Tonight on 360° get election results from the best political team on T.V. Anderson, Wolf Blitzer, John King and many others are on hand to run through the big races and get a pulse on American politics.
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CNN Senior Producer
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulated the oldest Peace Corp volunteer in the world on Tuesday, an 85-year old Florida woman serving in Morocco.
Clinton praised Muriel Johnston “as one of the best” in a meet-and-greet session of U.S. Embassy officials and other Americans in Marrakech, Morocco. Clinton was representing the U.S. at international conference in Morocco, on a trip that stretched from Pakistan to the Middle East.
Johnston is volunteering as a health worker in the Moroccan province of Azilal. She hails from New York but has lived in Sebastian, Florida since 1912. And Peace Corps headquarters in Washington confirms that she is the oldest Peace Corps volunteer – currently serving.
“I have to recognize – I just learned about this last night – Muriel Johnston. Muriel? Stand up, Muriel,” Clinton said to applause and cheers of Johnston’s fellow Peace Corps workers and other Americans.
“My young staff said, “Oh my goodness, Muriel Johnston, she’s the oldest Peace Corps volunteer in the world.” I said, “That’s not the way we think about it. No, Muriel and I might say she is one of the best Peace Corps volunteers in the world,” Clinton said to more applause.
“And it’s also a great reminder that in America in the 21st century, there are not only second acts; there’s third acts and fourth acts and fifth acts and – if you’re ready to embrace new challenges,” Clinton said.
She is one of more than 7,600 Peace Corps volunteers serving in 75 countries.
Later Clinton shook hands with Johnston and asked if she was enjoying herself. “I’m having a wonderful time," Johnston told the Secretary.
Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear from Ali in her own words. AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/europe/09/04/connector.ayaan.ali.biography/art.hersi.ali.gi.jpg caption="Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an outspoken critic of Islam. "]
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, was raised Muslim, and spent her childhood and young adulthood in Africa and Saudi Arabia. In 1992, Hirsi Ali came to the Netherlands as a refugee. She earned her college degree in political science and worked for the Dutch Labor party. She denounced Islam after the September 11 terrorist attacks and now serves as a Dutch parliamentarian, fighting for the rights of Muslim women in Europe, the enlightenment of Islam, and security in the West. Read an excerpt from her book below.
"One November morning in 2004, Theo van Gogh got up to go to work at his film production company in Amsterdam. He took out his old black bicycle and headed down a main road. Waiting in a doorway was a Moroccan man with a handgun and two butcher knives.
As Theo cycled down the Linnaeusstraat, Muhammad Bouyeri approached. He pulled out his gun and shot Theo several times. Theo fell off his bike and lurched across the road, then collapsed. Bouyeri followed. Theo begged, "Can't we talk about this?" but Bouyeri shot him four more times. Then he took out one of his butcher knives and sawed into Theo's throat. With the other knife, he stabbed a five-page letter onto Theo's chest.
The letter was addressed to me."
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:
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg emerges from a voting booth after casting his ballot. (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 BEAT 360º WINNERS
"Billionaire Mayor Mike Bloomberg storms out of a voting booth, angry that it's not coin-operated."
"That was the most expensive 90 seconds of my life."
Editor's Note: Don't miss Randi Kaye's report on the same-sex marriage vote tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
In Maine today, voters will decide whether or not to repeal a state law that would allow same-sex couples to marry. Both sides are expecting a razor thin margin of victory and early polling shows it’s too close to call. People from all over the country are watching out for the results, and donating money to try to influence it.
Take a look at these maps, from the organization 'Freedom to Marry' on the status of same-sex marriage by state:
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/28/art.getty.palin.waving.jpg caption="Palin was concerned about the cost of the wardrobe that was purchased for her during the campaign, according to the new book."]
CNN Political Producer
Tensions within John McCain's presidential campaign boiled over on Election Night last November when Sarah Palin, McCain's running mate, repeatedly ignored directions from senior staffers who told her she would not be delivering her own concession speech.
Those fresh details on the conflict between Palin and members of the McCain team come in a new book – "Sarah from Alaska" – by Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe, two members of the press corps that traveled with Palin during the 2008 presidential race. The pair spent much of the following year reporting on the campaign turmoil and the vice presidential nominee's difficult return to Alaska after the election.
According to a copy of the book obtained by CNN, Palin's speechwriter Matthew Scully had prepared a brief speech for the then-Alaska governor to deliver while introducing McCain, before he gave his concession speech at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix. But after conferring in his suite with senior advisers Mark Salter, Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt, McCain nixed the idea of having Palin speak before him.
