We have breaking news on the battle over the war in Afghanistan. A former U.S. general who is now the U.S. Ambassador in Kabul is warning Pres. Obama not to commit more troops to war zone. Plus, the raw politics of Sarah Palin. She taped her appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show today. We'll have details and talk with the authors of a book about Palin that provides new insight on the former Vice Presidential candidate and Alaska governor.
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Program Note: Don't miss Anderson's conversation with the book's authors Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe tonight. AC360° 10 p.m. ET.
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Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe
'Sarah from Alaska'
Introduction: Lights Out
IN A CONDOMINIUM SUITE at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin read over the election night victory speech that she would never have the chance to deliver. Thank you all so much. And thank you, America, for the great responsibility that you have given to President-elect John S. McCain.
It was just minutes before the stirring moment when the official results would begin to trickle in, but as the sun descended toward the desert horizon, her fatigue must have been crushing. Palin’s two months on the trail had been not just physically exhausting but mentally draining. This short, strange trip had tested her in ways that might have broken even the most hardened political pro, and she had suffered more than her fair share of setbacks and embarrassments.
Still, it was Palin’s gripping story and alluring personality that had breathed life into a once flatlining campaign. Her addition to the ticket had sparked a flood of donations, standing-room only crowds at rallies, and a surge in the polls for the Republican ticket. But along with Palin’s many positive contributions to the campaign had come as many ruinous malfunctions. In the final hours of this frenzied voyage, she would discover just how expendable she had become, as the McCain campaign was literally about to turn the lights out on her.
How had she skyrocketed so quickly into the stratosphere of American politics? Who had really been at fault for her many public stumbles? And what was it about Sarah Palin that drew such passion from both her fans and her foes? Even with the benefit of the thousands of hours of media attention that had been devoted to her candidacy, the heat of the moment did not afford the perspective for anyone to answer these questions adequately, least of all the candidate herself. On this last night of the campaign, Palin remained focused on the momentous judgment that the American people were about to deliver.
CNNMoney.com senior writer
The same economic pressures that pushed California to the brink of insolvency are wreaking havoc on other states, a new report has found.
And how state officials deal with their fiscal problems could reverberate across the United States, according to the Pew Center on the States' analysis released Wednesday.
The 10 most troubled states are: Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.
The list is based on several factors, including the loss of state revenue, size of budget gaps, unemployment and foreclosure rates, poor money management practices, and state laws governing the passage of budgets.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/11/11/california.medals.charge/story.burton.courtesy.jpg caption="Steven Burton will make his initial court appearance in federal court at 9:30 a.m. Thursday." width=416 height=234 ]
On this Veterans Day, and every day, we honor the men and women who have served in the U.S. military. What we don't celebrate are military impostors. These fake heroes who say they’ve been to war, but who have never seen a single day of combat.
Tonight on 360°, Randi Kaye has the story of one man accused of stolen valor. The FBI says 39-year-old Steven Burton is a fraud, not a Marine.
According to investigators, Burton is actually a California bank employee who masqueraded as a war veteran, even wearing several medals – bogus medals. Though, not just any medals but some the highest military honors – a Purple Heart, given to those wounded or killed in action and the Navy Cross, the highest medal the U.S. Navy can award.
Tonight Randi will tell you who turned Burton into the FBI. It's a remarkable story.
We're also tracking breaking developments on the war in Afghanistan. A former top general is warning the Pres. Obama to think twice about sending more troops into the war zone. The commander-in-chief met with his security team again today to talk over options in Afghanistan. We'll have the latest.
Do you think the U.S. should send more troops to Afghanistan? Sound off below.
Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then!
Wondering where, when , and how to get the H1N1 vaccine? Go here to get the latest information on where to get vaccinated.
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:
Sen. Joe Lieberman waits for fellow witnesses before testifying to the Senate Budget Committee.(Getty Images)
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UPDATE BEAT 360º WINNERS
"Joe Lieberman, now the 4th judge on American Idol."
Steve, Bend, OR
"Table for one again tonight Senator Lieberman?"
Tonight we're talking to Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst, about the influence of Muslim radicals making their voices heard in both the United States and Europe.
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CNN/Opinion Research Corp.
Americans are starting to lose confidence in the government's ability to prevent a nationwide epidemic of the H1N1 flu, according to a new national poll.
But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, released Tuesday morning, indicates a small majority continue to say that the government and private industry eventually will produce enough of the vaccine for the virus, also known as swine flu, to inoculate everyone who wants it.
According to the poll, 51 percent of those questioned are confident in the government's ability to prevent an H1N1 epidemic, with 49 percent not confident. The number of Americans who are confident is down 8 percentage points from August, while the number of those not confident is up 9 percentage points.
"Only one in 10 say they are 'very confident' that the government can ward off an epidemic," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But the growing doubts may not be directly related to the shortfall of vaccine so far."
Program Note: Tune in tonight for Randi Kaye's report on this alleged case of stolen valor. AC360° 10 p.m. ET.
The Legion of Valor was organized on April 23, 1890, in Washington, DC, by a group of Civil War and Indian War Campaign veterans who were recipients of the Medal of Honor. At its inception, the name was "The Medal of Honor Legion".
Legion of Valor comprises of members who have received either a medal of honor, a distinguished service cross, navy cross or air force cross. And uh of course other top two awards in each of the respective services.
It also condemns instances of stolen valor.
According to Thomas A. Richards, the membership chair of Legion of Valor, "Every time somebody steals valor and is recognized publicly, other people wonder when they see somebody else who who is decorated, who are served honorably, they wonder, “is that person a fraud too?” It chips away at our credibility a little bit at a time, every time that it happens."