January 16th, 2009
11:31 PM ET

Tough call: Stand with Obama or the people you represent

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Dana Bash
CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent

Even Barack Obama's most ardent Senate supporters tell CNN, voting to give him 350-billion dollars more for a bailout their constituents despise, was wrenching. Says Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Democrat from Minnesota, "It's easy to vote against this." She continues: "You know if you go home, to vote to help [Mister] Obama get this money, there is not going to be a parade waiting for you.

But vote for it she did. She's one of many senators the President-elect called to pitch personally. To pitch and to promise that thistime taxpayer money will be better spent.

"He's talking to a lot of us," Sen. Klobuchar says, "about how important it is to give him the tools he needs to tackle this financial crisis."

"He's also acknowledged the horrible mistakes made by the past administration," she adds.

In fact it went beyond phone-calls. Senators demanded written assurances Mister Obama would address those mistakes.. and got letters promising more transparency and accountability on how he will use bailout funds.

Democratic Senators say it was Team Obama's full-court press that scored a crucial victory on such a controversial issue.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Dana Bash • Raw Politics
January 16th, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 1/16/09

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Want to share your thoughts on the stories we're covering tonight? You're in the right location. Just scroll down and post your comments.

Want to know what we're covering tonight? Read EVENING BUZZ

Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you 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 (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

We're so tech savy here at AC360°. At least, we like to think we are these days. So, we've got more goodies for you.

It's "Floorcrew Friday". WhooHoo! See what they're up on the webcast during the commericals. Watch our WEBCAST

And take a look at our live web camera from the 360° studio. Watch the WEBCAM

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
January 16th, 2009
08:49 PM ET

A plane bobbing in the river, and what it means

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/01/16/hudson.plane.crash/art.battery.gi.jpg caption="The disabled Airbus A320 is nearly submerged Friday as it is moored near New York's Battery Park City."]
Brian Vitagliano
CNN Field Producer

When news of a “plane down” in the Hudson River broke, everyone in the CNN New York Newsroom went into breaking news mode. From the Bureau Chief to producers to news assistants everyone picked up the phones and the coordination began. Being a CNN field producer I was eager to get out of the door and start reporting, I also knew the temperature was in the teens and wind chills in the single digits. With producers, reporters and live trucks dispatched to the scene and to various hospitals around the city, I wanted to make myself as useful as possible.

I picked up my gear - a Sony A1U video camera, Apple Mac Book and a wireless Air Card - and headed out the door. Often when you’re a one man/woman band you are able to be more nibble and find access to places and people a larger crew may not. At first I didn’t think it was that cold, but when I got to 43rd street and the West Side Highway, the wind whipping off the Hudson just cut right through me. My first thought was, how are these passengers going to survive without frostbite and, most frightening, hypothermia. I maneuvered through EMS, OEM, NYPD and FDNY trucks and tape to the pier where some of the passengers of flight 1549 were being treated and then taken to the hospital.

Our CNN live truck was further down the West Side Highway and cabling to my location for a live signal was not possible. With my hands getting numb I attempted setting up my DNG (Digital News Gathering) equipment up for live capability. It's essentially a laptop that can transmit to a satellite. Albert Lewitinn, a senior producer for Campbell Brown's "No Bias No Bull" was actually off yesterday, but being the solid journalist he is, he heard the news and made his way down to the site to lend a hand. I had Albert grab the camera as I worked the laptop, trying to lock a signal into CNN Headquarters in Atlanta. When you are covering a breaking news story no matter how big or small the story – time is of the essence. The bitter cold and driving wind made everything more difficult and time consuming. Eventually I got a clean signal into Atlanta and began to stream live video of passengers being escorted into ambulances. It was chaotic and it seemed as if every New Yorker with a still camera or video camera was on the scene trying to capture their own bit of news.


Filed under: Brian Vitagliano
January 16th, 2009
08:37 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Plane's Engines MIA

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/01/16/hudson.plane.crash/art.battery.gi.jpg caption= "The disabled Airbus A320 is nearly submerged Friday as it is moored near New York's Battery Park City."]
Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight we'll have the latest developments on the plane that plunged into the Hudson River. We learned today that the Airbus 320 is missing both engines. They are somewhere on the river bottom, apparently they fell off after impact on the water.

The engines are vital to the investigation. We'll tell you what will be done to retrieve them.

We also have new details on the heroic pilot who landed the plane on the river. C.B. "Sully" Sullenberger spoke with both President Bush and President-elect Obama today. And his wife spoke to the media, calling her husband "a very humble guy."

She also talked about the call she got from him after the splash landing. "When he called and said there had been an incident. You know I thought he had,you know, run into something in the parking lot out of the airport," said Lorrie Sullenberger.

Tonight we'll also show you what Capt. Sullenberger may have faced inside the cockpit. 360's Gary Tuchman strapped himself into a flight simulator to get a sense of what it might have been like on U.S. Airways Flight 1549.

And, don't miss John King's CNN exclusive interview with President-elect Obama, four days before the inauguration. They cover everything from his date with history to whether he'll keep his blackberry and how his kids are taking it all.

