June 12th, 2009
12:13 PM ET
June 12th, 2009
12:07 PM ET

The man who could beat Ahmadinejad: Mousavi talks to TIME

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/06/11/iran.moussavi.profile/art.hossein.moussavi.afp.jpg caption="Presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi holds up the 'V' sign after casting his vote on Friday."]
Joe Klein and Nahid Siamdoust

The day before Iran went to the polls, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the leading reform candidate, agreed to talk to TIME magazine. The interview was held in a building that Mousavi, an architect and artist, designed himself, part of an art school and gallery complex in central Tehran. Mousavi — who is not overwhelmingly charismatic, but seems every bit the artist-intellectual — strolled into a bare conference room, with little security and only a few aides, dressed in a dark suit and blue-striped shirt. He seemed to understand the questions posed in English, but he answered in Farsi.

Mousavi has a reputation for being soft-spoken, but that is an exaggeration. He is whisper-spoken. His answers to our questions were cautious, precise, although surprisingly candid at times. He was most emphatic when we asked about the way Mahmoud Ahmadinejad conducted his campaign, which included a direct attack on Mousavi's wife, the famous artist and activist Zahra Rahnavard. "I think he went beyond our societal norms, and that is why he created a current against himself," Mousavi said. "In our country, they don't insult a man's wife [to] his face. It is also not expected of a President to tend to such small details."


Filed under: Iran • Joe Klein
June 12th, 2009
11:46 AM ET

Iran election could make history

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/06/12/iran.election/art.iran.elections.JPG caption="Iranians walk past campaign posters in Tehran ahead of Friday's ballot. "]

Fareed Zakaria | BIO
CNN Anchor, “Fareed Zakaria – GPS”

Voters turned out in heavy numbers Friday in Iran's election. Some lined up before polls opened, and others waited more than three hours under the hot sun to cast their ballots.

Reformist Mir Hossein Moussavi and two other candidates are challenging President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, blamed by many Iranians for the nation's four-year economic turmoil and known in the West for his vehement rhetoric regarding Iran's nuclear program and condemnation of Israel.

Officials had to extend the polling time from 10 hours to 12 hours to accommodate the massive lines of voters. Kamran Daneshjoo, head of the elections office, called the turnout unprecedented. Moussavi is the main challenger among the three candidates vying to replace Ahmadinejad.

The others are former parliament speaker and reformist Mehdi Karrubi and hardliner Mohsen Rezaie, the former head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Ahmadinejad still has staunch support in Iran's rural areas. CNN spoke with Fareed Zakaria about the significance of the elections.

CNN: Why is there so much coverage about the Iranian elections? Isn't it just window dressing?

Fareed Zakaria: Although Iran is certainly not a democracy, as we know, it is neither a monolithic dictatorship. The electoral system is highly restricted, and the regime only allows prospective candidates that are committed to the continuation of the revolutionary system.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360º Follow • Fareed Zakaria • Iran
June 12th, 2009
11:19 AM ET

First Concerts: AC360° contributors reminisce...

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Erica and Anderson have been reminiscing about their first concerts. Anderson couldn’t remember if his was Grandmaster Flash, the Furious Five or Elvis Costello. Erica admitted she saw Peter, Paul, and Mary with her dad.

That got all of us thinking about our own first concerts. What was yours?

We asked you to guess the first concerts of AC360° Contributors.

Here are some answers.

David Gergen: "That was a long time ago - maybe the late 50s - and I can't remember whether it was Perry Como or Bo Diddley - or whether I was wearing white shoes or a bomber jacket."

Tom Foreman: "My first real concert was a whopper: Elvis Presley when I was 16 years old." Read Tom Foreman's post on his experience here.

Jeffrey Toobin: "I went to a Chicago concert at Madison Square Garden. At the end of the concert, everyone lit matches and held them in the air. I thought this was evidence that this was the greatest concert ever. (I didn't realize this was done at every concert, all the time.)"

Gloria Borger: "I remember my fist concert. It was Livingston Taylor, and I went with my (now) husband while we were in college. Too bad I was really disappointed because I thought he was taking me to see James Taylor, his brother. It turned out to be fine, although the only song I can remember now is "Carolina Day," which I would swear is a James Taylor song. But it's not; I looked it up. The next concert event was much better: The Chambers Brothers. I recall the only song they played was "Time Has Come Today." In fact, I think the set isn't over yet!"


June 12th, 2009
11:14 AM ET

Witness to history and horror

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/06/11/museum.shooting.reaction/art.museum.scene.cnn.jpg caption="The scene, Wednesday, outside the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum."]

Editor's note: Deborah E. Lipstadt is currently Resnick Invitational Scholar at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University. She is the author of "History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier.

Deborah E. Lipstadt
Special to CNN

I write this from my office in the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum where I have been privileged to have had a fellowship for the past semester. Up until Wednesday at 12:50 p.m., it had been a perfect visit. Everything a scholar could hope for: exceptional scholarly resources and a magnificent museum staff.

