[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/11/art.ambulance.jpg caption="An ambulance transports people injured by a tornado that touched down a Boy Scout camp near Little Sioux, Iowa, Wednesday evening."]
Tonight we threw out everything we spent hours planning for the show; a tornado hit a Boy Scout camp in Little Sioux, Iowa, and we were getting reports of injuries and fatalities. We focused first on getting in contact with eyewitnesses and Iowa officials, then getting them on the air to get you the latest information.
What’s interesting about a control room during breaking news is that it’s very hard to get a grasp on what is happening. Each night I work on graphics, adding text, backgrounds, maps, and other art to the show. From the back row I can keep a handle on who we have on the phone for interviews, what names need to go on screen, and what information the producers want in our graphics on the television screen. But it’s hard to hear what the guests are saying because there is so much commotion; who’s going on next, when are we going to break, what video can we play, what are our affiliates airing?
Here’s what CNN is reporting, much of it from our guests on AC360° this evening:
We already have correspondents traveling to western Iowa to bring a full report tomorrow. And I am on my way home to hear what our guests had to say – the show re-airs at 1a.
Breaking news – tornadoes in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Kansas. Severe weather expert Chad Myers is tracking the storms for us.
The storms will bring more rain to places that just don't need it. Sean Callebs is live in Des Moines, Iowa, where the flooding has closed all of the bridges in the city.
Also, a CNN exclusive: documents and video, from hard drives seized by U-S Allied Iraqi militias. The captured material opens a remarkable window on the inner workings of Al Qaeda in Iraq. It also tells the story of its undoing. Michael Ware has been digging through the material you can watch his report tonight and read his blog post.
And Michelle Obama. Some believe she is being unfairly attacked in the presidential race. The candidate is fair game. But should she be too?
We want to know what you think about think so we'll start posting comments to this blog at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET.
And be sure to check out our live web camera from the 360° studio. Tonight you'll see Campbell Brown and Erica Hill 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
Our favorite Sr. Political Correspondent is finally getting some rest, and Candy Crowley is also getting some much deserved attention. Check out this story from the Boston Herald.
"The 2008 campaign bus has finally careened to a rest stop in the wild ride for reporters covering the Obama-Clinton fight to the finish, and the press – like never before – is pooped.
"Taking a breather after one of the longest primary seasons in modern history, CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley says her Washington, D.C., area home looks like an abandoned post office.
"She’s been flying around the country, traveling to nearly every state over the past 17 months.
"'It was tremendously grueling,' said Crowley, who would look at Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-New York) and Barack Obama (D-Illinois) at times and think, 'How can you do this?'
"But the adrenaline kept her moving. 'It was just exciting,' Crowley said. 'It wasn’t just that it was a close race. It was that no matter what happened it was a historic race.'
"While on the road, the sleep-deprived Crowley would appear on Anderson Cooper at 10 p.m., and rise and shine for early-morning live shots."
Two guns, two shooters. State authorities believe two weapons were used in the shooting death of two young girls over the weekend. The best friends, 11 and 13, were found in a ditch along a country road on Sunday night, each child shot multiple times. The grandfather of one of the victims discovered their bodies. Authorities are now trying to determine whether they stumbled into a bad situation, or if these girls may have been targeted.
There is a $25,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest or conviction.
Contact the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations at 800.522.8017
or the Okfuskee Co. Sheriff;s Office at 918.623.1122
A few international stories to check out this afternoon:
A really moving piece from Kyiung Lah about a Japanese man who has saved more than 100 lives, by convincing them not to jump to their deaths...
It's 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 the 'Beat 360°' pic of the day: Harrison Ford speaks with school children during the Tiger Conservation Initiative on June 9, 2008 at the National Zoo In Washington, DC.
Have fun with it!
Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
UPDATE: Our staff winner is Joey with, "Yeah, I never heard of you either kid. Now shut it and paint." and our viewer winner is Terry with, " Oh, I see those are stripes, not wrinkles."
Editor’s note: CNN has obtained what is believed to be one of the largest collections of internal al Qaeda documents to fall into civilian hands. The videos and documents give fascinating insight into the inner workings of the organization. Watch full report tonight, 10p ET
With Christmas 2005 approaching, the princes of al Qaeda's western command were gathering. They'd been summoned for something special - to plot a three-month campaign of coordinated suicide, rocket, and infantry attacks on American bases, checkpoints, and Iraqi army positions.
In al Qaeda in Iraq's hierarchy, prince designates a senior leader, and these princes had been gathered by the most senior among them, the prince for all of Anbar province itself.
This commander, his name not recorded in al Qaeda's summaries of the meetings and referred to only by rank, spent that December fleshing out his vision for the wave of assaults with the gathered subordinates who would lead his combat brigades.
Fyi - after the McCain camp's debacle with last weeks green screen, and yesterdays "I will veto beer" teleprompter speech, McCain is reverting to his comfort zone today: the town hall.
In fact the original plan was for today’s event in Phili to be a scripted-with-teleprompter climate change speech, but they scrapped it after all the bad press (which they don't dispute) about last weeks event.
There will be townhalls the rest of the week...
Why are my lungs burning and legs aching? Could it be I finally made it to my half century earlier this year? There were many who doubted I would reach this milestone.
Or, was it the large amount of beer that was forced down my throat the previous evening… going up an endless hill with the promise of seeing wild gorillas..."not far now"...the voice of Charlie, our producer, egging me on. Fine for him to say – the southern mountain goat – I mutter darkly a phrase that is very similar to…love and travel.
The journey is always there, we have to do it, sometimes smooth, interesting, and a tad troublesome— at the end the reward of seeing something new, hearing new points of view and being able to share with you...priceless.
IN politics today...Barack Obama is talking the day OFF, while John McCain holds a town hall meeting in Philadelphia. We continue looking at the issues and where the candidates stand on them. TONIGHT, it is health care! Tom Foreman will be keeping the candidates honest...
Jeffrey Toobin joins us tonight to bring us up to date on Elliot Spitzer, remember him? The NY POST reported yesterday that "The federal case against him is so strong that prosecutors had no interest in striking cooperation agreements with the ringleader of Spitzer's hooker-supplier, Emperors Club VIP, and his second in command, sources told The Post's Murray Weiss." "Prosecutors have records of Spitzer's transactions, phone records and taped conversations with Emperors Club, and are confident they need little more to nail him on charges that could include violating prostitution laws and money laundering, sources said. Probers are also said to be looking into whether he used campaign funds to pay for his pleasures." Plus....