December 4th, 2008
11:01 AM ET

Extreme Challenges: Obama

Program Note: Take a sneak peak at the AC360 Special "Extreme Challenges: President Obama" airing at 11 tonight ET. Below, a note from show's producer, Chuck Hadad:

Chuck Hadad
AC360° Producer

Imagine - you've just been elected president, but you have all this on your lap: An economic crisis not seen since the Great Depression, two wars, the global fight on terror and emboldened rivals like Iran and Russia . The challenges facing President-Elect Obama seem to many average Americans just overwhelming - despite the idealism and high expectations set off by his election. I've often wondered why anyone would want to inherit such monumental issues, let alone passionately seek out the office.

I 've just produced a 360 special looking at all of these issues with experts from CNN's wide array of reporters and contributors including Christiane Amanpour, Michael Ware, David Gergen & Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The conversation was enlightening, sometimes adversarial, often frightening.

Tune in tonight at 11 pm ET for the show, "Extreme Challenges: President Obama," to hear Anderson and the CNN team lay out the challenges and offer America's 44th President some advice. What do you think will be President-elect Obama's biggest challenge... and what's the solution?

Filed under: Barack Obama • Raw Politics
December 4th, 2008
10:19 AM ET

'The Big 3' and the 'B' word

'The Big 3' + 1:

Rick Wagoner, GM CEO – Alan Mulally, Ford CEO – Ron Gettelfinger,
UAW president – Robert Nardelli, Chrysler CEO

Michael Schulder
CNN Executive Producer

Don’t say that word! You know … “that famous term that everybody’s using,” as the United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger put it yesterday. He wouldn’t bring himself to actually utter the word “bailout,” which the people at Webster’s dictionary recently noted was the most looked up word of 2008.

Gettelfinger and his industry prefer a different B word – “bridge loan.” You’ll hear more from Gettelfinger and the Big 3 CEOs today, when they get a re-do on their plea to Congress for up to 34 billion dollars in government aid – which is 7 billion more than they were asking when they went to Washington 2 weeks ago. Time is money.

Who is Ron Gettelfinger? He started as an assembly line worker in 1964 at a Ford factory in Kentucky. He worked on the chassis repair line before rising up the UAW ladder.

An old NY Times profile describes him as a religious man who doesn’t smoke, drink or gamble. He’s a former Marine who grew up on a family farm in Indiana – one of 12 children.

One of 12 children – the guy GREW UP on an assembly line!


Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Economy • Michael Schulder
December 4th, 2008
08:21 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Extreme Challenges

Eva Nordstrom
AC360° Senior Producer

All Big Three CEO’s are cruising into the nation’s capital this morning in high-mileage hybrids. GM’s Rick Wagoner has traded in his corporate jet for a test version of the Chevy Volt, an electric car scheduled to be in dealerships by 2010. Will the Volt help GM get the $18 billion the automaker is asking for when it hits up lawmakers today and tomorrow? What about the rest of the $34 billion the Big Three automakers are asking for? Should they get it?

Meanwhile, gas prices are down AGAIN. The average price of a gallon of gas is $1.79…wow. Remember when it was more than four bucks just this past July?? I don’t know about you, but I’ve curbed my driving quite a bit since then, and I don’t care how cheap it gets…I am going to keep cutting back when I can. What about you? Have you changed your driving habits for good?

Stay tuned to CNN later today. New polls are coming out on how Americans feel about the economy. The numbers are pretty grim.

Are you wondering when American’s are going to reap some rewards from the billions of bailout money going around? Perhaps sooner than you think. There are some reports that the Treasury Department is considering a plan that would push interest rates down on home loans. Mortgages as low as 4.5% could be coming soon to a bank near you.

OK…enough talk about money…Secretary Rice today assured the world that Pakistan knows it has to move “urgently and transparently” against extremists after last week’s terrorist attacks in India. There is a lot of pressure on Pakistan to take action against extremists on its own soil.

And if tension between two nuclear-armed nations isn’t enough…one Israeli paper is reporting that Israel is “drawing up options for a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities that do not include coordination with the United States.” (Emphasis is mine) Why is Israel doing this? Read more from the Jerusalem Post here:

In Crime and Punishment, there is word that OJ Simpson –convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping – could get 6 years, 18 years – or even life in prison when he is sentenced tomorrow. CNN has just learned that Kim and Fred Goldman may be in the courtroom. We will keep you posted.

AC360 will be pre-empted by a two hour special “Scream Bloody Murder”. CNN’s Christiane Amanpour traveled to the killing fields of Europe, Africa and Asia to trace the personal accounts of those who tried to stop the world’s most heinous crime: genocide.

Look for AC360 at 11pm ET tonight…

With an economic crisis not seen since the Great Depression, two wars, the global fight on terrorism and emboldened rivals like Iran and Russia … the challenges facing President-Elect Obama are vast. Anderson Cooper sits down with a team of CNN reporters and contributors to break down the issues and offer advice to America’s 44th President. Join Anderson, Christiane Amanpour, Michael Ware, David Gergen, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Ali Velshi and others for this 360 special …EXTREME CHALLENGES: PRESIDENT OBAMA.

See you soon.

Filed under: Eva Nordstrom • The Buzz
December 4th, 2008
08:02 AM ET

Jobs going begging in some fields

Sheila Maguire
Vice president of Labor market initiatives, Public/Private Ventures

As President-elect Obama plans for his administration, the economy tops his list of priorities. The Dow has been down, unemployment rates are soaring, and companies announce more layoffs each week.

It may come as a surprise, then, that some employers are desperately searching for workers with the right skills.

Hospitals looking for X-ray technicians, manufacturers looking for machinists, and energy suppliers looking for people to service rigs and keep them safe are all facing real worker shortages.

These jobs require specific technical skills that can only be gained through focused training that is closely linked to the needs of local businesses. In fact, the largest portion of jobs in our labor market (nearly half) require some kind of technical training beyond a high school diploma, and these "middle-skill" jobs are experiencing the greatest shortages of skilled workers.


Editor's Note: Sheila Maguire is the vice president for labor market initiatives at Public/Private Ventures and a board member of the Workforce Alliance. Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) is a nonprofit organization that describes itself as "a national leader in creating and strengthening programs that improve lives in low-income communities."

Filed under: Barack Obama • Economy
December 4th, 2008
07:55 AM ET

You Barack it, you buy it

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.

Obama ties—and thongs? Please stop the merchandise madness.

The day after America elected a black man president, a bundle of Washington Post newspapers were going for $400 on eBay. The L.A. Times made a cool 600K in Barack Obama merchandise. The ailing newspaper industry briefly got its swagger back when people realized that they couldn't frame their computer.

Unfortunately, that is not where Obamaphernalia ends. Right now, as I type this essay, I am wearing Obama socks. Knotted at my neck is an Obama tie. I'm wearing Obama underwear, an Obama sweater, Obama flip flops and Obama cuff links. I'm munching on my Obama 'Os cereal.

OK, so I am not wearing those things, but the point is I could be.

The other point is WTF?

The King family has long been criticized for its gangsterous guarding of MLK's image.

They sic their legal dogs on anyone who deigns to use Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s image on T-shirts. News media? Fifth-grade civics class? Pay up or they'll see you in court.


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