October 18th, 2010
09:45 PM ET

Campaign Ads – Keeping them Honest: Join the Live Chat

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

Think you've seen it all this campaign season? Well, stay tuned, because you ain't seen nothing yet.
We'll show you a democratic attack ad that's even making some Democrats queasy. Plus, much more.

Want more details on what 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
October 18th, 2010
08:25 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Attack Ad Fallout

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Just when you thought the Kentucky Senate race couldn't get any uglier, it does. Republican Rand Paul refused to shake hands with Democrat Jack Conway after last night's debate in Louisville.

Here's the issue: A Conway attack ad claiming Paul, while at Baylor University in the 1980s, joined a secret society that tied up a woman and forced her to "bow down" and worship their god 'Aqua Buddha.' The bizarre story was first reported by GQ Magazine, which quoted an anonymous woman in an August article.

Tea Party-backed Paul fired back at Conway last night.

"I'm disheartened that my opponent has chosen to attack my religious beliefs," he said. "We have serious problems in our country ... and he has descended into the gutter to attack my personal religious beliefs. ... Jack, you should be ashamed of yourself. You should apologize. Have you no decency? Have you no shame?"

Paul called Conway's actions "a disgrace."

Conway said he's raising legitimate questions. He tried many times to get Paul to answer why he joined a secret society that mocked Christianity. The Democrat also asked when it was appropriate to tie up a woman and make her bow down to an 'Aqua Buddha?'

Paul didn't answer those questions directly. Instead he said, "You know how we know when you're lying? Your lips are moving."

Paul, the son of Texas Congressman and former presidential candidate Ron Paul, has released a rebuttal ad. We'll have that for you tonight on 360° and talk over the raw politics.

We'll also have a live report from Texas with new developments in the reported murder of David Hartley at Falcon Lake. His wife, Tiffany, met again with Mexican authorities for several hours today to give them a detailed account of what she says happened on September 30th, the day she says David was killed. His body has not been found. Meanwhile, there are new details on the lead Mexican investigator who was murdered last week. There were reports the investigator's severed head was delivered to the Mexican military. Now there's a new twist. We'll have that for you.

In Crime & Punishment, the penalty phase has started for the jury that convicted Steven Hayes of killing a Connecticut mother and her two daughters in a home invasion.

In his opening statement, Hayes' attorney told the court his client can be "quite likable," but has struggled with a "serious drug addiction".

The prosecution rested today in the penalty phase. Now the defense must make the case that Hayes should be spared the death penalty for the 2007 killings.

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

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
October 18th, 2010
05:52 PM ET

Beat 360° 10/18/10

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:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and RNC Chairman Michael Steele attend a Republican National Committee rally October 16, 2010 in Anaheim, California. (Photo credit: Kevork Djansezian/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:

Sam Meyer
“2 Legit…2 Legit to…um, never mind.”


Shawn Hendricks, Fairplay, MD
"Keep talking, my nails are almost dry."

___________________________________________________________________________Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
October 18th, 2010
05:20 PM ET
October 18th, 2010
01:58 PM ET

CNN Hero: 'This distinction does not belong to me. The many people I work with… are the real heroes.'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/10/18/art.delavega.cnn.jpg caption="CNN Hero Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega founded a hospital that cares for about 900 people in Juarez, Mexico daily - regardless of their ability to pay."]

Programming Note: CNN Heroes received more than ten thousand nominations from 100 countries. A Blue Ribbon Panel selected the Top 10 CNN Heroes for the year. Voting for the CNN Hero of the Year continues through November 18th (6am ET) at CNNHeroes.com

Editor's Note: CNN Hero Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega founded a hospital that cares for about 900 people in Juarez, Mexico daily - regardless of their ability to pay. Despite the city’s escalating violence, the 74-year old El Paso, Texas, resident still travels there several times a week to provide continuing care.

I was moved by this nomination and am very proud for the recognition that CNN is giving to a program that we started 37 years ago in the search for equality and justice. This distinction does not belong to me. The many people I work with, who work indefatigably to contribute to our program - voluntary community outreach workers (“promotoras”), medical doctors, nurses, interns, social workers, psychologists, administrative personnel, donors and others – are the real heroes.

FEMAP is a bi-national organization that promotes the empowerment of people. Our main objective is to raise the quality of life of people living in poverty through research, education, community participation, high quality medical services and social and economic development programs.

Every step forward we have taken and achieved has been with tremendous effort. Now, all of a sudden, CNN recognizes our lifelong work and gives us incredible exposure to the outside world that we never had before. I think this may multiply the generosity of many who will help us to satisfy the enormous needs that we have in Ciudad Juarez in our constant struggle to improve and save lives of more women, children and men.

Filed under: CNN Heroes
October 18th, 2010
11:10 AM ET

Election marathon is now a sprint

Mark Preston
CNN Senior Political Editor

Washington (CNN) - With only 15 days remaining before Election Day 2010 and early voting already happening in several states, the midterm marathon is now a sprint as Democrats work frantically to establish a beachhead to protect their congressional majorities while Republicans hope voter anger over the economy propels them into power.

Democrats and Republicans agree on very little other than this: When the dust settles on the 2010 midterms, it's not "will Republicans pick up seats?" but "how many?"

Will the GOP pick up the 39 seats needed for John Boehner to wrest the speaker's gavel out of Nancy Pelosi's hands?

The midterms might be best described as the 180-degree election. Just two years ago, the GOP was depressed, disorganized and directionless after watching the Democrats gain control of the White House and add to their congressional majorities.

How times have changed since Obama stood victorious in Grant Park on November 4, 2008, just having been elected the 44th president of the United States.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • Raw Politics
October 18th, 2010
11:06 AM ET

Missing American's wife provides detailed statement to authorities

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - The wife of an American reportedly shot dead by gunmen believed linked to a Mexican drug gang gave an eight-hour interview and provided a detailed statement to federal and state authorities in Mexico, she said Monday.

