October 2nd, 2008
04:18 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: There’s a debate tonight

Erica Hill
AC360° correspondent

…but it’s not the only story you need to know about. Nor is the bailout/rescue plan/Capitol Hill debacle. Keep reading for a few tidbits that may have gotten lost in the shuffle.

Anthrax antibiotics brought to your door by the US Postal Service. Woah.

When I read the headline, I immediately flashed back to the two postal workers who were killed in 2001 after inhaling the spores on anthrax-laced letters. Forget snow, rain, and gloom of night, how about terror attacks not keeping letter carriers from their jobs. When you think about it – putting aside the uncomfortable irony for a moment – it makes great sense. These folks visit every home in this country every day. As a senior counselor to health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt points out, they can provide “a front-end quick strike”.

But do America’s letter carriers really want this gig?

Over the past two years, tests in Seattle, Philadelphia and Boston paired postal workers with police officers on their routes. In eight hours, 50 letter carriers got their test packets to some 53,000 homes. Next stop: Minneapolis.

To make the double duty more attractive for postal employees, the government would supply each volunteer’s family with enough doxycycline for themselves and their families in advance, so they can be ready the moment an outbreak happens.

Let’s just hope that no matter how successful these tests are, and no matter how brave the USPS may be, we never need to use this system.


Don’t like your dirty barracks? Had enough of the lousy pay you get as a soldier? Your lament could make a great – and likely comical – rap, but it’s probably best to keep it to yourself, rather than sharing with the millions of YouTube viewers. That is, unless you don’t mind being reassigned to Siberia. Don’t forget the long johns! (Government-issued, of course)


Mr. Clean died.


…And proof that neighbors go a long, long way.

A Colorado farmer has been donating his crops – all of them – to local food banks and food pantries for more than a decade. That’s a fantastic tale in itself, but it’s only the beginning. Early this year, he was diagnosed with cancer. The timing of his treatments meant he couldn’t plant this year’s crop of vegetable, let alone harvest them. Of course, that was before 250 neighbors showed up. The crops they planted will supply more than 35 food banks, but the vegetables may be beside the point this year.

Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. jeff

    Biden was chosen for vp runningmate for his"Quote years of" experience to help bolster obamas "inexperience" What does this tell you???? barrack hussien obama is not ready to be president of the usa.......maybe next time after he returns to the senate and actually does his job of "senator" and votes "not vote present" and helps do something for this country. Eloquent speaking is nice but we americans can Easily find someone that speaks well but we truly need someone who can change things in washington. The presidency is a job that lends itself to on the job training. Mccain /palin is the only logical choice this election season. If you vote for Obama/Biden You are making a grave mistake......you are voting for a Rookie JR senator for president and a Loser studdering senior senator who flows with the wind of politics.......Wake up Folks!!!! Mccain/Palin 08

    October 2, 2008 at 11:49 pm |
  2. jeff

    the whole problem with the morgatge crisis is that the government and the people wanted everyone to have the opportunity to buy a home........so in the past....not bush administration not anyone in particular.......everyone wanted the government to help the average home buyer. Well the results are in........government needs to stay out of wall street. If it were solely up to banks to lend money......without knowing that the government will back those risky morgatages.....they will only lend money to those who can repay. let this be a lesson!!! if the average homeowner cant afford to buy a home and get a morgatage from a regular bank then they need to work harder and save more so they can down the road. dont expect my tax dollars to help those buy a home they cant afford. Here again another reason for smaller government and cut those loopholes for these executives who are backed by the government to buy these risky loans. Mcain/Palin 08

    October 2, 2008 at 11:33 pm |
  3. EJ (USA)

    Biden obviously won but Palin scored big points on fashion and makeup. Love the fashion/style she has.

    October 2, 2008 at 11:28 pm |
  4. pauline

    joe biden is a great debater ..he knows what he is taking about....@ he could be president if he needed to be ..sarah palin did a lot better than i thought she would ....the thought of her being one heart beat away from being the president .... really scares me . . . the last 7yrs under pres.bush has really been hard on the american people ....we have lost sev. of our factorys in my small town ....i was lucky to have a job my 50 yrs of work ..now retired ....we lived better under president clinton.. he was the greatest....if he could run again . he would be the next president......hillary would have made a good president also ..or vise president . .. sincerly pauline

