December 26th, 2008
09:43 PM ET

Live blog from the anchor desk 12/26/08

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Here's how you can be a part of tonight's program. Just scroll down and share your thoughts on the headlines.

Just follow our rules. Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book)
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (we don't like screaming)
3) Use your real name

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
December 26th, 2008
07:41 PM ET

Beat 360° 12/26/08

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:

Local company staff, dressed as Santa Claus, ride motorcycles in downtown Hanoi, Vietnam on December 24, 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.


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 26th, 2008
05:32 PM ET

Jeb in the Senate?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/16/art.jebbush1.gi.jpg caption="Florida Governor Jeb Bush eyes a seat in the Senate."]
Jennifer Rubin

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush seems poised to run for Senate. For many conservatives that is welcome news. For the Bush-haters and immigration reform opponents, not so much.

So far, it appears that incumbent Sen. Mel Martinez would complete his term. That would seem to be a fine idea for at least two reasons. First, it would separate Jeb Bush from the dynastic appointment epidemic which is both distasteful and potentially harmful to the 2010 re-election prospects of those elevated without benefit of an election. Second, it will allow him to critique the progress of the new administration and the Democratic Congress over the next two years. If we don’t stage a miraculous recovery and the Obama administration’s plans don’t work out quite as planned, Bush and other 2010 challengers will be in an ideal spot.


Filed under: Jennifer Rubin • Raw Politics
December 26th, 2008
04:52 PM ET

First Lady: A job worth a paycheck

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/06/18/michelle.obama/art.obama.afp.gi.jpg caption="President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama."]
Lauren Stiller Rikleen
The Washington Post

First lady. First mom. Mom in chief. No - none of these titles works. And therein lies the problem.

When Michelle Obama moves into the White House, she will inherit a title with no job description as the world watches to see how she performs. So far, media coverage has focused on what she will not be doing - she is taking a sabbatical from her paid career. Obama has described her major role upon entering the White House as that of a mother wanting to help her daughters adjust to their changed lives as children of the president of the United States.

Media reports have focused on her Ivy League pedigree and her distinguished career as a lawyer and hospital administrator. By giving up her paid position, the argument goes, she has relinquished the opportunity to be the role model in chief for working mothers. But this thinking underestimates the intricate role of first lady, which will call on all of the skills she has developed as a working professional.


December 26th, 2008
03:47 PM ET

RNC chair candidate sends out controversial Obama song

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A candidate for Republican National Committee chairman said Friday it was clear the content of a CD he sent committee members for Christmas — that included lyrics from a song called “Barack the Magic Negro” — was intended as a joke.

“I think most people recognize political satire when they see it,” Chip Saltsman told CNN. “I think RNC members understand that.” Saltsman, a former chair of the Tennessee Republican Party, was a top advisor to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and managed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign.

The song, set to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon,” was first played on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show in 2007. Its title was drawn from a Los Angeles Times column about Obama’s appeal to those who feel guilty about the nation’s history of mistreatment of African-Americans. Saltsman said the song, penned by long-time friend Paul Shanklin, should be easily recognized as satire directed at the Times.

The parody CD sent to RNC members this Christmas, first reported by The Hill Friday, is titled “We Hate the USA”, and includes songs referencing former presidential John Edwards and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, among other targets.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Raw Politics
December 26th, 2008
03:27 PM ET

In memoriam: Samuel P. Huntington

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Editor's Note: Political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, author of The Clash of Civilizations, has died. In 2001, Robert D. Kaplan profiled Huntington for the Atlantic, assessing his thinking about Islam and the West.

Robert D. Kaplan
The Atlantic

The most memorable review that Samuel Phillips Huntington, the Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor at Harvard, ever got was a bad one. "Imagine," Huntington recalled recently, sitting in his home on Boston's Beacon Hill. "The first review of my first book, and the reviewer compares me unfavorably to Mussolini." He blinked and squinted shyly through his eyeglasses. Huntington, seventy-four, speaks in a serene and nasal voice, the East Bronx modified by high Boston. He described how the reviewer, Matthew Josephson, writing in the left-wing opinion magazine The Nation, had ridiculed the militarism and "brutal sophistries" of The Soldier and the State and had sneered that Mussolini's sentiments had been similar though his words had more panache: "Believe, obey, fight!"


