October 23rd, 2008
09:34 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 10/23/08

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

Erica Hill is off so Randi Kaye will be doing tonight’s webcast.  LINK TO WEBCAST

And take a look at Anderson and Randi 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 23rd, 2008
09:05 PM ET

The man who helped drive Powell away

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/23/art.dobson.jpg caption="Dr. James Dobson" width=292 height=320]
Max Blumenthal
The Daily Beast

After Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama on Meet the Press, Sarah Palin was interviewed by Christian right leader James Dobson on his Focus on the Family radio show. Though Palin did not mention Powell, she attacked Obama as a socialist by referencing his now famous encounter with Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher.

“Joe the Plumber, you gotta hand it to him,” Palin told Dobson. “He's the one who got finally Barack Obama to say what he’d do with redistributing wealth and raising taxes. And Joe the Plumber said that certainly sounds like socialism to him, and I appreciate Joe having the boldness to get out there and ask the question.”

Powell’s endorsement and Palin’s appearance on Dobson’s show are not entirely unconnected. Dobson has long been one of the banes of Powell’s political life―and the right’s warm embrace of Palin is part of what drove Powell away from McCain.

When Powell endorsed Obama, he offered a litany of factors, from Obama’s “transformational” potential to “steadiness.” But Powell, a military man and self-described “Rockefeller Republican,” also declared his disappointment with the “rightward shift” in the Republican Party.

There is a little understood, rancorous subplot behind this vague remark: Powell’s war with the religious right. That conflict began years before the current presidential campaign and, if Powell plays a role in an Obama administration, will almost certainly extend beyond it.

Read more

Filed under: Barack Obama • John McCain • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
October 23rd, 2008
08:56 PM ET

Remembering the Beirut Marines barracks bombings

25 years ago today suicide bombers targeted the Marines barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 241 American servicemen.  Anderson Cooper visited the site of the U.S. embassy with CNN Beirut Bureau Chief Brent Sadler, who reported from Beirut after the attack.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Global 360°
October 23rd, 2008
08:53 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Voters Wanted, Every Voter

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/10/23/king.north.carolina/art.voters.line.cnn.jpg caption="Early voters in North Carolina wait in lines for hours."]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer
In these final days of the presidential election there's a ground war attack underway in several key states for every single voter. Foot soldiers for both McCain and Obama are going block by block to get out the vote.

Tonight on 360, CNN's John King shows us how the battle is playing out in North Carolina. Early voting is underway in the state that last voted for a democrat for president more than 30 years ago. Will Obama's largely volunteer army in the state change that this year?

John McCain hopes that's not the case. He kicked off what he calls the "Joe the plumber" bus tour in Florida today (No, "Joe the Plumber" isn't along for the ride). McCain's goal: sell his economic plan to voters. Is it working? We'll let you be the judge.

And, we're unveiling another culprit of the collapse. You may not like our decision.  This one may hit too close for comfort.

All that and more tonight on 360.
Hope you can join us at 10pm ET.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
October 23rd, 2008
06:28 PM ET

Long National Nightmare

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/18/art.mccains.gi.jpg]Steven Stark
The Boston Phoenix

NOVEMBER 5 — Last night, I woke up in a sweat. I'd had a very bizarre dream . . .

There was Wilson over Hughes. And, of course, Truman over Dewey. But there's never been a surprise in presidential politics like the one that awaited Americans this morning, who woke up to discover that, somehow, John McCain had been elected president over Barack Obama.

Not a single poll, tracking or otherwise, had McCain ahead. The articles had all been written: Michael Scherer of Time, "McCain's Struggles: Four Ways He Went Wrong"; Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, "We're Heading Left Once Again"; and Joan Vennochi of the Boston Globe, "That's It for McCain." To be fair to them, it was hard to find a single major pundit anywhere who predicted McCain would win - though the astute Michael Barone, author of The Almanac of American Politics, did pen a column 17 days before the vote warning that a surprise was possible. Given Barone's credentials, someone should have listened.

Of course, Wednesday-morning quarterbacking is ridiculously easy, but in retrospect, what happened should have been crystal clear: Obama's lead was never as great as the media hype that accompanied it - he only led by two to six points in some major tracking polls. In several of them, Obama tellingly never cleared 50 percent. (There was a larger-than-usual undecided vote.) And whether it was the so-called "Bradley effect" (suggesting a racial element to the vote) or something else, Obama performed last night exactly as he often had in the spring against Hillary Clinton: he ran below expectations.

Meanwhile, the tsunami of youth support for Obama never materialized. Instead, it was the over-65 crowd who turned out as if the election were a five-o'clock dinner special, and who voted in record numbers for their fellow senior citizen.

"It was fear of the known versus fear of the unknown - and fear won out," quipped one McCain aide.


Filed under: Barack Obama • John McCain • Raw Politics
October 23rd, 2008
06:12 PM ET

A republican Muslim no more

Hesham A. Hassaballa
Beliefnet.com contributor

I have voted ever since I came of age at 18. I still remember voting for Ross Perot while I was away at college at Marquette University.

But ever since then, I have been a Republican. I have even been a committeeman and assistant committeeman in my local Republican Party organization. And in 2000, my wife and I both well remember when I left her in labor at the hospital long enough to go and enthusiastically cast my vote for George W. Bush.

