April 14th, 2008
09:33 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 4/14/08

Breaking news tonight, for the first time in 4 years the gates are open and CNN is inside the polygamist Yearning for Zion ranch. Some of the 139 women who voluntarily left during the raid are now returning. And they’re coming back without their children. We’ll hear from one mother who hasn’t seen her children since authorities removed 416 children, saying they were in imminent danger of abuse. But is it necessary to separate mothers from their children? Legally, how long can they be separated?

Gary Tuchman is covering this story from Colorado City in Arizona, where thousands of FLDS followers held a rare meeting to learn what has happened to family members in Texas.

And, “bitter-gate” continues. As the Pennsylvania primary draws closer, Sen. Clinton vies for the working class and rural vote by talking about guns, drinking beer, and calling her opponent elitist.

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 (361 Responses)
  1. David Sims

    I live in San Angelo, I'm not a Mormon, and I don't agree with their particular religious views. But some facts need to be set straight.

    1. There are way more than 2 bathrooms at Ft. Concho. Port-a-potties are everywhere. I live just a few blocks from it. The whole area has been blocked off from traffic and prying eyes to PROTECT the people staying there.
    2. There are more than 300 lawyers in this county and the surrounding counties. They may not all have time or expertise for this particular event, but there are plenty of lawyers here. It annoys me that the media keeps describing this area like it is a desolate wasteland of few inhabitants.
    3. These allegations of child abuse have not yet been established as fact. It is mostly hearsay and assumption. I'm not defending the Mormons, and I'm open to whatever the evidence proves, but let's not jump to conclusions.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  2. Chuck in Alabama

    Obama did a photo op at a bar too and had a beer. Why is he throwing dirt at Hillary for the same thing?

    April 14, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  3. MaryBeth

    Betty Ann: Amen!!! LOL. John McCain won't have to do any campaigning...the Democrats are doing it for him. I'm for Obama, but I thinkt that both have given the Republicans plenty of ammo to go after either one during the general election.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  4. Cowboy Jack

    Anderson, your pro-Obama comments are becoming a noticeable pattern....

    Where's Campbell Brown?

    April 14, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  5. Saera El Paso, TX

    Derrick- sometimes people abuse and twist religion to fit their own needs, wants and perceptions

    it ends up benifiting very few
    and being called a cult

    if a religion causes harm,
    it's not really a religion is it?

    April 14, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  6. Lesli

    I don't believe that saying people are disgruntled in small towns is wrong. I happen to think there are dissatisfied people all around the US. I think the problem with what Obama says is that they cling to religion and guns.

    Oh – don't get me wrong – I admit that I cling to religion. But what he said was derogatory to me. He says he's a Christian, but he scorns people who cling to religion. I think that is a problem. All Christians should "Cling" to their religions and are more so inclinded to "cling" when times are tough. This is why God gives us these troubles – so we cling closer to Him.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  7. Valerie

    As a parent, it's hard to watch the story on the polygamy in Texas, but at the same time, it's better to err on the side of safety for the children. At the same time though, seeing the story on the sects, it seems as though these parents weren't acting in the best interest of their children. That's a responsibility we, as parents, all have. If we negate that responsibility, then, unfortunately someone else needs to step in. This is no different than child abuse. The only difference is that these parents are hiding behind religion to commit the abuse and then cry foul when the authorities step in to protect the children they have failed to.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  8. Kristin Burke Chicago, Illinois

    I think we need to be I little more sympathetic to the women... This is most likely how they themselves were raised, and it is probably all they know in life. This has to be such a terrifying time for them.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  9. Vivian, Miami

    Of course the child abuse is a far more disturbing issue, but it would be informative to hear more about the total scam these people are running. For each 16 year they get pregnant they are guaranteed more welfare payments.Have I missed it or is anyone in the media mentioning that the many wives of these polygamists are receiving welfare? Since the man is married legally to only one woman the next zillion wives he takes are, according to the goverment unmarried women with children and qualify for welfare. It's a booming business - just look at the shiny new SUVs, vans etc. How many millions of dollars are going to these groups?

    April 14, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  10. joel

    Anyone know if the First Lady on Hillary's new add is her friend from Fla??

    April 14, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  11. Dan in Bama

    Obama keeps talking about how he "identifies" with the working poor in America – give me a break....wonder where he went on his recent vacation??? How many folks do you know went to an ivy league school... I certainly applaud those who rise above their circumstances.....but to try and ride on the coattails of your grandparents simple living – just another prime example of his twisted political tactics....

    April 14, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  12. Ramiro B.

