September 13th, 2010
10:43 PM ET

Political Theater: DNC vs. John Boehner

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

If you had any doubts about who would get the honor of being Republican Bad Boy for the Democrats this fall, set your mind at ease: Minority Leader John Boehner has the job.

President Obama is teeing off on him like a new Titleist. Dems on the Hill, fearful of the fall of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should the Republicans take a majority, are rallying around the attack flag. And the Democratic National Committee is launching a commercial this week that suggests he could be the bane of millions of jobless Americans.

Cue the music and the dramatic announcer. "Think republicans have no plan for the economy?” this commercial says, “It's not true. John Boehner opposes funding for government jobs; jobs for teachers, for cops, for firefighters. Boehner has a different plan; Tax cuts for businesses, those that shift jobs and profits overseas, saving multinational corporations ten billion. So to China and India and Mexico, Boehner has a message: You’re welcome.”

For many Democrats, this is enough red meat to make a gown for Lady Gaga. For many Republicans, it is another effort to push the spotlight away from the Democrats’ economic policies at a difficult time. So who is right?

Filed under: Democrats • Raw Politics • Republicans • Tom Foreman
September 13th, 2010
09:50 PM ET

Has former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gone too far?: Join the Live Chat

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

Has former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gone too far? Comments he made this past weekend about President Obama have some of his fellow conservatives crying foul. Among other things, Gingrich accused Obama of having a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” agenda and worldview.

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
September 13th, 2010
09:08 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Is Gingrich fueling birther beliefs?

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

Has former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gone too far? Comments he made this past weekend about President Obama have some of his fellow conservatives crying foul. Among other things, Gingrich accused Obama of having a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” agenda and worldview.

He made these remarks while agreeing with an article in Forbes by fellow conservative Dinesh D’Souza. But do the claims in the article and the comments by Gingrich stand up to the facts? Are Gingrich and D’Souza simply trying to fan the birther movement for political gain? Are any Republicans defending them? Tonight on 360, we’ll look at all of that, plus the White House reaction. We’ll also hear from Democratic strategist Paul Begala and conservative commentator and former speechwriter David Frum.

Filmmaker Michael Moore has jumped into the battle over the Islamic center and mosque planned near Ground Zero. Over the weekend, he wrote that he wants the center to be built directly on Ground Zero, instead of two blocks away. Did he really mean it? What point is he trying to make? Anderson interviews Moore tonight.

There’s new video of the horrific natural gas explosion that killed at least four people in San Bruno, California. Some of the images were recorded by surveillance cameras as the blast happened. An amateur video taken moments after the blast shows the intensity of the inferno that destroyed dozens of homes. There’s also new information tonight that the utility at the center of the investigation, Pacific Gas and Electric, was warned about risks posed by an aging gas line. Keeping them honest, Ted Rowlands investigates.

We’re also launching a new segment tonight called Political Theatre. Think of it as a fact-check of the most outrageous political ads airing in this overheated primary season. Do the bold claims and accusations stand up to reality? We’re cranking up our Keeping-Them-Honest-ometer.

See you at 10 p.m. eastern.

Filed under: Cate Vojdik
September 13th, 2010
05:42 PM ET

Beat 360° 9/13/10

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:

Singer Lady Gaga accepts the Video of the Year award from Cher onstage during the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards at NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE on September 12, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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.

Update: Beat 360° Winners:

Jill Billante
"Can’t read my, can’t read my. No he can’t read my hanger steak."


Lisa Mann, Texas
"Obviously this kid misunderstood the director when he told her to show a little more flesh."

___________________________________________________________________________Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
September 13th, 2010
04:42 PM ET

Obama in 'wrestling match' with GOP over taxes

CNN Wire Staff

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/09/13/obama.economy/story.obama.pool.jpg caption="President Obama talked to a small group Monday outside the home of a family in Fairfax, Virginia." width=300 height=169]

Fairfax, Virginia (CNN) - President Barack Obama lashed out at congressional Republicans again on Monday, telling a group of northern Virginia residents that a GOP push to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for voters making over $250,000 is unaffordable.

His administration is "in this wrestling match" with the GOP leadership over whether to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cutes for the richest Americans, Obama said. Doing so would cost another $700 billion, "and we just can't afford it," he declared - a slap at Republican cries for fiscal responsibility.

The president made his remarks during an appearance at a private home in the Washington suburbs of Fairfax County.

He appeared with, among others, Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly, a first-term Democrat in the midst of a tough re-election fight.

Democratic congressional leaders agree with Obama that tax relief should be extended only to those making $250,000 or less, but Republicans have argued that taxes shouldn't be raised on anyone - including the wealthy - while the economy is weak.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy • Raw Politics
September 13th, 2010
04:30 PM ET

As residents return, utility pledges money for California suburb

CNN Wire Staff

San Bruno, California (CNN) - California utility Pacific Gas and Electric will set aside up to $100 million to help rebuild parts of the San Francisco suburb ravaged by a deadly gas explosion last week, the company's president said Monday.

