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Is it just us, or does it feel a little like Alice in Wonderland on the campaign trail? Not that we’re surprised mind you. In every presidential election, voters are catapulted through each party’s spin machine into parallel universes. In the final stretch of this electrified election, the spin cycle has shifted into overdrive. It’s hard to know which end is up. From “lipstick on pigs” to taxes to earmarks to abortion, the claims and counterclaims are all over the map. Since such relentless spin can easily reshape a closely contested electoral map, tonight we’ll spend a lot of time cutting through it and drilling down to the facts.
If you’ve been wondering exactly how much your tax bill will rise or fall under each candidate’s plan, tune in at 10. That’s one issue we’ll be fact-checking tonight. We’ll give you the hard numbers straight up. Ditto for the truth about earmarks and that bridge to nowhere in Alaska. We’ll also look at abortion and the surprising bit of common ground that Sarah Palin and Joe Biden actually share, though you’d never know it from the spin out there.
This was the first day that John McCain flew solo on the trail since naming Palin as his veep. How did it go? And how long will the solo act last? We’ve got new information on that angle of the race. We’ll also report on Barack Obama’s day on the trail and the challenges he faces in the battleground state of Michigan. With four new polls showing tossups in four key states, including Michigan, we’ll also talk strategy with our political panel.
We’re gearing up for breaking news as well. Palin returns to her home state of Alaska later tonight for the first time since accepting the V.P. nomination. A welcome home rally will await her in Fairbanks and Palin’s expected to speak to the crowd. We’ll have live coverage as it happens.
What about you? Are you dizzy from all the spin? What facts do you feel are getting lost in the campaign slugfest? We’ll see you at 10 eastern.
Remembering 9/11 across the country and around the world:
RAW POLITICS: After Presidential Candidates John McCain and Barack Obama visit Ground Zero they will both take part in the "ServiceNation Presidential Candidates Forum” where they’ll discuss “service and civic engagement in the post-9/11, post-Katrina world.” The forum is hosted by Columbia University in New York City. PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff and Richard Stengel, managing editor of TIME magazine, will question the candidates separately about their definition of and the importance of service. The back-to-back interviews will take place in front of a live audience of September 11th family members, military veterans, and Columbia University students.
9/11 MEMORIAL SERVICE AT GROUND ZERO: The names of the 9/11 victims will be read at this official memorial ceremony.
PENTAGON MEMORIAL DEDICATION: The memorial for those who died at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 will be officially dedicated.
THE SEPTEMBER CONCERT: Cities around the country and the world are scheduled to hold free concerts in commemoration of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
CNNMoney.com Senior Writer
McCain and Obama want to change the bottom-line effects of the tax code. Here's a dollars-and-cents breakdown of what their plans could mean for you.
John McCain and Barack Obama have starkly different philosophies about tax policy – how to raise the revenue needed to support government programs, spur growth and ensure economic fairness.
But voters really want to know one thing: How would the presidential candidates' views trickle down to their tax bills? A report released Wednesday by a nonpartisan policy group in Washington, D.C., takes a big first step toward answering that question.
According to the Tax Policy Center's findings, the common assumptions most people make about the plans of McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, and Obama, the Democrats' pick, are not wildly off-base.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/10/art.ojcourt.jpg caption= "O.J. Simpson talks with Deputy Marshal Doug Hale in a courtroom after jury selection for his trial." ]
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.
CNN Senior Producer
In a Las Vegas courtroom for the O.J. Simpson kidnapping and armed robbery trial, it’s 22 down and 18 to go in the jury selection process.
Judge Jackie Glass called a break after three more potential jurors were passed through or qualified for selection to the final panel.
When Glass and the attorneys passed through a female inventory specialist in less than five minutes, jurors applauded politely for the quickest decision on a juror thus far in the trial.
For the second day in a row, the judge excused a juror who strongly felt Simpson should have been convicted of the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman.
Moments before his dismissal, the white male in the carpet cleaning business told the court he felt Simpson was guilty.
Judge Jackie Glass told potential jurors in O.J. Simpson's robbery and kidnapping trial to go home an hour early because they made progress in the jury selection.
Glass and lawyers passed through 15 juror candidates Wednesday, bringing the total of qualified potential jurors to 27 of the 40 needed in the eligible pool.
Eight of the 27 are men.
So far there's just one African American potential juror, a female teacher who suffers from a bad back and could still be excused.
During the break a jovial Simpson talked outside the courtroom about golf and college football. Simpson said he has fun watching games with fans of rival teams. "They tease me and I tease them," said the former USC running back.
Deliberations resume tomorrow at 8 a.m.
