May 11th, 2009
11:59 PM ET

Republican women: A minority in a minority

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Erika Lovley

Women make up almost 51 percent of the U.S. population but less than 10 percent of the House and Senate GOP — a gender disconnect that could make the Republicans’ climb back to power even steeper than it would be otherwise.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) notices that she’s part of a shrinking minority every time she heads to the Senate floor for a vote.

Republican women in the House say they feel the problem — literally — when their male colleagues nudge them to the front of GOP press conferences to break up the solid lines of middle-aged white men in neckties.

Indeed, Rep. Kay Granger — the first and only Republican woman to represent Texas in the House — says Republican women have to work to make sure they’re even represented at public events in the first place. “We pass the word to make sure we’re there at this ceremony or that photo-op, because there are fewer of us and we’re spread more thinly,” Granger said. “We’re working in a very successful manner, and we want to make sure that’s shown.”

The numbers make that difficult.


Filed under: 360º Follow • Republicans • Women's Issues
May 11th, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 05/11/09

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Tonight, we'll have the latest on the U.S. soldier accused of shooting to death five comrades at a stress clinic inside Camp Liberty in Baghdad, one of the biggest military bases in Iraq.

Don't miss Randi Kaye's webcast on the killings and tonight's other headlines during the commercials. She's filling in for Erica. 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
May 11th, 2009
08:37 PM ET

For once, Iran in a positive light

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/05/11/iran.analysis.amanpour.saberi/art.journalist.gi.jpg caption="Roxana Saberi stopped her hunger strike last week after her parents visited her in prison."]

Octavia Nasr
CNN Senior Middle East Affairs Editor
AC360° Contributor

A collective sigh of relief was almost audible this morning as the news started seeping in about the “imminent” release of Roxana Saberi. Now she’s free, her sentence reduced from eight years in jail to a two-year suspended sentence. Her father said she’ll be heading back to the U.S. but the world waits to hear directly from her about her plans and the past few months which captured their attention.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Saberi has lived in Iran since 2003 and reported for international news organizations, including National Public Radio, the BBC and ABC News until her press credentials were revoked in 2006. NPR officials say she continued to file short news items for them. Although Saberi was arrested in February for working in the country without appropriate accreditation, she wasn’t charged formally until a one-day closed trial in April. That’s when Iran’s judiciary charged Saberi of espionage and convicted her to eight years in prison. "Without press credentials and under the name of being a reporter, she was carrying out espionage activities," Hassan Haddad, a deputy public prosecutor, told the Iranian Student's News Agency. On the internet, thousands of people showed support for Saberi and her plight. Information was shared and distributed on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. People desperately asked for updates when a period passed without any.


Filed under: Iran • Octavia Nasr
May 11th, 2009
07:30 PM ET

Is Dick Cheney emboldening the enemy?

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David Gewirtz | BIO
Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Publishing

I am seriously concerned that our former Vice President may have gone off his meds.

During the post-9/11 years of the Bush administration, whenever anyone in the media or the loyal opposition spoke out against the administration's policies, that person was immediately accused of emboldening the enemy.

The theory was that if Al Qaeda, or the Iraqis, or the Iranians knew that there was some disagreement among Americans, they'd feel safe in attacking us - perhaps even fighting us over here, instead of fighting us over there.

Hiding out in his secret, undisclosed lair for nearly the entire duration, Vice President Cheney ran the country with an iron fist. Our enemies knew that if they attacked us, he'd put on his Darth Vader hat, and hunt them all down single-handedly.

When anyone in America voiced opposition to the Cheney/Bush policies, retribution (or at least accusation) was swift. The opposition voice was accused of emboldening the enemy, and even of possible treasonous activities. Had someone ranted then, like Dick Cheney is whining and complaining about the Obama administration now, Mr. Cheney would have lost his mind.


Filed under: 360° Radar • David Gewirtz • Dick Cheney
May 11th, 2009
07:00 PM ET

Pope's moral authority for peace

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/05/10/rashid.papal.trip/art.mosque.gi.jpg caption="Hussein Rashid says Pope Benedict XVI, here at a Jordan mosque, can use his moral authority for peace."]

Hussein Rashid
Special to CNN

There is an assumption that the visit to the Middle East by Pope Benedict XVI will be a profound event. However, no one seems to be asking why there is such an expectation.

Unlike Pope John Paul II, who recognized the state of Israel and visited Muslim holy sites, both historic events, the current pope is better known for interfaith missteps.

Coverage of Benedict's visit to the region seems implicitly to hope for further conflict; everybody is ready for the fight and is disappointed when the hockey game breaks out. What is not acknowledged, and what makes this trip noteworthy, is not the man but the institution of the papacy.

The moral authority that is linked to papal authority is what we hope will be on display. The fact that the pope, as a Christian pilgrim, should retrace the steps of Jesus is unsurprising. The fact that he is expected to speak about more than that issue is surprising.

Keep Reading...

