May 16th, 2008
09:47 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 5/16/08

Barack Obama and John McCain have been going at it like the general election's already begun.  You’ll hear from both candidates tonight in their own words.

Warren Jeffs, the polygamous sect leader, was in court in Arizona today.  And the authorities in Texas are gearing up for a hearing Monday about the more than 400 kids in their custody.  We’ll have the latest from Gary Tuchman and David Mattingly.

We’ll also have a 360 dispatch from China's earthquake zone. We'll show you a heart-stopping rescue in the middle of a heartbreaking tragedy.

Be sure to check out our 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
May 16th, 2008
07:12 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Unbelievable

Erica Hill
360° Correspondent

After 35 years, Hedviga Golik has finally left her apartment…something that makes me so sad. “Sad” because no one noticed she hadn’t left her home for three and a half decades. It’s believed Hedviga died in 1973. Her body was found in her bed earlier this week. So far, no one - no family, no friends, no neighbors – has claimed the body.

The fact that this woman doesn’t appear to have had any close friends or even nosy neighbors is heartbreaking. Also upsetting? The reason her body was finally discovered. Apparently, her neighbors broke into her home because they felt the apartment should belong to them.


I saw this story recently and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Morehouse College, a historically black college in Atlanta, is about to graduate its first white valedictorian. Morehouse is an incredible school, known for graduating “Morehouse Men” – intelligent, successful black leaders. Josh Packwod fits two of the three on that bill. You can imagine the varied reactions to this student’s accomplishment. It’s a story that can make all of us think, though, no matter your race, no matter your alma mater.


Education is incredibly important to me. My mother and sister are teachers and I was lucky enough to attend fantastic public schools with excellent teachers who kept me engaged, excited and hungering for more. So many educators routinely go beyond the call of, including this week’s CNN Hero, Carmen Salva. We are all richer for knowing these people.

Filed under: Education • Erica Hill
May 16th, 2008
06:15 PM ET

Justice for parents?

Gary Tuchman    
National Correspondent

When we cover the news, we need to be prepared for whatever the story will bring us. But it is often hard to be prepared for the emotional ramifications. That was the case when producer Katherine Wojtecki and I visited Ron and Tina Meier in suburban St. Louis, the parents of Megan Meier, the girl who became known as the "My Space suicide victim."

Ron and Tina told us about their hopes and dreams for the child they gave birth to and nurtured. They told us about how their hearts broke when she was taunted as she grew up. And they told us about how excited their 13 year old was when a boy named Josh whom she met on-line said he liked her. 

Well, "Josh," who we of course learned was a creation, turned against Megan and it was too much for this child with such a fragile ego. And that's where the conversation with her parents got unbearably sad. Crying, her father told me he walked up to her room and found her hanging from a bar in her closet. It is unimaginable what these parents must have been going through during those initial minutes. They haven't and will never get over it. All they could ask for when they were talking to me was justice in the name of their daughter who died so sadly and forlornly. With yesterday's indictments, they may be on the verge of getting that.


Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Myspace suicide
May 16th, 2008
05:18 PM ET

It's not easy being the boss

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/16/art.gasstation.jpg]

Ali Velshi     
Senior Business Correspondent

It's not easy being the boss.

And I don't mean YOUR boss – I mean the boss of America. 

Oil AND gasoline both hit records AGAIN today, right as President Bush was landing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  What with the pressure back home, the president could hardly wait for the initial pleasantries to be exchanged before he popped the question:

"Could you all make a little more oil?".

The Saudi's, apparently anticipating the question, said "No.". They said they've been adding more oil to the world pot from time to time, as they see fit, but they just don't see increased demand for oil right now.  So "No, Mr. Bush.  But thanks for asking."

Its not clear WHY they didn't agree to help, but at least SOME people say the Saudi's have less oil than they're admitting to having.  But that's another story.

So what's a Prez to do?