    Bitter Gate is a joke. Hope we get some real news tommorow. Not bashing AC love the show, but its been three days now.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  13. Brian Persaud

    Betty Ann> I hear ya! I mean, if you look at the issues they are basically the same, I don't see the need for such polarity.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  14. Jolene

    Don't you think HIllary taking a shot of whiskey was just to show she can drink like one of the boys too? However, all those pics of HIllary taking that shot was a bit shocking! Don't really expect to see a presidential candidate doing shots...

    April 14, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  15. Sue Polinick/Pennsylvania

    Chuck..all the candidates go to Calif. not just Obama

    April 14, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  16. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    So Obama thinks Hillary is Annie Oakley and she thinks he's a tad high and mighty..I don't think any of the candidates including McCain are exactly like the middle class. But what Senator is?

    April 14, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  17. Chuck in Alabama

    His Grandmother was the Vice President of a bank in Honolulu, HI. He lived in downtown Honolulu, which I know from experience, isn't cheap. He attended the very elitist Punahau School.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  18. deborah moller

    your show stated that it would be hard to match kids to parents with possibly no birth certificates but it was also revealed that these people apply for and receive medicaid and welfare benefits – I know that you need to provide a birth certificate and proof of identity for each child who you apply for – could that not be cross referenced to identify children

    April 14, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  19. Shantanu

    Anderson: Your interview with the former FLDS member who had escaped with her children was truly an exercise in mediocrity. There was such a great opportunity to ask her questions about her relationships within her former polygamist family. However, you were completely thrown off your pre-prepared line of questioning as you didn't realize she knew your first interviewee and that the two were in fact married to the same man.
    I hope you bring that woman back on your show and, this time, are prepared with questions about her former life in the FLDS community. She clearly wants to share these stories.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  20. sam3dogs ( Steve A. Moore )

    Erica, aren;t you getting tired of Hillary espescially and Barak almost as often talking about each other and not the issues? Hillary is in full attack mode forcing Obama to look the same by defending himself. The Clinton machine is finally showing just how ruthless and power hungry they are.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  21. Bonnie

    Mothers are supposed to protect their children from harm. How can that woman stand there and say that nothing bad is going on? Daughters being forced to marry way to young and sons being forced to leave their homes and fend for themselves!! Not my idea of a good mother!

    April 14, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  22. Kat

    Cults! Argg, they all claim that their religious freedom is being persecuted. Shut up already, it's not your religion we have a problem with it's the fact that you shove it down your childrens throats and make them do what you want them to do. You MAKE them believe it.

    I grew up in a cult (the Children of God) and I know that what a cult tells the public and what they practice are two different things. Those children need a fair shot. Of course it's difficult for them to be seperated from the only lives they have ever known. Hopefully they can be given extrordinary lives through what is happening now. Texas, you have a huge responsibility on your shoulders now. Do what is right by those kids.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  23. Nancy Bastawros

    I met Chelsea Clinton last week. I think she should run for president instead of her mom. She is a thoroughly impressive speaker and VERY well informed. She was a better speaker than Michelle Obama, and I'm an Obama supporter, so that says a lot.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  24. Joey

    Is anyone going to talk about Obama's "punished with a baby" comments? I think this is worse than his "clinging to religion" statements... anyone else agree?

    April 14, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  25. Sue Polinick/Pennsylvania

    Obama gets it....I am sorry, but Hillary is really being pathetic since Friday....It will change some votes...but not enough to get her a slam dunk.
    Also, does she really believes that the superdelegates will overturn the will of the people

    April 14, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  26. Marie

    Why didn't the men turn themselves in for questioning and ask that their women and children be left in the safety of their home. Why didn't these FDL men open up a portion of their compound to allow authorities to talk to the women and children. What a bunch of cowards these men are to allow their women and children be taken away and separated from each other; why didn't they say "take us instead and let our women and children stay".......It seems that these men are only protecting themselves and have no regard for the women and children.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  27. Betty Ann

    Is it just me, or does anyone else out there tired of the democrats divisionary war?
    Let's start attacking the republicans. I wish the democrats would get their act together. Don;t you? Geez~

    April 14, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  28. Cowboy Jack

    Anderson, are you going to mention the ARG poll that today showed Hillary up 20 points????? OF COURSE NOT.....

    And calling Obama's comments a possible "pundit created" blowup???? What a one-sided, partisan comment for Obama!

    April 14, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  29. june

    Gets what? Small town people in Pennsylvania ARE BITTER. I should know...I lived there for 30 years...it's true.

    Hillary is the most ARROGANT candidate I've seen in years.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  30. Chuck in Alabama

    Don't get me started on Obama's "photo ops." As far as Washington insiders owning Hillary, I wonder what Obama is promising to all these billionaires in California he keeps visiting?

    April 14, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  31. EJ - Ohio


    "Example: The Vatican is very private; it has it’s own army – you can’t just walk in. Catholics have very strict rules about how their members are suppose to behave. Most religions are not open to gawkers. Just because you don’t like the religion is no reason to disallow it. "

    This is not what is going on!! Shame on you.

