March 11th, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 03/11/09

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Tonight on AC360°, recession news flash: the rich are getting poorer. Just hours ago, Forbes magazine published its 2009 list of the world’s top billionaires. The take-away: there are fewer of them, and their fortunes are shrinking. It’s not a story that will generate much sympathy. We get that. But it’s still an interesting look at the recession’s reach. We’ll tell you who has lost the most and who has fallen the furthest. Tonight we want to keep the live blog on this one topic. So, please share your thoughts with us.

And, don't miss Erica Hill's webcast on billionaires during the commercials. Watch our WEBCAST

Want to know what else 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 $#&*)

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

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
soundoff (395 Responses)
  1. Joe Neal

    If the Republicans were REALLY interested in stopping ear marks why didn't they just delete their 40% that belonged to the REPUBLICANS???? HYPOCRITS!!!!!!

    March 11, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  2. Sharon S

    I think Obama should have not have signed it! I think he needs to stand up to all of those who push for earmarks and stupid overspending! He needs to make a stand sometime why not now?

    March 11, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  3. Kathy

    Wow, who knew that he would have to deal with reality?

    March 11, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  4. Joanna

    About the Alabama killer, you spend so much time with WHY he did it. How about HOW he did it? We should see examples of the weapons that were used in order to make this real to people. We keep asking the wrong question.The NRA insists people need to have guns and assault weapons. This is what happens. It was the same with the Virginia Tech killings. All the media asked was about the mental state of the shooter, as if this is just a mental health topic. As a result, this violence keeps happening.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  5. ericacnn

    Hi, everyone.

    @ Maren, I agree re: the Deputy. I am in awe of his composure

    March 11, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  6. Sabrina

    The President signed the stimulus bill in public because that is his bill. This Omnibus bill was from last year. The Republicans had 40% of earmarks in this bill as well. I like his stance going forward for all bills that are started and created under him.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  7. Diane Santorico

    As we ask ourselves, 'how does this happen?' think - budget cuts to education over the last 8 years. As an elementary school teacher I see students every year who exhibit signs of antisocial behavior, depression, anger, etc. And every year I watch the resources to help these children and their families disappear while the buracracy and red tape increase to the point that these children fall through the cracks; until we see them years later on Cnn.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  8. Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    @David Gergen: To have 8,570 earmarks incorporated into a spending bill seems obnoxious. I can only "hope" that they are at least worth the spend. Considering how some of the earmarks came from the Republicans, I'm surprised Pres. Obama didn't veto the bill. Seems like the Obama Administration is wearing out the "I inherited" excuse. That shall soon pass and then the proof will be in the pudding as we move forward....

    March 11, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  9. Helen, Reading, UK

    Hello Anderson, Erica and team, greetings from the other side of the pond! It's just gone 2am here, so I'll keep it brief. Such a terrible waste of life over the last couple of days in Alabama and Germany. I guess we'll never know what drives people to commit these unthinkable acts of violence against each other. Keep up your good work, I wish the shows over here were as interesting and informative! While I'm here, I should say hi to the best bloggers, Megan, Esma, Rikki, Betty Ann, Pati Mc, Presley, Gayle, Vanessa, Cristy, Chris and Glen! Hope I've not left anyone out, if I forgot you, apologies. Off to sleep now, goodnight all..

    March 11, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  10. EJ (USA)

    I personally don't care about these earmarks. I can't believe it became such a center of both campaigns.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  11. Lauren--NY

    Erica, your mic is on, sweetie. We can hear you. 🙂

    March 11, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  12. Mike Syracuse, NY

    @Michelle, 'mostly written during the Bush administration' means written by Congress during the Bush administration. Congress was controlled by Democrats last year too! Obama just showed he can be bullied. Our foreign enemies will take note.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  13. Michelle D . Fonthill. Ont

    How could he have qiut his job and then felf depresed that he didn't have ajob or havem ade more of himself/ i don't understand unless he felt that the career he wanted was out of reach but it's warped reality he was thinking.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  14. Rikki, Fargo, ND

    Hi Mr. Gergen! Welcome to the blog this evening! I really think that President Obama's pledge to get rid of earmarks is going to be a difficult one to honor. I did think that he did the right thing in signing this bill. We do need to spend money to get this economy going and when the recession is over we can worry about earmarks.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  15. Heather