    October 2, 2008 at 11:26 pm |
  5. jeff

    What happens to the bush tax cuts? ask yourself......and the pundint wont say this.......obama will do away with them......mcain will keep them so...with that being said the obama so called tax cuts will be absorbed by the doing away with bush tax cuts......its a redistribution.same as the taxing the wealthy and giving to the poor. I am a blue collar worker and everyday i go to work i worry about my job. I feel like if my boss gets a tax burden increase by obama then we may shut our doors. Seriously! Will this happen to your strapped employer? I would rather keep my bush tax cuts and feel good that my employer has some pressure lifted by the Mcain tax cuts and i will get to keep my job!!! But, the man or woman in chicago that doesnt want to work and just draw a check and live in that government housing and live off my hard work......well my vote is for mcain/palin08

    October 2, 2008 at 11:24 pm |
  6. carolyn

    On the subject of WallStreet, yes there is greed. If we only knew how many now and in the past have profited. And just think we like the interest rates to be low on what we borrow, and appreciate the gains when the economy is doing ok. I guess when it comes down to it, almost everyone has a touch of greed, I don't think anyone will complain if they profit. So how are we any different that the big investors and CEO's except we don't have as much money, greed is greed.

    October 2, 2008 at 11:23 pm |
  7. WP

    Its possible to assume that the VP debate tonight has not fundamentally changed the perception of most Americans regarding Sen. Biden and Gov. Palin. Unfortunately, that doesn't really sit well for John McCain and his party. Gov. Palin didnt implode but she didnt show any real insight into the issues...she appeared to have been spilling out information that she has memorized on McCains multi million dollar ranch in Arizona. She isnt fit to be the second in command of this country but she will do great on Jeopardy!!

    October 2, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  8. maria

    Sarah Palin talks about "Joe Six Pack", if "Joe Six Pack" drank a beer everytime she used the word "Maverick" or Soccer Mom" the whole bar would be drunk in the first 30 mins of tonight's debate!!

    October 2, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  9. dh

    Can someone ask Sarah Palin how many states in the U.S. that she has been to prior to being tapped as VP pick? I would like to know how she has connected to Main Street.


    October 2, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  10. Megan Dresslar (Shoreline, Wa)

    I agree with both bloggers Apple and Linda M....... they are same thing as my comment, what they were said...... I disagree with Sarah Palin's comment. she did not ask question and did not answer from Gwen, I don't understand her, what she said........ I am so confused what Sarah said..... I don't see what she said gas, taxes, budget or more........

    October 2, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
  11. EJ (USA)

    What a moment when Biden choked up about losing his child. I just wanted to cry. Ok I did cry.

    That was something to say that just because he's a dad doesn't mean that he doesn't worry about his children & family. That was a great heartfelt answer.

    October 2, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  12. Tom Z

    Re: VP Debate

    I want to SCREAM every time she says "nucular." STOP IT!! 8 years of that alone was enough!


    Pleasant Hill CA

    October 2, 2008 at 10:17 pm |
  13. Apple

    John McCain is very old and if all that palin can do is take care of kids, who is going to handle foreign policy?

    People, the war of McCain's days ARE NOT the wars of our days! These guys are not and WILL NOT be using air missile anymore!

    They are using BOY MISSILES! Biden will be more capable and it is not because he is male. He is more sturdy and seem like a better person tohandle things.

    October 2, 2008 at 10:17 pm |
  14. lindaM

    this debate is a joke great job Biden sarah didney character too much lies from her and she soesnt know anythyibg but alaska.

    October 2, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  15. Apple

    How many people are there in Alaska? How many people are in the United States of America??

    Palin may be able to get away with a small states but running a country is VERY, VERY different. State laws vary, there are various states, various people. This lady would obviously be problems for America. She is going to try too hard and too aggressive. America would not love her in the end.....sorry guys, there will be no fairytale endign with palin

    October 2, 2008 at 10:13 pm |
  16. William Courtland

    So the function of money.

    Your gold ring? what is is worth verses the value of the service of manufacture which is put into it?

    Then since carbon is not a rare item, and as diamond can be synthiezed... why not into a completely diamond diamond ring?

    So never a borrower or a lender be... I have reason to believe in the government, I can believe in that a person under that that law can create a shop of every tool, a receipt with the name of every person involved in that true sale from raw item to final product so I can have crank or power drill available for contract and used for a very small unit of raw material indexed union work credits, while sale items have registery and often wifi-digital start and service coding for command when under rental and/or sale, I can believe that since my house is built to last past my life span I can not possibily ever own it, but can build one myself for my own sense of privacy which is the ownly thing one can purchase and truly keep (that a bonded to sense of comfort and welcome within a world created within a universe(which I may or may not sense in Extra-transuniversal travel within another form?). I believe in the sanctity of true love which is only proven with solid marriage and kingship of direct descendant offspring creating multiple generations of kinship bonding by living for hundreds of years in direct marital bliss.


