September 23rd, 2008
03:51 PM ET

McCain camp tries to keep reporters out of Palin meetings

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Peter Hamby
AC360° Political Producer

McCain-Palin campaign officials shifted course Tuesday after being informed by television news organizations that they would not broadcast footage of Sarah Palin’s meeting with Afghan leader Hamid Karzai Tuesday in New York — the Republican VP nominee’s first with a foreign leader — if a reporter was not allowed in to observe the pair.

CNN, which was the pool network for the event, informed the campaign of its decision. The network was then told a CNN producer would be allowed in the room to act as a media representative, just minutes before the photo op was scheduled to take place. However, print reporters and wire services were not allowed to observe the meeting, as they have been able to do at similar McCain events in the past.

The press only caught a brief glimpse of the vice presidential nominee. Palin was seated in a large chair a few feet from Karzai, with a table in between them. Seated slightly behind Palin were campaign foreign policy advisers Steve Biegun and Randy Scheunemann, who are accompanying the governor in her motorcade today.

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Filed under: John McCain • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin • United Nations
September 23rd, 2008
03:29 PM ET

President Bush's about face

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caption="President Bush speaking at the U.N."]
Elise Labott
CNN Producer

Watching President Bush’s farewell speech to the United Nations General Assembly, I was struck by the about-face this administration has taken on its relevance.

In his early years President Bush could barely contain his disdain for the U.N. and other global institutions. He saw it as a massive bureaucracy which tied U.S. hands and he didn’t even appoint an envoy to the U.N. for nine months after taking office. He refused to pay U.S. dues to the U.N. and withdrew from a number of international treaties supported by the U.N. members, like the international criminal court, the Kyoto Protocol and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Today he said, “the United Nations and other multilateral organizations are needed more urgently than ever.”


September 23rd, 2008
03:02 PM ET

Details of Execution Day

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Gabriel Falcon
AC360 Writer

Barring a last minute stay by the U.S. Supreme Court, Georgia will execute Troy Anthony Davis by lethal injection tonight at 7p ET at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson. If the execution is carried out, Davis will be the 43rd inmate put to death by the state since 1973.

Davis was convicted in the 1989 murder of Savannah Police Officer Mark MacPhail largely on the testimony of nine witnesses. There was no physical evidence, and no weapon was ever found.

The case has made headlines worldwide in part because seven witnesses for the prosecution have recanted the testimony they gave at the criminal trial. One witness claimed he was pressured to implicate Davis. Davis' lawyers and supporters say this is a case of mistaken identity.

But several courts and the state parole board have concluded that Davis is guilty of the crime, and should pay the ultimate price.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment
September 23rd, 2008
01:52 PM ET

You Can't Spell Fun Without U.N.

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Jack Gray
AC360 Associate Producer

The U.N. General Assembly is underway here in New York. It gives the city such a warm feeling. The annual, obligatory gathering of a bunch of people who refuse to acknowledge each other’s presence in the room. Or, as it’s known in my family, Christmas.

The building itself is one of my favorite Manhattan landmarks. In fact, on the East Side, its stature is unmatched. Just driving past it makes me want to sing the Star-Spangled Banner. But enough about the Carvel Ice Cream shop on East 24th Street.

Back to the U.N. – it’s popular these days to debate its relevance. Does it play a vital role in world affairs or is it just an impotent group of international bureaucrats who use their diplomatic immunity to double park in front of Giorgio Armani?

What is certain is that the possibilities for awkward encounters at the General Assembly are endless.

I have always loved the story about how, years back, Fidel Castro snuck up behind Bill Clinton and tried to say hello. The White House totally freaked out. It did happen, it didn’t happen. They said hello but didn’t shake hands.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Global 360° • Jack Gray
September 23rd, 2008
01:31 PM ET

Battleground: Colorado

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John King | BIO
Chief National Correspondent

After decades as a Democratic organizer and activist, Ramona Martinez is convinced the moment is finally at hand.

“The sleeping giant has finally woken up,” the former Denver city councilwoman and longtime Colorado and national Democratic activist says. “They keep saying, ‘It is the year of the Latinos.’ Well – I think it is this time.”