    Hi everyone i just wanted to thank Anderson for the coverage of the shootings in Alabama I am from Samson I dated Michael when we were kids and would have never expected something like this from him i knew most of the victims and there families and it is tragic please keep us in your thoughts and prayers

    March 11, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  16. Rafael

    Hey Erica so that Forbes list you mentioned is about billion airs but whats the problem with them are they like loosing money or something. I am confused Forbes have a new list all the time.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  17. Bobby

    I don't understand why people are having hard time understanding that we all are here (on this earth) for time being and we all have to go back again so why not live in peace and help others...

    March 11, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  18. Carmella

    I really don't feel the earmark situation is much of a story. He didn't sign it because he is President, and he has the power. He doesn't owe anyone an explanation.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  19. Lisa L

    Good evening Anderson,

    I value your commentary and understand a good way is to look at remuneration geared for keeping businesses going.


    Lisa L
    Sydney, Australia

    March 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  20. Lauren--NY

    Good question, Minou.

    Mr. Gergen, I do think the president should veto this bill. I'm a huge supporter of his, but why make all these comments about how you had nothing to do with this bill, it was the previous congress, etc...his hands are not tied. Veto the bill if you don't like it.

    Erica, good point on the webcast...even if we don't have any amount of sympathy for these billionaires, *because* of their net worth they are a useful microcosm in that they represent how powerful this recession really is. The numbers may be useful, even if the people aren't.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  21. Lori from IL

    It was so sad to see the officer clutching the photos of his wife and 18 month old daughter. I can't even imagine his pain. My heart goes out to all those affected by this terrible incident in Alabama.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  22. Chris Sosa - Boston, MA

    @David – Given the circumstances, I think he made a pretty solid decision. His only mistake was making promises he either can't (or didn't intend to) keep. Earmarks simply aren't the most pressing issue at this juncture.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  23. Linda

    Hello David

    Well thats was a real dilemia for the Pres. I would guess in some ways he does have to please the base and he didn't look happy doing it during his speech today. But it was last years issues, and I felt he didn't have much choice in the matter to avoid a fight in Congress.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  24. Gary

    End the war – NOT; No lobbyists in the administration – NOT; Transparency in the administration – NOT; legislation to be on the WH web site for a week before he signs it – NOT. How many more broken promises?

    March 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  25. Tom from Philly

    @ David Gergen, the fact that the earmarks are the only truly bipartisan aspect of the goverment says volumes, the folks squalking have their own in the bill it sets up credibility to do as i say not as i do reputation the minority party is so good at.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  26. Tony, Cambridge, England

    It should be a criminal offence to own a gun , there is no reason to have guns, other than at Licensed Gun Clubs, where they should all be under lock and key when not being used. There may be a few cases that are the exception, but not many.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  27. Michelle D . Fonthill. Ont

    I konw Lori from Il you put your money under your matress that's whre there will be no interest charges guranteed.!

    March 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  28. Isabel, Brazil

    Hi, David, Indiana! 🙂

    March 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  29. Nattada, Houston, TX

    @Erica..It is disturbing to hear that people behind AIG and banks lost JUST a little during this recession.

    Well, compared to people out here who lost or almost lost everything, no food on table, no home, they really just lost a little bit, in my opinion.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  30. Larry

    Good evening Anderson & fellow bloggers,

    If the fellow who killed all those people in Alabama was acting out some 'warrior' behavior, as suggested by the forensic psychiatrist, that he was going for a revenge against a real or perceived injustice that happened a long time ago but that he had held onto; then I think there are going to be more of these killings as not everyone has put their anger behind them or sought out professional help. It has to make a lot of people worried about how they treated people, even many years ago and that they themselves have forgotten all about.

    God help us all.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  31. Teresa

    @ Kit: ty for telling us that. I think the fact that he took out his family first was a "tell" that his family had hurt him somehow. While what he did is awful, I knew there had to be a reason for his snapping.

    People dont understand the damage they do when dealing with emotional, gentle souls.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  32. Maren in Oregon

    "compettive bidding?" Now that's a concept unheard of in the last 8 years!

