August 9th, 2010
09:49 PM ET

White House Vacation Controversy: Join the Live Chat

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Tonight on 360°, the White House under fire for the First Lady's vacation in Spain. Plus, the testimony of supermodel Naomi Campbell in the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor is disputed by her agent and a famous actress. And, a flight attendant is under arrest after he allegedly got in a fight with a passenger, yelled insults over the plane's PA system and then made a dramatic exit on the plane's emergency slide. We can't make this stuff up.

Want more details on what 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
August 9th, 2010
09:11 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Michelle Obama's Bad Vacation?

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

First Lady Michelle Obama has returned from her five-day trip to a luxury Spanish resort. However, the controversy surrounding her overseas vacation with two of her friends, her younger daughter, Sasha, aides and Secret Service agents is far from over.

Critics said her lavish trip was tasteless in this time of economic turmoil. They point to Pres. Obama's push for Americans to make sacrifices and spend money more wisely. Some called Mrs. Obama a modern-day Marie Antoinette.

But keeping them honest, is the finger-pointing justified? Every first family takes vacations. Plus, plenty of first ladies have come under fire for how they spend money. We'll talk it all over with CNN Political Analyst Roland Martin and Eric Erickson, editor-in-chief of RedState.com.

We'll also give you the first-look at a documentary on the life and death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman. The former NFL safety was killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire in April 2004. But you'll remember that wasn't the story his family and the rest of the world heard at first. Far from it. Military officials initially made Tillman to be a hero. They said he was killed in a firefight with insurgents and he sacrificed his life to save his fellow Rangers. But what was really sacrificed the truth. His family demanded answers and wouldn't stop until they got them. Tonight in the 'Big 360° Interview' Anderson talks with Pat Tillman Sr. about what happened to his son. The truth is told in the new documentary "The Tillman Story", which paints a damning picture of top military brass.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
August 9th, 2010
05:45 PM ET
August 9th, 2010
05:26 PM ET

Unfair attacks on Michelle Obama's Spanish vacation

Ruth Marcus
Washington Post

Let's stipulate: A five-star resort on the Spanish Costa del Sol was probably not the first choice of White House spin-meisters for a mother-daughter getaway. Especially when the getaway included a posse of 40 friends of the first lady staying at the Hotel Villa Padierna, where rooms start at $330 a night, and photos of Michelle Obama strolling in Marbella wearing an off-the-shoulder number by Jean Paul Gaultier.

"The first lady is on a private trip," said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. "She is a private citizen and is the mother of a daughter on a private trip. And I think I'd leave it at that."


Filed under: 360° Radar
August 9th, 2010
05:24 PM ET

Michelle Obama's Spanish vacation draws critics

Peter Nicholas and Katherine Skiba
Tribune Washington Bureau

Reporting from Washington — As the economy endures high unemployment and a jittery stock market, President Obama has preached sacrifice and fiscal discipline. But the pictures coming out of a sun-splashed Spanish resort this week may be sending a different message.

First Lady Michelle Obama is in the midst of a five-day trip to a luxury resort along with a few friends, her youngest daughter, aides and Secret Service personnel. Her office said the family will pay for personal expenses, but won't reveal the taxpayer cost for the government employees.

Read More:

Filed under: 360° Radar
August 9th, 2010
04:53 PM ET

Video: Pat Tillman's widow: Embrace Veterans


Program Note: The father of the late Patrick Tillman will join Anderson Cooper tonight on AC360° at 10pm ET.

Filed under: Afghanistan
August 9th, 2010
04:10 PM ET
August 9th, 2010
03:47 PM ET

Sold on Craigslist: Critics say sex ad crackdown inadequate

Editor's note: Watch an update on the investigation into Craigslist's adult services section on AC360 tonight at 10 p.m. ET.

Steve Turnham and Amber Lyon
CNN Special Investigations Unit

On a late afternoon in early June, undercover police officers circled a one-story highway motel north of Washington. Inside was a 12-year-old girl who told her mother she was being forced to work as a prostitute.

According to her mother, the girl had started running away from home earlier this year. She found out her daughter was in the sex trade when she saw her in an adult online classified ad. The girl was advertising herself as a 24-year-old with a bogus name. The next time she ran away, her mother reported her missing.

Read the police press release

According to police and anti-trafficking advocates, the internet has now become the preferred way to sell women for sex. It's fast and convenient for the pimps and relatively safe for the men who pay for sex. Instead of trolling the streets, they can now look through hundreds of girls from the safety of their homes or hotels.

This time, the girl was lucky. She called home, and the call was traced to a Knight's Inn in Laurel, Maryland, where police were quickly on the scene. They rescued the girl and arrested a 42-year-old man and charged him with human trafficking.

Of all the sites that offer "adult services," Craigslist is one of the most popular. The online classified ad site is used regularly by about 50 million Americans for everything from buying used lawn furniture to finding a job or a roommate.

It's also used to sell sex, making Craigslist a prime target of a nationwide campaign against internet prostitution.

"Most of the young women we've worked with who have been exploited online talk about Craigslist," said Andrea Powell of the anti-trafficking group The FAIR Fund. "Craigslist is like the Wal-Mart of online sex trafficking right now in this country."

According to police who investigated the case of the missing 12-year-old, she had previously advertised on Craigslist under a false name and age. Craigslist declined to provide copies of the ad, citing privacy concerns.

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark defended his site, saying it is doing more than any other site that hosts adult ads to help filter out underage prostitutes and report them to police.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Amber Lyon • Crime & Punishment • Steve Turnham
August 9th, 2010
03:30 PM ET
August 9th, 2010
02:50 PM ET

Palin helping RNC raise money

Peter Hamby
CNN Political Producer

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In a surprising move given her reputation as a political outsider, Sarah Palin is helping the Republican National Committee raise money ahead of November's elections.

Palin has attached her name to a letter and survey being mailed to RNC donors soliciting contributions for the committee's Victory 2010 program, a nationwide get-out-the-vote effort.

"Millions of Americans are expressing their frustration with the state of our government. I join them and seek to return our country to greatness," reads the letter, obtained by CNN Friday.

"To accomplish this, working within our two party system, I join the RNC – the political home for "Commonsense Conservatives" who want to re-take governance – and I ask you to join me," the former Republican vice presidential nominee's letter continues. "Let's bring our new brand of Reagan conservatism to our party and the country!"

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Sarah Palin
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