March 15th, 2010
08:55 PM ET

Health care reform down to the wire: Join the Live Chat

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Tonight on 360°, President Obama pushing for last-minute support on health care reform, Rielle Hunter speaking out, and a Roman Catholic priest who still celebrates mass, even after his former archdiocese kicked him out of his former church.

Want to know what else we're covering? Read EVENING BUZZ

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
March 15th, 2010
07:39 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Rielle Hunter speaks out about John Edwards and her baby

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/15/art.hunter.cnn.jpg]Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

President Obama was in Ohio today, trying to build last-minute support for the issue he’s staked so much on: health care reform. Democratic leaders and the White House are pushing toward a final vote this week. They need 216 votes to pass the bill and they’re still scrambling to nail them down. The full-court press is aimed at 37 House democrats who are still on the fence. Tonight we’ll have the latest on the day’s developments, plus a Keeping Them Honest report from Dana Bash. It’s about exotic – and wildly expensive – new drugs for people with cancer and other life-threatening diseases and the big giveaway discovered in the health care reform for the companies that make them.

Also in the mix tonight: candid talk from John Edwards’ former mistress and mother of his 2-year-old daughter. Rielle Hunter has kept her silence for years but is now speaking out. All the details tonight about what she told GQ magazine about the man she calls Johnny–plus the steamy photo shoot that now has her crying foul, and, oh yes, that sordid sex tape that has surfaced. Along with Hunter’s side of the story, we’ll hear from Andrew Young, Edwards’ former campaign aide, who initially took the fall for his boss by claiming to be the father of Hunter’s baby.

Plus, a Roman Catholic priest who still celebrates mass, even after his former archdiocese kicked him out of his former church and paid more than $1.3 million to settle a molestation lawsuit. A state agency cleared the priest of the charges decades ago. So why did the church settle the case anyway? Gary Tuchman reports on the secret documents the church kept to itself for decades. Tonight you’ll see them for the first time on national television.

See you at 10 p.m. eastern!

Filed under: Cate Vojdik • The Buzz
March 15th, 2010
07:23 PM ET

Church officials defend celibacy, reject link to sex abuse by priests

Program note: Tune in tonight at 10pm ET to see Gary Tuchman's report on the sex abuse scandal in the church.

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John Thavis
Catholic News Service

As the Year for Priests moves into its final phase, a chorus of Vatican officials and experts has defended priestly celibacy and rejected the idea that celibacy has anything to do with sexual abuse by priests.

The latest to take on critics of celibacy was Manfred Lutz, chief of psychiatry at a German hospital and a consultant to the Congregation for Clergy.

Speaking at a theological convention on the priesthood in Rome March 12, Lutz said people who view celibacy as "unnatural" fail to understand the positive value of self-control in human sexuality.

"Science now tells us that there is no correlation between celibacy and pedophilia," Lutz told an audience of about 700 priests at the Pontifical Lateran University.

The assumption that celibacy represents a warning signal for psychosexual imbalance is also wrong, said Lutz, who helped organize a Vatican conference on sex abuse in 2004. On the contrary, he said, it's the wider society that misunderstands sexuality and that promotes an "idolatry of the body" that has left millions of people unhappy.

Lutz said there was no question that celibacy "is certainly not something for weak characters." The commitment to celibacy usually falters in a priest when his spiritual life weakens, or when he becomes too focused on himself. For that reason, it may be a good idea to have priests live in communities when possible, he said.

Lutz said it was not true that married priests would be better able to pastorally guide married couples. For one thing, he said, there is a risk that a married priest will unconsciously and inevitably apply his own personal marriage experiences to the problems faced by others, whereas a celibate priest has a wider viewpoint.


Filed under: Religion
March 15th, 2010
05:47 PM ET

Beat 360° 3/15/10

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture 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:

U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds up six-month-old John Draper during a health insurance reform news conference on March 15, 2010 in Washington, DC.

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.

________________________________________________________________________________ Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
March 15th, 2010
04:23 PM ET

Rielle Hunter speaks about her affair with John Edwards

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Program note: Tonight, Anderson speaks with former aide to John Edwards, Andrew Young. Young had initially lied about being the father of Rielle Hunter's baby at the request of Edwards. Hunter lived with Young and his family a few years ago, and allegedly left a sex tape of her and Edwards in the Young house. Tune in tonight at 10pm ET to hear Young's reaction to Hunter's interview and photo session.

Lisa DePaulo

I met rielle hunter for the first time the day of our first interview, at her home in Charlotte, North Carolina, though we'd already spoken for some months on the phone. And would continue to, as more developments were reported. (Are she and John Edwards engaged? "I am not engaged.") There were no conditions, no ground rules, no topics or questions that were off-limits. Just a request that her words be her words, unfiltered and unspun. While everyone else in the Edwards drama has said their piece, in books and/or television interviews, the mistress and campaign videographer and mother of his child has, in her own words, "kept my mouth shut." Until now (as they say in the tabloids).

My first impression of Hunter, when she opened the back door of the screened porch filled with toys and strollers in the three-bedroom house she is renting (for $1,500 a month), her hair pulled up in a scrunchy, was that she was much prettier, and a whole lot softer, than all those National Enquirer spy photos suggest. She was wearing size 2 jeans, a Ralph Lauren turtleneck, and Uggs. No makeup. And she was laughing. Because Quinn, her 2-year-old daughter, had just done something particularly adorable. The child is gorgeous and, yes, looks exactly like John Edwards, but she also has her mother's spirit. Which is to say, a combination of serenity and spunk.

