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March 20th, 2008
09:19 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 3/20/08

We’ve got breaking news tonight. Sen. Barack Obama's passport records at the State Department have been breached on three separate occasions.  This story is still unfolding.  Candy Crowley and Zain Verjee will be on with the most up to date information. 

 We’ll also take a look at the latest out of Michigan which broke the rules by holding an early primary.  Their delegates were stripped and it looks like there will not be a re-vote. 

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


Filed under: Live Blog
soundoff (282 Responses)
  1. chanel

    Erica,
    it would be nice to have the conversation but if we are going scrutinize every word that comes out of each other's mouths noting will get accomplished. Let's talk about our real thoughts and address stereotypes and how to get past them.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:37 pm |
  2. emmy

    the media has played to Obama..just give Hillary some well deserved attention please..she is up in the polls and will win Pennsylvania..WVa.and Kentucky...i hope she wins by a huge landslide

    March 20, 2008 at 10:37 pm |
  3. eleanor

    Anderson,
    i think regardless of what Senator Obama says, there will always be people who read too much into it or just don't want to have uncomfortable conversations. I believe he touches on topics that may seem controversial but they still need to be discussed and loads of cuddos for the senator for touching on these topics.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:36 pm |
  4. Mari - TX

    Security better be rushing to take care of Senator Obama and his family. Why are contractors looking at his records that should be high security as are all Senators and other Government officials records. This is showing how some people think they can do anything they want and rules do not apply to them. Or is it something uglier in the works? Is he "hated" so much that something can or will happen to Senator Obama? WE WANT ANSWERS... QUICKLY !!!!!!

    March 20, 2008 at 10:36 pm |
  5. Aj FROM STH FLORIDA

    I am white and I grew up in a predominantly black city East Orange, New Jersey. I have to tell you that 30 years ago I had friends who happen to be black and them themselves expressed how they were afraid of people of their own color. This talk about the preacher, and then today about Barack saying typical white person, this is getting ridiculous.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:36 pm |
  6. Patt

    Thank you David Gergen et al. We have a chance to get REAL. We DO have stereotypes, we DO have racial tention, we DO have gender discrimination. As we nitpick he said she said, these problems are not addressed, but simmer just under the surface. Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their country!

    March 20, 2008 at 10:36 pm |
  7. Elysse DeVeaux

    There is nothing wrong with him calling his grandmother typical. He is not racist and anyone who has followed his campign can read through the smoke screen.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:36 pm |
  8. Sharon, Orlando

    ...the problem with the BREACH Rob, is that they DIDN"T ask. How would any of us like their social security numbers and other very personal information about your families disclosed to someone that may have questionable motives?

    I fear for Obama and his family. So many people are opposed to him being the President because he is black (although they wouldn’t dare acknowledge this), but those that are extreme in their ignorance will stop at nothing to prevent it from happening. That is what the dragging over of Pastor Wright is about. So many think that this trash will stop Obama. Obama didn't utter that craziness, how is he being held responsible? So what, he didn’t reject “the man,” but did reject “the words.” He was raised in a house with his white grandmother spouting racism, so he’s immune to ignorance, but hopes to change these attitudes.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:35 pm |
  9. Florida Democrat

    Yes – Obama said he wants to elevate the discussion in a well written speech, but when he makes an "off the cuff" comment, referring to his grandmother as a "typical white person" – he is resorting to the very stereotypes that perpetuate the misunderstanding between the races.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:35 pm |
  10. MaryBeth

    I am a typical white person, raised in an all white town...the only thing I knew of black people was what I saw on TV or in movies....and they were almost always cast as the villain...it's no wonder the typical white person is afraid of blacks. The first time I ever dealt with blacks was when I got a job...and..OMG...they are just like me!!! They aren't all gangbangin, gun-totin, crime-committing white people-hatin' people, as portrayed in the media.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:35 pm |
  11. cristian caravaggio

    Anderson, obama is a fake and people are starting to doubt him on every little thing. Proverbs 26 24. Hillary Will Win In The End! Also As Far As Michigan Is Concerned Obama Is The One Who Took His Name Off The Ballot!

