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August 14th, 2009
08:42 AM ET

Republican Death Trip

Paul Krugman
The New York Times

“I am in this race because I don’t want to see us spend the next year re-fighting the Washington battles of the 1990s. I don’t want to pit Blue America against Red America; I want to lead a United States of America.” So declared Barack Obama in November 2007, making the case that Democrats should nominate him, rather than one of his rivals, because he could free the nation from the bitter partisanship of the past.

Some of us were skeptical. A couple of months after Mr. Obama gave that speech, I warned that his vision of a “different kind of politics” was a vain hope, that any Democrat who made it to the White House would face “an unending procession of wild charges and fake scandals, dutifully given credence by major media organizations that somehow can’t bring themselves to declare the accusations unequivocally false.”

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Republicans
August 14th, 2009
08:42 AM ET

Dear President Obama #207: Free speech ... half off!

Reporter's Note: President Obama has a great many admirers, but the health care debate has also made it clear that he’s made a lot of enemies in his short time in office. That said, perhaps he appreciates my encouraging letters everyday. Hey, it’s possible.

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Something is on my mind that I suppose you can relate to. Maybe every person in any position of public responsibility can relate. I have enemies. Lots of them. I’ve been in the news business since high school, and one of the first things I learned if that if you say anything at all, someone is going to take exception to it. I’ve been yelled at by police officers and criminals, religious righties and free-thinking lefties, stone cold sober voters and just plain stoned politicians, soldiers and peaceniks, doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs. And, aside from the initial sting that all of us feel when we are attacked, I could not care less.

If I wanted to make friends I would have driven an ice cream truck.

This week I heard from another angry person, who was upset that I had interviewed a conservative-leaning man who opposes your health care plans. “Why do we need to hear from these nuts?” was the essence of the complaint. My answer: Because they have a place here, and they are packing into town squares like steers on roundup day. Because this is their country too, and they deserve to be part of the conversation, just like the liberals, and the independents, and the moderates, and the urban, the rural, the old, the young, the black, the white, and the others, the others, the others.

FULL POST

August 14th, 2009
08:20 AM ET
August 14th, 2009
08:00 AM ET

War on drugs is over. What's next?

Suspected members of Los Zetas drug cartel are presented to reporters in Mexico City in April.

Suspected members of Los Zetas drug cartel are presented to reporters in Mexico City in April.

Rudy Ruiz
Special to CNN

As the health care debate captivated America, a white flag was quietly raised along the violence-torn U.S.-Mexico border. In case you missed it, it was our nation's surrender in the war on drugs.

Addressing the sixth annual Border Security Conference in El Paso, Texas, on Monday, the director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, R. Gil Kerlikowske, said this administration's drug strategy will not be a war because a war limits what can be done.

"If the only tool is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail," Kerlikowske said. "That phrase - war on drugs - tells you that the only answer is, in fact, force. ... We want to have a different conversation when it comes to drugs."

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Filed under: 360° Radar
August 14th, 2009
07:46 AM ET

Sound Off: Your comments 8/13/09

Editor's Note: Following Thursday night’s AC360° health care coverage, viewers continued to sound off on the controversial topic. Along with general comments on the topic itself, we also heard from some of you who were disappointed that the panel featured on the show did not include a health care advocate and from those frustrated with the citizen response at the town hall meetings. Here’s some of what we heard, and we’d love to hear from you:

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I have to admit that due to all of the publicity, I am cynical about the Health Care proposal. Even Obama's own doctor doesn't think it will work and feels Obama is more pragmatic than practical. So, I don't think a public option will work well and I don't think tackling this issue now should have been a top priority, given the economy. Maybe Obama should have tried it after he got a second term. But then again, there's the cost of not having a public option. My first choice would have been to fix the system we have now, so that the insurers wouldn't get away with as much as they do, but then people would claim that Obama's taking over another private business, so - he's a socialist either way.

I have two cousins and many friends who are doctors. They all say that the main reason they order too many tests is to protect themselves from potential frivolous lawsuits. Since too many unnecessary tests are a major problem with our health care costs, why in heavens name won't the democrats make torte reform part of their health reform? It is just plain common sense.

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Filed under: Behind The Scenes
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