October 3rd, 2008
05:15 PM ET

The pitbull is back

Hilary Rosen
CNN Contributor

Thank God we are not talking about Sarah Palin being a "woman" today and dissecting whether Joe Biden acted appropriately toward her.

Both candidates were strong and confident on stage last night.

Remember that poised and impressive governor we saw on the stage at the Republican convention? The one who told jokes about hockey moms being as tough as pitbulls?

I missed her over the past few weeks. We didn't work this hard for equality for so many years to have a woman vice presidential candidate be treated differently or more gently because she is a woman.

For the last few days there was entirely too much talk about how to treat Palin during the debate. If Biden came on strong, he might be sexist. If he was too soft, patronizing. iReport.com: Who do you think came out on top?

Well, that predebate analysis quickly became moot. She threw some punches. He didn't punch back at all, but not because she seemed too soft. He didn't punch back because her punches didn't score any points, so why bother?

Gov. Palin is a tough, aggressive politician who showed the country last night that she was not going to hereafter be defined as the weak and vulnerable person we saw in interview clips all week. She wanted the discussion on her terms and the analysis to be about the McCain-Palin ticket.

Joe Biden is free to criticize Gov. Palin just like any other opponent. And pundits from now on are free again to simply give our views with worrying about her fragility.

So here goes. Palin's answers in this debate vacillated between disappointing and incoherent. On the most pressing issue facing Americans this week - the economy - she had surprisingly little to offer. She repeated the McCain tax cut plan and health care plan.

But since their tax cuts mostly go to the wealthy...


Editor's Note: Rosen is political director HuffingtonPost.com, which describes itself as an Internet newspaper focused on politics from a liberal point of view, and a Democratic advisor.

Filed under: Hilary Rosen • Joe Biden • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
October 3rd, 2008
05:08 PM ET

Erica’s news Note: On the menu

Erica Hill
AC360 Correspondent

A little over a year ago, we did a segment on my show titled “Does God Want You to Be Rich?” It’s a provocative question, with some very passionate views on both sides. The so-called Prosperity Gospel basically suggests that as part of the love God has for you, he wants you to prosper, and in many circles this prosperity is directly aligned with wealth and material goods. But could that push for prosperity be responsible for some of the foreclosures across America? Our sister publication, TIME, tackles this with the question “Did God want you to get that mortgage?”

Melamine-tainted food and dairy products made in China have now turned up in Vietnam, Russia, Australia and the US. In Vietnam alone, the tally now stands at 18 tainted products from China and two other countries. Great. Now, the FDA says trace amounts of melamine are safe in most foods, except baby formula. Really? I’m thinking if it’s not good for the little ones, it certainly can’t be good for me, even in small doses. In my completely unscientific opinion, the less processed your food, the better. Not only is it better for you, you feel better, too.

Exhibit A: non-dairy powdered creamer. This stuff creeps me out. Not only does it give me terrible heartburn, but reading the list of ingredients makes my head spin. In addition to the unpronounceable on the label is the warning that this product is “Highly Flammable” – you’re instructed to keep this white stuff away from open flames and extreme heat. Riiiight, so we’ll put it right next to the scalding coffee pot slowly charring on the HOT plate. I feel safe.


Most of us at AC360 were disgusted at the idea of the “fish pedicure” – who knew there was something even more disgusting than the cheese grater for your heels, the Ped Egg? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but while the Ped Egg will live on (you can’t miss the display at my local drug store – right when you walk through the door, BAM!), the fish pedicure is no more. Why, you ask? This may come as a shock, but a state licensing board says the practice of guppies nibbling on your tootsies is unsanitary. I told you, shocking.

Apparently, Bubbe isn’t the only one who knows the benefits of a little chicken soup – Chinese zookeepers are using the original cure-all as a stress reducer for a couple of overworked pandas.

It’s been a rough week for “Hope” and “Greatness”. The three year-old pandas are a bit overwhelmed by the surge in visitors during this week’s National Day holiday – on Wednesday alone, some 30,000 people flocked to the Wuhan Zoo. A thousand of them jammed the panda enclosure, shouting at the pandas. Gee, I wonder why the poor animals were pacing. I hope they added some matzo balls to the soup – I think that’s where the real power lies in the chicken soup.

Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
October 3rd, 2008
04:43 PM ET

Bailout should treat the root cause, not the symptoms

The House of Representatives has passed historic legislation to bail out the troubled financial industry.

The House of Representatives has passed historic legislation to bail out the troubled financial industry.

Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.
(D) Illinois

To borrow the title of a classic modern novel, "Things Fall Apart." In just decades, Americans have gone from Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal to George W. Bush's Rash Deal.

During the last few days, my office has been flooded with phone calls from citizens throughout the country, expressing outrage and indignation.

To many, there's something awry, perhaps even unseemly, about this hasty plan. It requires the government - which is running up huge deficits and record-breaking debt - to borrow and spend the funds of ordinary Americans - who are falling further behind and into poverty - to rescue superrich bankers and barons - whose obscene excess and avarice have helped to create the financial mess.

It's Robin Hood in reverse, taking from the needy to give to the greedy.

In one colorful description, the Bush administration's unprecedented $700 billion bailout plan was characterized as "cash for trash." It takes private industries' troubled assets off their books and dumps them into the public's lap, further privatizing profits and socializing losses. In doing so, the plan's proponents argued, cash and credit would once again flow, with benefits trickling down and the economy turning up.

But, from the outset, the proposal was seriously flawed.


Filed under: Economy • Raw Politics
October 3rd, 2008
04:34 PM ET

O.J. Trial: Judge jokes with kids, Jury deliberates

Paul Vercammen
CNN Senior Producer

10:04a PT

Judge Jackie Glass, wearing jeans and a blue polo shirt, gave a brief tour of her courtroom Friday morning to two adults and three young children.

The judge showed the two nine-year-old cub scouts and a seven-year-old girl her gavel and bench.
Glass joked about what she tells lawyers from her chair.

"They yell objection," Glass explained. "Then you yell sustained. Now sit down.. Or no, no, no."
The cub scouts were visiting the court as part of a quest to get a citizenship patch.

Glass has kept a lid on the high-powered attorneys in the trial, often reprimanding them for their behavior.

9:24a PT
The jury in the 0.J. Simpson robbery trial has begun deliberating on the fifteenth floor of the Clark County Regional Justice Center.

The panel of nine women and three men includes one Latina. None of the jurors are African-American.

October 3rd, 2008
04:20 PM ET

For Palin, a tie is a win

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Columnist San Diego Union-Tribune

Tie goes to the hockey mom.

Who won last night's vice presidential debate? The answer depends on which ticket you support. If you like Obama-Biden, then Joe Biden won.

If you prefer McCain-Palin, Sarah Palin did. That's how you can tell a tie. That's what this was. And since Biden was supposed to destroy Palin, and didn't even come close, this was a good night for the Republican.

It is Sarah Palin's world, Joe Biden just lives in it. Viewers tuned in to see Palin either fall flat, or flatten her opponent.

It makes sense. Palin is one of the most exciting, but also divisive, figures in this campaign. The other is Barack Obama. If anything, there have been moments when I thought that John McCain and Joe Biden were drags on their respective tickets - like during the debates.

In the middle of last week, McCain won leadership accolades with his march to Capitol Hill to try to alleviate the economic crisis.

But, at week's end, he lost his match-up with Obama. McCain was rude, condescending and dismissive. He wouldn't so much as address his opponent directly or look him in the eye - not even when moderator PBS' Jim Lehrer asked him to.

Last night, Biden started out making the same mistake. At one annoying moment, the Democrat even instructed the moderator, PBS' Gwen Ifill, that Palin hadn't answered a question. He could have said that directly to Palin, but, in a McCainesque moment, he ignored her.

Biden caught himself later when Palin - in her best line - informed him and Ifill that she was going to speak straight to the American people even if it meant not answering questions the way that he or Ifill wanted her to.

After that, Biden too tried to look into the camera and speak directly to Americans. It was new to him, but he took to it well.

Palin later said that she feels most comfortable bypassing the filter of the mainstream media and connecting with voters directly.

Can't say I blame her after her interviews with CBS' Katie Couric. All week, the consensus among pundits, bloggers, and other know-it-alls was that Palin was out of her depth and, in the words of conservative Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher, "an empty pantsuit."

Keep reading...

Filed under: Barack Obama • Joe Biden • John McCain • Raw Politics • Ruben Navarrette Jr. • Sarah Palin
October 3rd, 2008
02:39 PM ET

Everyone in our group got altitude sickness

Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

While on assignment in the mountains of Peru, Dr. Sanjay Gupta experienced the dangers of altitude sickness firsthand. After ten minutes of pure oxygen treatments, he felt much better and returned to work reporting on a dangerous public health threat in a nearby village.