    March 20, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  12. EV

    I completely agree with Rowland. Do people truly feel Obama is a racist or anti-american? If not, we need to elevate the discussion of the last week to a mature discussion of racial and socio-economic issues in this country. This whole "whose flag waves higher" debate is getting old and I wish more emphasis was placed on his actual positions on the issues.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  13. Eleanor

    Anderson, how about reporting on the substance of what Barack Obama spoke about in his speech today? – namely, The Effects of the Iraq War on the Economy. You always say that you want to report on the issues, but it seems that you are becoming part of the problem that you so often complain about, the media's trivializing of the issues in order to further the latest "bottom of the barrel conversation"?? I think that David Gergen and Carl Bernstein have it right. Take a listen to them please and stop carrying the water of right wing radio pundits.

    Eleanor

    New York, NY

    March 20, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  14. Megan Dresslar

    Uh-oh they have problem Michigan no revote, can they revote? can they?

    March 20, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  15. Johnny Vasquez

    I just feel that Obama's passport files being breach is just creating more sympathy for him and his campaign. I say to the media stop making him look like a victim and focus on the issues that need to be adress. If hes elected President is he still going to act like a victim or his he going to act like a figther like senator Hillary clinton.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  16. Rene from Midwest

    Regarding Barack Obama's comment about "typical white person": Roland, David, and Carl hit the nail on the head! Obama was courageous enough to speak the truth and CNN has a golden opportunity.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  17. Diane N.

    Isn't a passport a federal document and if there was a breach shouldn't the people who did it be prosecuted under federal law???

    March 20, 2008 at 10:33 pm |
  18. teresa

    Hey Coop! (soooo cute...)
    Why did Barac remove his name from the Michigan ballot, knowing that Hillary kept her name on it? Or, why was Hillary allowed to keep her name on the ballot?????

    March 20, 2008 at 10:33 pm |
  19. Lostfigs

    Wanda: yes it was Obama's campaign who quickly brought it to the media as soon as they were notified by the State department.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:33 pm |
  20. Star Harris

    The fact the comments made by Obama could be in least bit considered racist is a true indication of just how far this country has to go in dealing with the issue of race. The point being made by Obama is extremely valid and It needs to be said that white people are not the only one's whom have been socialized to hold theirpurse tight, or cross the street in the presence of a black man – black women are subject to the same prejudice. Prejudgement – Not Racism..

    March 20, 2008 at 10:33 pm |
  21. steven martino

    i cant spell . SORRY. but this is what the american peolpe get for service. you get what the goverment pays for. when the postal service , irs, state dept. , tsa. and many more goverment jobs being out sourced . contract employees having access to out taxes. our mail. our pasports. our most sensative information. nothing is as imporant as cuting cost. any thing to save money at the expence of the american people

    March 20, 2008 at 10:33 pm |
  22. Jolene

    I agree, saying "typical" white person is no big deal to me. Perhaps he really was referring to his grandmother as being old and set in her ways. Come on, my folks can get pretty stodgy at times. Stereotypes are out there for blacks,whites, women, old and young.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:33 pm |
  23. Eric Tande

    I am watching your coverage on the Obama records snoop and I have a few observations. Someone just downplayed this event saying that the information was public domain information. The sanctity of the privacy act has been breached and in an age of identity theft the SSN number of a personality like Obama can lead to a lot of information, including health and financial records. Anyone who thinks this event is unimportant does not want to be a part of the new American discourse for unity and common objectives.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:33 pm |
  24. Terri - Canada

    Hillary wants a revote or things to be counted?

    Tell HER to pay for it all....and then put HIS name on the ballot...let's see where she'll be.

    Still, you can't bend the rules for people who chose to break them...period. They knew what there were doing was wrong..now they have to pay for it.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:33 pm |
  25. Shane Moxey

    Have there been other access of passport information of the other candidates. Why, would someone access Barak's info as curiousity but not the others. My curiousity, is why such selective inquiry, that's what makes this extremely concerning. Sounds like a purposeful attack.
    Shane Moxey
    Canada

    March 20, 2008 at 10:33 pm |
  26. Vernard

    If these were independent, isolated incidents merely involving curious individuals, did they also look at other candidates files? It seems that if they were simply curious then they would have looked at the records of other candidates. The law of probability for this being a case of innocent curiousity diminishes considerably with each incident.