The money includes payments of up to $50,000 per household for interim living expenses and money to compensate the city for San Bruno for the costs it incurred since Thursday night's pipeline explosion and fire, PG&E President Chris Johns told reporters. Other funds will help the city rebuild things like parks and sidewalks, he said.

"I realize money can't return lives, can't heal scars and can't replace memories. Some of the things that have been lost, you can't put a value to," Johns said. "But there does come a time for healing and for rebuilding, and we are committed to helping that happen."

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar
September 13th, 2010
02:32 PM ET

Why not try it all

Chris Guillebeau
AC360° Contributor

Just say no. Assert your boundaries. You can’t do it all.

There’s a time and a place for everything, sure, but is that always the best advice?

Whenever I hear things like “Say no five times for every time you say yes,” I think… “Really?” I take the opposite approach, and it generally works out just fine.

I think that the “say no to almost everything” advice is good for masters. If you’re at the height of your career or skill, it makes sense to be highly selective. If Tiger Woods says no to everything but practicing his swing every day, I get it. If Serena Williams never wants to leave the court, I understand.

But most of us are not Tigers or Serenas yet. Not all of us know what we want to do; not everyone is single-minded towards the pursuit of only one goal. Some of us have more than one passion.

So that’s the idea: why not try it all? Have your cake and eat it too.

I’ve written about living a renaissance life a few times before—see here and here, for example—but this is a different approach. Try this, for example:

Filed under: Chris Guillebeau
September 13th, 2010
12:22 PM ET

Political Theater: DNC targets top House Republican on economic policy

Online political junkies and incessant truth squadders, we need your help.

Tonight, AC360° debuts our new Political Theater segment, employing our very own KTH-O-Meter (that’s KTH for Keeping Them Honest). Our correspondent Tom Foreman will be fact checking a new ad out Tuesday from the Democratic National Committee about House Minority Leader John Boehner’s economic policies.

Related on the CNN Political Ticker: New DNC ad blasts GOP leader

Here’s the script for new ad which is entitled “You’re Welcome”:

“Think Republicans have no plan for the economy?”
“It's not true"
“John Boehner opposes funding for government jobs”
“Jobs for teachers, for cops, for firefighters”
“Boehner has a different plan.
“Tax cuts for businesses, those that shift jobs and profits overseas, saving multinational corporations ten billion.”
“So to China and India and Mexico, Boehner has a message, you’re welcome.”
“The Democratic National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.”

Take a look at the ad and the claims it makes and then render your own verdict in the comments section below. You have 4 choices: “Right on,” “It’s a stretch,” “Tall tale,” or “Big fat lie.” Be brief but please give us the evidence in support of your verdict. And two more things: CNN’s comment policy applies and be responsive to our request for help; only submit comments that will help us fact check the ad.

Earlier: Offbeat ads offer window into political Sliding Scale of Truth

Filed under: 360° Radar • Raw Politics
September 13th, 2010
12:10 PM ET

Midterm and presidential politics dominate the week

Mark Preston
CNN Senior Political Editor

Washington (CNN) – From competitive congressional contests to high profile appearances by potential presidential candidates, over the next five days we will see the 2010 primary season come to a close and perhaps get greater insight into who may run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

For political junkies, this may be the best week, so far, of the year:

* Tuesday: Seven states and the District of Columbia hold primaries with three of the states and the nation's capital of particular interest to me. In New Hampshire, there is a crowded Republican battle for the Senate nomination with the GOP establishment standing behind Kelly Ayotte and the powerful publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader backing Ovide Lamontagne. There is also a competitive Republican for a House seat. Delaware pits the centrist-Rep. Mike Castle against Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell. Embattled New York City Rep. Charlie Rangel faces the voters after being accused of violating congressional ethics rules. And in the D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty is facing a difficult re-election against Council Chairman Vincent Gray.

More on the CNN Political Ticker

Filed under: 360° Radar
September 13th, 2010
11:00 AM ET

Gibbs hits back at Gingrich for Kenya comment

Alexander Mooney
CNN Ticker Producer

(CNN) – White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says he doesn't have the slightest idea what Newt Gingrich is talking about.

Gibbs' comments come a day after the former House Speaker told the National Review that President Obama follows a "Kenyan, anti-colonial" worldview that in turn supports his policy positions on a range of issues.

"I don't even have – quite frankly – the slightest idea what he's talking about," an amused Gibbs told ABC News Monday morning. "I think Newt Gingrich knows that he's trying to appeal to the fringe of people that don't believe the president was born in this country."

"You would normally expect better from somebody who held the position of speaker of the House," Gibbs added. "But, look, it's political season. And most people'll say anything. And Newt Gingrich does that … on a regular basis."

In his comments to the National Review – published on the conservative publication's Web site over the weekend – Gingrich also said Obama had conned his way into the Oval Office by painting himself as a mainstream American.

Full story on the CNN Political Ticker

Filed under: 360° Radar
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