Hunter had fluffed up the tiny guest room upstairs—carefully placing a Zen-sayings paperback beside the twin bed—and invited me to stay overnight, with a warning that the three of us (she, Quinn, and I) would have to share the one bathroom, where the tub is filled with her daughter's rubber duckies. I accepted.

During the day and night and into the next morning, our talks were sometimes interrupted by the presence of a creepy guy exiting a dark blue van and setting up a tripod and camera on the sidewalk by her house, the lens focused into her living room or bedroom. She would handle this with practiced ease, closing any shutters that weren't already closed ("I love sunlight, but this is the reality"), at night dimming the lights and, with Quinn on her hip, dialing up her pals in the local police department, who are used to this (and are fiercely protective of her and Quinn). The cops would do their thing, the paparazzi would scatter—then return an hour or so later and the whole exercise would start again.

Throughout the day, news flashes and fresh rumors about her and Edwards popped up on my BlackBerry and her laptop. (The TV was on constantly, but it was tuned to Nick Jr., Quinn's favorite channel, not CNN.) At one point, while Hunter was feeding her daughter sushi-style avocado rolls in her high chair, the news broke that John and Elizabeth Edwards were officially separated. "Shocking," she said.

You haven't uttered a word so far. Why now?
I feel comfortable talking now, because Johnny went public and made a statement admitting paternity. I didn't feel like I could ever speak until he did that. Because had I spoken, I would have emasculated him. And I could not emasculate him. Also, it is not my desire to teach my daughter that when Mommy's upset with Daddy, you take matters into your own hands and fix Daddy's mistakes. Which I view as one of the biggest problems in all female-and-male relationships.

We'll get to that. But first, we should make it clear: You're not making a penny from this interview.
[laughs] I am not making a penny from this interview!


March 15th, 2010
12:48 PM ET

Peace process prolongs Mideast war

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David Frum
CNN Contributor

Vice President Joe Biden has "condemned." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scolded - and then leaked the scolding. On background, U.S. aides fret that the Israeli announcement of new settlement construction may thwart resumption of the peace process.

Let me advance an unorthodox opinion: The most dangerous cause of instability in the Middle East is the so-called peace process itself.

I know this is an unusual point of view. Please hear me out.

By my count, there have been at least 10 major outbursts of violence between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East since 1936.

Every one of these conflicts ended in a similar way. Either outside powers imposed a ceasefire - or else Israel halted military operations just before a ceasefire could be imposed.

Every one of these conflicts began in a similar way, too: with a renewed attack by the Arab side, or else (as in 1956 or 1967) by Arab violations of the terms of the previous armistice or ceasefire.

Think for a minute how unusual this is. Wars usually end when one side or the other decides it cannot continue fighting. The losing side accepts terms it had formerly deemed unacceptable because the alternative - continued fighting - seems even worse.

I doubt many Hungarians are delighted to have lost more than half their territory to neighbors in Romania and the former Yugoslavia. Bolivians still remember the loss of their Pacific coast to Chile in 1884. Some in Indonesia continue to regard East Timor as rightfully theirs.

Yet for the most part, these nations have reconciled themselves to these unwelcome outcomes.

Exactly the opposite has occurred in the Arab-Israeli dispute.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Israel • Middle East • Opinion • Palestine
March 15th, 2010
12:35 PM ET

Supreme Court riven by partisan politics

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Jeffrey Toobin
CNN Senior Legal Analyst

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is fond of pointing out the original reason that judges came to wear black robes. It's to make them look alike, to minimize the differences between the individuals who occupy the role and to suggest that the law will be applied even-handedly, no matter who happens to be dressed in black.

Well, that may be the theory, but the events of the last few weeks show that the Supreme Court is riven by the same partisan divisions as the rest of Washington - and it's likely to get even more heated sooner rather than later.

The latest round started January 21, when a bitterly divided court issued its decision in the Citizens United case. The 5-4 ruling decreed that corporations enjoy the same rights as individuals to free speech under the First Amendment, and it gave corporations (and labor unions) the right to spend unlimited funds on political advertising right up until Election Day.

The political effect of, if not motivation for, the decision was clear: Citizens United looks to be a big win for Republicans, who are the likely beneficiaries of the newly lubricated corporate largesse.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Jeffrey Toobin • Raw Politics • Supreme Court
March 15th, 2010
12:04 PM ET
March 15th, 2010
11:22 AM ET
March 15th, 2010
10:16 AM ET

What's been lost in Toyota crisis?

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Editor's note: Rik Paul is automotive editor of Consumer Reports.

Rik Paul
Special to CNN

Watching the Toyota recall crisis unfold over the past few months has been like watching a wildfire on a windy day. Just when it would appear that the flames might be contained, another powerful gust sweeps through, stirring them up and blowing them still higher.

True, Toyota has acted as its own arsonist at times. If it had attacked the floor-mat entrapment problem as aggressively in 2007 as it is doing now, then perhaps the current crisis could have been avoided. And if the company had been acting as a better switchboard operator between Europe and North America, it could have more quickly connected the sticking accelerator problems in some European cars with the fact that the same pedal assembly was used in eight U.S. models. And it might possibly have avoided the recent stop-sale on those models.

But some of the gusts have been whipped up by the news media. The software glitch in the antilock braking system of the 2010 Toyota Prius and Lexus HS 250h, which causes a momentary loss of braking capability, is serious enough that it should be fixed. But on an overall scale of recalled problems, it's relatively minor. Yet, it continues to grab headlines in this Toyota-sensitized environment.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Toyota
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