    March 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  33. Saam Adams

    I just don't understand that with every murderous rampage that happens, not one single reporter or person has brought up the fact that this is a gun control issue (especially with the whole automatic weapons)...are we all that afraid of taking on the N.R.A.?

    March 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  34. Esma

    @ David G (His Awesomeness)– I would want a copy of the earmarks before I jump in with an answer. Seriously, I'd read it.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  35. Minou, New York City

    it's not that this kind of tragedy happens all the time (especially not in Gernamy, tho it'd happened before). So people are shocked and outraged and want to make sense of it by getting information. It should be discussed so we can eventually change laws.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  36. Mike Syracuse, NY

    I guess Congress is really our President. We clearly haven't got one in the White House.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  37. Glen Up North

    David, here's my 2 cents on the "Earmark" issue. Congress reform is a "work in progress". If anyone thought the President (or any person, for that matter), could transform government overnight, I feel they were dreaming. Had Obama gone "no earmarks" from the beginning, I believe it would have been highly likely the bill would _not_ have passed. As I recall, both sides were giving the President problems, and neither was "sold" on the Stimulus spending per se. And as I see it, Obama had several choices: a) accept earmarks in order to win over the Democrats, b) accept to lower taxes in order to win over the Republicans (in theory, if at all possible), or c) stick to his guns and pray the bill pass. I think he chose the lesser of two evils. And to repeat a well-worn phrase (though paraphrased), one person's earmark is another's lifeline.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  38. FAWN

    If the shooter is AL had some old anger and was a wanna be cop, why would he kill his family,and not just go random?

    March 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  39. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    To David Gergen-

    I think President Obama is playing the politics of the Hill right now. He has to pick his battles, and their are bigger ones coming up for him like healthcare where he'll need those people. Principles don't always beat out practicality.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  40. Barbara Pacheco, Gaffney, SC

    @ David G.

    Don't you believe that about 80% of the governments spending is earmark spending? Lets face it. Any money the government spends beyond its operating costs is an earmark.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  41. Maren in Oregon

    @ David Gergen, again: President Obama's statement at the beginning of his talk about earmarks was right. However, not all "earmarks" are bad. We need to get away from blanket tags, and speak of things as they trully are. A line item veto is the only way. Hopefully the administration can find it's way around the Supreme Court's restrictions.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  42. Casey Jones - Palm Springs, CA

    Staff-somebody left the mic open on the web cast.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  43. jennifer

    disappointed that pres obama signed the bill.

    shootings are scary stuff. truly sad. my thoughts and prayers are with all of the survivors and families.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  44. Bea

    @David Gergen. First, I demand a picture for your posts! Can't Anderson get you one? The president knows when to hold them and when to fold them.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  45. Monica M. Williams

    Presidential Earmark Diet: Obama’s didn’t just consume pork today by signing the bill; he took in a heaping of crow as well.

    I’m sure he realized it was better to eat the meal than to create a stand and upset the cook. After all, he will need to visit the table again. Upon that repeat visit, I’m sure he’s banking on the chef adhering to his dietary request.

    Looking great AC. I like the blue suit color combos. : )

    March 11, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  46. Michelle D . Fonthill. Ont

    Hi to Megan !how are you ?
    I think the shooting rampages are so heartbreaking and terrifying. I can't imagine the grief the families are going through now .

    March 11, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  47. David, Indiana

    Hi Anderson, Erica, Megan, Chris S., Isabel. It's terrible to hear about this man in Alabama, he must have been alone in a major way. Heartbreaking for the sherrif's deputy who lost his wife and daughter. It's difficult to understand this.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  48. Tom from Philly

    Well, what we need is earmark reform, not elimination, and if this bill had gone back for debate, we would have had gridlock wasted time, everyone wants the govt to focus on the economy, so why gridlock it debating last year's unfinnished business. i bet most of those earmarks will create jobs anyway

    March 11, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  49. Mike Syracuse, NY

    This voice vote was absolutely cowardly by Congress.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  50. Esma

    @ Erica–I'm proud to say that I'm still a thousandaire, and I don't totally feel bad for the billionaires, if they cut back like the rest of us, I'm sure they'll find a way to survive.

    March 11, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
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