Filed under: Gas Prices • Oil • President George W. Bush
May 16th, 2008
01:37 PM ET

Beat 360° 5/16/08

Hey Bloggers!

'expecting' something?...puuush, pussh, its time for '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: Actors Jack Black and Angelina Jolie attend the 'Kung Fu Panda' premiere at the Palais des Festivals during the 61st Cannes International Film Festival in Cannes, France.

Beat 360°

Have fun with it.

Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

– David M. Reisner, 360° Digital producer


Filed under: Beat 360°
May 16th, 2008
01:36 PM ET

Confusion Still Surrounds FLDS Children

David Mattingly
360° Correspondent

Why did the state have to take all of the kids when it raided the polygamous sect's ranch in West Texas?  Come Monday, the state of Texas will have to start explaining itself one child at a time as these 400-plus custody cases go before judges in San Angelo.  Frustrations abound in this case.  Families say many of the girls in custody who are pregnant or have already given birth are actually adults.  State investigators say they continue to get conflicting information when they ask about ages and try to match kids to their biological parents.  Attorneys representing the kids say the state won't give them the information they need.  No one is happy and no one has any idea how all this will end.  Judges start to try and make sense of it all on Monday when each mother and father begin to find out what the state says they will have to do if they want to get their children back.

Filed under: David Mattingly • FLDS court hearing • FLDS update • Polygamy
May 16th, 2008
01:24 PM ET

Obama calls Bush comments 'appalling.' Has words for McCain

David M. Reisner
360° Digital Producer

Sen. Barack Obama fires back after President Bush likened talking with Hamas to negotiating with Hitler.
Sen. Barack Obama fires back after President Bush likened talking with Hamas to negotiating with Hitler.

Hey bloggers,

Yesterday we told you about comments President Bush made in a speech to Israel’s parliament. The president compared calls to talk with unnamed terrorist groups a 'foolish delusion.' (read more here)

Well today, Obama fired back.

Sen. Barack Obama slammed President Bush for launching "exactly the kind of appalling attack that's divided our country and that alienates us from the world."

Speaking at a campaign stop in Watertown, South Dakota, Obama also lambasted Sen. John McCain for "embracing" the president's "attacks on Democrats," and "suggesting that I wasn't fit to protect this nation that I love."

"So much for civility," Obama said, noting that McCain had talked about the need for civility in politics earlier Thursday.

He went on:

May 16th, 2008
09:57 AM ET

Bin Laden and Palestine

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/16/art.binladen.message.jpg caption="A frame grab from new video featuring an audio statement from Osama bin Laden to the people of the West about Israel's 60th anniversary."]

Peter Bergen
CNN National Security Analyst

Less than a day after Republican presidential candidate John McCain promised that if he won the presidency Osama bin Laden would be captured or killed by 2013, a message from al Qaeda’s leader appeared on jihadist websites reminding the world that he is alive and well.

Bin Laden’s audiotape message commented on the recent 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel; promised that he would fight for the liberation of Palestine, and told his Muslim listeners that they have a duty to help in that effort.

Was the audiotape an attempt by bin Laden to remain relevant by pushing on the issue that remains a hot button for most Muslims? After 9/11 some commentators said that the Palestinian issue was something that bin Laden had recently adopted in order to appeal to a wide range of Muslims. This is false.

When al Qaeda’s leader declared war on the United States publicly for the first time in August 1996
part of his rationale concerned the Palestinian issue:

Filed under: Israel • Osama bin Laden • Palestine • Peter Bergen • War on Terror
May 16th, 2008
09:40 AM ET

McCain, 2013 and the End of the War on Terror

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/16/art.mccain.2013.jpg]

Peter Bergen
CNN National Security Analyst

In a speech in Ohio on Thursday John McCain laid out his vision for his putative presidency. Perhaps the most striking part was the claim that by the end of his four year-term in 2013 the global war on terrorism would be effectively over—Osama bin Laden and his key lieutenants would be behind bars or dead; al Qaeda would no longer have a safe haven on the Afghan-Pakistan border; the Taliban would be largely out of business; al Qaeda in Iraq defeated; the Iraq War “won,” and no major terrorist attack would have taken place in the United States.

