March 3rd, 2009
11:59 PM ET

Obama: A course correction needed?

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David Gergen | Bio
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Political Analyst

Barack Obama last week set forth the most ambitious reform agenda of any president since Lyndon Johnson, and a large majority of Americans have rallied behind him. Yet, as the economy continues its downward plunge, the question arises: in trying to do so many big things at once, is he putting economic hopes at growing risk?

The arguments in favor of his current approach – what might be called a “big bang” – are powerful both substantively and politically. With health care costs exploding – they will average $8,160 per person this year and are estimated to reach $13,100 by 2018 – it is clear that reform of health care is a key to long-term economic strength. Similarly, the embrace of a low-carbon, green economy should be the source of many new jobs and will also protect the planet. In both cases, the earlier reforms come, the better.


Filed under: David Gergen • Economy • President Barack Obama • Raw Politics
March 3rd, 2009
11:07 PM ET

On the Radar: Health Care Reform Minefields

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

Wednesday on 360°,  Joe Johns takes a close look at the health care reform battle looming in Washington.

President Obama says he can't fix the economy without fixing health care, but some worry that he may be biting off more than he can chew.

The last time Washington tried to enact a major overhaul of the health care system it didn't end well for the Clintons. Fast forward 15 years: Some of the same interest groups that resisted health care reform in 1994 are preparing to wage battle again.

In his radio address this weekend President Obama said he's ready for them. But how exactly will he avoid the mistakes made during Clinton years? And how will he convince the country that now is the right time to remake the health care system?

What do you think? Does health care reform have a better chance this time around? What kind of changes would you like to see? How big a priority is health care reform for you and your family?

See you Wednesday at 10 p.m. eastern.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Cate Vojdik
March 3rd, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 3/03/09

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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. This is where you can "chat" with Anderson and Erica during the program.

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 savvy here at AC360°. At least, we like to think we are these days. So, we've got more goodies for you.

Don't miss Erica Hill's webcast during the commercials. Watch our WEBCAST

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

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
March 3rd, 2009
06:24 PM ET

A question of motive

Editor’s Note: You can read more Jami Floyd blogs on “In Session.”

Jami Floyd
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

The verdict is in against Joseph Bearden. He was convicted of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Ryan Skipper. Lots of folks — good people with good intentions — want us to understand Ryan’s murder as a hate crime. But our job as lawyers is to look at all the facts, not just the ones that suit our personal political persuasions.

Yes, Ryan Skipper was gay; but his murder, like it or not, was about something else: Drugs. Specifically, it was about methamphetamine. But for meth, this murder wouldn’t have happened.

Methamphetamine manufacture and use is reaching epidemic proportions in this country. We don’t talk about it enough. In Bearden’s case alone, nearly every percipient witness was a dealer, user or both. To suggest that meth was not the motivating factor here is a disservice to the truth and, therefore, to Ryan’s memory.

That brings me to the trickier question of hate crime. Of course, it is always easier for friends and family to believe a victim was unknown to his killer–that he was not consorting with the likes of “Bill Bill” Brown and Joseph “Smiley” Bearden.

Anyone who works in criminal justice knows, however, that strangers rarely murder strangers. In this case, there is evidence that Ryan knew Bill Brown and knew him well, perhaps even intimately. Bill Brown and his associates clearly had issues with homosexuality, but Bill’s issues may have also been with his own sexuality, which makes the question of motive a lot more complicated than it appears at first blush. Social justice and criminal justice are not always the same.

Filed under: Hate Crime • Jami Floyd
March 3rd, 2009
06:05 PM ET

“If I were an aging white person”

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Dave Schechter
CNN Senior National Editor

“If I were an aging white person,” Ron Crouch begins provocatively, “I’d want to find some young black and Hispanic families and ask them how they’re doing because those young Hispanics and blacks will be taking my butt down the road” as they become the taxpayers and leaders of an increasingly multi-cultural America.

Age 62, Crouch is an aging white person and the road he’s talking about is his future and that of the 78 million baby boomers.

Crouch, director of the Kentucky State Data Center at the University of Louisville, travels the country speaking on trends in the American population. He fires machine-gun like bursts of population data as he talks about the years ahead. “The middle-aging, not the aging, of our population is now taking place. The aging of our population is a decade or more off,” says Crouch, explaining how elderly living longer, more than birth rates, will fuel growth in years ago come.


March 3rd, 2009
05:31 PM ET

Coast Guard set to end search for boaters

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The Coast Guard's search for three missing boaters, including two NFL players, will be called off at sundown Tuesday, Coast Guard Capt. Timothy Close said.

Close's announcement came a day after the Coast Guard rescued a fourth man who had been with the other three on a Saturday fishing trip off Florida's Gulf Coast.Still missing are Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, NFL free agent Corey Smith and former University of South Florida football player William Bleakley.


March 3rd, 2009
04:43 PM ET

Beat 360° 3/3/09

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:

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during morning trading March 3, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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
March 3rd, 2009
03:28 PM ET

Church deacon, soccer coach, father - bank robbery suspect

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Editor’s Note: Tune in tonight for a full report by David Mattingly on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

Steve Brusk

Bruce Windsor is known as many things: church deacon, soccer coach, father. But facing potential financial problems, he’s now known as something else: alleged bank robber.

Police say the 43-year-old owner of a real estate company walked into the Carolina First Bank in Greenville, South Carolina late Thursday with a mask and a handgun. In court documents filed Friday, police said he forced two bank employees into an office at gunpoint and demanded money. Police arrived minutes later with the suspect still inside, touching off a tense 90-minute standoff before he released the hostages and surrendered.

His actions were “out of character” for a man who has never been in trouble with the law before, according to family and friends. His tearful sister, defending him as he stood before a judge, said “he must have just snapped under the pressure”

In his initial appearance for a bond hearing, rather than the dress shirt he would wear to work, Windsor was in an orange jail jumpsuit, shackled and with his hands cuffed. In a quiet voice, he answered “yes, sir” as the judge explained the charges to him: two counts of kidnapping, one count of robbery, and two counts of pointing firearms at a person, charges that could carry more than 30 years in prison if convicted.

A detective told the judge Windsor said he had been experiencing financial problems. But police spokesman Corporal Jason Rampey told CNN they could not yet say for certain if money problems were the motive for the alleged robbery.

Attorney Sidney Mitchell told the judge he was “a model citizen, up until yesterday, and we’ve obviously got a lot of talking to do with him”. Mitchell said he had been married for 16 years, and had four children. His oldest child is 11.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Steve Brusk
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