May 11th, 2009
06:34 PM ET

Elizabeth Edwards: How I survived John's affair

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Elizabeth Edwards
For Time

John was gone a lot in 2003 and 2004 running for office, and although I saw him all the time in 2005 when I was getting treatment for breast cancer, I knew I would see him less in 2006. I even participated in his being gone.

I thought he should do a spring-break trip for college students in New Orleans to help with the Hurricane Katrina cleanup. His antipoverty work would take him across the country, and I knew that. When he told me that the political action committee was going to have behind-the-scenes videos made of some of these efforts, it didn't seem like that bad an idea, and it certainly didn't occur to me to ask about who was making them.

It didn't occur to me that at a fancy hotel in New York, where he sat with a potential donor to his antipoverty work, he would be targeted by a woman who would confirm that the man at the table was John Edwards and then would wait for him outside the hotel hours later when he returned from a dinner, wait with the come-on line "You are so hot" and an idea that she should travel with him and make videos. And if you had asked me to wager that house we were building on whether my husband of then 28 years would have responded to a come-on line like that, I would have said no.


May 11th, 2009
05:36 PM ET

Beat 360° 5/11/09

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:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner chats with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as former Secretary of State Colin Powell talks on his cell phone prior to the annual White House Correspondents' Association gala dinner on May 9, 2009. (Source: 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.

UPDATE: Check out our Beat 360° Winners!

__________________________________________________________________________________ Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
May 11th, 2009
05:18 PM ET

Video: Obama announces health care plan

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more on President Obama's health care plan and what it means for you on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

President Obama announces a collaboration with the health care community to drive down health care costs.

May 11th, 2009
05:16 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Healing Health Care?

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Are you one of the millions of Americans fed up with health care costs? Today at the White House President Obama met with leaders from the health care industry vowing to change the system.

The "coalition" of doctors, drug makers, health insurance executives and others say they will lower costs.

"What's brought us all together today is a recognition that we can't continue down the same dangerous road we've been traveling for so many years. The costs are out of control and that reform is not a luxury that can be postponed, but a necessity that cannot wait," said Pres. Obama.

Their pledge: Save $2 trillion on health care over the next 10 years. (CLICK HERE for more details)

Some of the changes the coalition is working on, include:

· Reducing drug prices.

· Improving care after hospitalizations and reduce hospital readmission rates

· Expanding the Hospital Quality Improvement Program

· Improving Medicare and Medicaid payment accuracy

Pres. Obama says this is just the beginning and more proposals are in the works. He says he knows the pain of worrying over medical bills.

"My mother passed away from ovarian cancer a little over a decade ago. And in the last weeks of her life, when she was coming to grips with her own mortality and showing extraordinary courage just to get through each day, she was spending too much time worrying about whether her health insurance would cover her bills. So I know what it's like to see a loved one who is suffering, but also having to deal with a broken healthcare system," he said.

But is it easier to talk about reform than actually get it done? Remember, 15 years ago the Clinton Administration couldn't get health care reform approved in Congress.

And, this $2 trillion dollar commitment to cut costs is voluntary. Not enforceable. The medical organizations don't want Congress to make any laws determining medical prices. So, they're hoping that by promising to cut costs themselves, they'll stop the government from doing it.

What do you think of today's meeting? A good first step? Sound off below.

Tonight we'll also have the latest on the U.S. soldier accused of killing five of his comrades in Iraq. Is post-traumatic stress disorder connected to the killings?

Join us for these stories are more starting at 10pm ET.
See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
May 11th, 2009
05:05 PM ET

Elizabeth Edwards Fed Herself to the Vultures

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more from Tina Brown on Elizabeth Edwards on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

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Tina Brown
The Daily Beast, Editor-in-Chief

Elizabeth Edwards tried to undo the damage she did to herself on the Oprah interview last week by sitting down this morning on the Today show with Matt Lauer. The first segment did the trick—it was all about cancer and the death of her son, and Elizabeth looked solid and sympathetic in her brave blue cardigan; but when she inexorably let Matt bore into John's marital infidelity, she inexplicably blew it again. In fact she made it worse. This time, she told Matt, she had written the book as much for the sake of her children as herself. Huh?

Some first TV impressions are indelibly strong and Edwards’ media blitz now is unlikely, in any case, to wipe out the ghastly car crash of her Oprah exchange.

The hazard of confessional books is how fast the world moves on while they're written. Hearing about that doggy old "misdemeanor"—as she insists on calling her husband's infidelity with a campaign videographer while he was running for president and she was fighting terminal cancer—just drags us back into the messy aftermath of the election season at a time when we are now busy trying to get on with a collapsing economy and save our own lives.

If she had stuck with her health and her loss, Edwards might have held on to our sympathy. But her insistence on belittling to Oprah the dreaded "other woman," Rielle Hunter, who had "spotted him in the hotel," was so embarrassingly self-righteous it almost made me feel sorry for the Democratic twinkie John, who was always under the illusion that he was the next JFK. "I can't deliver the line ['You are so hot'], because I don't know how to deliver such a line as that," Edwards told us, as if this mildly juicy come-on by a campaign groupie had itself been an unspeakable vice.


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