March 18th, 2008
09:35 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 3/18/03

Anderson is prepping for a day on the road with Barack Obama in North Carolina. Watch for that tomorrow.

So tonight Campbell Brown is pulling double duty and helping us out on 360°. Please be kind.

It's been a big day on the 360° blog.  And most of it has been about Barack Obama and his speech in Philadelphia. And that's what most of tonight's program is about too.

We'll start posting comments at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET.

Filed under: Live Blog
March 18th, 2008
06:59 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Money, booze, and an important red carpet update

Good afternoon… how’s that interest rate cut treating you? A new CNN/Opinion Research poll out today finds nearly two-thirds of Americans are “very concerned” about inflation. In its statement announcing the rate cut today, the Fed acknowledged inflation pressures have grown more than anticipated. This is the sixth cut in as many months.

Yes, it’s great for credit card, home equity, and car loan rates, but if inflation fears are growing and even the Fed admits they’re rising faster than expected, is another rate cut really the right answer? If Americans are worried about affording their weekly groceries, is this cut going to entice them to borrow money or spend more? I’m making Ali Velshi work overtime tonight to answer these questions for all of us – he’ll join us live at 10p ET.

It’s impossible NOT to click on this headline: “Beer, wine voters divided in prez race”

Say what?


Filed under: Erica Hill
March 18th, 2008
06:00 PM ET

Afternoon Buzz

This afternoon, the Fed's expected rate cut is a done deal, and Barack Obama's much-anticipated speech on race is over. Both moves are major stories getting lots of reaction. The headlines also include an ultimatum from the Dalai Lama, a plea deal for a surgeon accused of selling body parts, and one of the most bizarre online offers we've seen. Something for everyone... here's the afternoon buzz... 

Top Stories
Fed cuts a key interest rate, stocks surge
Wall Street had its best day in 5-1/2 years after the Fed cut a key interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point.

Delta offers buyout to 30,000
Delta Air Lines will offer severance payouts to more than half of its workers and will cut 5 percent of capacity to help offset rising fuel prices.

FAA expands safety inquiry
The nation's air safety watchdog ordered its inspectors to reconfirm that airlines are complying with federal rules, in the wake of Southwest Airlines revelations.

Dalai Lama threatens to resign if violence worsens
The Dalai Lama said he will step down as leader of Tibet's government-in-exile if violence by protesters in the region worsens.

Raw Politics
Obama urges Americans to help heal racial divide
In a widely anticipated speech, Sen. Barack Obama addressed the controversy over his former minister and challenged Americans to take a closer look at race relations.

Michigan revote up in the air
Now that officials in Florida have nixed a primary revote, the focus has shifted to Michigan. Here's the latest...

Poll: Dead heat in election matchup
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would both statistically tie Republican John McCain in a general election matchup, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll indicates.

Crime & Punishment
Guilty plea in body parts case
An oral surgeon charged with plundering corpses from funeral homes and selling them for millions of dollars pleaded guilty. How much time will he spend behind bars?

Hotel security guard sought in Spring Break rape
Police in Panama City Beach, Florida are looking for a hotel security guard accused of raping an Alabama student and throwing her off a sixth-floor hotel balcony.

Trial of accused hit-run grannies begins
The prosecution says two elderly women acccused of killing two homeless men were videotaped discussing the scheme while in FBI custody. 

What YOU will be TALKING about TONIGHT
Heartbroken man's life for sale online
Talk about starting over - yikes! But does the buyer get a chance to reconcile with the seller's wife?

Rare dinosaur mummy could unlock secrets
What makes this 65-million-year-old relic found in North Dakota different from nearly every other dinosaur fossil ever found? It's all about the skin...

Filed under: The Buzz
March 18th, 2008
05:19 PM ET

Gun Control and the Second Amendment

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/03/18/art.gun.scotus2.jpg caption = "A pro-gun advocate holds up a sign outside the Supreme Court in Washington, as the court heard arguments in an attempt to overturn the District of Columbia's firearms ban. The District of Columbia is asking the Supreme Court to preserve the capital's ban on handguns in a major case over the meaning of the Second Amendment's “right to keep and bear arms."]

Kevin R.C. Gutzman
J.D., Ph.D.

Neither side has it right in the Second Amendment case currently before the Supreme Court.

District of Columbia v. Heller is an appeal from a federal appeals court’s decision that the D.C. gun control laws violate the Second Amendment. The circuit court’s decision reflected what I believe is the emerging scholarly consensus around the position that the Second Amendment involves an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Gun control advocates on one side and gun rights advocates on the other dispute this question. Since I am known as an originalist, I was asked to sign an amicus brief arguing that the Second Amendment bans laws like D.C.’s.  I refused to sign.

Does that mean that I do not believe that the Second Amendment reflected an individual right to keep and bear arms? No, it means that I do not believe that the District of Columbia is governed by the Second Amendment.

Why? Because the District of Columbia, insofar as it behaves as a state, is properly treated as a pseudo-state by the Supreme Court.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gun Control • Supreme Court
March 18th, 2008
04:36 PM ET

Healing the Wounds of Race

Editor's note: Jim Wallis is a guest on 360° tonight.  He originally posted the following blog on sojo.net

It has simmered throughout this campaign, and now race has exploded into the center of the media debate about the presidential race.  Just when a black political leader is calling us all to a new level of responsibility, hope, and unity, the old and divisive rhetoric of race from both blacks and whites is rearing its ugly head to bring down the best chance we have had for years of finally moving forward.

