January 28th, 2009
11:30 AM ET

Morning Buzz: House Votes, Ted Haggard Talks

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Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

Today on Capital Hill, the House will vote on President Barack Obama’s $825 billion dollar stimulus plan. Despite meetings with Republicans yesterday to get them on board they remain unconvinced and want to see more tax cuts and less ‘wasteful spending’ (as they see it) in this bill. The stimulus plan is expected to pass on a party line vote today, and Ed Henry will have the latest.

Ali Velshi has been breaking down different parts of the bill for us all week so we can understand what is in it, and tonight he’ll explain the healthcare provisions put forward in this stimulus plan.

President Obama visits generals at the Pentagon today, and the military missions in Iraq and Afghanistan will be on the agenda. It’s his first visit to the Pentagon since he took office.

Seems Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has his own advice: he is demanding that President Obama apologize for the “crimes committed against Iran by the US over the past 60 years” and says our new President should withdraw US troops from around the world as proof of his policy of change. Something tells me Prez Obama will take this advice with a grain of salt.

A new report about America’s infrastructure is out today, and the American Society of Civil Engineers gives our nation’s infrastructure a “D”. They say water sewage systems are ‘dreadful’ and it would take 2 trillion dollars to fix America’s roads, bridges and public transit systems. Tom Foreman will have this report.

Ted Haggard is back in the news this week given a HBO documentary airing Thursday about his time in exile and attempts to rebuild his life. Haggard was the popular founder of the New Life Church and a spiritual superstar in the Christian community until 2006 when a male prostitute went public about his trysts with Haggard and he ‘fell from grace’.

Now a former church volunteer at New Life named Grant Haas has come forward with more allegations against Haggard. He says Haggard performed a sex act in front of him and sent him illicit text messages. Apparently Haas and the church reached a settlement years ago that included a confidentiality agreement (aka: hush money to some). David Mattingly will have the latest.

And in other news, a giant winter storm is dumping ice, sleet and snow from Texas to the East Coast this morning. Hundreds of flights are grounded and cars are spinning in circles. Let me tell you, it’s a miracle I made it to work this morning. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve lost the appreciation for winter beauty. Where is that big yellow thing in the sky? Get home safely later tonight, curl up with some brandy or hot cocoa, and see you at 10pet!

Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
January 28th, 2009
11:25 AM ET

Focus on first 100 days is absurd

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Roland Martin
CNN Contributor

The new president has been in office one week and already the clock is ticking as to whether or not he can get a lot accomplished in the first 100 days of his presidency.

Did I miss the memo? I thought the presidency is a four-year term.

If you turn on television or radio, commentators, correspondents and talk show hosts are speaking in breathless tones about the need for President Barack Obama to get off to a fast start and show all kinds of accomplishments in the first 100 days.

And we are given the sense that if he hasn't signed a lot of major bills into law and issued a slew of important executive orders, then he will have failed.

Keep Reading...

January 28th, 2009
10:12 AM ET

The case for doing nothing

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Eamon Javers and Jim Vandehei

Most of Washington has reached quick consensus: Government must do something big to shock the economy, and it should cost between $800 billion and $900 billion.

But dissident economists and investment professionals offer a much different take: Most of Washington is dead wrong.

Instead of fighting over what should go in the economic stimulus bill, pitting infrastructure spending against tax cuts and contractors against contraceptives, they say lawmakers should be fighting against the very idea of any economic stimulus at all. Call them the Do-Nothing Crowd.


January 28th, 2009
09:37 AM ET

A growing number of "mini-Madoffs"

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/01/09/madoff.alexandra.penney/art.madoff.gi.jpg caption="Madoff is accused of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme through his investment company. He is free on bail."]

Leslie Wayne
The New York Times

Their names lack the Dickensian flair of Bernie Madoff, and the money they apparently stole from investors was a small fraction of the $50 billion that Mr. Madoff allegedly lost of his clients’ savings.

But the number of other people who have been caught running Ponzi schemes in recent weeks is adding up quickly, so much so that they have earned themselves a nickname: mini-Madoffs.

Some of these schemes have been operating for years, and others are of more recent vintage. But what is causing them to surface now appears to be a combination of a deteriorating economy and heightened skepticism about outsize returns after the revelations about Mr. Madoff. That can scare off new clients and cause longtime investors to demand their money back, which brings the charade tumbling down.


January 28th, 2009
09:18 AM ET

The Shot: Presidential jokester

Former presidents Bush and Clinton trade jokes in Louisiana.

Filed under: T1 • The Shot
January 28th, 2009
09:01 AM ET

Dear President Obama #9: Watch out for the Old Guard

Reporter's Note: In the spirit of good citizenship, and because it’s nice to be needed, I am answering the President’s call for ideas from the public about how to run America. Not that I actually have ideas, but still…

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

When I covered city hall in my cub reporter days, there was old guy on the town council who almost never said anything. Raging debates would break out over heated issues, the pressure would build for hours, and a vote would finally be called. Then this old guy, who opposed pretty much everything, would say, “Mr. Chairman, I have point of order.” He would cite some arcane rule that made it impossible for the measure to be voted on that day; the issue would be tabled, and more often than not, it would die before it could be brought up again.

The moral is simple: A patient old man with a rule book can often rip the rug out from under a smart young man with enthusiasm, and not even look like the bad guy.


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Filed under: First 100 Days • Letters to the President • Tom Foreman
January 28th, 2009
08:50 AM ET

One reason why Gitmo failed and (I hope) Obama won't

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David Danzig
For The Huffington Post

Soon after the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay was established to lock up "the most dangerous men in the world," Pentagon leadership put detention and interrogation operations under the command of Major General Geoffrey Miller, an infantry officer and artillery specialist.

"When he took over the facility, General Miller knew so little about questioning Al Qaeda suspects that he probably did not even know how to spell 'interrogation,'" one senior interrogator has told me.

The mistakes that were made at Guantanamo have made international headlines. Many were the result of poor policy decisions. Experienced interrogators were often left out of the decision making process or their suggestions were ignored, according to interrogators who worked at and evaluated interrogation and detention practices at Guantanamo Bay.


January 28th, 2009
08:27 AM ET

Muslim world reacts to Obama

CNN's Nic Roberston reports on the Arab response to President Obama's overtures.

Filed under: Islam • Middle East • Nic Robertson • President Barack Obama
January 28th, 2009
08:19 AM ET

Obama at the hill

CNN's Anderson Cooper talks with his panel about their reaction to President Obama going to meet with GOP on Capitol Hill.

January 28th, 2009
07:00 AM ET

Sound Off: Your comments 1/27/09

Editor's Note: Tuesday night’s edition of AC360° brought comments from many of you President Obama’s interview on Al-Arabiya TV, and the state of our economy (specifically related to the bailout money). Many people are still asking that the government give money to homeowners to counter foreclosures. Read some of what many of you had to say, then tell us what you think:

Last night's show was outstanding. Thanks you for focusing on Obama's important interview instead of the Blago circus. I hope you continue to make these choices going forward.

Anderson said he was glad people liked the decision to air Obama's interview yesterday. Well, I sure didn't like it. I welcome discussion and analysis, but when you air entire interviews (and repeat certain segments 2-3 times) it tells me you had nothing else to report, not that you thought the interview was that important


Filed under: Behind The Scenes
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