October 29th, 2008
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 10/29/08

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Applause, please. AC360° is live for two hours tonight.

We'll be posting your comments from 10pm ET to Midnight ET.

We're live for two hours because of the developments in the battle for the White House. There's the united front tonight in Florida of Barack Obama and former president Bill Clinton. For the first time, Mr. Clinton is hitting the trail with Obama. They'll be at a rally in Kissimmee. There's also Obama's 30-minute campaign ad airing on many TV stations tonight. And, his GOP opponent, Sen. McCain, will be a guest on Larry King Live.  We'll be checking the facts on each message tonight and we're keeping them honest.

We want you to weigh in on the political moves.  Scroll down to share your comments.

But, please keep in mind some of our rules:

1) Use your real name
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (no "screaming" allowed)
3) No links to other web sites
4) Keep it short. (Sorry, we don't have room for an online book)
5) Stay on topic (make sure your comment applies to the blog posting)

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

Filed under: Live Blog
October 29th, 2008
08:53 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Making Their Case

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Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer
Did you catch any of Sen. Obama's 30-minute sales pitch tonight? It just wrapped up. His infomercial was nothing like the one for the "Six Second Abs" or "Mighty Putty." We'll be playing chunks of it for you tonight on AC360° and we're keeping him honest.

One media analyst estimates the spot cost the campaign up to $5 million. Was it money well spent?

We'll also take you live to another first for the Obama camp. Tonight former president Bill Clinton will be joining Sen. Obama at a rally in Kissimmee, Florida.

Sure, it's all smiles now between the two men. But, flashback to just a few months ago. That wasn't the case. Tonight, we'll look at the Bill factor in battle for the White House.

Also tonight, don't miss Sen. John McCain on Larry King Live.  We'll also be playing chunks of the one-on-one interview. Does McCain think race will determine who wins on Tuesday? Find out. And, we'll be keeping him honest on his message, as well.

All that and more starting at 10pm ET.
Hope you can join us.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
October 29th, 2008
08:33 PM ET

The real dirty word

Watch In Session anchor Jami Floyd's commentary on politicians' sex scandals. Are there really more politicians having illicit sex, or does the media just prefer to cover these stories? Is the real dirty word in politics actually "Issues"?

You can read this and other commentary from Jami Floyd on the In Session blog.

Filed under: Jami Floyd • Raw Politics
October 29th, 2008
08:23 PM ET

Rashid Khalidi: "scurrilous" charges

The McCain campaign has accused the Los Angeles Times of “intentionally suppressing” a videotape the newspaper obtained of a 2003 banquet where then-state Sen. Barack Obama spoke of his friendship and frequent dinners with fellow University of Chicago professor Rashid Khalidi, a leading Palestinian scholar and activist. The Times says making the tape public would violate an agreement with its source. Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin now claim Khalidi had been a spokesman for the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Khalidi denies that. Below are excerpts from a 2003 interview when Khalidi appeared on MSNBC to explain that he supports dialogue in the Middle East, and is not anti-American and anti-Israeli.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Professor, let me begin with you and just ask you to defend yourself against these charges that you are anti-American or that you are anti-Israeli.

RASHID KHALIDI, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, I don't think I should have to defend myself. The charges themselves are scurrilous and the people who are making them are not very reputable themselves. I am somebody whose record and what I've written is well known. I'm somebody who thinks that the United States has made some mistakes in the Middle East and that these are things that are not in the best interest of the United States or the American people.

And the kind of people who would call critics of this or that policy unpatriotic or un-American, I think, are doing the United States and the people of the United States a terrible disservice.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Rashid Khalidi • Raw Politics
October 29th, 2008
08:04 PM ET

The insiders: How John McCain came to pick Sarah Palin

Jane Mayer
The New Yorker

"Here’s a little news flash,” Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska and the Republican candidate for Vice-President, announced in September, during her début at the Party’s Convention, in St. Paul. “I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment. And I’ve learned quickly these past few days that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington élite then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.” But, she added, “I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion.”

