September 20th, 2010
09:45 PM ET

Tracking O'Donnell's Finances: Join the Live Chat

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Tonight, will Christine O'Donnell answer the tough questions about her financial history? She didn't this weekend. Tonight, our Gary Tuchman tried. We'll show you what happened and what see he uncovered about her spending history.

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 20th, 2010
06:27 PM ET

O'Donnell campaign calls charges 'frivolous'

Alison Harding

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/09/20/art.odonell.gi.9.20.10.jpg caption="Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell's campaign is calling a watchdog group's charge that the candidate used campaign funds for personal expenses 'frivolous.'" width=300 height=169]

(CNN) – Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell's campaign is calling "frivolous" a watchdog group's charge the candidate used campaign funds for personal expenses in a complaint filed with authorities Monday.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed complaints with the Delaware U.S. Attorney's Office and the Federal Election Commission against O'Donnell, charging that more than $20,000 of O'Donnell's spending in 2009 and 2010 was illegal because O'Donnell was no longer a candidate.

"By committing tax evasion, false statements, and basically embezzling her campaign funds, Ms. O'Donnell has basically broken criminal law, and must be held to account for that," CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan told CNN.

CREW is basing their complaint in part on the affidavit of a former campaign aide who charges that O'Donnell routinely used campaign funds to pay for personal expenses such as meals and gas. The aide, David Keegan, also told CNN's Gary Tuchman last week that O'Donnell paid for a bowling outing – among other things – during a time when she was not running for office.

But O'Donnell's campaign manager, Matt Moran, insisted that the charges would be proven false.

"I am very confident that it will be dismissed as frivolous. And for the charges that need to be articulated fully, we have some lawyers that will be looking at that and addressing those concerns," Moran said.

Full story on the CNN Political Ticker

Filed under: 360° Radar
September 20th, 2010
06:25 PM ET

Beat 360° 9/20/10

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:

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty rides on a bike for a media photo-op during the launching of the Capital Bikeshare program September 20, 2010 in Washington. (Photo credit: Alex Wong/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:

Marshall Arbitman
“Washington’s mayor, working on trimming the fat inside HIS beltway.”


John Fayne-Cleaver, Barbados
“Mayor Fenty to his assistant ‘I said I wanted backers not bikers, you idiot.’"


Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
September 20th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

House Republicans to unveil campaign blueprint this week

Deirdre Walsh and Dana Bash

Washington (CNN) - House Republicans plan to unveil what amounts to a campaign blueprint on Thursday in suburban Virginia, GOP sources have told CNN.

The much anticipated announcement comes after a nearly three-month-long listening session with the public online and through town hall meetings, dubbed "America Speaking Out," and is intended to show that House Republicans would have a governing agenda if rewarded with majority control in the congressional elections on November 2.

Many GOP strategists call such an agenda - like the 1994 Contract with America - a critical missing ingredient for Republicans this election season to help give voters a reason to vote for GOP lawmakers, not just against Democrats.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar
September 20th, 2010
04:47 PM ET

Political Theater: Ad wars heat up in Delaware Senate race

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"Political Theater" returns to the airwaves tonight on AC360°. Our correspondent Tom Foreman will be fact checking two new ads in the Delaware Senate race.

Related on the Political Ticker: Delaware ad war heats up

Here’s the script for "Fit," a new 30-second ad from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, that's focused on Republican Christine O'Donnell:

Narrator: “We don’t know a lot about Christine O’Donnell. But here’s what we do know.”

Narrator: “She’ll fit right in, in Washington.”

Narrator: “O’Donnell spends money she doesn’t have. Hired employees she didn’t pay. Stiffed businesses. Didn’t pay her taxes."

Narrator: “One of Christine O’Donnell’s former employees summed it up: 'We were constantly trying to hold her back from spending. She was financially completely irresponsible.'”

Narrator: “The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.”

And a supporter of O'Donnell is also out with a new ad focused on her opponent Democrat Chris Coons.

Filed under: 360° Radar
September 20th, 2010
03:00 PM ET

Obama defends economic record

Ben Rooney
CNNMoney.com Staff Reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - President Obama said Monday that his economic policies helped prevent a depression, although he acknowledged that many Americans are still struggling.

In a town hall meeting sponsored by the CNBC cable network, Obama responded to questions from unemployed workers, recent college graduates, small business owners and one prominent hedge fund manager. He sought to reassure middle class families that the American dream is still attainable, while at the same time rebutting criticism that he is anti-business.

The meeting came on the same day that the National Bureau of Economic Research said the Great Recession, which began in December 2007, officially ended in June 2009. However, economists are debating whether the U.S. economy is headed for another downturn, a so-called double-dip recession.

Obama, who was sworn in as president in January 2009, said the steps his administration took early on helped stabilize the economy and prevent a repeat of the Great Depression. But he acknowledged that the recession "is still very real" from millions of unemployed Americans and those hurt by the foreclosure crisis.

"A lot of people are still hurting," he said. "The question then becomes: what can we put in place so that the trend lines continue in the positive direction."

Full story on CNNMoney.com

Filed under: 360° Radar
September 20th, 2010
12:48 PM ET

Personal responsibility and showing up

Chris Guillebeau
AC360° Contributor

To be truly awesome, you have to go above and beyond the efforts of those around you, look for alternative solutions, and refuse to back down from the truth. There’s a whole article about it for those who are curious.