I have always been attracted to the GOP and have felt most at home in the party of Abraham Lincoln. After all, I do live in the Land of Lincoln. More importantly, I like the Republican Party’s traditional ideals: Government should not dictate to people what they do in their own personal lives; government should not intrude on people's privacy; taxes are the people's money and should be handled with the utmost care. Moreover, my socially conservative views are welcome in the Republican Party, and I do not feel ridiculed as I sometimes do when I engage Democrats in conversation.

But in the past seven years, I have had a tremendous identity crisis as a American Muslim Republican. And after much gut-wrenching contemplation, I have decided to leave the Party.


Filed under: Hesham A. Hassaballa • Islam • Raw Politics • Religion • Republicans
October 23rd, 2008
05:44 PM ET

Fatal police shooting – with a toy gun

Police dash-cam video shows a police officer shooting a suspect.
Police dash-cam video shows a police officer shooting a suspect.

Gabe Falcon
AC360° Writer

Watch the video, And be warned. A man will die.

But the story isn’t so much what you will see on the tape. It’s what led up to it.

A suspect wanted for a theft charge is killed in a hail of bullets from a police officer.

The images of the fatal confrontation were shown to a grand jury in El Paso, Texas.

The officer, Matthew Jones, was cleared of any wrongdoing and was not indicted in connection with the deadly encounter.

The reason? The suspect, Gregory T. Smith, threatened Jones with what the officer thought was a real revolver. It turned out to be a toy gun.

The incident happened on the morning of July 13th. On the dash-cam recording, Smith is seen standing in front of the patrol car. According to investigators, Smith was wanted for a property crime, but refused to surrender to Jones.

The video then appears to show Jones brandishing the gun at the officer. The suspect then leaves the frame, only to reappear apparently pointing the weapon at Jones. The officer fired several rounds at Smith. Authorities say Smith was shot 11 times. However, it was concluded that Jones reasonably believed Smith posed a lethal threat to him and his actions were justified.

Others disagree, and believe the officer's response to the situation was excessive, and should have used more restraint.

What do you think? Justified or not?

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
October 23rd, 2008
05:40 PM ET

Beat 360° 10/23/08

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!
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:

Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill. gestures as he arrives for a rally at the Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia, Wednesday.

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 23rd, 2008
04:53 PM ET

Why the long lines in Florida

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/23/art.florida.lines.jpg caption="People stand in line to vote early Wednesday in Pompano Beach, Fla. Unprecedented numbers of early voters in the South are prompting local election officials to take measures to make people comfortable as they wait for hours to cast their ballots."]
Paul Gronke
Director, Early Voting Information Center at Reed College

The first two days of early voting in Florida have not been kind to the Sunshine State. Already, elderly voters are having difficulties filling out ballots in Palm Beach County (the same county that produced the infamous butterfly ballot in 2000). Duval and Leon Counties are having problems feeding the ballots into the optical scanners. And voters throughout the state are experiencing long lines, sometimes multiple hours long.

It's not that Florida elections officials are not trying hard–I have met a number of local and state elections officials, and they are dedicated public servants who really just want to get the election
right. I have seen no evidence of a conspiracy to subvert the democratic process.

But what I have seen is a tendency among state leaders to respond *too* quickly to election breakdowns, adopting new technology and rejecting old technology without learning the lessons of the past.

This year, the problem that Florida is experiencing with long lines could have been anticipated. To the credit of state officials here, they decertified their electronic voting machines because voter confidence in the machines had reached rock bottom. But in their desire to move to a paper-based system, Florida adopted a relatively new and untested technology: "ballot on demand." Glitches associated with ballot on demand are the cause of most of the problems this year.


Filed under: Paul Gronke • Raw Politics • Voting
October 23rd, 2008
04:49 PM ET

The Unseen Avalanche: Young voters in 2008

Some Cincinnati, Ohio voters camp out overnight in order to be one of the first to cast their ballot early.
Some Cincinnati, Ohio voters camp out overnight in order to be one of the first to cast their ballot early.
Rob Grabow
Author, "
Voting with Our Pants Down"

Young voters, 44 million strong, are the country's second largest voting bloc this year. There are more of us than there are citizens of Spain, or residents in 40 Montanas. To provide a visual, if you were to lay us out flat lengthwise, we would circumnavigate the globe twice. The relevance of these numerical values and images bears on the fact we are going to turn out in record numbers this year.

But because we have a limited voice in the national political debate, the claim that we will cast ballots in droves may seem naive. What makes this election year different than others in past?

For starters, nearly 80 percent of young voters are registered to vote. And some 74 percent seriously plan on turning out this election. Those results are based on a self poll and should be understood in that context. Nevertheless, at minimum, these polls are a bellwether, indicative of a significant unseen catalyst.

True, registration doesn't guarantee turnout. However, a voter who makes it to the polls once is much more likely to visit again. And three times more young voters caucused in Iowa in 2008 during the Democratic primary than in 2004. Young voter turnout in New Hampshire was 271 percent higher than the previous presidential primary. On Super Tuesday, almost three-million young voters made it to the polls, significantly more than any Tuesday past. This baseline is also building on the bar established in 2004, a year that saw a near-record level of young voter participation, almost 50 percent. All of these trends should make your spine tingle, toes curl, and hair stand on end, because it means we're coming out.


Filed under: Raw Politics • Rob Grabow • Voting • youth vote
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