April 24th, 2008
09:38 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 4/24/08

Tonight, for the first time since his words nearly derailed Sen. Obama’s campaign, Reverend Jeremiah Wright is speaking out.  He responds to critics and comments on how Obama handled him.  We’ll have extended clips so you get the full context of his statements. 

 Also, we’ll put Sen. Hillary Clinton’s math to the test.  Is she really ahead in popular votes like she says she is?  And how will that impact the superdelegates? 

And heartbreak in Texas as the children of Warren Jeffs’ polygamous ranch were bused away to foster care.  Should they be separated from their parents?  And who actually made the call that triggered the raid?  Gary Tuchman has new details on the woman who may be responsible. 

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 Anderson and Erica behind the scenes on 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
April 24th, 2008
07:51 PM ET

4/24: Remembering the Armenian Genocide

Edward C.
Armenian-American, Boston

93 years ago today, several hundred prominent members of the Armenian community living in Constantinople within the Ottoman Empire were rounded up and imprisoned in what set the tone for the ultimate massacre of as many as 1.5 million men, women, and children. There was no word to describe the atrocities that were committed until Raphael Lemkin, an American lawyer with a Polish-Jewish background, coined the word Genocide to describe what had happened to the Armenians under the Young Turk regime. While denied by leaders in various countries due to politically motivated reasons, to date 22 countries have officially recognized and most historians agree that what took place was in fact the first Genocide of the 20th century.

As an Armenian-American citizen, I find myself in the US now ultimately because of the Genocide… All but ONE of my great grandparents were deported and murdered. BUT thanks to the willingness of countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran to accept refugees, the remaining members of my family were able to survive and forge new lives for themselves.


Filed under: 360° Radar
April 24th, 2008
06:23 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: We almost didn’t make it

Erica Hill
360° Correspondent

Who knew the human race was *this close* to being extinct?

Turns out, there was a day when there were only a couple thousand humans left…and we almost didn’t make it. But in the early Stone Age, the tide shifted.

Tens of thousands of years later, how could anyone know the human race was nearly wiped out?
Click here to find out.
I can’t stop blogging about the food crisis because if you haven’t felt the effects already, trust me, they’re not far off.

I spoke to the San Francisco Food Bank this afternoon, and the numbers are not encouraging. I was told the food shortage and economic situation in general are definitely being felt at this organization. Number one, Marguerite Nowak from the SF Food Bank tells me, there are more families in need. In the past year, the number of people they serve has jumped form 118,000 to 124,000.

But to handle that increased demand, there is actually a shrinking supply. FULL POST

Filed under: Erica Hill
April 24th, 2008
03:13 PM ET

Students bear brunt of Chicago violence

Watch CNN's David Mattingly report on Blair Holt, one of 28 Chicago school kids murdered last year.
Watch CNN's David Mattingly report on Blair Holt, one of 28 Chicago school kids murdered last year.

David Mattingly
360° Correspondent

I first met Ronald Holt about a year ago. He had recently lost his young son Blair, to a wave of violence that was tearing through the streets of Chicago's southside. Blair Holt was an innocent bystander caught in a gang-related shooting on a city bus. He was killed while pulling a classmate out of harm's way. His death became a rallying point for neighborhoods demanding tighter gun laws, more economic opportunity for young people and better parenting.

Ronald Holt was one of the people leading the charge. Instead of becoming consumed by grief, he turned it into a weapon. He lobbied the state legislature hoping to restrict gun sales and he has since attended hundreds of public rallies and memorials. I returned to Chicago to find Holt at one of these rallies and I learned he has a new enemy...despair. The past year has produced very few victories.

Holt tells me he finds strength by talking to his departed son and imagines the teen encouraging him to keep going. He needs the pep talk often. So far this school year 24 students from Chicago Public Schools have been killed. That is a rate even faster than what we saw last year.