    Vernard

    March 20, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  27. Teresa / Wellington, Florida

    Erica, Anderson,
    Why doesn't the entire staff at CNN just come out and say they endorse Obama . I keep waiting for word on Hillary Clinton for President and some nice things said. It ain't happening. I keep watching and hoping your all not one sided. All the talking heads that come on the shows are mostly Obama backers. By the way I am a white woman living in a community with black neighbors that I am friends with. I resent what Obama is doing , putting a wedge between black and white. He is the racist along with his Rev. Wright.

    I hope he fails miserably the next few primaries. Then we will see who is the nominee.

    I guess this will not pass moderation. My comments never do , because I speak the truth. Frustration to no end I tell you.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  28. Robert Allen , NY

    Come on , anyone can see that this was done to retrieve information that could possibly damage Obamas campaign. The sad thing about this whole thing is that the people that asked those workers to get the information from Obamas passport file , will never be held accountable for their actions, instead the contractors will be the fall guys . I mean come on , what were the contractors really going to do with that information? sell it on EBAY?

    March 20, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  29. Rick

    While the breach may well be due to innocent curiosity, it stills boggles the mind that an individual in the senator's position (leading candidate for the democratic nomination for presisdent), would be subject to three (3) intrusions before meaningful investigation is conducted. Let us remember that Obama was given secret service protection earlier than any other candidate in the current presidential race (logic would suggest that this was done because of some specific threat.) At the very least, the initial violation should have escalated beyond the front line supervisor.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  30. Maddie Leiren

    When Obama talks about the steroetypical racism going on in American society, it amazes me that it's seen as a racist remark. He's probably been the recipient of racist slurs, as unfortunately most african americans have, and he may have even seen racism through his own eyes, as any American living in a big city like Chicago would. The fact that racism in America is a huge issue, not only among blacks, but middle easterners, asians, and whites, is undeniable. For him to bring it up in the way he did wasn't anywhere near what could have been said reguarding the topic.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  31. lynne

    it seems to me that barack obama's passport breech came at just the right time to try and take the focus off of his church and his spiritual mentor rev jeremiah wright.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  32. erica hill

    Our panel brings up some good points - are we as a country afraid to have this discussion about race, or to admit to some of the stereotypes and prejudices we harbor? It is uncomfortable and scary, but perhaps that's even more reason to start talking.

    Your thoughts?

    March 20, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  33. A White Sister

    I don't know any white woman: sister, friend or colleague who wouldn't feel a personal threat if she were alone and 2 black men were walking toward her. What do movies portray? What does the news broadcast. Obama is giving America the truth and they just can't handle it. I'm a school teacher in the inner city and experience this almost daily and yes, I do get scared even though most often I know the children of many of the black men who walk by. I applaud Obama for bringing this to the forefront for discussion...it's long overdue. Now it's up to the media to direct this discussion in a productive direction. Is CNN ready to be the leader here? (Kudos Roland!)

    March 20, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  34. Chris L

    Obama is just a business as usual politician. Anyone who thinks otherwise is very gullible.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  35. Ronda

    I think we need to really get over the comment Obama made about his grandmother. For God's sake that's his grandmother..and besides saying 'typical white person' is just like saying 'You people'. Do you get it??? Race has been, is, and will continue to be an issue in America. Obama did the obsolute best he could do with his speech and for some political persons to ask the question, 'was it enough'...we (blacks) will never do "enough" for America. Let's remember something Whites completely dismantled our families and we should continue to be upset about it...but we have moved on...we have to in order to remain sane in this society!!!
    Thanks

    March 20, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  36. kit

    So someone took an unauthorized look into Sen.Obama's file. It may be nothing more than idle curriosity or something far more grave and sistemic that involves the Bush administration. It is true that this administration would never hire contractors that are not Republican bent. Sen. Obama is under fire this week, between the race issues and slips like "typical white". Who knows whose interested in his files. Chaney is the most secretive of the Bush administration but i don't think he would get caught.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  37. Marge Williams

    Concerning the illegal access to Sen. Obama's passport records – someone on your program said "there was nothing except for his social insurance number on the file that would not already be public". I am not a public figure but that alone would be of great concern to me – a great deal of damage can be done to a person's reputation with that information in the wrong hands – especially if they also have all the other personal information such as birthdate, etc. I am not an alarmist but this is serios stuff!!!!