Filed under: Dr. Sanjay Gupta • Global 360° • Planet in Peril
October 3rd, 2008
02:26 PM ET

Update: Firebombs and free speech

The Jewel of Medina is just the latest book to set up a wave of anger that could insult Islam. CNN's Paula Newton reports.
The Jewel of Medina is just the latest book to set up a wave of anger that could insult Islam. CNN's Paula Newton reports.

Paula Newton | BIO
International Security Correspondent

Anjem Choudary practises and preaches Islamic Sharia law. When we discussed the book, ‘The Jewel of Medina’, and the insult that he believes it brings upon the Prophet Mohammed, he could not have been more categorical: The punishment is death.
So I asked him about the personal security of the book’s American author, Sherry Jones.

“You think her life would be in danger?” I asked Choudary.

“I think certainly, you know there will be consequences for her”

We reached Sherry Jones in her hometown of Spokane, Washington. She told us despite firebombs and threats, she is not afraid.

“This is beyond me, this is a bigger responsibility than me. This is not about whether I live or die. This is about the future of the free world, the future of democracy and the future of freedom of speech. So I’m not going to abdicate that responsibility as others have and walk away because someone might try to harm me.”


Filed under: Paula Newton
October 3rd, 2008
02:02 PM ET

The new bailout – a sweeter deal

[cnn-photo-caption image=
Steve Turnham
AC360° Producer

The bailout legislation passed by Congress today added $100 billion in tax breaks to the Wall Street rescue bill, the so-called "sweeteners." The presumption was all that extra cash would tempt House members who voted against the first version to switch and pass the new version, and it did. But there was more to it than that.

The tax breaks were actually part of a prior bill that had support in the Senate, but was hung up in the House because budget hawks were insisting it be paid for without extra deficit spending.

In attaching the measure, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid basically dared the House to accept the tax breaks, or take the blame for bringing down the economic rescue package. It's a classic power play, and one that angered some House members.

Why would Senator Reid risk the economic rescue package by muddying it up with giveaways? The devil is in the details: the measure would give money to states with a lot of federal land - which doesn't bring states any tax dollars - to pay for schools and government. It also would allow people in states without income taxes to deduct what they pay in sales taxes from their federal taxes.

Reid's home state of Nevada will benefit from both – big time. It has a lot of federal land. It has no state income tax. Reid runs the Senate. Reid is up for reelection in 2010.

Some House members will benefit from the added $100 billion benefit; some are angry about it. And some fit both categories.

“I hate this like poison," conservative Democrat Shelley Berkeley told the Las Vegas Sun, "but I think relief is necessary.” Berkeley is from Nevada.


Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Economy • Raw Politics • Steve Turnham
October 3rd, 2008
01:31 PM ET

Did Sarah Palin answer from note cards?

[cnn-photo-caption image=
Editor's note: Below is a partial transcript from CNN's American Morning today:

JOHN ROBERTS, American Morning Anchor: Were you a little surprised at the very beginning that it seemed to me watching this debate that Biden was a little uncertain right off at the top. And looking at the dial testing that we did, the instantaneous dial testing, she kind of rocketed right off the top. And Joe looked like - Joe Biden looked like it took him a little while to find his place.

ED ROLLINS, GOP Strategist and CNN Political Analyst: I think to a certain extent she got off the first best shot where she walked across the stage saying, "Can I call you Joe?" That was a great move. I think she was more comfortable than he was initially. Obviously, he's got a tremendous amount of substance and he expressed the Democrat viewpoint very, very well. But I think she was a big personality. She did what she had to do.

Filed under: Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
October 3rd, 2008
11:28 AM ET

California Bailout?

You can read the entire letter from California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson here. (courtesy Los Angeles Times)
You can read the entire letter from California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson here. (courtesy Los Angeles Times)

Marc Lifsher and Evan Halper
Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, alarmed by the ongoing national financial crisis, warned Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson on Thursday that the state might need an emergency loan of as much as $7 billion from the federal government within weeks.

The warning comes as California is close to running out of cash to fund day-to-day government operations and is unable to access routine short-term loans that it typically relies on to remain solvent.

The state of California is the biggest of several governments nationwide that are being locked out of the bond market by the global credit crunch. If the state is unable to access the cash, administration officials say, payments to schools and other government entities could quickly be suspended and state employees could be laid off.

Plans by several state and local governments to borrow in recent days have been upended by the credit freeze. New Mexico was forced to put off a $500-million bond sale, Massachusetts had to pull the plug halfway into a $400-million offering, and Maine is considering canceling road projects that were to be funded with bonds.


Filed under: Raw Politics
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