April 17th, 2009
08:45 AM ET

Morning Buzz: A Million Twitter Followers

Penny Manis
AC360 Senior Producer

President Obama is heading to the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago today, following his visit to Mexico City. Cuba will not be present at this meeting, but the US trade embargo against the island will be a theme at this gathering of Latin American leaders. Others attending include Evo Morales of Bolivia, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez- this should be interesting!

Captain Richard Phillips of the Maersk, Alabama is flying back home and expected to land in Vermont, his home state, later this afternoon. Talk about ‘home sweet home’, he must be happy to be landing on his own turf following a 5 day hostage ordeal. US officials say the captured Somali pirate who held him hostage will face trial in NY.

Randi Kaye traveled to Massachusetts to follow the story of the 11 yr old boy who committed suicide after getting bullied by other kids in his grade. They teased him about being gay, and even threatened to kill him. The boy’s mother spoke to Randi Kaye earlier in the week, she did not blame the school for her son’s suicide, but wondered why the school did not enforce an anti-bullying policy. Randi will have an interview with the Chairman of the school today and ask that very question. Make sure you don’t miss this report!

Despite our best efforts and yours, Ashton Kutcher beat CNN in a race to gain a million twitter ‘followers’, but it was close! He reached a million about 30 minutes before we did last night. It is for a good cause in the end, as the winner will now donate 10,000 mosquito bed nets to charity for World Malaria Day. Losing stinks! Kutcher will be a guest tonight on Larry King, and we’ll make sure we run a chunk of that sound in our hour so you can all hear him bragging! Boo!

See u tonight!

Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Lori S.

    Hey Cooper, hope your haveing a good evening. I enjoy your show. I just started blogging yesterday, but they do not post.. However, i am not offended, but curious as to why? My wording is within reasonable limits. no bother, because i enjoy reading what everyone else has to say 🙂 and im not expecting this will get answered. Have a good night

    April 17, 2009 at 11:39 pm |
  2. Raynier Maharaj

    Look, as a journalist who lived in the "third world" of Trinidad and who has lived in Canada for the last 20 years, my position on Cuba hasn't changed. You can attract much more flies with honey than with a fly swatter. The US position on Cuba has not worked for five decades... isn't it time to change tactics? Dealong with 50 year-old issues about who lost what when makes no sense today. What we need is an open approach on Cuba, which will bring change. Punitive measures just don't work.

    April 17, 2009 at 11:38 pm |
  3. Raynier Maharaj

    It should be no surprise to anyone that Cuba is on the agenda in Port of Spain. As someone who grew up in Trinidad, I can tell you that the American position on Cuba has always been the centre of debate, and it was clear to me (if no one else) that Cuba would dominate any "meeting of the minds" of the Americas, especially one being held in the Caribbean. From his speech, President Obama clearly understands that Cuba is an issue that will dominate the fifth summit. That he shook hands with Chavez is no big deal - Obama and Chavez were thrown into a room together with Caribbean and Latin American leaders before the official start of the Summit, and it is a sign of maturity that he (Obama) made the first move to Chavez ... good for him.

    April 17, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  4. Howard W. Loken

    I think open dialogue is important. However, we are to take it slowly. Cuban Americans are not the only ones we need to hear from. These are countries that are fixed in our back yard. We need to engage and ensure that the interest of the United States is protected an any means necessary.Black Causcus going there is commendable because they are elected officials sent to Washington to protect the interest of those who have elected them.

    April 17, 2009 at 11:05 pm |
  5. Terry, TX

    Carolyn you are absolutely right...I was outraged with the Black Causcus going their and and came back singing Castro's praises....the Black Causcus needs to but out...Cuban Americans are the only ones I want to hear from.

    April 17, 2009 at 9:45 pm |
  6. Carolyn

    Shortly after Castro came into power, the Cuban government confiscated all the properties belonging to U.S. corporations and individual American citizens that were in Cuba. American citizens scrambled to get out of Cuba quickly because they feared for their lives, leaving all their worldly possessions behind. American citizens and American companies had heavy losses in Cuba. For the first time, Cuba was a real threat to the United States. The expropriation of U.S. assets happened such a long time ago, that many people don’t remember or know about it. It was the confiscation of American properties, by Castro, that first started the downfall of U.S. relations with Cuba, and it was one of the reasons the Cuban Embargo started in the first place. It’s ironic that there is all this talk about the U.S. Cuban Embargo ending, yet nobody is talking about resolving the claims first.

    The only hope for recovery for these victims was to register their lost assets with the U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission. In 1967, the commissions verified that 5,911 of the claims were valid. In order to get your claim certified, you had to show proof of what your lost assets were. Your claim was then certified and a monetary value was determined for each claim.