Program Note: Watch David Mattingly's report Friday 10p et on 360°

April 24th, 2008
02:21 PM ET

The phony call on Polygamy?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/24/art.polygamy.rozitaswinton2.jpg
caption="Rozita Swinton, 33, of Colorado Springs, Colo. A phone number used to report alleged child abuse at a Texas polygamist retreat had been used before by a Colorado woman, who's accused of making several false abuse claims in an unrelated case, according to authorities."]

Gary Tuchman
360° Correspondent

The dots are not yet completely connected - but it's getting there.

Now, it appears likely the reason authorities raided the polygamist sect’s ranch in Texas is because of a woman who has a history of making phony phone calls.

Rozita Swinton, 33, is a troubled woman. She was arrested in 2005 for making phony phone calls to authorities in the town of Castle Rock, Colorado. She repeatedly called and posed as a 16-year-old who was being sexually abused. She pleaded guilty, received a medical evaluation and was sentenced to probation.

But while in the middle of that probation, she is accused of starting to make the same kinds of calls to the Colorado Springs Police Department. These calls, however, went on for more than two years.

Police say although they were suspicious as time went on, they had to use resources each time in case the calls were real. They say she was hard to trace because she made some of the calls using disposable cell phones with pre-paid cards. At one point, she told police she had split personalities. Just last week, she was arrested for making those calls.

But that arrest was precipitated because of what may have been her biggest caper yet.


Filed under: FLDS update • Gary Tuchman • Polygamy
April 24th, 2008
12:28 PM ET

In for the Long Haul

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/24/art.hillary.in.jpg%5D

Leslie Sanchez
spokesman and deputy press secretary at the Republican National Committee during the 2000 presidential campaign,
Author, “Los Republicanos: Why Hispanics and Republicans Need Each Other.”

Hillary Clinton now has everything she needs to take this to Denver , and I think she will. I've said before that it will take the “”Jaws of Life” to get her out of this race. Now, I wonder if even that could do it.

Increasingly it looks like there's going to be a smoke-filled back room somewhere in Denver, and she's going into that card game with a pretty strong hand. Pennsylvania’s results put her strongly back in the race. If she performs better than expected in North Carolina and wins Indiana, she will have made it nearly impossible for Democrats to come to a fast or easy nominating decision.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Leslie Sanchez • Raw Politics
April 24th, 2008
09:24 AM ET

Just who is Ray Odierno, anyway?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/23/art.generalraymondodierno2.jpg%5D

Barbara Starr
Pentagon Correspondent

Americans have heard the name General David Petraeus and the word Iraq many times together. But with today’s announcement that Petraeus is moving up to head the US Central Command….the name you will start hearing will be General Raymond Odierno. And, you might be wondering…who is “Ray” Odierno?

Odierno commanded the 4th Infantry Division in 2003 when it pulled Saddam Hussein out of the spider hole. Odierno was on his way home in 2004 when his then 26-year-old son Tony was headed into Iraq—the two met for a 90-minute dinner in a mess tent in Kuwait. General Odierno at that point was sometimes referred to as “Tony Soprano” for his very tough line with Iraqis suspected of being involved in insurgent activity.

But for the entire Odierno family, the war was about to change.


Filed under: Barbara Starr • Iraq • Pentagon
April 24th, 2008
09:00 AM ET

Beat 360 4/24/08

Hey Bloggers!

What's going on? How has your week been? "Ruff?" Fear not! its time for a little ‘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: Here we see Democratic presidential candidate US Senator Barack Obama supporters during a rally at University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on April 21.

Beat 360°

Here's one or two to get you started:

Here we see Obama's dog in this fight


“Woof,” back to you and Anderson in the Election Center...

