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March 25th, 2009
09:45 AM ET

No oversight at AIG – or just bad Oversight?

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Scott Spoerry
Senior Producer, CNN Washington

When Ben Bernanke told the Senate Budget Committee that American International Group (AIG) "exploited a huge gap in the regulatory system” and that “there was no oversight of the Financial Products division," it seemed to make sense. The Federal Reserve Chairman went on to say, "This was a hedge fund basically that was attached to a large and stable insurance company."

If nobody was keeping an eye on them, well no wonder it blew up.

But it turns out Mr. Bernanke was not quite accurate when he said “no oversight.” He made that statement on March 3rd.

Just two days later a man hardly anybody has ever heard of explained to yet another Senate committee that - hold the presses - there WAS a regulator for the Financial Products unit of AIG. (By the way, everyone just calls it FP now…that saves time and makes it sound like we know what we’re talking about).

FULL POST


Filed under: 360° Radar • AIG • Scott Spoerry • U.S. Federal Reserve
March 25th, 2009
09:41 AM ET

Three missing cases connected?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/25/art.crime.threegirls.jpg caption="Amanda Berry, Georgina DeJesus and Ashley Summers all disappeared from the same Cleveland neighborhood, according to the FBI."]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

Over a span of four years, three girls from the same Cleveland neighborhood have gone missing. They all lived on the west side of the city. And they all vanished blocks from one another.

Are the three cases connected? The FBI suspects they may be related. "We really believe someone out there knows something," says Special Agent Scott Wilson. "We're looking for that one tip that will lead us to find them." Here's the FBI's account of each incident:

Amanda Berry disappeared on the evening of April 21, 2003. After her shift at a Burger King ended, the 16-year-old headed home. It should have taken just a few minutes to reach her house. But she was never seen or heard from again.

FULL POST


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
March 25th, 2009
09:29 AM ET

Obama a one-term president?

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Alex Castellanos
CNN Contributor

Things I learned Tuesday night from President Obama's press conference:

Obama and congressional Democrats are angry that greedy Wall Street executives took $165 million in bonuses that the president and congressional Democrats gave them. We have made them give it back, but they have to keep the trillion-dollar bailout.

Apparently, our education system is worse than we thought. Neither the president nor Democrats in Congress actually read the bailout-bonus bill.

Read more...


Filed under: President Barack Obama
March 25th, 2009
09:29 AM ET

Dear President Obama #65: President Obama versus the Deficit Monster

Reporter's Note: President Obama wants Americans to share their ideas on how he should run the country. I have enough trouble getting my dog not to bark at the neighbors, so perhaps I’m a bad source for advice on bigger matters. Still, I’m writing a letter a day to the White House. [cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/03/24/obama.news.conference/art.obama.newsconf.pool.jpg]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

My wife and I have a peculiar relationship when it comes to movies. I like old classics, comedies, introspective studies of character, and tediously long musings on the tortured lives of artists. Our first date, the first movie we went to, no kidding, was Das Boot.

Nothing says love like a bunch of sweaty German submariners. She, on the other hand, likes slasher films. Whether it was back in the prehistoric days of video rental stores, or even now when we punch up pay-per-view, I’m the one saying, “Hey look, Hoosiers!” And she’s the one saying, “Well, you know, we can get Silent Night-Deadly Night 7.” The funny thing is, once she ropes me into watching these gore fests, she retreats behind her hands, eyes closed, cringing and gasping; while I’m left alone, calling out to the TV, “No! No! Do not open the closet!”

That is roughly how I felt last night during your news conference when you started talking about your budget and the deficit; because seriously, I fear this thing is going to eat you alive. FULL POST

March 25th, 2009
09:23 AM ET

GOP means 'Got 0 Plans'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/03/25/castellanos.obama/art.castellanos.gi.jpg caption="Alex Castellanos says President Obama is looking like a one-term President."]