    So, why is no one talking about the U.S. Certified Claims anymore?
    The strongest voices for the U.S. Certified Claims were that of the corporations that have the largest claims. They were very active at the beginning; however, their voices have dimmed over the years. Many CEO’s that represented these corporations have either, retired, changed jobs, or have passed away. So that’s why we don’t hear very much from them anymore. Some changes have also happened over the years to these American companies. Some have merged, gone out of business, or have changed their line of business; but the fact is, the claims still remain the same. The embargo and settlement of claims should have been resolved a long time ago, but who knew that Fidel Castro would live so long,

    So what has happened to the Americans that lost their home and personal property? Sadly, many of these individuals have passed away with their claims still unresolved. Unfortunately, you can be assured that they spent the rest of their days clipping newspaper articles about the embargo, in hopes that they would see the end of this before their death. The message was passed on to their children, that one day they would live to see restitution of their claim. The financial devastation for these families was catastrophic and not only affected them financially, but it also emotionally. They were mad that the U.S. let Castro come into power and that this happened to them. You may not have known about these Americans and about Castro stealing their properties, but that’s because they don’t have the resources to pay for attorneys or lobbyist to negotiate on their behalf. That’s why I am writing about this. I hope that these Americans can one day be paid something for the injustice of what happened to them back in 1959.

    An embargo is an official ban on trade or commercial activity with a particular county. So that’s why most of you will be surprised to find out, that the United States is one of the largest exporters to Cuba. In 2000, legislation was passed that allows U.S. companies and farms to export agriculture and medical goods to Cuba. These industries are fortunate enough to have been exempted from the embargo and they are making money selling to Cuba. Currently, H.R. 1531 is in the legislative process, this would loosen trade and travel restrictions even more. I know the reason the U.S. permits the selling of these products to Cuba is for humanitarian reasons, but I am sure that some of the food ends up feeding tourist in their restaurants and hotels.

    April 17, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  7. Jennifer Deputy

    Great job Andy! Great effort on everyone's part for a great cause. Ashton always spurs on a fun, inspiring, competition! Have a good weekend.

    April 17, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  8. Keith

    I used to like Erica and I was happy to hear that she was going to become a bigger part of 360, but lately she has really become smug.
    Guess she can afford to be when the big guy, Anderson, has made her his personal fav. Sittin in the studio and doin nuttin

    April 17, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  9. Tony

    I'm not sure YOU "get" the TWITTER thing.
    It seems most of your posts are links to your news. We can get those many other ways.
    How about tweeting some fun facts, or interesting observations?
    Simply linking us to news – yawn.

    April 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  10. dina212

    Cute "blog". What I learned from that contest is that people care as much about the news and our world at large as they do an excessivly hot Male Model (ok slash actor) Prankster. So, so, American. (sips her starbucks)

    April 17, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  11. Wendell

    The big picture is that we need to normalize relations with Cuba because Russia is about to deploy missiles there just like we are in their back yard and we want having anything to say about it . This time they want back down like in President Kennedys days . Obama will truyl be tested on the national front. That is why Russia is so friendly to Fidel and Chavez. All of our leaders on both sides of the isle need to wake up . We should not cut back on our own Nukes because we can,t trust the other nations to do so. Instead of deploying troops overseas we need to just send them to the borders , that way we can keep the terroist out .It,s cost effective as well . As far as the Pirates go, just think about the counties supporting us in the war, none do ,so let them protect their own ships. We need to quite trying to police the world .

    April 17, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  12. Jini

    I just bought 100 mosquito nets. Come on, Anderson!


    April 17, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  13. Margaret

    You should have given the link for the Malaria No More organization that Ashton is donating the nets through.


    It's a great cause and such a simple way to help others out in the world. Just $10 will make a difference in someone's life.

    April 17, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  14. MaryLou Roberts

    Why doesn't Anderson take the lead in being a good sport user and get CNN to donate another 10,000 mosquito nets or make a $10,000 contribution to support the efforts of World Malaria Day? The whole challenge was a great idea, fun while it lasted, and drew attention to an important cause. Come on CNN–make your donation anyway!

    April 17, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  15. Teresa, OH

    I didnt vote for CNN in the competition because I dont care for Ashton and didnt want involved in his childish stunt. Donate the nets and be quiet about it if you have the money, sheesh.

    @Randi's reporting on the 11 yr. old committing suicide. I hope these stories stay in the forefront of the news. Bullying and belittling people at school level should be stopped. Back in my day at the catholic school, if you bullied, you got "disciplined" and it was never good.

