September 5th, 2008
04:37 PM ET

Waiting for Hanna

David Mattingly | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

For the last several days I have been hearing Tropical Storm Hanna described as "disorganized" and "poorly shaped". This kind of unflattering talk has apparently made Hanna mad.

This storm is getting it's act together just in time to hit the northern South Carolina coast tonight. I am in Myrtle Beach where we've been told to not be surprised to see Hanna become a hurricane just as it arrives late tonight.

A lesson from the recent past should tell us not to take Tropical Storm Hanna lightly. If predictions are correct and it upgrades to a Cat 1 hurricane before landfall, don't make the mistake of calling it a "minimal" hurricane.

The last time I was reporting live from a Cat 1 Hurricane I was knocked off the air by torrential rains. I remarked later (after we re-established a signal) that it was pouring so hard I would choke on the blowing rain as I tried to breathe.

That happened three years ago in Hollywood, Florida and the storm was called "Katrina". That "minimal" Cat 1 left behind widespread flooding in Florida before moving on to terrorize the Gulf Coast.

Hanna is expected to go north and diminish as it goes up the eastern seaboard. But all hurricanes deserve respect. Here's hoping Hanna remains "just" a tropical storm.

September 5th, 2008
04:09 PM ET

Gumbo, evangelicals and Palin

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/05/art.rnc08.balloons.jpg caption="Delegates look up as the balloons fall after Republican presidential nominee John McCain concluded his speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, Thursday."]Ismael Estrada
AC360° Producer

We have been on quite the adventure tour the past couple of weeks...all to talk with you, the voters, all over the country. What seems like forever ago, we started our travels in Encinitas, CA where we watched the DNC with some senior citizens.

We moved on to Arizona to talk with Latinos and on to Louisiana to talk with young professionals. It was a mad scurry to a sporting goods store to pick up rain gear when we stopped for a few days in New Orleans to get nice and wet while covering Hurricane Gustav.

We then we packed up the cars and drove to Florida to kick back up our voter tours. It was in Pensacola that we talked with conservative evangelical Christians and hopped another flight up to Virginia to talk with women.

It’s been fun talking with voters to get a real sense of what our country’s voters are thinking. We chatted with so many great people while watching the conventions and dining over everything from fish tacos to gumbo to burgers.

We watched reactions to Obama’s acceptance speech, to the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin and McCain’s performance last night. The opinions were very interesting, some very passionate, many still undecided.

We are now sitting in a hotel putting together our stories on how evangelical Christians and women reacted to the conventions which you will see tonight.

September 5th, 2008
04:06 PM ET

Palin stealing the show

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/05/art.vert.palin.incrowd.jpg caption="Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin shakes hands in the crowd after Republican presidential candidate John McCain's acceptance speech during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, Thursday." width=292 height=320]Jessica Yellin | Bio
CNN Congressional Correspondent

It was a small thing, but perhaps telling.

As John and Cindy McCain stood on stage giving their final wave last night – Gov. Sarah Palin was on the convention floor swamped by an adoring crowd. When the McCains turned and walked off stage there was Palin still in the audience – signing autographs, shaking hands, posing for photos with delegates jostling to get near her.

A video replay shows Palin stayed back for two minutes after McCain left – he exited at 11:19, she at 11:21. That may seem insignificant but in television – it's a lifetime. More time than a reporter is typically allotted for a story on a network newscast.

Maybe it's nothing – she's new to this. The two of them have yet to fall into a rhythm. But in a presidential campaign the VP just doesn't soak up the glow after the presidential candidate has left the stage – especially on the night the candidate accepts the nomination. It'll be interesting to see if it becomes a pattern. Not many lead singers are pleased when their drummer takes the longer bow.


Filed under: Jessica Yellin • John McCain • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
September 5th, 2008
10:54 AM ET

GOP shouldn't knock community organizers

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/05/art.vert.mccainspeech.jpg width=292 height=320]

Roland S. Martin | Bio
AC360° Contributor
CNN Political Analyst

The Republicans have made it clear where their focus is this week with their convention slogan, "Country First."

With the abundance of flags, chants of "U.S.A., U.S.A." and tributes to those in the military, they have been laying it on thick.

Sen. John McCain has often talked about the need for Americans to dedicate themselves to service, namely military, and he is on the money.

But a line of attack that was used consistently by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and later by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, tried to call into question whether community organizers put their country first.

Palin focused on the issue, mainly to criticize the Obama campaign for offering up his community organizing work opposite her experience as mayor.

But when you examine Giuliani's dismissive tone - and the subsequent laughter by the Republicans in the XCel Energy Center - regarding the community organizer jabs, the Democrats could have an opening.

After praising Palin's speech, I said as much, and that they can expect the Obama-Biden camp to seize on that point. This morning, I read an e-mail from Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, who incorporated the community organizer argument into a fundraising appeal.

Republican operatives I talked to said the lines were brilliant and that community organizers don't play to the GOP's strength.

I disagree. And so do the many folks who have sent me angry e-mails. They include white Republicans, black Democrats, people from Small Town, U.S.A., and Big City, America.


newer posts »