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

Filed under: Beat 360°
April 24th, 2008
08:00 AM ET

Crude awakening: Why gas prices are so high

Darius Walker
CNN New York Bureau Chief

In case you've been wondering why gasoline prices are hitting daily record highs, and have shot up 68 cents in the past year alone, here's a breakneck look at why:
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/23/art.gas2.jpg%5D

  • The biggest factor, of course: the rocketing price of crude oil.
  • Refineries, some still damaged by Hurricane Katrina, are maxxed out, and no new refineries planned in the immediate future.
  • Some investors are betting that the price of crude oil will continue to rise, driving the price up further.
  • The U.S. subsidizing, promoting and even mandating corn-based ethanol is spiking the prices of corn, ethanol and the gasoline it's added to.
  • Gas stations are basing prices not on today's cost, but on how much they anticipate it will cost to refill their tanks later.
  • The dollar's weakness against other currencies means you need more of them to buy foreign oil.
  • Increased global demand, especially from China, pushes up prices further.
  • And, of course, it's the time of year. Oil companies have to switch to a more expensive blend of gasoline for the summer.

Thinking of traveling? How does the back porch sound right about now?

Program Note: Watch issues affecting your life, home and wallet; Issue #1, today 12 p.m. ET on CNN
Editor's Note:
Check out more AC360 blogs here

Filed under: Gas Prices • Oil
April 24th, 2008
06:34 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning folks...Anderson if OFF tonight and Campbell Brown will help us out....

On the political front...Obama is ALSO taking the day off...but there is NO TIME OFF for Hillary Clinton. She is spending the day in North Carolina, hoping to close a big lead that the latest polls show Obama has there.... Candy Crowley will give us the latest on the campaign trail. But we plan to dig a little deeper into WHY Obama cannot close out this deal? WHY has he been unable to win over enough working-class and white voters to wrap up the Democratic nomination? Is the dem party hesitating for some reason as it moves towards nominating an African-American to be president? Because just when it seemed that the Democratic Party was close to anointing Obama, he lost yet again in a big general election state, pulled down by his weakness among blue-collar voters, older voters and white voters. So we will chew that over...

Crime is up or it certainly feels like it is out of control....The headlines in Chicago "Five dead in southside...." and that was after a bloody weekend....In Newark, New Jersey, "8 shot" and in New Orleans there were 8 killed this week alone. AND Los Angeles has racked up 86 murders this year so far...what the heck is going on? David Mattingly investigates...

AND we will dip back into Polygamyland tonight....The Polygamist sect children continue to be placed in foster homes AND DNA testing completed....BUT in Colorado, a court document says a phone number used to report alleged abuse at a polygamist retreat in Texas had been used previously by a Colorado woman. SO Who is this woman? Rozita Swinton. Gary Tuchman introduces us to the he 33 year old woman who's phony phone calls may have set off the raid on the Texas polygamist compound. She appears to be a deeply troubled person. She has been arrested and prosecuted successfully in the past for not only making phony calls..but doing it with the same basic story...that she is a 16 year old being sexually abused. According to police papers obtained by CNN, she has made scores of such calls over the last three years, and says she has multiple personalities. We have tapes of her being interrogated by police, and talk to the cop who interrogated her. Despite information that shows her phone was used to call Texas authorities before the raid, the Texas Rangers say they are still looking for Sarah, the girl many think is now an imaginary creation of Swinton. AND is the Pentagon Funding Polygamy? Turns out the department of defense entered into 1.7 million dollars worth of contracts with three companies owned by leaders of Warren Jeffs’ FLDS sect. Money from those contracts was funneled to Jeffs and his church. Correspondent Randi Kaye is keeping them honest with confirmation from the Pentagon and an affidavit that shows the money was sent from the companies to the church. Even worse, some of the contracts were entered into after Jeffs was put on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.

AND can you believe that the retail chain Sam's Club will limit the sale of large quantities of rice? Due to a dramatic increase in the global price of rice.The store will limit customers to four 20-lb. bags of jasmine, basmati and long-grain white rice....Gas prices are at all time high and we cannot buy large quantities of rice? What the heck is going on?

Filed under: The Buzz