September 9th, 2008
03:34 PM ET

Grand Turk pummeled by Ike

John Zarrella
CNN Miami Correspondent

Lea and jean Astwood did laundry in a tub that before Ike, they used to feed their horses.

Now, on Grand Turk Island it is the only way to clean clothes. There's no power. Nearly every power line on this one mile wide by seven mile long island is down.

British warships off the coast are supplying some water and basic needs. Shelter is a priority. We flew into Grand Turk with the premier Michael Misick.


Filed under: Hurricane Ike • John Zarrella
September 9th, 2008
03:24 PM ET

Sarah Palin's Alaskonomics

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/09/art.palin.swearingin.jpg caption="Todd Palin holds the Bible for his wife, Sarah Palin, as she is sworn in as Alaska's governor in Fairbanks, Alaska, Dec. 4, 2006."]Michael Kinsley
Time Magazine

Sarah Palin thinks she is a better American than you because she comes from a small town, and a superior human being because she isn't a journalist and never lived in Washington and likes to watch her kids play hockey. Although Palin praised John McCain in her acceptance speech as a man who puts the good of his country ahead of partisan politics, McCain pretty much proved the opposite with his selection of a running mate whose main asset is her ability to reignite the culture wars. So maybe Governor Palin does represent everything that is good and fine about America, as she herself maintains. But spare us, please, any talk about how she is a tough fiscal conservative.

Palin has continued to repeat the already exposed lie that she said, "No, thanks," to the famous "bridge to nowhere" (McCain's favorite example of wasteful federal spending). In fact, she said, "Yes, please," until this project became a symbol and political albatross.


Filed under: Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
September 9th, 2008
03:16 PM ET

Missing Kim Jong Il raises health questions

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Christiane Amanpour
CNN Chief International Correspondent

North Korea’s Kim Jong Il is the world’s most mysterious leader presiding over the world’s most closed society. So trying to pin down any information about him is incredibly difficult. A US intelligence official today says that for the past few weeks Kim has been suffering from serious health problems which could include a possible stroke.

This could provoke an international crisis, since so little is known about the inner workings of North Korea, a country which has already tested a nuclear weapon…but which has now started down the long path towards disarmament.

I have made two trips to North Korea this year, first in February to cover the historic visit to Pyongyang by the New York Philharmonic orchestra, and then in June to witness North Korea blow up the cooling tower at its Yongbyon nuclear plant. But I had hoped also to be there today, to cover the mass-games ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state. However, we never received visas, and Kim Jong Il was a “no-show” on the reviewing stand.

The White House, and the State Department also seem to be in the dark, as evidenced today by Spokesman Sean McCormack


Filed under: Christiane Amanpour • Global 360° • North Korea
September 9th, 2008
02:39 PM ET

Alaska bloggers breaking Palin news

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/09/art.palin.speech.crowd.jpg caption="Republican vice presidential candidate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, center, introduces Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, Monday, during a rally in Kansas City, Missouri."]Kate Pickert
Time Magazine

Gov. Sarah Palin's vice presidential candidacy has breathed new life into Alaska's local media, energizing the commentators who have been chronicling the state's tumultuous political landscape — from Troopergate to the Bridge to Nowhere. Here's a few of the Alaskan bloggers who know Palin best and are breaking news about the governor.

Andrew Halcro

  • Written by a former Alaskan state legislator — and car rental company executive — who grew up in Anchorage and ran as an independent against Sarah Palin for governor in 2006.
  • Halcro, a critic of Palin since she got into office, first broke the story of Palin's alleged abuse of power in trying to get her ex-brother-in-law fired as a state trooper. He's also written extensively about Palin's stance on the Bridge to Nowhere and a massive natural gas pipeline project.
  • Recent post: Upcoming conference call between Sarah Palin and oil company executives about the state's plan pipeline plans.


Filed under: Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
September 9th, 2008
02:14 PM ET

Courtroom laughter at O.J. trial

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Editor’s Note: O.J. Simpson arrived Monday for the start of his trial on robbery and kidnapping charges nearly a year after police arrested him in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prosecutors say Simpson and five other men stormed into a Las Vegas hotel room last September 13 to recover sports memorabilia that Simpson said belonged to him. They say at least two men with Simpson had guns as they robbed two sports memorabilia dealers. The following dispatches come from our Paul Vercammen covering the trial:

Paul Vercammen
CNN Senior Producer

9:56am PT:

Judge Jackie Glass has called a morning break for the jury deliberations in the OJ Simpson case.
Just two more potential jurors were passed for cause or are eligible to serve after questioning by attorneys.

That means just five potential jurors, three women and two men, have been passed through so far and the court needs to seat 40 potential jurors.

One juror broke up the courtroom and O.J. Simpson with laughter.

The woman said Simpson used to sit in front of her at San Francisco 49er football games and when she quipped "and we were both not that old."

The woman added the games may have been in the late 1960s and she would not let the seating arrangement influence her ability to be fair.

