January 8th, 2010
12:01 PM ET

We're losing power, sir!

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Here is Tom’s Rule of Political Power in DC these days: As soon as either party gets power, it starts losing it. The corollary: The bigger the power, the faster and steeper the decline.

So it should come as no surprise to anyone that the Democrats are expected to be in sharp retreat as we steam toward the super-heated elections this fall, in which the Dems are widely predicted to lose seats in both the House and Senate. Think about where the Dem Party was a year ago. They controlled the House and the Senate, and had just enjoyed the Cinderella-rise of a largely unknown player to the highest seat in the land. Barack Obama took the oath a year ago this month amid public adoration, and overarching expectations.

And that is the problem. As campaign promises and the hopes of voters have crashed down on the rocks of reality, faith in the power of “change” has been severely tested. While voters were angry enough at Republicans to kick them out, many Democratic strategists overlooked how much of that fervor was also aimed purely at incumbents. “Throw the bums out,” is not a party-specific sentiment, nor does it come with an expiration date.


Filed under: Raw Politics • Tom Foreman
January 8th, 2010
11:17 AM ET
January 8th, 2010
11:05 AM ET

Dear President Obama #354: Is it recess time yet?

Reporter's Note: President Obama continues to feel the heat over the country’s economic woes. I, however, have noticed a draft as I’m writing my daily letter to the White House. Hmm. I wonder if someone left a door open?

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Just in case it comes up in Congress again (and frankly, I think it’s mindboggling that it has before) put me down as “in favor” of an actual playoff series to decide the college football championship. While you’re at it, you might want to suggest that the legislation include a rider to give me a couple of 50 yard line tickets each year. Hey, members of Congress are always handing favors to each other; how about folding the rest of us in for a change? In the meantime, however, I’ve enjoyed the Bowl games this year and as I write this I am sitting in my office watching the big Alabama/Texas game.

I really believe that play (and as we get older, uh, watching other people play) is an important part of productivity. I’m especially in favor of it when it’s a warm afternoon, and the fish are biting. Ha! But seriously, I think when people lose their sense of fun, hope, and rewards for the work they do, they move closer to giving up in a way. And trust me we can’t afford that right now.

This is blasphemy, of course, in many corporate boardrooms, where titans of industry seem convinced that the secret to recovery is just squeezing harder on the workers who are lucky enough to still have jobs. Sure, these hot shots put phrases in their HR books about respecting families and the needs of employees, but in most cases that’s just a sock around a hammer.


January 8th, 2010
10:00 AM ET

Why Democrats are jumping ship

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Ruben Navarrette, Jr.
Special to CNN

When exactly did the donkey become an endangered species?

Democrats had big victories in recent years, taking back control of both houses of Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008. And, in response to those defeats, Republicans seemed to be wandering in the wilderness. Unsure of whom to be, GOP strategists have been wasting time locked in a completely unconstructive debate over whether to do more outreach or get back to the basics of conservatism. (It's not as if you can't do both those things.)

Today, Republicans are still lost in the woods. But suddenly, things look even bleaker for Democrats, who seem as if they're headed off in a dozen different directions.

Polls show a detectable amount of angst among many Americans over the cost of health care reform, government bailouts and other massive expenditures. There is a sense in many parts of the country that President Obama and Congressional Democrats are trying to do too much too fast and running up too high a bill in the process.


Filed under: Democrats • Raw Politics • Ruben Navarrette Jr.
January 8th, 2010
09:59 AM ET

Morning Buzz: What’s Next – Suze Orman

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Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Happy Friday everyone.

Terror suspect Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab will be arraigned this afternoon in a Michigan federal courtroom for his alleged Christmas Day attempt to blow up an airliner. He's indicted on charges that include attempted murder and trying to use a weapon of mass destruction to kill nearly 300 people. He faces life in prison if convicted.

We’re digging deeper on AbdulMutallab’s roots and what he may have been exposed to while he was studying in Yemen. What threat does al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula pose? Paula Newton visited Iman University in Sana’a – an institution that has attracted a lot of attention. It is an Islamic college for more than 5,000 students.

Its rector, Sheikh Abdel Majid al-Zindani, is listed by Washington as a "specially designated global terrorist" for his alleged links to al-Qaeda. Every year, hundreds of young men from around the world enroll at the university, although attendees denied to CNN that the college is radical or supportive of terrorism. It is believed that AbdulMutallab attended the University and that radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki has preached there. We’ll have more from Paula in Yemen tonight.


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
January 8th, 2010
09:21 AM ET
January 8th, 2010
06:11 AM ET

Sound Off: Your comments 1/7/09

Editor's Note: After last night's AC360°, we received comments about our 'What's Next' guest, Michelle Rhee. Many of you were interested in what she had to say about the country's public school system. We also heard from some of you about security - both for the country and at the White House. What do you think? Let us know!


I am a 16 year old viewer, and tonight was the first time I was ever annoyed by the show. On the all too brief section discerning "better education" you destroyed any value in Rhee's argument. We need better schooling and what she had to say is very important, but the trivial "what three things can't you live without" question (I assume) left most viewers remembering not that year-round schooling is necessary, but that Rhee can't live without great food. I understand that you may have been told to ask this question and that this topic isn't exactly breaking news, but if our poor rankings educationally compared to other industrial countries is so shocking, then it needs to be headlined, not made lesser by irrelevant final statements! I write this not because I neglect advocating better education myself, but because you are currently in a better position then I to make the differences!

Regarding the continual rehashing of the "Panty Bomber" on every newscast all day, every day: is there no other news in the world? If I hear one more comment that everyone failed to "connect the dots" I can only suggest that perhaps they all need to go back to kindergarten and learn how to do that before they try to run a country.


Filed under: Behind The Scenes
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