Those stories and more tonight on AC360°.
Join us at 10pm ET.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
January 16th, 2009
08:32 PM ET

Bill Clinton, not Eric Holder, takes the big hit

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/15/holder.hearings/art.holder.thu.gi.jpg caption="Attorney General-designate Eric Holder told senators Thursday that he learned from the Rich pardon incident."]
Terry Frieden
CNN Justice Department Producer

From my perch in the Senate hearing room the past two days, I was surprised to see the promised grilling of Attorney General designate Eric Holder largely fizzle, while the criticism of former President Bill Clinton almost sizzled.

Sure, a couple of Republican Senators tried to rough up Holder over his handling of the highly controversial pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich. But the pardon on that final day of the Clinton presidency was, after all, granted by Holder's boss in the Oval Office. Holder was then merely a lieutenant–the second-ranking official at Justice under Janet Reno.

Democrats and supportive witnesses leaped to Holder's defense. Nobody, however, even once tried to excuse the former President for granting the pardon. He seemed to be a man without a party.

Holder apologized all over the place for botching his role and not trying to stop the pardon. Holder helped disarm his Republican critics with his repeated admissions. He hadn't been familiar with the details. He didn't know Mrs. Rich had given President Clinton lots of money for his library. And perhaps worst, Holder didn't consult his own prosecutors and law enforcement professionals.

"It is something where I made mistakes and I learned from those mistakes," Holder said.

Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy was right there to catch him. "And of course the pardon was issued by President Clinton, not by you," Leahy said.

Nobody disagreed. Clinton was the shameful culprit.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Raw Politics • Terry Frieden
January 16th, 2009
08:16 PM ET

Wait, the other engine's gone, too?!

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David Mattingly | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

The biggest surprise today from the investigation of the "Miracle on the Hudson" is that BOTH engines of the crippled Airbus 320 are missing.

Originally we heard only one had been sheered from the jet's left wing. But divers today confirmed that indeed both engines are gone.

A Coast Guard crew gave us a quick ride to where the plane is secured. You can see in the photograph behind me, there isn't much to look at. Ice was forming under one wing that is rising up above the water.

One inflatable rescue ramp is still attached and floating. But most of the plane is submerged. This is a problem.

The NTSB investigators can't retrieve the black boxes (located underwater in the rear of the aircraft) until salvage crews lift the damaged jet onto a barge. That is supposed to happen tomorrow.

Until then, this is all we get to see.

Filed under: David Mattingly
January 16th, 2009
07:47 PM ET

Media Mania – the poem

Elaine Jackson
CNN viewer

Media mania America's agents of free speech
With up to date headlines within our reach
There was ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC
CNN with full coverage on your TV
America's race for President became quite a sensation
For two years it was the interest of the entire Nation
Around the clock the cameras were rolling
Keeping up with numbers of the polling
Wolf Blitzer was the all time favorite for me
The Situation Room was a great place to be
I give a hearty shout out to all the ladies too
You added a touch of special to what you do
I couldn't miss 360 with Anderson Cooper
Most assuredly I think he was super
Count on a twist of humor from Jeanne Moos
Dan Rather reigns at the helm of the pros
Ed Bradley, Peter Jennings and Tim
The media world is still missing them
Newspapers and magazines get honorable mention
If I didn't say your name it was not by intention
Political news coverage; the media did it all
My count of a winner is too close to call
It's been great tuning in with you each day
Thanks for allowing a poet to have her say

Editor's note: Click here to see Elaine Jackson's other poems .

Filed under: 360° Radar
January 16th, 2009
07:10 PM ET

Follow that presidential train! (Not)

Program Note: Tune in to see more about President-elect Barack Obama's train trip tonight on AC360° 10pm ET.

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Mike Ahlers
CNN Producer

Pilots, do you want to see Barack Obama's train trip from the air?

Well, we hate to disappoint. But the Federal Aviation Administration is establishing "moving" flight restrictions that will prevent private pilots, news helicopters, balloonists and others from getting anywhere near the train, which will retrace Abraham Lincoln's 1861 trip from Philadelphia to Washington.

The FAA has established two concentric rings of restrictions, with the center being the location of the Obama train. The most severe restrictions are in the inner most ring which has a 10 nautical mile radius. This ring is limited almost exclusively to planes or helicopters providing security for the president-elect and his entourage.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Inauguration
January 16th, 2009
06:55 PM ET

Beat 360° 1/16/09

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:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets with President-elect Barack Obama's Secretary of State nominee Hillary Clinton at the State Department in Washington January 15, 2009.

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
January 16th, 2009
06:49 PM ET

So help me God

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Ted Widmer
The American Scholar

The kabuki of the typical inaugural can be broken down into specific set pieces; the thoughts arranged in a comforting sequence that would have been instantly familiar one hundred, even two hundred, years ago.

1. I am not worthy of this great honor.
2. But I congratulate the people that they elected me.
3. Now we must all come together, even those of us who really hate each other.
4. I love the Constitution, the Union, and George Washington.
5. I will work against bad threats.
6. I will work for good things.
7. We must avoid entangling alliances.
8. America’s strength = democracy.
9. Democracy’s strength = America.
10. Thanks, God.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Raw Politics • Ted Widmer
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