October 17th, 2008
11:00 PM ET

American dream becomes a nightmare


David Mattingly | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/17/art.mozilo.jpg caption="Angelo Mozilo testifying at the government hearing on 'CEO Pay and the Mortgage Crisis' on March 7, 2008."]
Angelo Mozilo founded Countrywide Financial and built it into a national mortgage giant. His ambition and drive to open the "American Dream" of home ownership to millions of families was unrivaled. But somewhere along the way his many critics say he turned that dream into a nightmare.

Mozilo stands accused by Attorneys General in multiple states of selling risky mortgages to thousands who could not afford them, leading to the current foreclosure crisis.

Mozilo told Congress the bad economy is to blame, but his critics blame Mozilo for the sinking economy.

He is the latest addition to our list of the 10 Most Wanted–Culprits of the Collapse.

October 17th, 2008
09:41 PM ET

Score one for Ohio voters

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Editor's note: The Supreme Court today threw out a lawsuit by the Ohio Republican Party that would have forced Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, to verify records of thousands of voters whose information didn't match up with government databases. The state Republican Party contends that there is widespread voter fraud in Ohio and Brunner "turned off" its process for verifying voter registrations while allowing Ohioans to cast ballots on the same day they registered. The justices in an unsigned opinion blocked a lower court order directing Brunner to update the state's voter registration database by today.

Ian Inaba
Co-founder, Video the Vote

Just hours away from having to release a list of about 200,000 voters whose names don’t match other government databases, the Supreme Court has granted Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner a reprieve . The Court actually sidestepped the question of whether Brunner is in compliance with the federal Help America Vote Act, deciding instead that the GOP had no standing to bring the case.

Although it ruled based on a technicality, we at Video the Vote think the Court landed on the side of the voters. Releasing the list would have led to more provisional ballots, partisan challenges, longer lines, and further erosion of confidence in our election system. And it would have done very little to prevent supposed “voter fraud,” which, as has been extensively documented, doesn’t need much preventing.

As an aside, while most voters will never have to cast a provisional ballot, or wait in hour long lines, it’s worth listening to those who have. There are few things more disempowering than having obstacles put between you and the voting booth.

This decision makes us wonder if the Court is taking pains to avoid helping (or appearing to help) one party over the other in fights over votes. After all, in some eyes, the shadow of the Bush v. Gore decision still hangs over the court.


Filed under: Ian Inaba • Voting
October 17th, 2008
09:40 PM ET

Evening Buzz: 18 days to go

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/10/17/mann.ct.two.week/art.mccainobama.gi.jpg%5DMaureen Miller
AC360° Writer

18 days to go in this election and it's getting rough out there. Very rough.

Tonight, 360's Gary Tuchman takes us to a Biden campaign stop in New Mexico. The Delaware senator shot back at McCain for saying he's not George Bush. But what's getting more attention is perhaps his most aggressive feedback yet on McCain's running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin.

"It was reported she said she like to visit 'Pro-American parts of the country," Biden said.

Palin did make a comment like that last night in North Carolina.

"We believe that the best of America is in the small towns that we get to visit, and in the wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, very pro-america areas of this great nation," she said.

Today Biden fired back saying, "We all love our country in every part of this nation! And im tired. I am tired, tired. Tired, tired of the implications about patriotism."


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
October 17th, 2008
09:39 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 10/17/08

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For what’s in the program take a look at tonight’s Evening Buzz.

Don’t forget to watch Erica Hill’s webcast during the commercials.  LINK TO WEBCAST

And take a look at Anderson and Erica on our live web camera from the 360° studio. We’ll turn the camera on at 945p ET and turn it off at 11p ET. LINK TO THE BLOG CAMERA

Wondering why some comments are posted while others aren’t?  Here’s a post that may help: LINK TO COMMENTS POST   

We’ll start posting comments at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET.

Filed under: Live Blog
October 17th, 2008
06:47 PM ET

Nobody is going to bail out rural America

Editor's Note: Dee Davis is the founder and president of the Center for Rural Strategies. Dee has helped design and lead national public information campaigns on topics as diverse as commercial television programming and federal banking policy. He shares his thoughts on the presidential election:

Dee Davis | BIO
President, Center for Rural Strategies

Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have a lot to brag about when it comes to rural America. Through the sustained economic boom of the nineties and the skyrocketing real estate valuations of this decade, rural communities have lagged behind conspicuously. Rural America has the highest proportion of children in poverty, lowest educational attainment, worst rates of substance abuse. Of the 250 poorest counties in the U.S., 244 of them are rural. If the effectiveness of a government is at all reflected in the well-being of the populace, then the 60 million of us in rural America may want to petition for a new constitutional convention.

I was 16 in 1967 when I signed up to work in my first political campaign passing out handbills and bumper stickers in Hazard, Kentucky, my small hometown in the Appalachian coalfields. The night before the election one of the party faithful came into headquarters and gathered the youth volunteers. He said it was high time we understood what really went on in politics. He said, “We’re out of liquor.”

Then we kids stood there awed at being allowed in on the conspiracy, listening as he phoned around for additional cases of half pints to be handed out surreptitiously to undecided voters. I came to learn that Election Day liquor was a tricky business. Not only was it illegal to give away, it could be a risky investment, especially if you put it in the hands of your poll workers too early. Politics like most enterprises depends on figuring out what people want.