    I volunteered a lot at my sons' schools and I was appalled at how much bullying never got addressed. How much effort would it take to say this to a child: "Billy, we dont talk to each other that way and if I hear that again, you're in the corner". Is it really that hard?

    People call me crazy, but one look at Columbine should have shown us ALL what bullying can do. No one deserves to be talked down to for years on end and no one should have stood by and let it happen.
    Yes, it's terrible about all those kids getting killed, but who stood up for those two boys for the years of ridicule they got?

    And in fact, didnt they kill themselves due to bullying?

    April 17, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  16. Heidi Ann Berg

    morning Penny good morning Anderson sorry about loosing ,congratulations to Ashton .

    April 17, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  17. Alyzabeth

    I was beginning to worry that y'all were going to collapse Twitter! And then what would we do?!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  18. Cindy

    Ryan Seacrest just tweeted and said he is donating money to buy 10,000 mosquito nets and so is Cnnbrk...so come on Anderson..what up? Are ya in or out!?


    April 17, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  19. Stax

    I dont know about everyone else, but im really excited about the Summit of the Americas. The Cuban government is not invited, but the US trade embargo on the Communist nation is expected to be debated by the mouth from way down south. I wonder what the Cubans are expecting. It is kind of disrespectful not to allow a representitive of the Cuban nation.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  20. Cindy Milton Floria

    I say, If coming up with these kind of contests helps people all over the world, and this one will, we should definately have more. Both AK and AC don't realize the star power they have behind them for this sort of conscience of the people. Congratuations to both AC and AK

    April 17, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  21. Joe Napolitano

    As much as I love CNN, Anderson, Larry et al, and watch them religiously. It just goes to show us how the communication paradigm is shifting toward the people. The use of the new technologies surpassing the now even old cable news. Use it all.
    Tweet on!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  22. Kristin

    This was filled with a lot of nervousness I was like I hope they get the Malaria nets. I have a confession I follow the both of you, and this was so exciting for twitter, and the tweets! The real winner in this is the charity, and the thousands of people this is going to touch. Cheers to Ashton, and CNN for this experiment on the net! Spreading out and connecting that's what it's all about. Good sports in this! Tells you one thing we're all in this together. Love knows the power of the tweet!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  23. MarieAnne Sam - Alabang, Philippines

    Ohhh well, you win some, you lose some!!! It should be you, AC against Ashton! CNN might get a good win with you on! *sighs* On the name of charity, I'm all 'hands up' to Ashton - less his conceited ways! 🙂

    Its good notice that Pres Obama is reaching out to all of US allies & non-allies. This Summit of the Americas is a noble milestone for him and this Administration!

    Its good knowing that he makes the first move in embracing all - to make trade economies moving again - to and from the US.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  24. Ade, Maryland

    Hey Anderson
    I am a fan and I tried to make CNN win but tell my friends but didnt work
    still for a good cause so ITS ALL GOOD...

    April 17, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  25. Rebekah

    Good morning Penny, Anderson and eveyone!

    I couldn't believe Ashton beat CNN! Oh well, it's for a good cause either way. I can't wait to see what Erica and Anderson have to say about that tonight haha

    April 17, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  26. Laurel

    I joined the Kutcher cause. I wonder if it would have gone down differently if Ashton took on Anderson. AC would have had my support!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  27. IDA

    I am 59 not a teenager..He won because a lot of people can make a difference in this world. ban together and make changes....cnn repeats the same things for 24 hours...I watch tho...

    April 17, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  28. sherry wong

    haha..prob you guys could have a re-match!

    How about racing for the next 1 million users on twitter?

    April 17, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  29. KatieDid

    Prove that you are the bigger network and donate the mosquito nets even though you lost.

    BTW, I follow you, AC, but not him.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  30. Jini

    Be good sports, CNN and make a $10,000 donation to Malaria No More.

    Come on, Anderson.....

    April 17, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  31. Cindy

    LOVED that Ashton beat CNN!! I stayed up until 2:30 am watching the results and watching Ashton stream live on UStream. He had friends over and they played Celebration by Kool & the Gang when they won and they were all dancing and drinking champagne. It was funny! So today I'm getting up late and starting working late...the price ya pay for "partying" too much. LOL


    April 17, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  32. weedwonker

    Very torn between wanting the AC t-shirt and fear of having to be seen on Larry King's show....love him, really, but notoriety for tweeting is not appealing....but, got in to the tweet race just the same...sorry we lost...big up for the nets donation.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  33. darci d

    It was a win/win for charity and certainly yanked the covers off those sleeping through the world of twitter. Receiving news updates and immediate shorts keep me up to date in a world where time is flying by...great job, you're a class act.

