March 27th, 2008
05:11 PM ET

Erica's News Note: Coffee can save your life

From $70k a year to a food bank in a matter of weeks – how does it happen? For one California mom, all it took was being laid off. Bills were already piling up before she was let go, but trying to pay a $2500 a month interest-only mortgage along with everything else finally got to be too much on Good Friday, which is when she turned to the food bank… in tears. FULL STORY

Chances are we all know someone being hit hard by the credit crunch. Consumer confidence hit its lowest level in five years this month, and from the people I’ve talked even casually, there’s not a lot of confidence the economy will turn around any time soon. It’s issue #1 for many voters, and the candidates know it. FULL STORY

Today, both Democratic candidates used the opportunity to tout their economic plans, and to blast John McCain’s, but are any of the three (a) realistic and (b) would they stand a chance? Suzanne Malveaux is digging into this one for us tonight.

The student who asked Chelsea Clinton about her mother’s handling of the Lewinsky scandal – and its effect on her campaign – is now talking.

He says he’d ask the question again, and still feels it should be answered. Do you think he’s supporting Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House? Turns out, he is! So why bring up such a sour subject? I’ll let him tell you.

And while we’re talking politics, turns out we can’t cover all of them, but not because we don’t want to. Zimbabwe has denied CNN’s request to cover the country’s parliamentary and presidential elections this week. Why? Excellent question… here’s the (non)answer.

This is one of my favorite stories… a reminder that we are all in this together. A Washington woman is alive today thanks to the kindness of her local Starbucks barista. They knew each other as well as any of us know the men and women we grab a coffee from each day – we get and give snippets of our lives, but rarely do we get deep. One day, though, Annamarie Ausnes couldn’t hide the way she felt, and Sandra Anderson – who’d been serving Annamarie her short cup of coffee for three years – asked her customer what was wrong. Annnamarie couldn’t keep it in – her kidneys were failing. Little did she know, Sandra, a woman she spoke to every day but barely knew, would end up saving her life. FULL STORY

– Erica Hill, 360° Correspondent

Filed under: Erica Hill
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. jimmy velman

    The "student" who insists on getting an answer from Chelsea Clinton
    aboout M. Lewinsky.. does not seem to get it. Back off and get into your books. You may then perhaps get better grades and maybe get
    a good job after graduation. if you insist in your morbid curiosity by hounding Chelsea , and if by chance I should be near you, I think I might be tempted to throw you out of the campus. I will not give the dignity of even mentioning your name.

    March 28, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  2. Barbara-Dalton Ga

    The homeowners that are affected by this mess are not looking for
    a free handout, just help. I don't see why some of our brightest
    people can't come up with a sensible solution to help these people.
    Some probably did bite off more than they knew they could handle
    but the biggest marjority were blind sided by some of the lenders.

    My heart goes out to Chelsea, it was so rude of Evan Strange to
    ask her that question. Apparently his parents slipped somewhere
    in teaching him good manners. This is one area of the Clinton's
    life that should stay personal, if I had a cheating spouse and
    choose to forgive him it's my and his business period.

    I am happy for Ms. Ausnes, a heart warming story.

    March 28, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  3. John from Oregon

    Chelsea is on the campaign trail. Her parents put her out there and now she is fair game. Didn't her father say something to the effect of "if you can stand the heat get out of the kitchen"?

    On a completely different issue:

    Would you take your daughter to Bosnia during a time of war? Somehow that was totally overlooked by the media.

    I look forward to seeing you tonight!