    It's not simply people "not liking" the religion.

    Justifying forcing 13 and 14 year old girls to marry and have sex with these men is equivalent to saying that what many Catholic priests did with young boys over the years is ok because it's a private religion.

    Many people across religions think they can use their religion to cover up or justify abusive actions.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  32. Justin Flowers

    That woman was so brainwashed! What she kept saying was so absurd that I couldn't help from laughing a little. I feel horrible.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  33. Susan

    These groups of women collect millions of $ in welfare. In order to collect welfare, birth certificates and names must be provided. Why can't the govt. match the names of the women and their children.

    If not, stop the checks.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  34. Miriam

    Obama is saying that these "politicians" have beer and shots with cameras around... didn't he go to a bar and drank a beer and then he "bowled?".... am I getting it wrong here or did he not do the same???

    April 14, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  35. Melinda

    Brent- If you knew the whole story of Carlyn Jessop or read her book you'd know she left because her children were being abused mentally, physically and sexually by their family members and father. I think her whining is justifiable. Was she supposed to stay there and allow that to happen?? She was brave and I respect her a lot of for having the courage to help her children when a lot of other mothers couldn't or wouldn't.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  36. Jarrett, San Angelo, TX

    Thanks Erica

    April 14, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  37. Phil of Guadalupe, Ca.

    Nice to see you back. The girls did a good job in your absence.
    However, I must ask, how much more of this polygamous compound story do you want to get out?
    We know that it is bad to live this lifestyle, and that Warren Jeffs is not the only one out there. Yet I must ask: How much longer is CNN going to be on this story and leave other stories behind which affect more people. Not only politics, but avenues to improve communications.
    At any rate, I will be listening to the rest of the show.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  38. Rose in IL

    Nice stuff tonight, The woman Kathleen needs help. She looks like she is coached.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  39. Kim

    I think, Hillary Clinton sounds really desperate running with this one word, like it's her last chance to get what she clearly thinks America owes her, the presidency.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  40. Kathy

    Hillary doesn't get it. The people are looking for a president who doesn't lie to them!

    April 14, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  41. Alexander

    Hi, Erica, how are you doing? Is it possible to find out what the link to that interview is? Or is the interview with Jeff Toobin not gonna be posted on the site?

    April 14, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  42. Karoline, Los Angeles, CA

    Yes, we have freedom of religion Derrick but the law oversees religion. For example, if a religion calls for human sacrifice they can't do it legally in this country. It's murder even if some religious leader calls for it.

    If these girls are being forced to marry against their will and under the legal age, then these men can go to jail for that.

    As for the polygamy, that is also against the law. The whole sect is in a lot of trouble.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  43. Anthony

    Thank You Miss Hill, I love the show. Please Tell everyone GOD BLESS.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  44. Michelle in Los Angeles

    I think the powers that be had a idea of who was buying that land and could have prevented this tourture to children before it started, but greed got the best of them. They chose money over the safety of those children. Shame on them all.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  45. Donata from Amarillo

    Our local news has said that some of the kids are going to Boys Ranch. I will tell you all that this an excellent place for these kiddos to go and be safe. Do not worry that this will be over too soon in Texas. Our courts will not back down to anyone that is hurting a kid. Lots of lawyers will not bull our judges. I am outraged that Colorado City, AZ law is part of this group. YES there will be enough lawyers for these kids!! Lawyers will drive, fly, or bus from all parts of TEXAS to help out these kids. Maybe our strong stance will give the other states some courage to help out the other kids. This is child abuse hiding behind the First Amendment.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  46. ariston I miami beach, FL


    Thought you did very well on your speech tonight at U of M. Also, you handled the questions with great ease.

    Best wishes,

    Ariston Neto

    April 14, 2008 at 10:39 pm |
  47. Annie

    What I want to know is why the media on the TV (as far as I've seen) has only referred to the cult as a "polygamist sect" instead of a Mormon sect, which is what it is. If this had been a case involving a fundamentalist Catholic of Muslim group, it would have been smeared all over the news, so what makes the Mormons exempt? I say don't beat around the bush. Call it how it is, because ignorance is what spreads cults like this in the first place.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:39 pm |
  48. Rose

    Hey Anderson, Welcome back! where were you anyway

    April 14, 2008 at 10:39 pm |
  49. Steve, NC

    I don't understand why the calls from the young girl cannot be traced to their location I'm pretty sure the wireline and wireless companies have this capability.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:39 pm |
  50. Lesli


    You missed all the action last week between Senators Clinton and Obama. Wish you were hear. Would have like to hear how you handled the issue.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:39 pm |
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