    April 17, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  34. Amy

    "It is for a good cause in the end, as the winner will now donate 10,000 mosquito bed nets to charity for World Malaria Day. Losing stinks!"

    I guess I'm confused by this...the winner donates beds – so losing stinks? Really? It's for a good cause.

    Why don't you both donate 10,000 beds and help 20,000 people?

    April 17, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  35. randytho

    Ashton vs Cnn was it really a contest? Only in the sense that children and families will benefit by getting mosquito nets and helping to stop millions from contracting malaria! I think as a gesture of good will CNN should match Ashton's 100k. Think of it this way, not only do the people that get the nets win, but think of the jobs you give to those making the nets! 🙂 I think both sides acted with class and good sportsmanship! Bravo 2 both!

    Randy T.
    aka @randytho

    April 17, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  36. Dan_Firestone - Maple Grove MN

    This was Win/Win for everyone. Congrats to AK, CNN and the world of Twitter. CNN has shown it's support for community reporting via IReport and now AK has shown that there are a million other ways to carry a voice :).

    Tweet me @Dan_Firestone

    April 17, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  37. b.

    Don't think it was Anderson's bet, he probably would have won...kinda saw that was coming though. Same here, tried twitter, wanted use an email address that wouldn't get flooded w/ junk mail, somehow entered it wrong b/c don't use it that much, forgot password, tried to retrieve it, said it send my password to my email address(???)! 🙂

    Good show last night!

    April 17, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  38. earle,florida

    Sitting down, and breaking bread,while passing the peace pipe around is good stuff,period! President Obama is a face-to-face kinda guy,and most noticably not in-your-face as his predecessor. I'm glad that he's going to these small countries,humbling himself like Mohammed,to the Mountain,and who blinks,or moves first,(just kidding) is a non-starter. South America is very important to our well being,and as a matter of fact to the entire world,so let's keep the dialogue going,and stay on the fringe of cubism,so that we all can taste the same freedom of different colors,...

    April 17, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  39. natalie, lebanon TN

    I would like to know, How in the world does Ashton Kutcher get more votes than Anderson? Sorry AC I must have missed that part of the show. I didn't even know there was a contest going on. I say rematch. Maybe the count was wrong, you never know if they can misscount an election, you know they can misscount a twitter contest !

    April 17, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  40. Grant H

    Why you lost to Ashton/Demi

    I am guessing that many of your viewers were like me, and had never heard of tweeter, let alone already a member. Much of Ashton's group is probably teens who are already on tweeter.

    I could not figure out how to join you and I am computer savvy. On the other hand, Demi Moore was an option that popped up, so I could have joined that easily when I was opening my account

    After 20 mins, I had other things to do..

    April 17, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  41. Isabel Siaba

    Good morning, Penny!
    Good morning, Anderson Cooper!

    Happy Friday, everyone! 🙂

    The Summit of the Americas is an important moment. Let's hope that the agreements on trade and unique solutions are drawn together for all countries of the Americas, except Cuba, which is a discussion aside because despite the makeup still is a dictatorship.

    I await the report of Randi. She is fantastic and the matter is so important and so often neglected by schools. My mother has taught for 35 years and she has reported stories scary for me.

    So Sad! CNN lost!
    I was watching in UstreamTV @aplusk and he said it was live, making a "liveblog" because Anderson Cooper asked to support for CNN by TV, and so the rali was beyond the social network. Everyone won!

    And CNN is great! And 360 is the best! 🙂

    But 360 team, please, answer the question that doesn't want to silence:
    Who was the Twitter number_1M of @aplusk? And who was the Twitter number_1M of @cnnbrk?

    Thanks! Have a nice day! 🙂

    April 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  42. Karan

    sorry about losing. i was going to vote but was just too tired to get out of bed while watching the show.

    April 17, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  43. Michelle D . Fonthill. Ont

    Good Morning penny

    I guess you win some you loose some darn oh well it's al for charity
    and everyone's heart is in the right place. I can't wait to see the mathc up with Larry and Ashton i kinow it will stink to hear him brag about it and after all the encouragement from Anderson last night to get everyone on the twitter ugh!

    Have a great day in spite of this travesty
    Michelle D.

    April 17, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  44. Dolores, Austin Texas

    Morning Penny & Anderson, Conrad’s! To Ashton Kutcher, but I am still a CNN fan, better luck next time. Loved your show last night. The story about little Sandra Canu breaks my heart, I only hope that justice prevails for this precious innocent child. Have a wonderful weekend.

    April 17, 2009 at 9:19 am |