    March 28, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  4. Melissa

    I'd like to respond to Richard's comment. I agree that some of the homeowners who were scammed need the help but the majority don't. This country just wants and then buys things they can't afford. They obtained loans by falsifying their income and in the case of illegals – there was no proof they even had money yet houses were sold to them anyway. The consumer, lenders, real estate agents all had a hand in this disaster. I don't think it's fair for the government to bail out homeowners with my tax money. I know that I cannot afford a house out here in Los Angeles – the median price of a house was $500,000 during the housing boom. Even though I have excellent credit (895), I knew that obtaining a loan would be impossible to pay off each month based on my salary. If the government helps these homeowners, they are punishing the responsible citizens who are waiting until they could afford a house because if I knew there would be government bailout – I would've bought a house too.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  5. Taj

    America is Boom-Bust-Reconstruct-Redo-Repeat. Everything we do in this culture is like that. The lady making $70 thousand & getting laid off in not an isolated case. There are hundreds and thousands of them. Here people fall in love, make babies, divorce & get into financial crunch. There is selfishness, greed, not willing to compromise & sacrifice for the good of the family & children is diminishing. Corporations outsourcing jobs, bringing Billions & Billions of dollors worth of goods from outside, our Governaments squandering tax payers dollors, elected officials pet projects & I can name a million. We need to balance, change & be accountable for the things we do. Top to bottom we need to change. Our culture requires change or major adjustment. Look at China (now Capitalists), India (Democratic), & other similar countries. Understand the way to peace & happiness.

    March 28, 2008 at 1:19 pm |
  6. Yaneth

    Hey Erica,

    Greetings to you! and congrats! You really have added some color and fun to the 360 news show.

    I have to say I admire the faith in God the woman in the kidney story showed; that really goes to show that God listens to our prayers and responds no matter how desperate the situation may seem when we truly believe Him and His promises. I wish we all had a little bit of that faith; it would make our world so much better in all fronts and walks of life. Thanks for sharing that with us.

    March 28, 2008 at 1:05 pm |
  7. Richard Wasylenki

    Homeowners need the help, not speculators, regulations were not enforced by the government just like our borders. Brokers and loan companies could not write fast enough, they pushed and sometimes just forged their way for commissions or more. And all on the backs of middle class American homeowners whose only flaw was to trust the brokers and loan officers. Then to compound the problem wall street repackaged these loans and sold them off, well knowing that the problem would come back to roost but hopefully not to them. Now everyone but the homeowner is crying not to bail them out, well its not a bailout they need but a hand up. It seems ironic to me that the government of this country will go to extrodinary means to help other countries and people, but when It comes to Americans their own people they turn a blind eye, The only thing this Government had to do was the right thing, oops forgot myself for a moment. They needed to refinace the sub prime loans to affordable rates and come down hard on the brokers and loan companies that preyed on the borrowers, this would have fixed it. It would have been contained, but no Mr. Speculator cried out and they listened to him instead.. Now everyone is going to pay a high price for not simply helping out your fellow man when you know he was scamed. Lets hope this is just going to be a recession and not what I fear it may be, the start of a depression that will make the one of 29 pale in comparison. After all back then this country did not owe trillions to China.

    March 28, 2008 at 12:09 pm |
  8. Rosana

    If you think many Hillary supporters will not vote for MCain or not vote at all, WATCH. Many are so fed up with the way most African Americans are going for Obama yet not media want to call that race base.

    Q. If New York Governor were a wite male/ Bill Clinton, will he be still in the office, will the media leave him alone like you guys are doing? It looks like he is a black man so he has done nothing wrong!

    March 28, 2008 at 9:26 am |
  9. Kent, Illinois

    Thank you Erica for the story about the woman saving the other by giving her a kidney......It made me cry this morning.....it's really wonderful to see the "Good Samaritan" story that I learned as a child in church, play out in real life.

    March 28, 2008 at 6:56 am |
  10. Jo Ann


    I have heard Evan Strange try to explain his inappropriate question to Chelsea Clinton, but nothing I have heard him say justifies asking her this particular question. Yes, she is campaigning for her mother and should be available to answer questions, but this was nothing more than a cheap shot to get publicity for himself which he has done since he has already appeared on a number of programs.

    I can understand now why Chelsea has been reluctant to answer questions or give any interviews. I am sure she has anticipated being confronted by just this type of low life.

