maybe try the pie)

It's also 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:

Here we have President Bush with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger after the president spoke about the economy during an addressing before The Economic Club of New York in New York:


Have fun with it.

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

– David Reisner, 360° Digital Producer

Filed under: Beat 360°
March 14th, 2008
03:15 PM ET

David Gergen: Focus, candidates, focus

David Gergen
David Gergen is a political contributor for Anderson Cooper 360°.

Rarely have I seen in any presidential race stretching back more than 30 years as much of a disconnect between the world of the candidates and the rest of the world that we see right now.  Every day, on television and in the newspapers, the news is about Democrats squabbling – whether about race or gender or about some off-the-wall comment by a supporter.

Meanwhile, in what appears to be a different universe, the U.S. dollar is sinking like a stone, the price of gas has cracked $4 a gallon at some pumps, homeowners are going under, and star financial institutions like Bear Stears have their backs to the wall.

Would the candidates please do us – and themselves – a big favor: Would they turn attentions away from the bickering and tell us in more depth and with more attention to the rapid economic deterioration what they would do?

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have each proposed plans for the mortgage crisis but the problems now stretch far wider and deeper than their plans cover.  John McCain keeps telling us that lower taxes and less regulation would do the trick – when it is obvious that the problems are much more complicated (just ask Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke).


Filed under: Barack Obama • David Gergen • Economy • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
March 14th, 2008
09:46 AM ET

The Politician's wife: Caught in the crosshairs


Faye Wattleton, President, Center for the Advancement of Women

While political sex scandals are nothing new, the media's scrutiny of their impact on politicians' spouses is a relatively new topic of conversation.

As far back as we know, men in power have engaged in extra-marital affairs.  It wasn't until then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, perhaps due to her elevated profile on universal health care reform, endured the public humiliation of standing beside her husband, before a phalanx of cameras on live national television, did the public begin unrestrained discussion and debate about the behavior of the victims, especially that of the politician's wife. "Stepford Wife" was a label often uttered by the disdainful; others defended her stoicism.


Filed under: Eliot Spitzer • Faye Wattleton
March 14th, 2008
06:54 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Good Morning!!! It is Friday and what a news week it was!  I think many are still in shock over the fall of  NY Governor Eliot Spitzer. Who would have thought? It is a story that is still dominating the headlines...

BUT there are lots of headlines to get through in Raw Politics today...from what to do with the Florida vote, to allegations that Saturday Night Live is pro-Hillary, to Obama catching up to Hillary in the super delegate count...so take a look.

BUT scroll down to What YOU will be talking about TODAY– there is a great story about a woman who donated her kidney to a stranger who had a caffeine fix... and you know I LOVE caffeine!!!

Top Stories
U.S. is examining Spitzer funds...
Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Gov. Eliot Spitzer used campaign funds in connection with his meetings with prostitutes, including payments for hotels or ground transportation, three people with knowledge of the investigation said.

Client 9, Client 10?
FBI Director Robert Mueller is bright and engaging, although he didn't engage two questions about the Eliot Spitzer case when he met Wednesday with the Tribune editorial board. He did, though, get us thinking anew about the unnamed "Client 10" who allegedly arranged to have a call girl flown to Chicago - and thinking, too, about all the other johns who risk personal ruin as this tawdry case continues to unfold:

Dupre's myspace page...
In three days, Ashley Alexandra Dupre went from being an unknown 22-year-old aspiring musician to the fifth most-searched subject on Google because of her alleged sexual encounters with New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

They watched Spitzer, they watch you, too...
Every time you swipe your credit card, take cash out of an ATM or transfer money into your bank account, a sophisticated network of computers is keeping track.

Economy hammered...
Almost everything seems to be going wrong for the American economy at once. People are buying less, but most things are costing more. Mortgage rates are rising, the dollar is falling and prices of key commodities like oil are leaping from one record high to the next.

Raw Politics
Thumbs down on Florida Primary solution..
Florida Democrats, searching for a way out of their mess of a presidential contest, unveiled a detailed plan Thursday for rerunning the state's primary election by mail. There was one big problem: Hardly anyone who mattered liked the idea.

Is SNL pro Hillary?
For three decades, "Saturday Night Live" has prided itself on skewering politicians of all stripes with equal zeal, from Chevy Chase's clumsy Gerald Ford to Darrell Hammond's sighing Al Gore.

Obama budget vote could come back to bite him...
Republicans yesterday forced Sen. Barack Obama to vote against what they labeled his own $1.4 trillion spending plan, cobbled together from his presidential campaign promises — one of a series of budget votes that will provide political fodder for the rest of the election year.

Clinton opens her home...
Having mastered the art of town-hall meetings on the campaign trail, Sen. Hillary Clinton is now holding them in a more comfortable setting: her living room.

Dems fret over warring words...
Democrats are increasingly worried about their chances for victory in November after a series of attacks by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on rival Sen. Barack Obama's leadership, credibility, readiness as commander in chief and, now, his ability to win the White House.

Obama has cut into Hillary delegate lead...
Barack Obama has pulled almost even with Hillary Clinton in endorsements from top elected officials and has cut into her lead among the other superdelegates she's relying on to win the Democratic presidential nomination. 

Michigan do-over...
Michigan Democrats are close to an agreement with presidential candidates Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama  to hold a do-over primary.

Keeping Them Honest
Senate rejects earmark ban...
The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly shot down an effort Thursday night to ban "earmark" spending for one year - quashing an effort backed by all three senators seeking the presidency

Crime & Punishment
Killer smiles as jury recommends death...
A jury recommended the death penalty Thursday for a man who murdered a hospital security guard and a sheriff's deputy after escaping from custody.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
Sheriff suggests charges after woman stuck to toilet...
A sheriff in Kansas is recommending charges in the case of a woman who sat on her boyfriend's toilet for so long that her body became stuck to the seat.

One latte, one kidney, please!
Every day for three years, Annamarie Ausnes went to her local Seattle Starbucks for her usual morning coffee. She developed a casual relationship with the barista that soon percolated and ultimately saved her life.

Filed under: The Buzz