Here is another lesson: Nobody is going to bail out rural America. No matter how bad things get, there is never going to be $700 billion of stop loss or reinvestment or economic stimulus for the countryside. Government is going to be there to look after besotted financiers in $5,000 suits and Gucci loafers a long time before it notices small town folks struggling to feed their families or gas up to get to work.


Filed under: Dee Davis • Economy • Raw Politics
October 17th, 2008
05:55 PM ET

He gave me an easy mortgage. And now look.

Ismael Estrada
AC360° Producer

The minute my wife and I walked in we knew the home was for us. It was perfect! There was plenty of room for our new baby, a huge back yard, a fantastic kitchen and tons of charm. This was just right. But there was a giant problem.

We didn’t have nearly enough money for a down payment and we already had a mortgage on our condo we were renting out and taking a loss on.

Our mortgage broker said our credit was outstanding and we could get a 100 percent loan, not a problem. I remember thinking, this guy is nuts! This is not supposed to be this easy, and can I really afford it?

We got caught up in the moment and bought the house.

This is the scenario that was played out over and over again all around the country. People getting into loans they probably shouldn’t have qualified for.

We were lucky: one year after we bought our house, I took a job out of state and we sold our home for a small profit.

But a few years later, the bottom fell out of the market and the values plummeted. People are now stuck with those crazy 100 percent loans or adjustable rate mortgages (ARMS) that now have them paying out the nose on a loan they shouldn’t have been able to sign in the first place.

Why were banks handing out money so easily? How were all these loans getting approved? Tonight, on AC360, we’ll tell you the story about the man who had originated a great many of these loans, and why he is one of the culprits of the collapse.

October 17th, 2008
05:25 PM ET

David Gergen's admirer

So comedienne Jessi Klein declared she was passionately in love with David Gergen. What happened next? Well... Just watch!

Filed under: David Gergen • Raw Politics
October 17th, 2008
04:54 PM ET

Beat 360° 10/17/08

Ready for today's Beat 360°?

Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too.

Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite!
Here is the 'Beat 360°’ pic:

Sen. John McCain speaks to his rival Sen. Barack Obama, as New York Cardinal Edward Egan listens from the center at the Alfred E. Smith dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York on Thursday.

Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions!

Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

UPDATE: Check out our Beat 360° Winners!


Beat 360° Challenge

But wait!… There’s more!

When you win ‘Beat 360°’ not only do you get on-air prime-time name recognition (complete with bragging rights over all your friends, family, and jealous competitors), but you get a “I Won the Beat 360° Challenge” T-shirt!

Read more here….

Good luck to all!

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
October 17th, 2008
04:27 PM ET

Culprits of the Collapse – #5 Beazer Homes


So who is to blame for this financial fiasco?
That’s the question we’ve begun investigating.
We’ve put together a list of the Ten Most Wanted: Culprits of the Collapse.
#5 on our list: Beazer Homes USA. CNN's Gary Tuchman reports.

October 17th, 2008
03:55 PM ET

What does Palin stand for? After 7 weeks, we still don't know

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/17/art.palinohio.jpg]
Peggy Noonan
Wall Street Journal columnist

There has never been a second's debate among liberals, to use an old-fashioned word that may yet return to vogue, over Mrs. Palin: She was a dope and unqualified from the start. Conservatives and Republicans, on the other hand, continue to battle it out: Was her choice a success or a disaster? And if one holds negative views, should one say so? For conservatives in general, but certainly for writers, the answer is a variation on Edmund Burke: You owe your readers not your industry only but your judgment, and you betray instead of serve them if you sacrifice it to what may or may not be their opinion.

Here is a fact of life that is also a fact of politics: You have to hold open the possibility of magic. People can come from nowhere, with modest backgrounds and short résumés, and yet be individuals of real gifts, gifts that had previously been unseen, that had been gleaming quietly under a bushel, and are suddenly revealed. Mrs. Palin came, essentially, from nowhere. But there was a man who came from nowhere, the seeming tool of a political machine, a tidy, narrow, unsophisticated senator appointed to high office and then thrust into power by a careless Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose vanity told him he would live forever. And yet that limited little man was Harry S. Truman. Of the Marshall Plan, of containment. Little Harry was big. He had magic. You have to give people time to show what they have. Because maybe they have magic too.

But we have seen Mrs. Palin on the national stage for seven weeks now, and there is little sign that she has the tools, the equipment, the knowledge or the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high office. She is a person of great ambition, but the question remains: What is the purpose of the ambition? She wants to rise, but what for? For seven weeks I've listened to her, trying to understand if she is Bushian or Reaganite—a spender, to speak briefly, whose political decisions seem untethered to a political philosophy, and whose foreign policy is shaped by a certain emotionalism, or a conservative whose principles are rooted in philosophy, and whose foreign policy leans more toward what might be called romantic realism, and that is speak truth, know America, be America, move diplomatically, respect public opinion, and move within an awareness and appreciation of reality.

But it's unclear whether she is Bushian or Reaganite. She doesn't think aloud. She just . . . says things.

Read more

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