    Unlike Mr. Strange, Ms. Clinton handled herself professionally.

    I am certain this creep will easily find a lucrative career as a tabloid “reporter.”

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    March 27, 2008 at 10:53 pm |
  11. Jim from Michigan

    Erica, the nicest thing about CNN after 10:00 is your smile and personality. Thanks for making the news so interesting and enjoyable.

    Bloomfield Hills, MI

    March 27, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  12. Eugenia

    I guess it depends on your level of sadness concerning the California woman having to go to the foodbank. I think that the fact that she has a place where she can get some help is wonderful.

    So many people would feel blessed just to have that. Grant it, I'm sure she is in need of more than just food but what if that wasn't available?

    Our goverment is so power, it's time they step up and start helping the people who make this nation a whole!

    As for the student who asked little Clinton about Lewinsky, some one should ask him: "How is he enjoying his 5 minutes of fame?"

    San Francisco, Ca

    P.S. I think you are adorable!

    March 27, 2008 at 10:01 pm |
  13. ED

    I'm glad you posted Evan's response to why he asked Chelsea the Monica question. I think a lot of people initially took the story as a jerk of a college student asking a very personal question, and Chelsea sticking up for herself. But it's a valid question and I think a lot of people have it in the back of their mind, they just haven't asked it yet (probably because they don't have the guts). I can't believe Monica Lewinsky hasn't come up at any of the other colleges. That scandal is part of the Clinton legacy, and if you're campaigning for your mom, you should have an answer prepared. This was a golden opportunity for Chelsea to talk about her mom's inner strength during a difficult time and she blew it.

    March 27, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  14. Bart from Chicago

    People like this is why the United States of America is the greatest country in the world. This is why I'm so proud to be an American.

    March 27, 2008 at 9:31 pm |
  15. Ratna, New York, NY


    THe Kidney donor story really makes my day. I wished that my father could have been this lucky, unfortunately he passed away back in 2001 three weeks before 9/11. His kidneys were just functioning for 30%. He had Diabetes type1 since he was a child.

    The beind the scene camera is a great idea. Only if you could catch Anderson Cooper eating his egg salad sandwich while accidently dropping it on his shirt or dancing privately Pee-Wee Herman style in his office. (Joking)

    For a shot idea: Nora the musical cat (You-tube) who really intelligently plays the piano and has an ear for music.
    also the "Long Johnson" talking cat on you-tube, which is extremely hillarious.

    March 27, 2008 at 9:30 pm |
  16. Jim


    I think you and Anderson are great. You make news 'fun.' Too bad you went to BU and not Boston College. Would coulda shoulda.

    Jim, Ohio

    March 27, 2008 at 9:29 pm |
  17. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Hi Erica,
    I think the student who asked the question of Chelsea got his answer. It's none of his business and she told him her reply. End of story..What's he doing on every news program? Getting his 15 minutes of fame. The fame he probably knew he'd get by asking the question in the first place.
    Happy Thursday.

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    March 27, 2008 at 9:25 pm |
  18. Ace


    I am a huge fan of yours and highly attracted to you, but only God can save your life. NOT COFFEE!!!!!!

    March 27, 2008 at 8:54 pm |
  19. Melissa

    We had a change in payroll policy to go along with what other companies are doing therefore we had a shortfall of 4 days on our first paycheck to be made up in our 2nd paycheck. The amount of people who could not survive without the 4 days pay was astounding. Forget about being one or 2 paychecks from being homeless – most of America is living paycheck to paycheck. It's not entirely the candidates issue to face this issue – we need to face this issue and learn how to save and be responsible with our money. I get so many comments from my co-workers for brown bagging my lunch everyday while they go out and buy theirs – guess who needed the 4 day loan from the company to survive until the next paycheck and who didn't.