Tiffany Hartley told CNN's "American Morning" she gave a detailed account of what happened on September 30, from the time she and her husband David left their McAllen, Texas, home until she left a sheriff's office that night.

Hartley recounted the incident Monday, saying she and her husband headed to Falcon Lake, which straddles the U.S.-Mexico border, that day to "enjoy a day on the lake." The two decided to ride their jet skis to the Mexican side of the lake to see a historical church there, she said.

But she said the couple was confronted by three boats, and gunmen aboard began firing shots at them when they tried to flee the area. She said she saw her husband shot, and attempted to pull him on board her jet ski.

"After they shot David I turned my jet ski around so I could go and help him," she said. But a boat approached her and the person on board pointed a gun toward her, then left. She attempted to get her husband on board, but fled when she saw the boats returning.

She said she had to pass the three boats while attempting to get back to the U.S. side of the lake. By the time she got there, she could not see what was taking place back at the scene, she said Monday. "The boats chased me pretty much all the way to the U.S. border or past it," she said.

David Hartley's body has not been found, despite extensive searches by both U.S. and Mexican authorities.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar
October 18th, 2010
11:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #637 'Candidates hiding in plain sight'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: I don’t know if the White House gets junk mail or endless piles of bulk campaign literature in the mailbox. But I do, and that’s one reason I’m sending this letter to the White House today.

Dear Mr. President,

The postman has been bringing a variety of campaign brochures to my house lately. Mainly the usual stuff. There is one remarkable mailer in the form of a nearly 40-page magazine touting the accomplishments of a fellow. Must have cost a fortune. These pamphlets make all sorts of claims about what this person or that has done for my benefit, although I would think that if their accomplishments were that remarkable I would have noticed them already.

What has most struck me about the ads on paper and on TV is what they don’t contain. Far many more than I can recall from previous campaigns make little or no mention of the candidate’s party. Seriously, I often look in vain for even a hint of whether the campaigner is a Democrat, a Republican, or a wandering objectivist. Same goes for many of their websites.

As secretive as they are, you would think they were all members of the Illuminati or minions from some alien species trying to take over our government and create chaos. (Although it seems as if we’re managing that pretty well on our own. Ha!)

I understand why this is happening. Democrats are in deep trouble, so your candidates don’t want to admit they are on that side. The Republicans, even though they are rising in the polls, are still disliked enough that I can understand them not waving their flag too high either. So what I find most often is both Dems and Repubs making veiled statements such as “I’m an independent thinker,” or “He (or she) is an independent who will vote his (or her) conscience.”

Still, here is my question: If you are a Democrat, Republican, true independent, liberal, conservative, or moderate, why not just say so? Because not doing so, it seems to me, constitutes a type of deception or fraud. Sure, being up front about your partnerships and credo could cost you the election in a year like this, but hiding your beliefs to win, I think, just deepens the public’s sense that no one in politics can be trusted. It’s like lying on your resume to get a job for which you are not qualified. What’s the point? How would you feel if someone applied for a position in your White House and concealed his or her actual beliefs about your policies?

October 18th, 2010
10:54 AM ET

Sentencing phase starts in brutal Connecticut murder case

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - The sentencing phase in the trial of Steven Hayes, who was convicted of killing a mother and her two daughters during a brutal 2007 Connecticut home invasion, gets underway Monday.

Hayes, 47, could face the death penalty.

Earlier this month, he was found guilty of 16 of the 17 charges against him in connection with the deaths of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, including nine counts of murder and capital murder and four counts of kidnapping. Jurors acquitted him of an arson charge.

The killings took place in the New Haven, Connecticut, suburb of Cheshire early on July 23, 2007. The brutal nature of the attack shocked the well-to-do community and immediately drew nationwide attention.

William Petit, whose wife and two daughters were murdered, has said he will not testify during the sentencing phase of the trial. Petit said he "regretfully decided" against it because Connecticut's law on victim impact statements is unclear and could provide convicts with grounds to appeal their sentences.

During the penalty phase, jurors will determine whether the mitigating evidence the defense is expected to present outweighs the aggravating factors in favor of the death penalty.

Judge Jon Blue has suggested the penalty proceeding could last as long as four weeks, though the relatively quick pace of the guilt phase of Hayes' trial has led some to speculate the penalty phase could also be quick.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar
October 18th, 2010
10:00 AM ET

McCaskill says Dem's ad 'very dangerous'

Alexander Mooney
CNN Ticker Producer

(CNN) – A fellow Democrat warned Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway that his latest ad targeting Republican Rand Paul's reported behavior in college is "very dangerous."

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, said the Conway ad that repeats an unsubstantiated GQ story about Paul when he was a student at Baylor University comes "close to the line" in what should be deemed inappropriate in political campaigns.

"Candidates who are behind at the end reach, and sometimes they overreach," McCaskill said on MSNBC. "This ad is very dangerous because it reaches back to college. The ad came close to the line."

The spot hit Kentucky airwaves over the weekend and references the story that – relying on anonymous sources – reported Paul blindfolded and tied up a female student, forcing her to take bong hits. The story also reported Paul told the woman his god was "Aqua Buddha" and that she should bow down and worship him.

Responding to the report in August, Paul said he did not remember the event and added, "I really don't think that politicians should be asked to answer anonymous accusers from 27 years ago, but I will categorically deny that I ever kidnapped anyone or forced anybody to use drugs."

But the new spot from Conway says Paul still hasn't adequately addressed the matter:

Full story on the CNN Political Ticker

Filed under: 360° Radar
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