December 17th, 2008
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk

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Auto plants shutting down for a extended holiday break.  Chrysler and Ford workers don't want it this way.  But the automakers say they have no choice. We'll have the breaking details. Plus, outrage over credit card rates climbing higher. One card holder says it borders on "loan-sharking".   Why is this happening? We're keeping them honest. 

We want to hear your thoughts on tonight's stories. Just scroll down and share your feedback on the headlines.


Plus, take a look at our live web camera from the 360° studio. LINK TO THE BLOG CAMERA

Filed under: Live Blog
December 17th, 2008
09:06 PM ET

Rick Warren's Dark Night of the Soul

Steven Waldman

In the course of a fascinating conversation last week with Beliefnet and our partner The Wall Street Journal Warren was stunningly candid about having doubts, even "dark nights of the soul."
...He also dove headlong into some of the most controversial culture war issues, in ways likely to surprise and perhaps enrage some on the left and right.

Most Likely to Infuriate Liberals:

  • Gay marriage is morally equivalent to allowing brothers and sisters to marry.


December 17th, 2008
08:20 PM ET

Controversial Pastor at Obama Inauguration

Andrew Sullivan

Rick Warren will give the invocation at Obama's inauguration. Warren is a man who believes my marriage removes his freedom of speech...Shrewd politics, but if anyone is under any illusion that Obama is interested in advancing gay equality, they should probably sober up now.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Gay & Lesbian Issues
December 17th, 2008
06:49 PM ET

Secretary Rice on Iraq, Israel and why she's not type-A

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Zain Verjee
CNN State Department Correspondent

QUESTION: Thank you so much, Madame Secretary.

SECRETARY RICE: Pleasure to be with you.

QUESTION: You’ve been in the Bush Administration for eight years.


QUESTION: What’s been the best moment?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, there have been a lot of great moments: seeing the Afghans liberate themselves from the Taliban; seeing the Iraqis vote for the first time; going for the first time to the West Bank and being with Palestinians was a really special – a special time. And I think the thing I never expected was to actually be in Libya face-to-face with Colonel Qadhafi. So that probably stands out as one of the extraordinary moments.

QUESTION: It was a historic trip, though.

SECRETARY RICE: It was an historic trip.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) Secretary of State to Libya.

SECRETARY RICE: A historic trip. And you could see that this country of Libya which has been so isolated for so long has a great deal to offer. And even though U.S.-Libyan relations have a long way to go, at least now we can talk about U.S.-Libyan relations, and I think ultimately, that will be a good thing for the region, and it will be a good thing for the people of Libya.

QUESTION: Looking back, what was your worst moment?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think one of the hardest times for me was during the Lebanon war. I’m very glad that we were able to negotiate a ceasefire in that war. And I believe Resolution 1701, which ended the war between Israel and Lebanon, will show, it will stand as an effort that led to greater sovereignty for Lebanon, with the Lebanese forces throughout the country, with a strong government in place with Fuad Siniora. But standing next to Fuad Siniora in Rome as really, the country was being bombed to smithereens – things were very difficult – and having to say we can’t call for an immediate ceasefire that we can’t deliver, and that will ultimately lead back to the status quo ante with Hezbollah able to do this again was very difficult because I have so much respect for him.

QUESTION: If you could call a time out or a replay in foreign policy with a decision that you made and – you made a decision, you went back home and thought, gosh, you know, I wish I could do a redo of that -


QUESTION: - what would that be?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, it’s going to take some time to go back and think about that.

QUESTION: Well, just your gut.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, my gut is that there are, frankly, things that we could have done better in the early stages in Iraq.

QUESTION: Like planning better the aftermath of the -

SECRETARY RICE: Well, no, we planned. We -

QUESTION: For the aftermath of the war -

SECRETARY RICE: We planned for the aftermath of the war and we planned -

QUESTION: Not well, though.

SECRETARY RICE: - and we planned – no, but the – some of the assumptions turned out to be, I think, erroneous. And probably the thing that I would do differently is I would go back and put less emphasis on what we would do in Baghdad and more emphasis on what we would do out in the provinces and with local governments and try to bring this from the bottom up rather than from the capital out.

And that’s why the Provincial Reconstruction Teams that put the military and the diplomats and the aid workers together out in the provinces, I think, has worked so well.

QUESTION: Staying in Iraq, the shoe-throwing incident, it was really a symbol in so many ways in the Arab world of utter contempt -


QUESTION: - for President Bush.

SECRETARY RICE: And it was one journalist among several who were sitting there respectfully, and I hope it isn’t allowed over time to obscure the fact that this was the President of the United States standing in Baghdad next to the democratically elected Shia Prime Minister of a multi-confessional Iraq that has just signed agreements of friendship and cooperation with the United States for the long term.


Filed under: Global 360° • Iraq • Israel • Zain Verjee
December 17th, 2008
06:29 PM ET

Chrysler shuts down all production

Editor's Note: Hear what CNN's Chief Business Correspondent Ali Velshi, and Fortune's Managing Editor Andy Serwer talk about Chrysler's announcement tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

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Peter Valdes-Dapena
CNNMoney.com senior writer

Chrysler LLC announced late Thursday that is stopping all vehicle production in the United States for at least a month.