Paul Begala
Special to CNN

I love Alex Castellanos. Heck, somebody has to. Truth is, we've been known to break bread after our CNN gigs. He is engaging and amusing and whip-smart.

But when he said Tuesday night on CNN that President Obama is already looking like a one-term president, he's full of more beans than a burrito at Matt's El Rancho back home in Austin, Texas.

Obama inherited an ungodly mess: a $1.2 trillion deficit, an economy that was careening from recession into depression, a collapse in effective demand, the disintegration of the real estate market and a financial meltdown that spanned the globe and brought multibillion-dollar institutions to their knees. That's not to mention Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea and the Mexican drug war.

Read more...

March 25th, 2009
09:22 AM ET

Timothy Geithner speaks to the Council on Foreign Relations

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Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner

Remarks before the Council on Foreign Relations

The American economy and much of the world now face extraordinary challenges, and confronting these challenges will continue to require extraordinary actions.

No crisis like this has a simple or single cause, but as a nation we borrowed too much and let our financial system take on irresponsible levels of risk. Those decisions have caused enormous suffering, and much of the damage has fallen on ordinary Americans and small business owners who were careful and responsible. This is fundamentally unfair, and Americans are justifiably angry and frustrated.

FULL POST

March 25th, 2009
09:00 AM ET

Laid off? Here’s a silver lining

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Laura Vanderkam
USA Today

More Americans are becoming ‘free agents’ in the job market — and that was before the recession. That’s good news for them and for a more flexible workforce.

Marc Matsumoto loves to cook. As a kid, he baked his own birthday cake. And last year, he started a blog at norecipes.com to celebrate freestyle culinary arts. But as the head of marketing at a finance-related start-up in New York, he spent long hours at the office. He could shop for groceries only on weekends. Until December, that is. Shortly before Christmas, his employer failed to secure another round of venture capital, and Matsumoto joined the 4.4 million Americans who've lost their jobs since 2007.


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Filed under: Unemployment
March 25th, 2009
08:55 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Anderson heads to the Border

Penny Manis
AC360 Senior Producer

Anderson will anchor from the border between Mexico and the U.S. tonight to tackle the very important issues surrounding the drug cartels’ war with Mexico and how the violence is spilling into the U.S.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is traveling to Mexico today too, her third mission outside the U.S. She is expected to assure President Calderon that the U.S. plans to crack down on weapons and money flowing south and fueling this drug war. We will have an interview with Secretary Clinton as part of our coverage tonight.

Randi Kaye profiles a couple who was attacked and abducted by a drug gang on their way back from Mexico, just 5 miles from the border, then dragged to the hills in the middle of the night. They assumed they’d be killed, but lived to tell the tale.

Tom Foreman maps out exactly how drugs flow from Mexico to the border with the U.S., enter into distribution hubs in American cities, then get doled out to the streets while profits are sent back to Mexican drug cartel leaders.

We will cover the main news of the day. Following President Obama’s press conference last night in which he said there is no ‘quick fix’ to the economy, he heads to Capitol Hill today to defend his ambitious 3.6 trillion dollar budget.

The National Urban League today releases its annual “State of Black America” report, gauging the progress of African-Americans in education, home ownership, health and other areas. They would like to see President Obama address more black issues facing the country and we’ll have this story later.

See u tonight from the border!


Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
March 25th, 2009
08:49 AM ET

The Shot: Obama, astronauts

President Obama and his middle school guests crack jokes with astronauts.


Filed under: T1 • The Shot
March 25th, 2009
08:46 AM ET

Morning update from the White House

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Suzanne Malveaux
CNN White House Correspondent

From some senior administration officials I spoke with this morning:

Obama will go to Senate Democrats’ Caucus and talk budget among many things-bank bailout, private-public partnership plan, G20, etc.

Obama will also go Monday to the House Democratic Caucus to sell his agenda. Secretary Geithner will speak before the Council on Foreign Relations in NYC this morning.

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