    Money reserves our creation as property and life. but currently life suffers... so... apportionment creates a welcome and achievable sense for the people which will allow true representation and so prove the uselessness of the party without corruption by power distrubution lag.

    October 2, 2008 at 10:08 pm |
  17. Annie Kate


    Thank you for the story about the man who gives his vegetable crop away. His 250 neighbors that helped him continue and his upbeat attitude has to make you feel good – what a lot of good they did for the hungry people who will get the vegetables and what a lot of good they did for the community in pulling together like this for their neighbor. Its humbling to think about.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 2, 2008 at 10:04 pm |
  18. Megan Dresslar (Shoreline, Wa)

    Hellooo Erica,
    My heart goes to Mr Clean’s family, he was best actor……. I love his western movies and other film......... he was so special man I see his film....... rest in peace.

    October 2, 2008 at 9:59 pm |
  19. Apple

    It makes me SICK that Palin and McCain can lie so much on public TV!!

    Barack meeting someone on condition or uncondition does not mean that haters of America will get access to weapons.

    Bill Clinton did a better job at diplomacy than Bush did at war!

    Obviously this lady and McCain would be up too quick for war and this is WHY Sarah and McCain CANNOT, EVER retsore America's image! They can NEVER get people to love and respect America again! Barack Can!
    America would be hated still and hated more if McCain wins! I promise you!

    October 2, 2008 at 9:53 pm |
  20. Jacob

    Sarah Palin, claim to "tollerate" Gay relationships??? What exactly does that mean??? She claims she is for "traditional" marriage. I wonder if she is aware of the many traditions of marriage that has been held in this country over the years? And who is she to define MY TRADITIONS??? IS she aware that is was a long held tradition in this country, backed by the government and christians, that marriage was ONE WHITE MAN and ONE WHITE WOMAN... not a black man and a white women, but ... white on white. And that was a tradition in this country that was held for YEARS... not to mention... it was a tradition for certain families to have slaves. Was any of this right??? Of course not and neither is her thoughts now. Tradition??? Why should HER traditions be MINE??? As a FREE American, I DEMAND my own TRADITIONS! We the people deserve nothing but the best from our elected officials and obviously this is not happeing.

    October 2, 2008 at 9:53 pm |
  21. Apple

    Palin wants to respond to only what she wants to. Obviously if she gets in the WH and American people say "NO" like they did to G Bush on the war, Sarah would be saying "YES" to war as G Bush did! She played cowardice on the question about the environment as she did others. This woman is big headed and obviously will want to go her own way like G Bush if gets into the WH!!

    October 2, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  22. AnGel

    @Crisologo Gregorio: Biden can be a bulldog with his words.... It simply would not be good politics for Joe to be mean to Palin.

    That is why Obama choose him. Obama is weak and ineffectual. He would be better suited to be a civil rights advocate or a spiritual leader with his ability to touch hearts. Obama is not STRONG like Biden. Never will be.

    October 2, 2008 at 9:29 pm |
  23. GAIL Centre,Al;

    Everyone is underestimating Palin. They are going by the Katie Couric interview. Palin has a 80% approval rating in her state. Who has better then that, not Obama, not Biden, NOT congress, not Bush, he's is so low I've lost count on his. Plus Katie Couric is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

    October 2, 2008 at 6:56 pm |
  24. sarah B......durham,nc

    you always find "interesting" stories....the one's most of us News Junkies skip over! the credulousness of the Soldier that putting a Video up on You Tube in Russia is OK!! but seriously i wonder if they will give him a Better coat for Siberia??>>...saw a bizarre headline today that caught my attention....

    "Wild boars wreak havoc in Germany....destroying crops, killing pets and even attacking people"...BERLIN (Reuters) –

    CNN should Put that on a Shirt!!....or on the nightly "ENN" (erica's news note)..later...i'm on a Roll tonight...ohh...here comes some more....how about for the Webcast, calling it........"Erica's Spin" or "Erica's 180"....or a glib saying....Check out Erica's "Split 360" Webcast.....??>>

    (seriously...my sister just laughed @ me over the phone for this 5k miles away in Maui)

    October 2, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  25. Thomas

    Sad to hear about the loss of Mr. Clean.
    I will miss him and other greats like the Jolly Green Giant !
    Or the Man from Glad , he reminded me of Mitt Romney.