In subsequent speeches, Palin has cast herself as an antidote to the élitist culture inside the Beltway. “I’m certainly a Washington outsider, and I’m proud of that, because I think that that is what we need,” she recently told Fox News. During her first interview as John McCain’s running mate, with ABC’s Charlie Gibson, Palin was asked about her lack of experience in foreign policy. She replied, “We’ve got to remember what the desire is in this nation at this time. It is for no more politics as usual, and somebody’s big fat résumé, maybe, that shows decades and decades in the Washington establishment . . . Americans are getting sick and tired of that self-dealing, and kind of that closed-door, good-ol’-boy network that has been the Washington élite.”


Filed under: John McCain • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
October 29th, 2008
07:32 PM ET

Flipping out over vote flipping

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Ian Inaba
Co-founder, Video the Vote

With early voting all the rage in 2008, voters have already been casting ballots – and encountering problems – for weeks. One of the biggest concerns we’ve seen at Video the Vote is vote flipping: voters choose one option (e.g., Ralph Nader) and the electronic machine records a different choice (e.g., John McCain). Written reports of vote flipping have emerged from Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, and elsewhere. So we headed to Jackson County, West Virginia, to get a first hand look.

What we found was concerning:


County Clerk Jeff Waybright showed us how an uncalibrated machine flips votes. But then, the machine appears to malfunction even after the machine is calibrated. Not surprisingly, the video has caught fire online, being viewed more than 250,000 times.

We have since been told by West Virginia officials that the machine was actually working correctly: When Mr. Waybright pressed Ralph Nader for president and then pressed a straight Republican ticket, the machine kept the vote for Nader to maintain voter intent. In software terms, it’s a feature, not a bug.

Despite statements by the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office to the contrary, Mr. Waybright never directly corrected himself in the video. However, for transparency’s sake, we’ve posted the entire unedited interview so voters can see for themselves:


If Mr. Waybright misspoke, we think it only reinforces the problems with these machines. When the head election official in Jackson County needs two tries to explain how the machine functions, what do we expect will happen to average voters who don’t get a second chance to cast their votes?

But Jackson County aside, there’s a broader point here that goes beyond a two-minute web video. Voters are clearly experiencing problems with touch screen machines, particularly the iVotronic made by Election Systems & Software (ES&S), and the problems are not limited to a handful of votes. In the 2006 Florida 13th District Congressional race, in which was decided by 373 votes, iVotronic machines registered more than 18,000 undervotes in Sarasota County – meaning one in every six voters didn’t have a vote counted on the most important race on the ticket. This discrepancy was never adequately explained.

As long as these very real problems persist, the use of touchscreen machines will continue to erode American’s confidence in our election systems. And given what’s happened in recent years, it can’t get much lower.

Ian Inaba is an award-winning director and producer whose credits include the Sundance-award-winning American Blackout, the controversial pre-election music video for Eminem's "Mosh," and the book True Lies.

AC360 on Thursday will have a special report on early voting, and how it's reshaping the election. Tune in at 10PM.

Filed under: 2008 Election • Early Voting • Raw Politics
October 29th, 2008
07:18 PM ET

Beat 360° 10/29/08

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:

Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin cheers on Joe Wurzelbacher, also known as 'Joe the Plumber', during a rally at Bowling Green University in Bowling Green, Ohio, 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!

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
October 29th, 2008
05:56 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: A Whole Lotta WOW

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

Some days, I have to make sure I didn’t lose a contact or inadvertently click on the wrong link. I am increasingly amazed by the stories I read, yet they’re true! I thought you’d be up for a trip down Wow Lane today, if you can peel your eyes from the election coverage. Fasten those seatbelts and grab a helmet, we’re off!


First stop, China, where now even the EGGS have melamine. How is this chemical – used in plastics and fertilizer – finding its way into food? First the pet food, then tainted baby formula, milk…what’s next, asparagus? At this point, I wouldn’t be shocked by the asparagus headline.


