Tonight on 360°, new insight on the man accused of killing a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Is 88-year-old James von Brunn a so-called "lone wolf", one who is filled with so much hate that he decided to take action on his own? We'll have the latest on the murder case.
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CNN White House Producer
President Barack Obama held a town hall meeting on Thursday in Green Bay, Wisconsin to discuss his health care agenda — but he also took a little time to write an all-important "get out of school" note.
A young girl named Kennedy attended the town hall with her father, who was called on to ask a question.
Her father, John Corpus, started his query saying he hoped his daughter wouldn't get into trouble for missing the last day of school.
"Do you need me to write a note?" Obama asked.
Clearly assuming that Obama was just kidding, Corpus continued with his question — only to be interrupted by the president.
"No, no, I'm serious. What's your daughter's name?" Obama said, as he started to write a note. "I'm going to write to Kennedy's teacher."
He then walked over to the girl and handed her the note: "To Kennedy’s Teacher, Please excuse Kennedy’s absence…she’s with me. Barack Obama"
No word yet on whether the president's get out of school free card did the trick.
Here's the video...
Inside the Holocaust Memorial Museum.
We came in the same way hundreds of tourists escaped Wednesday afternoon's shootout. The "back" door of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. The security officers were on duty. Still professional, helpful, kind. But not happy, not upbeat. Not after one of their own gave his life protecting the museum's visitors.
The Museum gave CNN exclusive access to the building Thursday, the first news crew inside since the shooting.
The first sign that there'd been trouble. A worker was sweeping up trash left behind yesterday... a single brown flip lay on the floor in the midst of torn papers and dust. It appeared during the rush to safety someone lost a shoe and didn't try to go back and get it.
We noticed almost none of the security officers were wearing body armor. Of the dozen or so officers on duty only one was wearing a bullet-resistant vest. We asked if that was a concern, he said "Everyone will have one soon." He didn't elaborate.
And the officers each had a black piece of tape stretched across their badge. It's a time-honored tradition when people in law enforcement lose a colleague. A tradition too often repeated in America.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/06/10/iran.election.rallies/art.iran.rally.jpg caption="President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attends a rally Wednesday in Tehran. He's facing tight competition from reformist candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi."]
Following weeks of impassioned debates on TV and lively rallies in the streets of Tehran, the Iranian presidential campaign has ended. Iranians are heading to the polls Friday to vote among four contenders. Here's a brief look at the candidates.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – Elected in 2005 and internationally known for his defiance of the UN and denial of the Holocaust, Ahmadinejad is the incumbent candidate. In what was earlier thought to be an easy race, he is now fighting to maintain his position in office. Described as a hard-line conservative, throughout his campaign, Ahmadinejad has kept up fierce anti-Western rhetoric and defended Iran's nuclear program. While he maintains a strong base, mostly among traditional conservatives and the poor, the state of Iran's economy threatens Ahmadinejad's re-election.
Mir Hossein Moussavi – A self-described reformist, Moussavi has emerged as Ahmadinejad's main challenger. He is a former Prime Minister, although has not held office for 20 years. Mousavi's support comes primarily from women and young people who hope his reformist approach will bring new religious and democratic freedoms to Iran.
Mohsen Rezaie – Former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Rezaie is currently the secretary of the Expediency Council. A conservative, he draws most of his support from traditionally conservative voters as an alternative to Ahmadinejad and promises economic reform including privatization.
Mehdi Karrubi – Another pro-reform candidate, Karrubi is currently the chairman of the National Trust Party. Like Mousavi, he offers a more moderate approach to foreign policy. This is his second run for the presidency. He came in third in 2005 when Ahmadinejad won the election.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/06/11/museum.shooting/art.museum.entrance.cnn.jpg caption="The entrance to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum where Wednesday's shooting took place."]
From its inception, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has regarded itself — and been regarded by others — as a high priority target, and for good reason. Though not a Jewish institution, but a government institution, it is one of the most visible institutions that reflect the prominence of American Jewry — its creators — and the most central American institution dealing with the Holocaust.
For the past 15 years, the museum has spent significant resources on security and held itself to the highest standards. Its security staff is very professional, very well trained and armed. Such professionalism and training showed itself today in the swiftness of their response. Lives were saved. There may have been as many as 2,000 people in the museum when the gunman entered. We deeply mourn the death of Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns, a six-year veteran of the museum’s security staff, and salute his colleagues for their immediate and effective response.
Editor's Note: We couldn't help but wonder whether Obama's speechwriters might be watching 360º every night after hearing Obama's speech today at the town-hall style meeting in Greenbay, Wisconsin. He cited the phrase, "keep them honest," referring to insurance providers and their role in Obama's proposed health care plan. Under this new health care system, a "national" option for a public health care plan, Obama says, would allow consumers to compare benefits and prices with private insurance companies, increasing the competition among private insurers.
"One of the options in the exchange should be a public insurance option - because if the private insurance companies have to compete with a public option, it will keep them honest and help keep prices down."
Editor's Note: Gary Tuchman is Keeping Them Honest on the Texas forfeiture law beat lately. He’s been visiting counties where law enforcement officials have allegedly misused public funds and state lawmakers have done nothing to stop them. Wait until you hear Gary’s report tonight. Cops in Kimble County seem to be making a lot of money off of pulling over drivers for speeding and other traffic violations. The cops then allegedly seize all cash and valuables from the driver’s car. The district attorney is supposed to use any seized funds for “official purposes.” But can a trip to Hawaii be considered an “official purpose?” Find out tonight at 10 p.m. ET.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/06/10/dc.museum.shooting.suspect/art.museum.cnn.jpg caption="Police cars mass outside the Holocaust Museum in Washington after a shooting there on Wednesday."]
Editor's Note: Professor Carol Swain will join Anderson tonight to discuss the rise in what she calls the "new white nationalism." Below is an excerpt from her 2002 book entitled "The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration." Tune in to AC360° tonight at 10p ET for more on yesterday's shooting at the Holocaust Memorial Museum and the 88-year-old white supremacist who is the alleged shooter.
From her book "The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration"
Over the past ten years a new white racial advocacy movement has gained strength in the United States that poses a severe challenge to the ideals of an integrated society. Many of the leaders of this new movement, which is called “white nationalism” here, are very different from the sorts of people we have come to associate with the traditional racist right in America. Cultured, intelligent, and often possessing impressive degrees from some of America’s premier colleges and universities, this new breed of white racial advocate is a far cry from the populist politicians and hooded Klansmen of the Old South who fought the losing battles for segregation and white supremacy during the great civil rights upheavals of a generation ago. The new white nationalists differ even more from the small bands of misfits and psychopaths who formed the heart of the ineffectual neo-Nazi movement of that era. While sharing much in common with the older style of white racist and white supremacy movement, and drawing upon important white supremacist beliefs, the new white nationalism is potentially broader in its appeal and a development sufficiently different from the older racist right to be considered a distinct phenomenon. The new white nationalism, in this sense, might be considered a kind of repackaged, relabeled and transformed white supremacy that is aiming its appeal at a broader and better-educated audience.
Reprinted with the permission of Cambridge University Press.