September 9th, 2008
11:32 AM ET

McCain’s new edge among Independents

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John P. Avlon
Author, Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics

John McCain has opened up a 15-point lead among independents, according to a new Gallup Poll – and Barack Obama has a problem.

This is a decisive shift that builds off McCain's historic brand-name credibility with Independent voters. McCain was their favorite political figure for most of this decade. He fought the Karl Rove play-to-the-base politics on the campaign trail in 2000. And he fought with Tom Delay's conservative congress which was kicked out in 2006 after unprecedented pork barrel spending and indictments for corruption.

But Independents' identification with John McCain suffered greatly when he began his latest presidential campaign by running as the Republican establishment candidate.

Independents and centrists voters have been deeply alienated by the Bush administration – after a centrist campaign as a "compassionate conservative," the Bushies governed as conservative partisans. Where most Independents and centrists can be described as fiscally conservative and socially liberal – the Bush administration has been the opposite: fiscally liberal and socially conservative.


Filed under: John P. Avlon • Raw Politics
September 9th, 2008
09:54 AM ET

Russia sends warships to the Caribbean

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Matthew Chance
CNN Senior International Correspondent

It’s like a flashback to the old days of the cold war, isn't it? Russian nuclear warships probing U.S. naval defenses, anti-submarine aircraft being deployed by the Kremlin in a country vehemently opposed to Washington, in this case the Venezuela of Hugo Chavez.

Of course, Moscow says it’s announcement of naval exercises with Caracas is in no way related to the escalating tensions with the U.S. over Russia's invasion of the former soviet state of Georgia last month, a U.S. ally and enthusiastic NATO-wannabe. But does anyone really believe that?

What I do know is that Russians see this as a totally legitimate answer to the appearance of U.S. ships in the Black Sea to deliver aid to war ravaged Georgia (many Russians are convinced the aid deliveries are a cover to rearm the tiny country).

Oddly enough, I was chatting to Vladimir Putin about this very issue the other day.

Filed under: Global 360° • Matthew Chance
September 9th, 2008
09:01 AM ET

Morning Buzz: The Palin Push

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Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

Well, as we know not all marriages work out, but this Political marriage between John Mccain and Sarah Palin is turning into a match made in heaven.

This woman knows how to inject some juice into a campaign. The GOP must be riding high following the Republican National Convention, CNN poll numbers since then are pointing to a bounce in the Mccain/Palin ticket, so much so that this pair has been glued at the hip on the campaign trail.

No doubt Barack Obama will continue to hit back hard, trying to get his groove back because thus far he has been the main rock star on the political scene. Sen. Obama’s campaign will continue to challenge Sarah Palin’s record on earmarks, her decision-making in reference to the now well-known Bridge To Nowhere etc.

It may seem somewhat like Palin-mania in the coverage, but let’s remember Sarah Palin is new to the national scene, relatively unknown until she was picked as VP running mate, and since we have little time till the election, we are trying to get to know her, particularly given the impact she’s had on the election in such a short amount of time. Today we hear about her love of hunting and how it sheds light on her environmental policies, our correspondent Randi Kaye will go moose hunting in Fairbanks and follow in her footsteps.

Meanwhile, the Mccain/Obama campaigns continue to battle it out in the battleground states today, they will cross paths in Ohio, while Obama then heads to Virginia later in the day, and Mccain/Palin end up in Pennsylvania. Joe Biden will spend his day in Missouri. Our correspondent Gary Tuchman will head to Michigan to profile another battleground state and tell us why these battleground states are important to watch.

Our CNN polls will focus on respective VP’s Sarah Palin and Joe Biden later today. We’re going to keep close tabs on how all this continues to shake out… Can Mccain/Palin keep their momentum going? Will Obama/Biden find a way to get on the offensive?

Grab your popcorn (after you have your coffee) and see you at 10pET.

Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
September 9th, 2008
08:05 AM ET

McCain is the agent of change?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/08/art.mccain.flag.jpg]Editor’s note: Below is a transcript of CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen from Monday night's AC360.

Cooper: Mccain is saying that he and Palin are the agents of change, adopting Obama's message. By doing that does he nullify the change thing and make this into a race about personality rather than issues?

Gergen: He's a largely erased Barack Obama's advantage on change. He hasn't caught up with him yet but it's a much narrower margin. And I do think that he's become the story. He and Palin have become the story. They have the momentum. And either from Obama's point of view, either the McCain/Palin express has to slow down and sort of fade a little bit or Obama has to take it away from him.

And you know, Anderson, history goes both ways on this. We've had a couple of times in the recent past when somebody has surged ahead after their convention, you know, Bush 41 and also Bill Clinton, you know, moved up to the top and didn't look back after that. We also had examples to go the other way. Jimmy Carter 1980 came out with a bounce out of his convention, lost it, lost the election. A

nd also, you know, Al Gore came out with a big bounce in 2000. And lost his lead. So it could go either way on this. And that's the drama of the next two or three weeks. McCain has a surge now with Palin. Can he hold it?

Filed under: Barack Obama • David Gergen • John McCain • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
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