    March 27, 2008 at 8:20 pm |
  20. Russell Benko

    I hope you have another show tonight about Obama's racist minister. Ten straight shows on it is just not enough. It is the most important and most interesting thing going on the the world. Who cares about what is going on in Pakistan, Basra, Somalia, or Tibet. Did you guys even hear that Mugabe got re-elected? He got like 74% of the vote. Why can't we have a leader that unites us like that? If you do another show about the same thing I am going to put my head through a wall.

    March 27, 2008 at 7:57 pm |
  21. Ruby Coria, LA., CA.

    Erica, I really like the 'cam~behind 360' I know things are getting worst with the economy, the food banks here in LA. are running out of food, no one has $$ to give. On the Chelsea question, I don't think anyone should ask the kid (I know she is grown) a question about a sex issue no matter how out there you are. Time for more coffee. see you Erica.

    March 27, 2008 at 7:44 pm |
  22. Annie Kate

    Wow Erica – the kidney transplant story is like a ray of sunshine. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. Its nice to hear about a happy ending.

    I hope the California mom will find a job soon and will be ok. Its so hard right now and its scary to think it might get worse. I just hope someone has a comprehensive enough stimulus package that will actually work to help us all through this.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    March 27, 2008 at 7:42 pm |
  23. Lawson McNary

    Why this story CNN. This happens everyday to hundreds of Americans. Have just one question, why would a person only making $70K yearly buy a house with a mortgage payment that large. How stupid is that.

    March 27, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  24. JurdikSvensk - Mystic, Connecticut


    On your behind the scenes – hope you have a nicer office/cubicle.

    California Woman – scary, their is no support system for the middle class. Your poor, but not poor enough.

    Chelsea – Fair to ask, but, also fair for her to not answer. The question posed to Hillary or Bill is different than their child whether she is active in the campaign or not.

    Starbucks – Refreshing, I tipped extra at Starbucks today on my way home.

    Good Luck Tonight!!

    March 27, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  25. Jo Ann


    I have heard Evan Strange try to explain his inappropriate question to Chelsea Clinton, but nothing I have heard him say justifies asking her this particular question. Yes, she is campaigning for her mother and should be available to answer questions, but this was nothing more than a cheap shot to get publicity for himself which he has done since he has already appeared on a number of programs.

    I can understand now why Chelsea has been reluctant to answer questions or give any interviews to the media. I am sure she has anticipated being confronted by just this type of low life.

    Unlike Mr. Strange, Ms. Clinton handled herself professionally.

    I am certain this creep will easily find a lucrative career as a tabloid “reporter.”

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    March 27, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  26. Lilibeth

    The California woman’s story is so sad...sadly it's happened to a lot of people. Th economic crisis is becoming a national emergency (if it isn't already). There has to be a way out of this. I look forward to Suzanne's presentation of the candidates' plans.

    On the student who asked Chelsea about the Lewinsky scandal...it's a personal question, but it's a fair question. It's not easy talking about these things, but what happened is a part of Mrs. Clinton's life...it's a part of who she is and how it shaped her character.

    Thanks for the barista story. Just when you think you've given up on people, you come across a story like this, and it restores your faith in humanity. I needed a Kleenex after reading it...

    See you tonight, Erica!

    Edmonds, Washington

    March 27, 2008 at 5:35 pm |
  27. Kim

    Wow, I just got goosebumps all over from the kidney donor story, it almost made me cry... There are so many good people out there. If we all tried to help out and touch the people we meet, even in small ways, just think what impact every single one of us could have in other peoples' lives...

    March 27, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  28. Tammy

    Thanks for the last story. It's an awesome reminder that angels do still roam about in the form of complete strangers sometimes. And that we all have the capacity to be an angel for someone if we try.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  29. Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA

    There are many people in this country who are one or two paychecks away from a personal, financial disaster and none of the candidates are fully addressing this issue.

    We are fast becoming a nation of "have" and "have not" citizens, with an ever widening gap between the rich and the poor, and a disappearing middle class.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:23 pm |