    October 2, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  26. J from DC

    CNN please keep talking the truth. Do not let the FOX sleazy entertainment news, destroy the world of true journalism. They are trying to report these stories with one objective, by boosting ratings with bias sensationalism. Regardless of how real journalism suffers. They even have people confused. Tonight’s pre and post debate coverage, is the best time to show why CNN in what real journalism is all about, and why real journalist will always trump entertainment news. Contracts and workplace news settings hangs in the balance. We simple employee of large companies need CNN to win. Some of us do want, and are behind you all the way. Tonight, fight hard.

    October 2, 2008 at 5:48 pm |
  27. Brian Potavin

    Subject: How to fix the economy

    I'm against the $85,000,000, 000.00 bailout of AIG.

    Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000, 000 to America in a We
    Deserve It Dividend.

    To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide
    U.S. Citizens 18+.

    Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and
    child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..

    So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals

    My plan is to give $425,0 00 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Di

    Of course, it would NOT be tax-free.

    So let's assume a tax rate of 30%.

    Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.

    That sends $25,500,000, 000 right back to Uncle Sam.

    But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket.

    A husband and wife has $595,000 .00.

    What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?

    Pay off your mortgage – housing crisis solved.

    Repay college loans – what a great boost to new grads.

    Put away money for college – it'll be there.

    Save in a bank – create money to loan to entrepreneurs.

    Buy a new car – create jobs.

    Invest in the market – capital drives growth.

    Pay for your parent's medical insurance – health care improves.

    Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean – or else.

    Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ inc luding the folks
    who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is
    cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.

    If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it...instead of
    trickling out a puny $1000.00 ( 'vote buy' ) economic incentive that is
    being proposed by one of our candidates for President.

    If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult
    U S Citizen 18+!

    As for AIG – liquidate it.

    Sell off its parts.

    Let American General go back to being American General.

    Sell off the real estate.

    Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.

    Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't.

    Sure it's a crazy idea that can 'never work.'

    But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!

    How do you spell Economic Boom?

    I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion We
    Deserve It Dividend more than I do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington

    And remember, The Family plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because
    $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.

    Stay up to date on your PC, the Web, and your mobile phone with Windows Live.
    See Now=

    October 2, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  28. Sarah - Omaha

    Please tell Candy Crowley to start blogging again. I love her writing!

    October 2, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  29. Crisologo Gregorio

    I do not understand why Sen. Biden has to watch is words in his debate and not go after Palin. Is that not the point of a debate, to rip your opponents platform up with logic based on previous records and history? Why is it even a factor that she is a woman? That should have no bearing on a debate! Is Palin defenseless to the point that no one wants to see an attack? If she wants to be a VP, she has to be able to defend her position on anything, but if Biden has to walk on eggshells during the debate, how is that a fair debate? Let them debate issues and do not provide either with a cushion. Are we supposed to handicap Palin like a golf game? Not be so rough because she is a woman?That is what is belittling to women- when poeple say Biden should "watch his words".

    October 2, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  30. Lilibeth

    The Colorado farmer’s story…proof that kindness begets kindness…this is what the world needs more than anything. If everyone were kind, there will be no anger, no war, no hunger, no poverty, no sadness. Imagine living in such a world…

    October 2, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  31. Leigh, Charlotte, NC

    Wonderful post. Wish we saw and heard even more from you. I love the story of the farmer. What do they say about reaping what you sow? I do think being kind is contagious. I will watch the debate because I can't help myself and love to listen to Biden.. His frank opinion and long standing service is why I always liked him. We will see. Have a good night.

    October 2, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  32. Tina

    Well,this bailout works, it will not work for a lot of folks. The American people are against it.

    October 2, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  33. JC-Los Angeles

    With our country a mess and with the $700 billion bailout for complete ineptitude yet to pass, the loss of Mr. Clean is a tragic event and puts the cleanup of our once proud nation in further doubt.

    I guarantee that the hard working postal workers and all the volunteers that assisted the Colorado farmer, could teach both Wall Street and Washington valuable lessons on leadership, teamwork, sacrifice, ethics and results.

    Erica, keep up the great work.

    October 2, 2008 at 4:32 pm |