It’s undeniably an attractive vision of the future, but how plausible are those claims? Given the fact that bin Laden remains at large today more than six years after 9/11 it is wishful thinking that he will be caught in the next five years. There hasn’t been a solid lead on bin Laden’s whereabouts since the battle of Tora Bora in December of 2001 when radio intercepts definitively placed him in the mountain redoubt in eastern Afghanistan.

But since then the al Qaeda leader hasn’t talked on a cell or satellite phone so there is no signals intelligence on his whereabouts, and it is quite unlikely anyone in his immediate circle will drop a dime on him for a large cash reward as there have been no takers for the millions of dollars of bounty on his head that the United States has advertised since 1999.


Filed under: John McCain • Peter Bergen • Raw Politics • War on Terror
May 16th, 2008
07:13 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning folks...

A little politics and a little polygamy tonight on AC360. It is only four days until the next primaries: Oregon and Kentucky. As it stands now, Barack Obama appears to be way ahead in the polls in Oregon and Hillary Clinton is holding a significant lead in Kentucky...IF they split the votes and the delegates, then what? I guess we will have to wait and see...Jim Acosta is out on the campaign trail in Oregon and will give us the latest on BOTH candidates...

In other political headlines...what maybe a preview of the political onslaught Michelle Obama may face in the fall, the Tennessee Republican Party unveiled a Web video highlighting her comment that she was proud of America "for the first time in my adult life." The GOP last effort to associate democratic candidates with Obama and Reverend Wright failed, so will this work? We will see..

AND at least six of John Edwards' pledged delegates in South Carolina will throw their support to Barack Obama following Edwards’ endorsement of the Democratic front runner, bringing the total number of delegates switching to Obama on Thursday to eight. So Obama NOW leads in pledged delegates, the popular vote and superdelegates...so, what is Hillary Clinton's strategy now? USA TODAY asks if Obama is leading pledged delegate counts and the seating of Michigan and Florida delegates are the determining events for the nomination, what are the last few contests for? Bragging rights, momentum and symbolism. what?

ALSO on AC360 tonight we will finally air Gary Tuchman's piece "Is McCain-Too Old?" Barack Obama says that John McCain "lost his bearings." Obama denies that is a reference about age. But many other public figures are blunt about their belief that John McCain may be too old for the White House. Is it a valid issue? Or is such discussion out of bounds? Is John McCain wins, he would be the oldest person elected to a first term in the White House in the nation's history.

David Mattingly will give us a preview of Monday's custody hearings in Texas...remember the 400 plus children taken from the YFZ compound in ELDORADO, Texas? FLDS members are fighting to get their kids back, as CPS justifies to the court their reasons for taking the kids.. Fathers want their kids back, BUT CPS says this is a place where child abuse was rampant, where boys were groomed to be child molestors and underage girls were raped...so will the kids stay in CPS custody or be released back to the compound? All eyes will be on Texas....

AND For the first time since the raid on his followers in Texas, FLDS leader Warren Jeffs is in court. Its a status hearing for his upcoming Arizona trial on charges of presiding over marriages of girls to men, but it will be the first time we have seen him in public since more than 460 FLDSchildren were taken from their families. It is also the first time we've seen him since this man who is now said to be emaciated was placed on suicide watch, Gary Tuchman will be LIVE from Kingman, Arizona...

We will also bring you the latest from China...where the Associate Press reports the Sichuan government says the official death toll from this week's powerful earthquake in the Chinese province has risen to 21,500 people....AND just after the ban on same-sex marriage was overturned in California yesterday...Ellen DeGeneres announced, she and long time partner Portia de Rossi plan to wed...

That is ALL for now...TGIF!!!!

Filed under: The Buzz