August 19th, 2010
09:55 PM ET

Pres. Obama's Faith Questioned: Join the Live Chat

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Tonight, what as many as one-in-four Americans believe about the President of the United States, that simply isn't so. That Pres. Obama is a Muslim. We're keeping them honest. Plus, meet the woman who called Dr. Laura and heard the n-word 11 times.

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 19th, 2010
05:06 PM ET

Feds begin crackdown on online pharmacies

Drew Griffin and David Fitzpatrick
CNN Special Investigations Unit

Pharmacies in Utah and Illinois are at the heart of an illicit nationwide network providing prescription drugs over the internet, federal agents state in court papers filed in two cities.

In search warrant affidavits obtained by CNN, agents that the business was centered around two pharmacies, one in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines, Illinois, and the other here in this small town south of Salt Lake City.

According to the affidavits, both pharmacies are owned by the same man, Kyle Rootsaert - the subject of a 2008 report by CNN. One of them, the Des Plaines company now called Rand Pharmacy, combined with another unidentified pharmacy to ship 30,000 packages of prescription drugs across the country during the first six months of 2010.

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Filed under: David Fitzpatrick • Drew Griffin
August 19th, 2010
04:56 PM ET

Researchers say they found 22-mile hydrocarbons plume in Gulf

CNN Wire Staff

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/US/08/19/gulf.oil.plume/story.hydrocarbon.plume.gi.jpg caption="Researchers say hydrocarbons plume in Gulf of Mexico is at least 22 miles long" width=300 height=169]

Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution said they have detected a plume of hydrocarbons that is at least 22 miles long and more than 3,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, a residue of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

According to the institution, the 1.2-mile-wide, 650-foot-high plume of trapped hydrocarbons provides at least a partial answer to recent questions asking where all the oil has gone as surface slicks shrink and disappear.

"These results indicate that efforts to book-keep where the oil went must now include this plume" in the Gulf, said Christopher Reddy, a Woods Hole marine geochemist and oil spill expert. He is one of the authors of the study, which appears in the Aug. 19 issue of the journal Science.

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Filed under: Gulf Oil Spill
August 19th, 2010
04:48 PM ET

Only a third of Americans say Obama is Christian; almost one in five say he's Muslim


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A substantial and growing chunk of the country believes that President Obama, a self-described Christian, is Muslim, while only about a third of Americans are able to correctly identify his religion, according to a survey released Thursday.

Nearly one in five Americans believe Obama is a Muslim, up from around one in 10 Americans who said he was Muslim last year, according to the survey, conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

While most of those who think Obama is Muslim are Republicans, the number of independents who believe he is Muslim has expanded significantly, from 10 percent last year to 18 percent now.

The number of Americans who express uncertainly about the president's religion, meanwhile, is much larger and has also grown, including among Obama's political base. For instance, fewer than half of Democrats and African-Americans now say that Obama is Christian.

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Filed under: President Barack Obama
August 19th, 2010
04:04 PM ET
August 19th, 2010
03:30 PM ET

Critics say Obama's message becoming 'incoherent'

Ed Hornick

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/08/17/obama.mosque.message/t1larg.obamamosque.gi.jpg caption="President Obama is under fire for what some are calling mixed messages on plans to build an Islamic center near ground zero." width=300 height=169]

President Obama's comments on a plan to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero are not only giving opponents an opportunity to attack him but also reveal a messaging problem from the White House, a communications expert said.

"The danger here is an incoherent presidency," said David Morey, vice chairman of the Core Strategy Group, who provided communications advice to Obama's 2008 campaign. "Simpler is better, and rising above these issues and leading by controlling the dialogue is what the presidency is all about. So I think that's the job they have to do more effectively as they have in the past [in the campaign]."

Obama has faced a torrent of criticism for what was called mixed messages on the controversial plan. On Friday, Obama said Muslims "have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country ... That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances."

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Filed under: Islam • President Barack Obama
August 19th, 2010
02:00 PM ET
August 19th, 2010
12:10 PM ET

Progress, pitfalls as U.S. troops leave Iraq

Larry Diamond
Special to CNN

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With the departure of the last U.S. combat brigade from Iraq, the Obama administration has taken a large stride toward its goal of complete American military withdrawal from Iraq by the end of next year. And there are many other signs of progress.

The rate of Iraqi civilian deaths in political violence has fallen by 90 percent from its awful peak in 2006, before "the surge" in American forces and strategy began to roll back the insurgent challenge.

American military deaths in Iraq have fallen to 46 so far this year, by far the lowest level since the American invasion in March 2003, and again a 90 percent decline from the pace of casualties in 2007. In March of this year, Iraq held the most democratic election any Arab country has held in a generation (with the possible exception of Lebanon).

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Filed under: Iraq • Opinion
August 19th, 2010
11:55 AM ET

Caller says she was hurt by Dr. Laura's use of the n-word

CNN Wire Staff

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The African American woman who called Dr. Laura Schlessinger for advice and heard the radio talk show host use the n-word 11 times said Thursday that she was confused and hurt by the call.

"I was calling her to get some help," Nita Hanson told CNN's "American Morning." "I did not expect to hear the things that she said to me."

Hanson called Schlessinger August 11, seeking advice on how to deal with racist comments from her white husband's friends and relatives. The conversation evolved into a discussion on whether it's appropriate to ever use the n-word, with Schlessinger arguing it's used on HBO and by black comedians.

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Filed under: Race in America
August 19th, 2010
11:28 AM ET

Criticism likely to follow Obama on upcoming vacation

Dan Lothian
CNN White House Correspondent

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President Obama and his family head to Martha's Vineyard on Friday for a weeklong vacation, but don't expect it to be without controversy.

It will be the president's second time on the island off the coast of Massachusetts. In 2009, Obama spent time golfing and hanging out with family and friends.

Vacations are often considered political low-hanging fruit: Zing a president or first lady anytime they go away for some rest and relaxation.

Critics have asked: Why did the Obamas go to Maine instead of the Gulf Coast as Obama had encouraged Americans to help bolster tourism there? Once in the Gulf, why only for 27 hours? Who footed the bill for Michelle Obama's glitzy trip to Spain?

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Filed under: Dan Lothian • President Barack Obama
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