April 7th, 2008
09:46 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 4/7/08

Tonight as authorities pull hundreds of children from a compound in Texas, the secrets of their polygamist way of life begin to emerge. Allegations of systematic child abuse, statutory rape, forced marriages and more. We have late details you won't see anywhere else.

Also, new information about the battle for Baghdad and Iraq. Gen. David Petraeus reports to Congress tomorrow. We've got the outlines tonight, and a fresh look at the facts on the ground.

Plus, the Hillary Clinton campaign – is it in crisis? You don't can your top strategist when things are going well. But just how badly did Mark Penn really screw up?  And is he really 100% out?

Please check out a post that may be helpful if you wonder why some comments get posted while others do not. LINK TO COMMENTS POST

And be sure to check out our new live web camera from the 360° studio. The shot features a behind the scene look at the set. We’ll turn the camera on at 945p ET and turn it off at 11p ET. LINK TO THE BLOG CAMERA

We’ll start posting comments to this blog at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET.

Filed under: Live Blog
soundoff (190 Responses)
  1. Chuck in Alabama

    Nice Job Erica!!!

    April 7, 2008 at 10:59 pm |
  2. Melinda

    Mark, the problem is that these girls don't want to be married off. They have no choice and many of them are forced into sexual intercourse and to have many babies. Read Carolyn Jessops book and you'll see how bad it is.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:59 pm |
  3. Tammy

    NASCAR is so safe thankfully. They learned from the bad losses like Dale Earnhardt. Great show! Good night all.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:59 pm |
  4. Jolene

    Good show Campbell (even though you couldn't blog) and Erica!

    Waves back at 360 Crew! Nite bloggers!

    April 7, 2008 at 10:58 pm |
  5. Genevieve M, TX

    That is one "brain-rattling" car accident! Good thing he is ok.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:58 pm |
  6. Chuck in Alabama

    Rice was groomed for the job from day one. The Republicans knew they would oneday have to face a black or a woman on teh Dems ticket.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:58 pm |
  7. Traven Berrie

    Uhhh... Mark- In Texas, it is illegal to be married if you are under 17, even with parental consent.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:58 pm |
  8. cary, lowell, in.

    more NASCAR 🙂

    April 7, 2008 at 10:58 pm |
  9. Kyle

    Michael when is the right time to protest wrong doings?

    April 7, 2008 at 10:57 pm |
  10. Ara

    I guess academically and otherwise Rice is experienced, but the taboo of being a part of the Bush admin is what will be held against her and needless to say, her support of the current admin will also play a critical role. But guess we cannot take her merit away from her even in that case.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:57 pm |
  11. Rose from Southern Calif

    Night all...Great show Campbell.
    Hope to see Anderson tommorrow.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:57 pm |
  12. Gary in Toronto

    Rice for V.P?

    I remember when she got Colin Powell's job and John Stewart remarked that her old job was "apparently looking over the President's shoulder and giving everyone the stink eye" and I just had to laugh.

    She is a lightweight compared to Powell with a cold war academic background of little use in today's world.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:57 pm |
  13. ericacnn

    Hey, Orin - I've doneNASCAR stories for CNN. I can assure you this isnt the first or the last time you'll see NASCAR on CNN!

    April 7, 2008 at 10:56 pm |
  14. Lilibeth

    Great show! Good night all!

    April 7, 2008 at 10:56 pm |
  15. Tracey

    Rice is quite qualified to be VP....

    Boy what a night eh?

    April 7, 2008 at 10:56 pm |
  16. Mark

    Honestly, I think this is a lot more about Americans' distaste for polygamy (which we do not punish) and distaste of the idea of young women marrying much older men (again, not illegal at 16) than it is about the very vague term you all are throwing around–"abuse." Many millions of Americans (not me) grew up in strict homes and with circumscribed opportunities in life. That is not a crime. What do you want for these 400+ people–the "freedom" to become like us? Couch potatoes, neglectful parents whose kids are overscheduled and depressed? (I teach college freshmen...). No. This group is not worth going after. We dislike them, for sure. But there's not much illegal going on. We busted Warren Jeffs for what? Being an accomplice to statutory rape. We almost NEVER prosecute statutory rape, let alone having helped it happen. I agree, this group is distasteful and (to me) immoral, but that is all.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:56 pm |
  17. mona

    Condeleeza Rice for VP. this would make for an interesting race......

    April 7, 2008 at 10:55 pm |
  18. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Thanks Erica and Campbell, good job..goodnight.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:55 pm |
  19. Patty

    Hillary was right to call on Bush to boycott the opening the the
    Olympic Games in China. They shouldn't be hosting the games
    in the first place., with their attrocious human rights record.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:55 pm |
  20. judy

    Nora, what are your insights into this group as opposed to Carolyn Jessop?

    April 7, 2008 at 10:55 pm |
  21. Michael, NC

    Agh! Every time I hear about the protests holding up the torch relay, my blood boils. Yes, there needs to be change in China, yes there are horrible things going on there, but the protests as of late are nothing more than an annoyance, not the right place or time for such protests.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:55 pm |
  22. cary, lowell, in.