When I arrive each morning, long before the doors open to the public, I always marvel at the people waiting to enter. They represent every religion, ethnic group, and nationality. In the past few weeks I've seen hundreds of school groups as well as Annapolis midshipmen, scouts, FBI trainees and police force members.

They come to learn about the consequences of hate and prejudice. And Wednesday the entire world was given a graphic reminder of what that hatred can produce when a white supremacist, anti-Semitic, Holocaust denier, entered the building and allegedly shot a guard before being wounded himself.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360º Follow • Hate Crime
June 12th, 2009
11:06 AM ET

Homegrown hate on the rise

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/11/holocaust-museum-doubledoor-bullets.jpg caption="FBI investigators in front of the bullet-ridden door at the Holocaust Memorial Museum. "]

Jami Floyd
In Session anchor

The shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Museum by a self-described anti-government racist is just the latest example of the rising tide of hate in America. Barack Obama may be the President, but we’d be foolish to we think that racial hatred is a thing of the past. It’s not.

FBI investigators in front of the bullet-ridden door at the Holocaust Memorial Museum

Extremism is undeniable to those who have the courage to look at the facts. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups across America, rising unemployment, anti-immigrant sentiment, and the fact that we have our first African-American president are inspiring a new generation of angry young men — and no small number of women — to extremism and hate.

Today marks the anniversary of the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy Mcveigh; but white supremacism and anti-government hate did not die with him. The militia movement receded from the headlines post 9/11, but it is alive and well.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Jami Floyd
June 12th, 2009
09:16 AM ET

Palin can't outsmart Letterman

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Margaret Carlson
The Daily Beast

The governor has spent much of her public life in high-pitched feuds—but taking on late night’s prince shows a complete lack of political sophistication.

Top ten lists about Sarah Palin's attack on David Letterman are already being written but really there is only one reason Palin should relent—she’s not a good enough politician to play.

Palin has spent much of her public life in feuds with the state legislature, with her ex-brother-in-law, with John McCain’s staff, with Levi Johnston’s family. An early fight with the chair of Alaska’s Oil & Gas Commission paved the way to the governor’s office. She mostly wins, especially when the target is as easy, say, as a high school dropout whose mother is under federal indictment. The Johnstons make the Palins look like Rockefellers.

But picking a fight with a trained comedian, refusing to accept his apology and continuing to battle after the white flag is shown reveals a complete lack of political sophistication.


Filed under: Sarah Palin
June 12th, 2009
08:30 AM ET

Dear President Obama #144: Cheese curds – No whey!

Reporter's Note: The President, when he is not handing out hall passes, is taking suggestions from Americans on how to run the country. I, when not loitering in the hall, am writing a letter a day to him.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/11/wisconsin.health.care/art.obamawisconsin.gi.jpg caption="President Obama took his push for health care reform to Green Bay, Wisconsin."]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Another late night here. I’m working well into the dark following up on both the Holocaust Museum shooting and the Air France crash. But I assume you must be keeping a late schedule too, with the big trip to Wisconsin to push your health care plan. (BTW, that bit with you writing the excuse note for the girl who was missing school was good stuff.) Did you score any cheese curds up there? It’s a wacky food, but kind of fun if you’re in the right mood.

The first time I had some was next door in Minnesota when the Mall of America opened. I was there to cover the whole shindig and someone handed me a plate of these bright yellowish-orange bits of something that looked Styrofoam packing bits. I ate a few then went to interview Charles Schulz, the guy who created the Peanuts comic strip. Then Ray Charles performed, all in the same mall on the same day. True story.

I don’t know if you care about all that, but I feel like I’m watching your travels everyday so I thought I should tell you a bit about mine.


June 12th, 2009
08:05 AM ET
June 12th, 2009
06:15 AM ET

Tom Foreman's first concert: “Elllllvisssss!”

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

My first real concert was a whopper: Elvis Presley when I was 16 years old.

I had an uncle and aunt who were totally into the King, so they offered to take me and a date to his concert in Montgomery, Alabama. Up until that point I had never particularly focused on Elvis. I liked some of the old songs; Hard Headed Woman, Good Luck Charm, Wear My Ring Around Your Neck. But even Elvis sightings were no big deal back then. Or at least not as big as they became after his death.

In any event, I asked this girl Renee to join me and in a startling reversal of my usual dating success she said yes. Already the magic of Elvis was working. We trundled up to Montgomery, to the old coliseum, and took up our seats in the 14th row, about eight seats off of the center aisle. It was one of the most dazzling experiences of my life. From the moment he entered, the place was absolutely ablaze with camera flashes. Grown women were nearly knocking each other down to get near the stage and one of the white scarves he was dealing out like playing cards. When security pushed the crowd back, I was astonished to find some of these same women crawling on the floor past my knees to reposition and make another charge at that puddle of light where Elvis was working it out. He was heavy, but not his heaviest. His voice was magnificent.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Tom Foreman
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