September 17th, 2009
03:30 PM ET

Afternoon Buzz: Race and politics in America

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Ella Perlis
AC360° Associate Producer

Tonight we continue our eye-opening series on medical malpractice. If you think tort reform will result in a decline of costs and spending, you may be surprised by Gary Tuchman’s report tonight. He went to a town in Texas, where despite caps on medical malpractice awards, treatment and tests for Medicare patients costs almost $15,000 per year, per patient! That is about double the national average for Medicare spending. Do you think tort reform is a necessary part of the health care overhaul?

Four days ago Annie Le’s body was discovered in the walls of a Yale medical lab, and today Raymond Clark was charged for her death. Police collected over 250 pieces of evidence before arresting him at a Super 8 motel this morning. Clark is being held on $3 million bond. Police describe the crime as an incident of “workplace violence.” Both Le and Clark worked in the lab, but authorities still have not released details on their relationship. We are digging deeper and will have more information tonight on Clark and the investigation.

Today President Obama announced a significant change in U.S. policy and strategy toward Iran. He canceled the Bush Administration initiative to create a long range missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. The President said there will be a new approach based on updated intelligence indicating a need to protect from short and medium range missiles. Defense Secretary Gates, who also served under the Bush Administration, spoke after President Obama today stating that the new program is better than the one he supported three years ago. Former Presidential candidate, John McCain reacted immediately, calling the decision “misguided” with the “growing threats posed by Iran’s missile and nuclear programs.” More Republican backlash is sure to follow, but Russia, which opposed to the missile defense system, is probably delighted by the news.

We’ll also follow up on the conversation about race and politics in America. Today Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) said racist attitudes are not welcome in the GOP, and opposition to the President is based solely on policy. Boehner called the election of President Obama a “defining moment” for the country. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said the protests remind her of the violent clashes over gay rights in the 1970s. Do you think it’s that bad? Did President Carter’s comments help or hurt the conversation? Do we need President Obama to address all of the rhetoric in order for the country to move on?

What else are you following today? Let us know!

See you at 10 p.m. ET, and stay tuned for a special hour at 11pm! Anderson Cooper and Ali Velshi host Money & Main Street.

Filed under: Ella Perlis • Health Care • Iran • Race in America • The Buzz
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. David

    Dear Anderson,

    Why is the Christian Right, so quiet in the midst of this storm. Why is Franklyn Graham, T.D Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Joel Olsteen, Joyce Myers, and most of all the Republican Leadership. I think it is an obligation for the Christian Right to speak out before this storm gets out of control. When good people remain silent the flames of hatred and lunacy will boil over into a race war.

    Las Vegas.

    September 17, 2009 at 9:16 pm |
  2. Leland

    To say that Rush Limbaugh speaks for the Republican party would be like saying Howard Stern speaks for Democrats. These guys are both radio shock jocks. They both stir up controversy and will say anything for attention.

    September 17, 2009 at 8:55 pm |
  3. Annie Kate

    The rhetoric behind these protests and the feelings of intolerance and hate remind me exactly of the riots and protests of the late 60's and 70's. I'm hoping since the protesters seem to be older people (a lot of them already retired) that the outcome of the protests are different – just yelling and threats about how they will vote rather than riots in the street and fire. The strident manner of their protests is worrisome – it seems we cannot come together as a country on anything anymore.

    September 17, 2009 at 8:28 pm |
  4. Conserve' in USA

    Why isn't it called racist when Kayne West yanks the mike from Taylor Swift and says Beyonce had the best video?

    September 17, 2009 at 7:57 pm |
  5. mike tn

    racism is a word blacks use to get attention when they think their
    backs are against the wall or not getting their way.just like charles
    rangel tried to pull last week. or jimmie carter tried a day or two ago
    petiful people we have.


    September 17, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  6. Betty

    When former President Carter spoke about the fact that there are some folks in our country who do not like the fact that our President is a black man, former President Carter was speaking the truth. Although, he’s getting slammed by the “talking heads”, talk radio and those in the media, former President Carter should be commended for his forwardness and the courage to call “a spade a spade”. Some of us here in America get nervous whenever the word “racism” or characterizing some as a “racist” is being talked about. It’s time that a serious dialogue about “racism” is addressed so that our country can deal with this open wound and not continue to ignore the subject or continue to throw salt into the wound.

    September 17, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  7. Lori, IL

    I think President Obama is doing well to stay above the fray of the race debate currently going on. He sees it for what it is, at this time, a distraction to his health care reform leglslation. We know where he stands on the issue of racial descriminnation - he addressed it in a special speech during the campaign. Kuddos to President Obama for keeping his "no drama Obama" demeanor.

    September 17, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  8. Stan

    Racism: If anyone in this Country, called the United States believes that their is no Racism aganist President Obama, you should go see a Shrink. Hell yes their is Racism aganist President Obama, because they Lost and don't want to see a President, especially a Black President pull the Americans out of the Hole that Bush and and few other Presidents put this Country in!! It's pretty simple if your not part of the solution facing this Country, then your part of the problem. Put your Racism on the back burner for ever, and lets get our Country back on its feet.

    September 17, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  9. Adrian

    Unfortunately racism is everywhere, in multi-ethnic societies as well as in more homogeneous ones (Europe/Africa/Asia). I think it was obvious when he was sworn in that President Obama will face these kind of situations. Not all the people that voted for McCain voted “against” Obama, but I’m sure that there is a portion of his voters that actually voted “against” Obama rather than “for” McCain. I think as race of human beings, we are far from achieving acceptance at a social level. Right now I think that we have it on an individual level, i.e. a person can be open minded. But where a bunch of people make up a community or society, you’ll always find a bigot or a chauvinist or a xenophobe or a racist.


    September 17, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  10. Mike in NYC

    Why has the Yale tale snagged the top spot on CNN's home page for most of the day? People kill other people all the time. With all due respect to the victim, it just isn't all that interesting.

    The missile defense story is orders of magnitude more important.

    September 17, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  11. Mike in NYC

    Why has the Yale murder case snagged the top spot on CNN's home page for most of the day? People kill other people all the time. With all due respect to the victim, the story really isn't all that interesting.

    The missile defense story is orders of magnitude more important.

    September 17, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  12. Enough

    Does anyone really believe that Government could ever cut spending, waste and fraud in any of their programs? Ofcourse not, all they do is raise taxes. Government better stop funding ACORN or else there will be a lot more Tea parties going on.

    September 17, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  13. Cindy

    The tort will do nothing what so ever to bring down any costs in health care. It's just another useless idea that they've thrown into the mix that will only end up costing us money.

    Nice going Obama!! Good to know that we now as a country could care less about our allies and our own country!! Funny thing...a secret document was just reported on in the AP that shows that the IAEA says Iran is capable of making a nuke very soon and is on the way to solving the problem of firing it also. GREAT for us that Obama is now doing away with that long range missile program in Poland huh!? Gotta love him. He has our interest at heart!! (sarcasm inserted) LOL

    Pelosi is just an idiot. That's all I'll even say on her! These protests are no where near the ones in the 70's. She's ridiculous to now on top of the race card to be trying to use the gay card. Jesus..what's next!?


    September 17, 2009 at 4:34 pm |