If so, the fastest growing segment of the American population could have a decisive impact on a remarkably close presidential election, emerging as the potential swing vote in several critical electoral battlegrounds.

Colorado is just one example, and offers a fascinating “ground zero” glimpse in the battle for the Latino vote.

Twenty years ago, in the 1988 presidential elections, Hispanics accounted for 3.7 million votes. In 2004, it was more than twice that – 7.5 million votes. And that number is certain to grow this cycle. Here in Colorado, both parties believe the Latino percentage of the statewide vote will eclipse 10 percent for the first time. (It was eight percent in 2004)


Filed under: John King • Raw Politics
September 23rd, 2008
12:01 PM ET

O.J. Trial: Dunne back in court

Editor’s Note:

O.J. Simpson is on trial for 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-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/23/art.dunne.jpg]
Paul Vercammen
CNN Senior Producer

8:40a PT

Vanity Fair writer Dominick Dunne is all smiles and back in a Las Vegas Courtroom for the 0.J. Simpson armed robbery trial.

"I feel great so far," Dunne told CNN one day after he complained of pain and was taken to a local hospital for observation.

"I will have to go back to New York for a biopsy."
Dunne, who is 82 years old, is battling bladder cancer and says he will stay on the O.J. trial until the end of the week.

Dunne was accompanied in court Tuesday by his son, filmmaker Griffin Dunne.
"I never had so many emails and phone calls," Dunne said. "Larry King and others called. It was really touching."

Dunne plans to cover the closing arguments and reading of the verdict in the Las Vegas trial.

8:01a PT

O.J. Simpson arrived at the Las Vegas Regional Justice Center Tuesday where he will hear more from his friend Charles Erlich, who testified Monday.

Erlich said Simpson "was in denial" over two of his cohorts using guns during an alleged armed robbery last year at the Palace Station Hotel.

The defense will resume cross examining Erlich this morning.
Memorabilia dealer Alfred Beardsley is expected to take the witness stand soon.

September 23rd, 2008
11:22 AM ET

Palin steps onto the world stage... from New York

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Elise Labott
CNN Producer

I arrived in NY this week ready for battle. It’s always a treat to come to “un-ga,” as this week at the United Nations General Assembly is affectionately called, and catch up with friends and contacts from around the world. But we always come knowing that getting from point A to point B will be a lesson in sheer fortitude.

However, this year hasn’t been so bad. Maybe it was my new approach. As a native New Yorker, I usually yell at the policemen stationed around the city to let me through the barriers with no luck. But I was surprised what a knowing smile and a kind word can get you in this city. What could have been a three-hour trip to the UN only took one hour and a half, thanks to some nice men in blue.

It’s not only the cops who seem a lot more patient and cooperative. There is new electricity in the halls of the UN and on the streets on NY this year. Yes, everyone is talking about the same issues: Iran, North Korea, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and aid to Africa. But it is with the realization that next year a new US president will be addressing the UN General Assembly. And everyone is curious, if not downright excited, about the candidates showing up in NY this week and who they will be meeting with.

This year it isn’t about, “will President Bush or Condi Rice see so-and-so leader.” It’s all about it is about, “who is Sarah Palin meeting with?” and, “will Obama show?”

Filed under: Global 360° • Raw Politics • United Nations
September 23rd, 2008
10:13 AM ET

Wasilla's "Palin Fever"

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Tracy Sabo
CNN Senior Producer

For the last two days, I have driven from Anchorage to Wasilla, AK in an attempt to speak with Gov. Palin’s pastor as well as an African Bishop, Thomas Muthee, who is visiting the Wasilla Assembly of God Church for several days.

As soon as Photographer Dominic Swann and I turned off the Glenn Highway just short of Wasilla, it was clear that “Palin Fever” was catching in the Alaskan Governor’s hometown of about 7,000 people. The local movie theater marquis read “Good Luck Sarah” followed by the names of several movies now showing. Several rear windows of cars and SUVs had been painted in shoe polish or shaving cream as if their hometown hockey team was competing for a state championship… only all these makeshift banners read, “Go Sarah!” or “McCain-Palin” or “Sarah for V.P.”… or something similar.