But it all starts with showing up. Or, as a friend of mine puts it:

“I’m sorry you feel bad about not meeting your goals– what I would suggest is that you begin meeting your goals, in order to feel better.”

Insight such as this is difficult for some people to accept. Just imagine the excuses you’d hear:

But that’s not fair! But I tried to do it and something else came up! But some things are out of our control!

You can probably think of other excuses – in fact, you’ve probably heard them many times over. Thankfully, for those of us who do take responsibility, there’s good news on two levels. The first good news is that we automatically stand out. In a world of buck-passers, those who decide to take responsibility are unusual. Yay. You get the yellow jersey by default. (You still have to win the race, but no one is surprised when you do.)

But on a deeper level, the bright side of taking responsibility is that you can own your own success. Sure, other people helped you get there, but you were the one who actually crossed the finish line. You showed up. You did it. If you have to own the struggle and failure, integral parts of any goal worth pursuing, surely you can also own some of the success.

Remember this: many people can help you achieve success, but no one else is RESPONSIBLE for your success.

Filed under: Chris Guillebeau
September 20th, 2010
11:10 AM ET

Elite medical unit is last hope for many with mystery illnesses

MaryAnne Fox
AC360° Producer

Programming note: Imagine that you have a disease, but no one, not even your doctor, can tell you what it is. Where do you turn? Meet the doctors-turned-detectives who try to solve the rarest medical mysteries. Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells you why it's about more than saving lives on an AC360° special investigation at 10 ET tonight.

(CNN) - Tucked away on the sprawling campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, an elite team of doctors, specialists and researchers are in search of clues to solve mysteries no other doctor could solve.

They’re detectives for a one-of-a-kind initiative at National Institutes of Health. It’s called the Undiagnosed Diseases Program or UDP. Together, the UDP's team focuses its vast expertise on trying to save patients' lives and creating new science. Dr. William Gahl is the clinical director of NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute and is also the Undiagnosed Diseases Program’s lead investigator.

“The mission is really two-fold,” Gahl says. “One is to try to get to a diagnosis for people who have struggled for so long to achieve a diagnosis – of course there all kinds of benefits to that. The second is to discover new diseases or new aspects of known diseases so we can help the entire community of individuals with related disorders.”

Related video: Gupta goes inside medical mystery ward

For many people with mysterious conditions that have eluded doctors around the country, the UDP is their last hope for a diagnosis.

“We try and be realistic about it and get our patients to be realistic about the issues too,” Gahl says. “So the first day of a typical visit, I’ll go in and tell the patients, ‘You’ve been to the best places in the country, now you’re coming here. We only have a 10 to 15 percent success rate. So I don’t want you to get your hopes up really too, too high.’ But on the other hand, we don’t want to take all hope away.”

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar
September 20th, 2010
10:06 AM ET

Inner-GOP sniping increases in wake of Tea Party successes

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/09/19/tea.party.fallout/story.odonnell.gi.jpg caption="'Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell canceled scheduled interviews with Fox and CBS." width=300 height=169]

Tom Cohen

Washington (CNN) - Tea Party euphoria confronted reality Sunday, with Delaware Senate primary winner Christine O'Donnell backing out of scheduled talk show appearances amid talk of possible civil war among Republicans over the conservative movement.

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski accused the Tea Party Express of infusing money and lies into her Republican primary to swing it against her.

Now waging a write-in campaign to retain her seat, against the wishes of mainstream Republicans, Murkowski told CNN that fellow party members were inciting inner-GOP conflict.

"What happened in my particular race, you had the Tea Party Express, this California-based group, come in at the last minute in a campaign, run a mudslinging, smear - just a terrible, terrible campaign, with lies and fabrications and mischaracterization," Murkowski said on CNN's "State of the Union" program. "They came in, they dumped $600,000 into a small market here in Alaska, and they absolutely clearly influenced the outcome of that election."

Murkowski accused conservative GOP Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who backed her victorious opponent in the primary, of undermining fellow Republicans.

"I don't think that it's particularly helpful to undercut fellow Republicans, but as I say, it's his prerogative," Murkowski said of DeMint, later adding: "I think that he has made people uncomfortable. I think that he has kind of rattled the cages. Whether it advances to a full-on civil war, I don't know."

On the same program, DeMint said in a pre-recorded interview that his efforts have helped Republican chances of regaining control of the Senate in November's mid-term elections.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • Raw Politics
September 20th, 2010
10:04 AM ET

Delaware not about O'Donnell, Pence says

Alexander Mooney
CNN Ticker Producer

(CNN) – Indiana Rep. Mike Pence – the winner of a socially conservative presidential straw poll over the weekend – is playing down the controversies surrounding Tea Party-backed candidate Christine O'Donnell, saying it's the surprise Senate nominee's message that's most important.

"I don't think Delaware's about Christine O'Donnell," Pence told CNN's John Roberts on American Morning. "I know there'll be this nitpicking and attempts to take things out of context. Certainly she has some explaining to do about that to her voters in Delaware.

"But at the end of the day, what's bringing people out and creating a momentum for what could be real change in America is that the American people are tired of the borrowing, the spending, the bailouts, and the takeovers, and they're looking for men and women that are willing to stand up and be counted and take on the establishment," Pence added.

Full story on the CNN Political Ticker

Filed under: 360° Radar
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