Editor's Note: This is a joint mother/daughter blog: Faye Wattleton is an AC360° contributor and President of the Center for the Advancement of Women; Felicia Gordon is Faye's daughter.
Too perfect to be dismissed
Faye Wattleton | Bio
President, Center for the Advancement of Women
The 30-year campaign by occupants in the White House, a re-structured Federal judiciary and Congressional hostility has eroded women’s fundamental Constitutional protections, most notably Roe v. Wade. After the 1976 presidential campaign, the take-over of the Republican Party by a confluence of unlikely partners, known as the religious right, led to the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and delivery of two future presidencies. Recently, analysts have pronounced this constituency to be in a state of disarray, if not all but dead; it seems that all it needed was a jump-start in a candidate who stirred the passions for their “100-year war” against affirmative action, equal pay for equal work, reproductive rights and gay rights, and for abstinence-only sexuality education.
Last year, the 5-4 Court, in Gonzalez v. Carhart, disregarded a woman’s health in allowing prohibition of a type of abortion procedure in the second trimester, which may be the best option to preserving a woman’s future fertility. In another decision, the Court ruled that Lilly Ledbetter, the only female supervisor at a Goodyear Tire & Rubber plant, could not seek justice, under Title VII, for 19 years of discrimination. In Long Island Home Care v. Coke, home care workers, 90 percent of whom are women, were declared unworthy of minimum wages and overtime compensation.
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Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain and his vice presidential running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, react to the cheers of supporters during a campaign rally at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., Tuesday.
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Roland S. Martin | Bio
CNN Political Analyst
One of the most intriguing conversations I had at either the Democratic or Republican convention was with a white labor leader from Ohio.
I can't remember his name, but he made it clear that he is going all around the Rust Belt state looking his white union brothers and sisters in the eye and essentially shaming them into supporting Sen. Barack Obama for president.
No, he's not saying vote for the black man for president because he's black.
He said he's telling them that it's shameful that as Democrats, they agree with him on various political issues, but because of his skin color, they are refusing to cast ballots for him.
"We have gone to our black brothers and sisters for years to support our [white] candidates, and it's wrong for us to stand here and not support one of their own, even though we're Democrats," he barked.
There is nothing more in-your-face than to hear someone speak truthfully to the inherent racism that is at play in this election.
John P. Avlon
Author, Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics
Barack Obama has a new problem with Independent voters. Yesterday's Gallup Poll showed John McCain opening a new 15-point lead with that key demographic.
Here's how Obama can start to regain his edge with Independents:
Imagine an ad playing The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again". The theme dovetails with the music: a vote for McCain is a vote to extend the Bush administration.
Now, direct attempts to connect Bush to McCain won't stick because they're not credible. Bush and McCain are very different people, with entirely different political perspectives and life experiences. (And if you ask me, the country would be a lot better off if John McCain had won the nomination in 2000).
But the larger parliamentary point still stands: a McCain administration could not be staffed entirely with maverick independents. The same Republican resumes would be circulating. So the Obama camp can make a credible argument that the McCain administration will draw from the same Bush talent pool – and administration that is intellectually exhausted and instinctively trends toward the kind of right-wing partisan hackery embodied by Monica Goodling.
The strongest argument Obama has for Independents is to run against the Bush administration record over the last eight years – which has led to a 29% approval rating and 81% of Americans believing that the country is moving in the wrong direction.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/10/art.oj.lawyers.jpg caption="O.J. Simpson withlawyers Gabriel Grosso, right, and Yale Galanter during the second day of the jury selection in Las Vegas."]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:
CNN Senior Producer
Four more prospective jurors passed through the exhaustive questioning process and are qualified to potentially serve in the O.J. Simpson kidnapping and armed robbery trial in Las Vegas.
The four women bring the total of "qualified" potential jurors in the case to 16. The court needs to seat a pool of 40 potential jurors before lawyers begin their challenges and whittle down the pool to 12 jurors and six alternates.
The only African-American potential juror passed through so far, may be excused from the case because of a bad back.
The teacher told the court her doctor had serious concerns about the strain on her back while sitting and standing during the trial. She said she is advised to lay down as much as possible.
The juror, Judge Jackie Glass and lawyers had a lengthy discussion in private until the juror was told to go back downstairs to the jury room until further notice.
Of the 16 jurors who have qualified so far, two are men.
One juror candidate was excused this morning after she cited financial hardship.
The woman seemed relieved and whispered bye to her fellow juror candidates as she departed.
Just before the lunch break, three more potential jurors passed through judge and attorney questioning.
Two men and a woman have been added to the list of qualified jurors, bringing the eligible list to 19.
The court needs a pool of 40 to pull from.
Just four of the qualified potential jurors are men.