We arrived earlier than expected into Wasilla and the temperatures were starting to drop (only 45 degrees when we arrived). So, we decided to stop at a local coffee “hut” for something quick to go. I call it a “hut” because in Alaska, most coffee shops are simple, square-frame, wooden structures placed in parking lots or along highways and serving only “drive-up” customers who would rather stay warm in their cars while ordering.


Filed under: Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
September 23rd, 2008
10:00 AM ET

Bailouts will lead to rough economic ride

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/09/23/paul.bailout/art.ron.paul.gi.jpg caption="Rep. Ron Paul says the government's solution to the crisis is the same as the cause of it - too much government."]

Editor's note: Ron Paul is a Republican congressman from Texas who ran for his party's nomination for president this year. He is a doctor who specializes in obstetrics/gynecology and says he has delivered more than 4,000 babies. He served in Congress in the late 1970s and early 1980s and was elected again to Congress in 1996. Rep. Paul serves on the House Financial Services Committee.

Rep. Ron Paul
(R) Texas

Many Americans today are asking themselves how the economy got to be in such a bad spot.

For years they thought the economy was booming, growth was up, job numbers and productivity were increasing. Yet now we find ourselves in what is shaping up to be one of the most severe economic downturns since the Great Depression.

Unfortunately, the government's preferred solution to the crisis is the very thing that got us into this mess in the first place: government intervention.

Ever since the 1930s, the federal government has involved itself deeply in housing policy and developed numerous programs to encourage homebuilding and homeownership.

Government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were able to obtain a monopoly position in the mortgage market, especially the mortgage-backed securities market, because of the advantages bestowed upon them by the federal government.


Filed under: Raw Politics • Ron Paul • U.S. Federal Reserve
September 23rd, 2008
08:11 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Speed Dating Politics

Penny Manis
AC360 Senior Producer

I love the first line of correspondent Ed Henry’s story: ‘it’s like speed-dating with world leaders, in the span of just 30 hours in NY, Sarah Palin will meet with 9 heads of State or VIP's on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly Meetings.’ Some analysts say the purpose of these meetings is for the GOP to show she is capable of holding her own with world leaders.

Today, Palin links up with the heads of Afghanistan and Colombia, and more meetings to come in the next 2 days. Talk about a crash course in foreign affairs? Ed Henry will bring us that report tonight.

Speaking of studying, Barack Obama spends the day in Florida prepping for the first big presidential debate Friday night. He has no public events, though we’re sure he won’t be too quiet today.

John McCain spends the day in Ohio and Michigan touring factories and we can expect him to keep talking about the economy and try to play up Mr. Populist image. Joe Biden campaigns in Virginia by day; addresses the National Democratic Council in DC by night. Correspondent Candy Crowley will bring us the highlights later tonight.

And then there is the financial crisis-the $700 billion dollar bailout, gulp and Wall Street as we knew it, gone in a matter of one week? I’m burying the lead here, but of course the day’s news will be dominated by these negotiations as they unfold, with both parties trying to weigh into the package that the all-powerful Henry Paulson is pushing. From Wall Street to Main Street, everyone is feeling the urgency to do something and fast. Correspondent Ali Velshi will be following this story for us today, and try to help us make sense of it all.

Interestingly, this financial crisis appears to be giving Dems an advantage. Our CNN polls show that most Americans hold the Republicans responsible for this crisis, and specifically we found that 53% of Americans think Obama would handle the economy better, while 43% of Americans said the same for McCain. With 42 days to go until the election, how will this financial turmoil play out on Election Day in terms of who is voting for who?

We have 2 investigative stories for you tonight focusing on the Veeps. Abbie Boudreau went to Alaska to check out the Road to Nowhere, as it’s called, which was supposed to connect to the Bridge to Nowhere that never came to be. This road has been built to the tune of $26 million dollars, but some locals say it doesn’t serve a purpose. Drew Griffin brings us a report on Biden’s record on earmarks, as he has been criticizing Palin’s own record, we decided to check out which projects he supported.

That's where we start today, see you tonight at 10p ET!

Filed under: The Buzz
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