Filed under: Raw Politics • Robert D. Kaplan
December 26th, 2008
02:55 PM ET

Are we becoming a nation of wussies?

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Susan Lee

One of the quite reasonable fears about government bailouts is that they encourage moral hazard. Why not engage in risky behavior if there are no consequences? Yet, as the government spends hundreds of billions to bail out some awesomely stupid activities, all signs point the other way.

Reckless behavior has almost disappeared from the financial landscape, sure. But so has a lot of reasonable behavior. And this may create a massive problem. What if, as conditions worsen, reasonable risk-taking totally disappears? What if we're transformed from a nation of risk-takers into a nation of wussies?


Filed under: Economy • Susan Lee
December 26th, 2008
02:48 PM ET

Clinton’s exit could leave fundraising hole for Dems

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Kevin Bogardus
The Hill

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) move to the Department of State could remove a significant fundraiser for Democrats.

Clinton, whom President-elect Obama has nominated as secretary of State, has raised and contributed millions of dollars to candidates and party committees since her election in 2000, and the former first lady has never been shy in traveling around the country to lend her fame to fellow Democrats.

“If you were organizing an event with her, you know you can put a number next to her name because of her star power and network,” said Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist. “Up until you had Obama, she was in a category all by herself.”


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Kevin Bogardus • Raw Politics
December 26th, 2008
02:43 PM ET

Barack be good

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/26/obama.holiday/art.obamaxmas.gi.jpg caption="President-elect Obama shakes hands with troops having Christmas dinner at a military base in Hawaii."]
Paul Krugman
The New York Times

Times have changed. In 1996, President Bill Clinton, under siege from the right, declared that “the era of big government is over.” But President-elect Barack Obama, riding a wave of revulsion over what conservatism has wrought, has said that he wants to “make government cool again.”

Before Mr. Obama can make government cool, however, he has to make it good. Indeed, he has to be a goo-goo.

Goo-goo, in case you’re wondering, is a century-old term for “good government” types, reformers opposed to corruption and patronage. Franklin Roosevelt was a goo-goo extraordinaire. He simultaneously made government much bigger and much cleaner. Mr. Obama needs to do the same thing.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Economy • Paul Krugman • Raw Politics
December 26th, 2008
12:34 PM ET

The Buzz: Santa Shooter

Penny Manis
AC360 Senior Producer

For those of you celebrating Christmas, we at AC360 hope you had a great one yesterday.

This year brought one of the most challenging holiday shopping seasons in decades for retailers. A weak economy is to blame of course, and the weather didn't help. Retailers want some help from the Federal Govt next year, and they aren't the only ones. Tom Foreman and Joe Johns will tell us more tonight.

We’ll have the latest from Los Angeles on the unbelievable so-called “Santa shooter.” A man showed up to a Christmas Eve party dressed in a Santa Claus outfit and proceeded to walk through the home shooting off 2 semi-automatic handguns and starting a fire.

People were jumping out of windows on both floors trying to escape. This sounds like a scene from a bad horror flick but unfortunately it happened in real life. Police will hold a press conference and David Mattingly will have this report.

Today is the 4 year anniversary of the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami that killed more than 223,000 people and struck multiple countries. Victims were honored in Asia where folks burned candles, prayed and shared meals on beaches from Indonesia to India.

For many, this was a time of reflection on life and progress in rebuilding homes wiped out by the killer waves. Anderson at the time had flown out there to cover this story, we’ll offer a glimpse back at the dramatic scenes he witnessed.

Pakistan troops have reportedly moved to the Indian border amid fears of an Indian ground incursion. Pakistan has been on high alert ever since the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last month, in anticipation of a possible conflict with India, because India believes that the 10 men who carried out the attacks were trained at a terror camp in the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir.

The US has been in close contact with both sides since the Mumbai attacks to try to avoid Pakistan-Indian tensions. Nic Robertson and Peter Bergen will have more on this story.

And let’s not forget our President-Elect-he is in Hawaii, and our Ed Henry follows his moves. There are worse assignments during a holiday week than reporting from Hawaii so even if P-E Obama doesn’t make news tonight, we may still have to do a live shot with Ed if only to get a background scene of that sun and beach so he can make us all jealous and we can live vicariously through him.

All the above and more tonight, see u then!

Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
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