All 30 of the carmaker's plants will close after the last shift on Friday, and employees will not be asked to return to work before Jan. 19.

Chrysler blamed the "continued lack of consumer credit for the American car buyer" for the slow-down in sales that forced the move.

Chrysler ordinarily shuts down operations between Dec. 24 and Jan. 5 for the holidays. This closure would add roughly two weeks to that shut-down.

Chrysler would not say how many fewer vehicles would be produced during this shut-down.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: auto bailout • Economy
December 17th, 2008
06:16 PM ET

Beat 360° 12/17/08

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:

Bernard Madoff walks back to his apartment in New York December 17, 2008.

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
December 17th, 2008
05:55 PM ET

Cheney to Rahm: Control Your VP

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Ed Henry
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

Vice President Cheney had some blunt - and humorous - advice for incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel at a private breakfast earlier this month.

"The best thing you can do is keep your VP under control," Cheney told Emanuel, according to three sources familiar with the White House meeting that had not been disclosed previously.

One of the sources, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the private meeting, said the room broke up in laughter because of Cheney's reputation for being a hard-charging Vice President.

The meeting was called by current White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, who decided to bring together 13 of his predecessors in the top job from both parties to try and offer Emanuel some bipartisan advice.

Among the attendees were Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, each of whom served as chief of staff to President Gerald Ford. Other attendees included former Clinton chiefs John Podesta and Leon Panetta.

The sources familiar with the meeting told CNN that Rumsfeld advised Emanuel not to think he's indispensable, and also told him that since it's a back-breaking job, he needs to identify his successor early. Rumsfeld's successor as Ford's chief of staff was Cheney, who joked with Emanuel about reigning in the Vice President.

But there's no joking about the specific contingency plans the Bush administration has prepared to help the incoming president deal with a potential national security crisis. Confirming a story first reported by The New York Times, transition officials say the White House has put together specific plans on how to deal with anything ranging from a terror strike on U.S. assets overseas to a nuclear blow-up in North Korea.

"The struggle against terror will be a generational conflict, one that will long continue beyond my presidency," Bush said Wednesday during a speech at the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania. "As my administration leaves office next month, we will leave behind the institutions and tools the country needs to prevail in the long struggle ahead."

Filed under: Dick Cheney • Ed Henry • Raw Politics
December 17th, 2008
04:43 PM ET

Preacher says he is divine, vows to fight $2m divorce judgment

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Patrick Oppmann
CNN Miami

He tells his followers he is God.

But Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda’s wife disagreed and was awarded a $2.2 million divorce judgment.

It may seem unusual for a church leader to claim he is divine and then go through a messy, public divorce, but De Jesus’ church has always been, well, unique.

His followers, many of whom are Hispanic and have left the Catholic Church for his take on Christianity, believe that he is both the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and the anti-Christ. Dozens of his followers in South Florida and in Latin America have had 666 –the number associated with the anti-Christ—tattooed on their bodies as a sign of their beliefs.

De Jesus tells the people who believe in him that there is no sin and that they are members of a “super race.”

One of those believers was De Jesus’ second wife Josefina Torres. But Torres told CNN in an interview that after five years of marriage she began to see through her husband and spiritual leader.

“It was like seeing a magician perform and then going backstage and you learn how he does the trick,” Torres said in Spanish.


Filed under: Patrick Oppmann • Religion
December 17th, 2008
04:26 PM ET

Nazi Cold Cases

Brian Todd
CNN Correspondent

Editor's Note: This story is part of newly-released documents from the Office of Special Investigations, a unit of the Justice Department created in the 70’s to track down war criminals, prosecute them and get them extradited.

A chilling account of a Nazi police commander who thought he’d escaped to America free and clear after committing atrocities in eastern Europe during World War II. For decades, he lived in obscurity in New England until a dogged American prosecutor tracked him down. CNN's Brian Todd takes a look at what one prosecutor calls the "ultimate cold case."

December 17th, 2008
04:19 PM ET

Finding a connection to Judaism during the Eid

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Eboo Patel
Executive Director, Interfaith Youth Core

He reminds me of my son.

That was my first thought when I saw the picture of Moshe Holtzberg — 2 years old, dark eyes, full lips — wearing a green shirt, clutching an orange ball and wailing "Dada."

My almost-2-year-old son just learned how to say "Dada." He walks around the house and claps his hands and repeats "Dada" in his own peculiar toddler rhythm. When I leave for work in the morning, he sometimes reaches for me and wails "Dada" with a tinge of sadness in his voice.

But not like Moshe's sadness. His parents are gone to God. They are not coming back. They were ripped from Moshe by terrorists who perversely believed that Islam is a totalitarian faith, a faith defined by destroying diversity. Mumbai, the city they attacked, is defined by its diversity — a masala of cultures that included Moshe's family of Hasidic Jews from Brooklyn.


Filed under: Eboo Patel • Islam • Religion
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