    Sec. Rice has said she 's not interested in VP, but is interested in being commissioner of the NFL (not a joke)

    April 7, 2008 at 10:55 pm |
  23. Traven Berrie

    The FLDS keep to themselves, they are not violent towards outsiders. They did not have large stockpiles of weapons. Yes, they did have armed guards, but they also called the Sheriff's Office a couple years ago when they had illegal aliens crossing their property and turned them in.... somewhat strange, but they made every attempt to abide by the laws, other then the ones they though conflicted with their religion. Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending their practices, nor their beliefs. Everyone just needs to understand, they may be Fundamentalists, but they are not out for Nazi-style genocide. They believe God (their God) will wipe out all of the non-believers and only they will be left on Earth.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:54 pm |
  24. Kathy

    I knew that Hillary had not agreed to an interview with either Anderson or Larry King. I look forward to tomorrow on American Morning to see if she actually says anything worthwhile.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:54 pm |
  25. Orin

    Wow Nascar made CNN, now I think I've seen it all.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:54 pm |
  26. Brent

    Hey Judy, don't for a second think I'm not appalled by the story with the polygamists. I think its terrible what happened to those women and children. But frankly I'm sickened at the lack of REAL coverage over the fact the United States has 160,000 soldiers in the IRAQ QUAGMIRE with no end in sight and it gets about 2-3 minutes a night. Its seems to me that that the sacrifices being made over there deserve that the media scrutinize the policy a lot more closely than it does.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:53 pm |
  27. Chuck in Alabama

    Seems every time a flunky in one of these campaigns stubs a toe, we have to hear about it.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:53 pm |
  28. Michael, NC

    I may not know much on this topic, so if someone could enlighten me...why is Rice qualified at all? I mean, this came out of nowhere didn't it...she was a big part of the Bush admin, but that doesn't seem like a popular profile as of late...

    April 7, 2008 at 10:52 pm |
  29. Chuck in Alabama

    I lived in Utah for awhile. The "regular" mormons ran these "fundamentalists" out of the state to AZ and then a large group of them moved to TX a few years ago. They were tossed out of the mormon church because of the polygamy issue. The reason it has lasted so long is because they basicaly build a '"fortress" around a small town where they practice their ways. These stories only came to the forefront a few years ago because the fundamentalist actually banned some of their own children from their towns and these kids ended up telling the media what was going on. Finally, some of the poor children have been able to contact the authorities and give them the right to enter these enclaves.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:52 pm |
  30. Marcus, Amsterdam (the Netherlands)

    Clinton campaign seems to think they need to control everything to gain, but they should loosen up a bit more!

    April 7, 2008 at 10:51 pm |
  31. Kyle

    Thank you Melinda, well said.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:51 pm |
  32. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    I don't think the press or media have any idea who the candidates will pick for VP's. I'm sure when the time is right they'll let us know.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:51 pm |
  33. Minou, New York City

    AJ – Penn will only provide polls from now on. And yes, he did get fired by the Columbian company that hired him.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:51 pm |
  34. cary, lowell, in.

    why doesn't the IRS go after extra-societal groups such as this for income tax ? People like these wackos are the reason the rest of us are hurting for money – we're shouldering the burden of taxes.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:51 pm |
  35. Melinda

    Yes, most of them do claim welfare but that is what they live on. A lot of the men work and give the majority of their money to the leaders (this has been reported on 360 several times). Also, there are people they were in the lifestyle that have said this as well. I'm sure they get money from other places but if you are getting the majority of every man's salary (thousands of men) that's a lot of money.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:51 pm |
  36. Ara

    Erica, Thanks for the response and for covering the Iraq issue. It definitely holds a lot to my heart. One of my favorite 18 year old is in the Navy and was stationed in Kuwait a few weeks ago, with a prospect of going to Iraq later in the future, and my colleagues 18 year old son. So I will be waiting for the report tomorrow! Hope to see some panel discussions on this tomorrow

    April 7, 2008 at 10:51 pm |
  37. Shawn North Carolina

    It is inevitable that on American Morning that Hillary will LIE once again. How can media be reporting that the campaign did not like Penn when he is still on the CAMPAIGN!

    April 7, 2008 at 10:50 pm |
  38. Orin

    Chuck there will never be stability in the middle east. They have been fighting since BC. It is going to be a big problem for the next president and McCain was probably right when he said that we're going to be there for the next 100 years.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:50 pm |
  39. Renee

    @ Marcus: Love Amsterdam BTW! I don't see much difference between a cult and Jeff's polygamist group. Religion in any extreme is very dangerous to me. I am no expert in world religions but have studied many different religions. I am just having some Waco, TX memories myself and am concerned about how all of this has come this far.

    April 7, 2008 at 10:50 pm |
  40. Carolyn (Canada)

    Orin, as an LDS member I can assure you my husband's pay cheque does not get handed over to the church. We give like most other church attendants....10%

    April 7, 2008 at 10:50 pm |
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