    March 20, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  38. Annette

    I find it interesting how that Johnson guy tried to minimize the violation of Obama's right to privacy. This act is illegal and should be treated as such. Who was the person that was disciplined versus being fired and why was that individual not fired? This is an example of institutionalized racism at its core. If this happened to McCain or Hillary I wonder if the course of action would have been different.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  39. Tisha from Texas

    I believe he was just trying the say typical person since his grandmother is white she is therefore a typical white person. There is nothing wrong with that..It's just a fact.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  40. Chris John

    Ok...just my two cents here...I think the media is going way to far on this 'typical white' person comment from Obama...I'm white and what he said is true we are 'typical' look how we are treading this small issue..oh boy! ...lets move on to why gas is $4.09 in San Francisco.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  41. Howard Haley

    Anderson,
    First, I would like to say that I hope and will pray that the totality of the cancer was successfully removed from your face.

    Second, with regard to the FL and MI vote/re-vote...why is the media not highlighting the fact that the FL Democrats in the legislature voted almost 100% to support the decision to vote early in violation of the DNC rules that were emplaced?

    Would it be sufficient punishment to strip the popular vote totals and seat half of the delegates with a split determined by the popular vote of all other states? That would allow the voice of FL and MI to be heard and the popular vote of the other 48 states would determine the division of the delegates.

    With regard to the popular votes cast in the elections – why not take the total votes cast in the Democratic primaries and allocate them according to the popular vote of the other 48 states as well?

    The punishment would be stripping FL and MI of impacting the election of a Democratic candidate greater than they should, without removing the voice of the voters. Granted the divisions could be debated, but the difference would be minimal from the actual votes projected by either candidate's camp.

    If it gets too divisive then use the totals and split them evenly (50/50) that way the delegates get seated, but they do not have the ability to shape the election in a way that benefits either candidate more than the other.

    Howard

    March 20, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  42. Wanda

    There are truly some ignorant people writing blogs. Obama didn't breach his passport records nor did he bring it to the media. His campaign tries to rise above this kind of rhetoric, but the media keeps bringing it to the forefront.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  43. Steve N

    I have to say as well, this "race issue" is blown entirely out of proportion. I think the spotlight is on him with this issue because he is an African-American, but I would never believe that he actually IS racist.

    Thank you David for telling us to get a grip on things. Lets focus on the important issues with Mr Obama, not just the color of his skin.

    Can you imagine what it would be like to be talking all day long? You have to make mistakes sometimes, nobody is perfect. If I were him, I'd be screaming to just take a nap and to leave me alone. I admire him, and all other candidates, for having to put up with media's focus on non issues, it has to be exhausting.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  44. Miriam

    Isn't it he typical white person who have voted for him so far? What is he thinking. He is already in the hole he just keeps digging.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  45. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    David Gergen is right. Analysis is good, but every word put under a microscope is getting unbearable.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  46. Megan Dresslar

    Gabriel D,
    Yes, His mom was white and his grandparents also are white.

    March 20, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  47. JA

    I am a TYPICAL WHITE PERSON who was very open in the beginning. NOT anymore. I have watched him choose his words so carefully that most were written for him in some cases.

    He is racists....Atleast I know before November. If Hilary isn't the dem candidate I will vote just like the repubs want McCain.

    Sad. Just to sad it has come to this in American politics....

    March 20, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  48. Leela

    It's just so horrible all the bad media he has been getting, Hillary seriously needs to get a new card. GO OBAMA

    March 20, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  49. Pam

    I don't thnk the statement were racist! what is wrong with the people in the world!! its getting sickening . .it is true that people feel this way . . walking across the street from Blackss, following them in the stores. . it is blown out of proportion once again! stop analyzing every statements. .that is why there are so many personas . . have to watch what you say, what you wear! when will be able to be ourselves . . I don't even feel like watching the news anymore nor vote!!

    March 20, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  50. Fadel

    Hi Anderson,

    How come after an hour of interview of Obama in Larry King Live the first point that you get out of that is Obama saying that her Grand mother is a typical white person? What is the point? Are you trying to revive racial conflict from something that is truly irrelevant? Where are the issues?

    March 20, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
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