Almost lost in the uproar over a somewhat obscene whisper – did the Rev. Jesse Jackson tap into a feeling among African-Americans that Sen. Barack Obama is talking down to them with his emphasis on faith-based initiatives, and his calling on the black community to pick itself up?
By the way, do Obama's inspirational urgings to African Americans bear more diplomatic traces of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's self-help message to parishioners?
In any case, Obama's efforts to inspire African-Americans are different from the message of civil rights leaders like Jackson. And that's why there's tension here. Jessica Yellin will report on that for us tonight. What's your take?
Randi Kaye is looking into Rev. Jackson's struggle to remain relevant. When he speaks up – how many are listening? He expresses as much frustration as inspiration these days, in private and in public. Has he been upstaged by a younger generation with a different take on how African Americans can make progress? Not just by Obama, but others, including his own son who criticized his father's remarks and who works for Obama.
Dana Bash is on McCain watch. Interesting tidbit from the campaign trail: National reporters were left out of a Q/A with local reporters yesterday, sparking protests from those who follow the candidate all day and night across the country. That prompted some to ask whether the Straight Talk Express will keep talking straight? Or was it a one-off? Stay tuned.
We're also watching the fires in California. After gaining some control, firefighters now find new flames blazing in Butte County, near, yes, "Paradise, California."
AND speaking of paradise, Gary Tuchman on South Carolina's effort to recognize it – right there on auto license plates... offering an "I believe" vanity plate if people want to pay for it. No comparable plate's been offered for people of other faiths. Those seeking to preserve the Founding Fathers' intended separation of church and state are calling foul. There's always the fish symbol bumper sticker for those who'd like to remind tailgaters of the hereafter that's so much closer than they might realize.
We've been talking about this story in the newsroom for a few days, in the morning we plan on getting it in the program, but then other news happens. We'll try again today.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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