And that is indeed the real issue here.  A black man is closer to possibly becoming president than ever before in U.S. history.  And this black man is not even running as "a black man," but as a new kind of political leader who believes the country is ready for a new kind of politics.  But a new kind of politics and a new face for political leadership is deeply threatening to all the forces that represent the old kind of politics in the U.S.  And all the rising focus on race in this election campaign has one purpose and one purpose alone—to stop Barack Obama from becoming president of the United States.


March 18th, 2008
03:44 PM ET

Beat 360° 3/18/08


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:

US Vice President Dick Cheney is greeted by Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani on the Vice President's trip to the Middle East:

Beat 360°

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

UPDATE: Check out last night’s winner!

Filed under: Beat 360°
March 18th, 2008
01:24 PM ET

Shock & Awe: 5 Years Later

March 19th marked five years since the start of the Iraq war. I remember the moment the war started, and exactly where I was... I had been working at CNN for a short time. The mood in the newsroom that day was tense, yet oddly quiet. I had been running around gathering research, printing the latest wires... waiting for word from Baghdad.


AC 360 takes a look back at the start of the Iraq War and where it stands now five years later. WATCH: "Shock & Awe: 5 Years Later" airs Saturday & Sunday, 11p ET

...and then, I heard it... Not the explosions we've all come to know as 'Shock & Awe,' but a voice... It came over CNN's breaking news intercom system. The voice alerted us that an offensive was underway, bombs had been released… the war had begun.

I was standing in the newsroom with one of our guests, William Cohen, the former Secretary of Defense... That in itself was a ‘Shock & Awe’ moment for me... Here I am, standing with a man whose successor was... literally at that exact moment... at the helm of the invasion of Iraq ... and we are both hearing this news at the same time.

To make things even more surreal, I knew the nation had gone to war before the nation even knew. What a strange feeling. It's like the news breaks twice... you know something that has yet to be broadcast to the world, and you wait for it to happen all over again, on-air… re-living it with the viewers.

The rest of that night was a nonstop blur – running from one area of the newsroom to the other, jumping in and out of editing rooms, printing everything I could, passing along news to William Cohen… I think I left work at 3 in the morning, but it’s the start of that night I always look back at.

We would love to hear what you have to say about the war: Where you were at the time? What was the biggest moment for you? The biggest success? The greatest failure? Where do we go from here?

– David Reisner, 360° Digital Producer

Program Note: Watch an AC360° special, "Shock & Awe: 5 Years Later" Thursday 11p ET.

Filed under: AC360° Staff • Iraq
March 18th, 2008
01:09 PM ET

Gergen: Obama and the "racial deadlock"

Over the next several days, we will chatter a lot about the political fallout from Sen. Barack Obama's speech today.  My initial sense is that he may have lanced the boil but he will continue to feel some pain from his association with the Reverend Wright for a while to come.

Obama speech

But even as we dissect the politics, is it possible to stand back and make a different set of observations: From my perspective, watching alone from a hotel in Florida, I found it refreshing to have a political candidate who finally talks to us as mature adults and also appeals to what Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature."

We have become so accustomed to political "leaders" who treat us like children, spoon feeding us with platitudes and playing upon our prejudices, that we forget what it is like to have a serious conversation about our challenges as a people.  One important role of a leader is to serve as an educator, clarifying how we have arrived where we are and what our choices are as we look toward the future.

Obama did that well today.


March 18th, 2008
12:55 PM ET

Obama on Race

Senator Obama’s speech  is over.

Now it’s your turn to speak out.

The presidential candidate covered some big, explosive issues during his 45-minute address.

He tried to distance himself from the fiery sermons made by his former pastor.  While he strongly condemned Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.’s comments as divisive, distorted and wrong, he would not denounce him, saying  “I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.”
Watch Sen. Obama's speech

Sen. Obama also had some more sweeping remarks about the general issue of race in the United States.  “This is where we are right now,” he said.  “It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naive as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own."

But he is putting it out there.

Will his speech help or hurt his chances of becoming President?

And is our nation in a racial stalemate?

– Gabe Falcon, 360° Writer

March 18th, 2008
12:44 PM ET

White men and the Obama campaign

Today in Philadelphia, Senator Barack Obama talked a lot about race and politics WATCH, but when you look at the numbers, it may be white men who decide the fate of his campaign.


Neither Obama nor Senator Hillary Clinton have been able to secure the white man’s vote, a voting block now considered to be swing voters.

Turns out, working class white men make up nearly one quarter of the electorate, outnumbering African-American and Latino voters combined.  In 27 states where exit polls were conducted, Clinton won the white male vote 11 times, Obama won it ten times. In five states, they basically split the votes of white men.

The allegiance of these guys, generally defined as union members making less than $50,000 a year, is clearly still up for grabs and the candidates know it.

In Philadelphia, the union members I talked to for my story on tonight's 360°weren’t exactly shy about making their positions known.


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