Program Note: Don't miss our special election coverage tonight, starting at 8 p.m. ET. And tune in to AC360° as we drill down on the politics of these key races and why they matter. 10 p.m. ET.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/23/art.hoffman.cnn.jpg caption="In New York's 23rd Congressional District race, Republican Dede Scozzafava endorsed a Democrat instead of Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, pictured."]
CNN's Political Unit
Tuesday's off-year election might not have the high stakes of the 2008 presidential election, but there are several significant races worth watching:
• New York's 23rd Congressional District
Why it matters: A conservative backlash against a moderate Republican candidate propelled this race into national headlines as proof of an ongoing family feud between the far right and moderates for control of the party.
What's the story?: Local Republican leaders picked Dede Scozzafava because of her appeal to centrist Republicans, independents and even some Democrats. But it sparked a conservative revolt, and Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman outpolled Scozzafava, forcing her to withdraw. Scozzafava has since endorsed Democrat Bill Owens.
• Virginia Governor
Why it matters: This race is seen as an early referendum on voters' attitudes toward President Obama and his policies and an opportunity for Republicans to turn back recent Democratic gains.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/10/25/governors.races/story.bob.mcdonnell.gi.jpg.jpg caption="GOP candidate Bob McDonnell has been polling ahead of his Democratic rival in the Virginia gubernatorial race."]
On the Sunday before a pivotal election, a few hundred supporters have gathered to hear their nominee speak. For many in the excited crowd, it's their first political event. "This one feels big because the whole country is paying attention to it because it's a change in the attitude: people are fed up with Washington," says Lisa Manser, 42, a Leesburg, Va., teacher who had knocked on doors as a campaign volunteer for the first time in her life earlier that day.
The candidates arrive and the speeches begin. One riles the crowd up with a chant, "Yes, we can!" Another gets them going with the old Kerry campaign slogan, "Help is on the way!" He continues: "When we're done and the polls close, change is on the way! But unlike change that we've seen in the past this is change you can hope for!"
The scene may seem eerily familiar, especially since the rally was held in front of the very offices Barack Obama's campaign used last year in this northwest Virginia town. But the rally in Leesburg on Sunday was for the Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell; the speakers included attorney general nominee Ken Cuccinelli (the leader of the "Yes, we can" chant) and Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling ("Help is on the way"). And while the tone may have sounded reminiscent of Obama's stirring rallies of a year ago, the platform couldn't have been more conservative. "This has been a campaign of ideas, on innovation, on a positive uplifting vision for the future of Virginia," McDonnell told the crowd. "And what we need you to do is go find those people who believe in these limited conservative principles that we've laid out in the last six months, that believe free enterprise and the private sector is the key to economic prosperity."
RNC Chairman Michael Steele
Today is my favorite day. Why? Because it’s Election Day…
It’s my favorite day because the Republican Party’s message affirms faith in the individual. Americans are intelligent people who, when empowered to keep their own money and make their own choices, are best able to build a good life for themselves and their families. Election Day is an opportunity for Americans to elevate more representatives to public office that believe and represent this core principle.
That’s why I am now headed to Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ, to join you, the grassroots, in support of our statewide and legislative Republican candidates.
Our candidates have offered a compelling alternative to the status quo. The economic policies that the current Democrat incumbent has forced on New Jersey over the last 4 years has crippled the NJ economy and cost jobs for New Jersey families. Despite the odds — President Obama easily carried the state in 2008, defeating Republican John McCain by 15 points and registered Democrats significantly outnumber Republicans — these Republicans have offered a new direction…a direction that offers growth and opportunity, not more government intervention and further job loss…as well as empower the individual, not government.
Fareed Zakaria | BIO
CNN Anchor, “Fareed Zakaria – GPS”
President Hamid Karzai was declared the winner of another term in office as Afghanistan's leader Monday, after his opponent in a planned runoff election withdrew.
President Obama called Monday for a "new chapter" of improved governance in Afghanistan now that Karzai's re-election as president is complete. Afghanistan's Independent Electoral Commission announced Karzai's victory Monday after it canceled Saturday's presidential runoff because of the withdrawal of candidate Abdullah Abdullah.
Fareed Zakaria, author and host of "Fareed Zakaria: GPS" spoke to CNN Monday about Karzai's election.
CNN: What do you make of today's developments?
Fareed Zakaria: In a sense, it adds to the drama and tension surrounding the politics of Afghanistan, but it doesn't materially change very much because Abdullah was not going to win. Karzai was going to be the next president of Afghanistan. Imagine there had been a runoff and Karzai had won. We would have been roughly where we are today. The big problem is that it has not rebuilt Hamid Karzai's legitimacy. What he needs right now is not power or position, it's legitimacy.