In Connecticut, where tainted candy was pulled recently, the latest concern is toddler cereal from Brazil, laced with pesticide.


Clear across the country, some “WOW” of a different sort – the kind that make you smile, rather than cringe.

Cancer is a nasty, cruel disease that is very close to my heart…a little too close. The Oregon Health and Science University Cancer Center wants the state to have the lowest cancer rate in the nation, and they may be getting closer. Nike founder Phil Knight and his wife, Penny, are donating $100 million dollars to the UHSU Cancer Center. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Knight.


Also in the spirit of giving, a little wealth spreading; and for the first time in weeks, “spreading the wealth” has nothing to do with partisan politics or a certain man from Ohio. This is sharing in its purest form. Anyone who thinks it’s a bad idea needs a reality check. After winning a Powerball jackpot worth nearly $207 million, the New Mexico group that hit the magic numbers is spreading the wealth to the clerks who sold them the ticket.


And if you really want a “WOW”, don’t miss the live webcast tonight during the 10pm ET hour of AC360, when none other than Jack Gray, the wittiest blogger around, will be my special guest. Sadly, Sammy the dog was not available – her people make it nearly impossible to book an appearance, but maybe if you all send a request, we’ll have better luck.

Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
October 29th, 2008
05:06 PM ET

Bill & Barack: Are they really BFF's?

Editor's note: See Randi’s full report tonight on AC360° at 10p ET.

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Randi Kaye
AC360° Correspondent

Tonight, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama will campaign together for the very first time.

Did you ever think you’d see that?

Let me take you back to last January, just a day before the New Hampshire primary, when Bill Clinton called Obama’s opposition to the war in Iraq a “fairytale.”

It got even uglier between these guys a couple of weeks later in South Carolina.

Mr. Clinton compared Obama’s victory in the South Carolina primary to that of Jesse Jackson’s.

Yes, he did go there!

That left Hillary Clinton to clean up the mess. You see, many Democrats, including many African Americans, viewed that as a dig at Obama... an effort to minimize his victory and diminish him... because Jackson went on to lose the primary big time. Mr. Clinton, long called the nation’s first black president because of his popularity among African Americans, was suddenly labeled a racist. He denied that his remarks were racist in any way and accused the Obama campaign of leading the charge against him.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Bill Clinton • Hillary Clinton • Randi Kaye • Raw Politics
October 29th, 2008
04:45 PM ET

McCain campaign accuses L.A. Times of 'suppressing' Obama video

Editor's note: We're looking at McCain's charges on this today.  Be sure to watch Dana Bash's report tonight on AC360°. Here is the L.A. Times' account of the story.

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L.A. Times staff writer
L.A. Times

The Times says its promise to a source prevents the paper from posting the video, which shows Barack Obama praising Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi at a 2003 banquet. The story first appeared in April.

John McCain's presidential campaign Tuesday accused the Los Angeles Times of "intentionally suppressing" a videotape it obtained of a 2003 banquet where then-state Sen. Barack Obama spoke of his friendship with Rashid Khalidi, a leading Palestinian scholar and activist.

The Times first reported on the videotape in an April 2008 story about Obama's ties with Palestinians and Jews as he navigated the politics of Chicago. The report included a detailed description of the tape, but the newspaper did not make the video public.

"A major news organization is intentionally suppressing information that could provide a clearer link between Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi," said McCain campaign spokesman Michael Goldfarb. " . . . The election is one week away, and it's unfortunate that the press so obviously favors Barack Obama that this campaign must publicly request that the Los Angeles Times do its job - make information public."

The Times on Tuesday issued a statement about its decision not to post the tape.

"The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it," said the newspaper's editor, Russ Stanton. "The Times keeps its promises to sources."

Read more

Filed under: Barack Obama • John McCain • Rashid Khalidi • Raw Politics
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