October 29th, 2010
02:30 PM ET

Letters to the President: #648 'No white flags'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: Former President Clinton made news by trying to get a Democrat out of the running in Florida…uh, then he and the candidate in question said he didn’t…so who knows what happened? Certainly not me…I’ve been too busy writing letters to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

I don’t know what to think. At first I thought it was really interesting that a former president would ask a current Democratic Senate candidate to drop out of a race; then I thought it was even more interesting that he and the candidate denied it, because certainly some kind of conversations were taking place; then I thought it was even more interesting that the former president said he did talk to the candidate, but not about precisely what everyone is talking about. Now, I’m just worn out, and thoroughly confused.

Of course what I’m talking about is this supposed effort by former President Clinton to get Florida Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek to drop out of the race.

Let me see if I follow the theoretical logic. A) If Meek dropped out, maybe his support would go to the former-Republican-now-independent candidate Gov. Charlie Crist. And B) If enough of the newly cast off Democrats followed that path, maybe Crist would beat the Republican, Marco Rubio. And C) Maybe then, a newly-minted Sen. Crist would caucus with the Democrats in Washington instead of the Republicans.

Is it just me, or are there a lot of “ifs” in there?

October 29th, 2010
10:44 AM ET
October 29th, 2010
10:14 AM ET

Arkansas school board member to resign over anti-gay post

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - A school board district member in Arkansas who came under fire for an anti-gay post on a social networking site regrets the comments and will resign his seat, he told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday.

"I'm sorry I've hurt people with my comments," Clint McCance, vice-president of the Midland School District in Pleasant Plains, Arkansas said. "I'm sorry I made those ignorant comments and hurt people on a broad spectrum."

McCance wrote on his personal Facebook page that he wanted gay people to commit suicide, according to The Advocate, a newspaper focusing on gay news.

McCance used the terms "queer" and "fag" repeatedly, promised to disown his own children if they are gay and stated that he enjoys "the fact that [gay people] give each other AIDS and die."

"I would never support suicide for any kids," he said. "I don't support bullying of any kids."

"I'd like to extend apologies to those families that have lost children, for all those children who feel that suicide is the only way out, especially for the five families who have already lost children," he said, referring to a rash of recent suicides by gay teens. "I brought more hurt on them... they didn't deserve that and I do feel genuinely bad for them."

Though he disapproves of homosexuality, McCance said that "I give everyone a chance and try to love everyone."

McCance said that he has received an outpouring of criticism over his comments, including "thousands of phone calls, hate mails, people threatening to kill my family and me."

He said he has sent his wife and two kids out of the state because of fears for their safety and that he is installing a security system at his home.

"I'm reaping what I've sown," he told CNN. "I've had a lot of hate speech thrown at me and my family on every level."

He said he would resign from the school board to spare the district the bad press and distractions of dealing with the fallout from his comments. "If they decide after five or ten years to vote me back in, then I'll run again," he said.

Full story

Filed under: 360º Follow • Bullying • Gay & Lesbian Issues
October 29th, 2010
10:10 AM ET
October 29th, 2010
10:00 AM ET
October 28th, 2010
09:49 PM ET

Anti-Gay Facebook Rant Fallout: Join the Live Chat

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

What he did shocked the nation. What Clint McCance will do tonight, which so many others don't in a situation like this, won't be easy. McCance, a school district vice-president, who posted very harsh words online about gay victims of bullying who take their own lives, talks only to 360°. Plus, tonight's other headlines.

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 28th, 2010
09:34 PM ET

Evening Buzz: School Official Speaks Out About His Anti-Gay Rant

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight on AC360°, hear from the Arkansas school official who posted an anti-gay rant on Facebook. Clint McCance is no longer hiding out. You'll hear what the vice president of the Midland School Board has to say about his words that shocked a lot of people.

As we reported last night, McCance wrote a series of posts on Facebook against "Spirit Day", where people were asked to wear the color purple to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

His rant had offensive language and many misspellings.

"Seriously," McCance wrote in one post, "They want me to wear purple because five queers committed suicide. The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this word have gotten this stupid."

McCance added, "We are honoring the fact they sinned and killed thereselves because of their sin. REALLY PEOPLE."

Six people actually pressed the 'like button on that post. But others fired back.

McCance responded in part with this:

"It pisses me off though that we make special purple fag day for them. I like that fags can't procreate. I also enjoy the fact that they often give each other AIDS and die."

He also wrote, "I would disown my kids if they were gay. They will not be welcome at my home or in my vicinity."

A lot of people are calling on McCance to step down. Will he? Should he? We'll dig into that tonight with him and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who has launched a nationwide anti-bullying campaign in America's schools.

We'll also get reaction from two parents who lost a son to bullying, and talk show host Ellen Degeneres, who's been out front on this issue.

There's also breaking news from the campaign trail. There are reports that Florida Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek was asked to drop out of the three-way race. We've learned the White House knew of the negotiations. As part of the deal, a source tells CNN, Republican-turned-independent Gov. Charlie Crist would then caucus with Democrats in the Senate, if elected. We've got the raw politics.

We'll also take you underwater for an up close look at a shark, a big shark. That's tonight's shot.

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

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
October 28th, 2010
09:20 PM ET

Meek says rumors of deal with Clinton 'absolutely not true'

Roland Martin
CNN Contributor

(CNN) – Rep. Kendrick Meek said it is "absolutely not true" that he ever agreed to any kind of deal with former President Bill Clinton to drop out of the Florida Senate race, in an interview shortly before 9 p.m. ET Thursday with CNN contributor Roland S. Martin.

Full story on the CNN Political Ticker

Filed under: 360° Radar • Roland S. Martin
October 28th, 2010
08:13 PM ET

DeGeneres to straight community: 'We need your help now'

Martina Stewart
AC360° Digital Producer

(CNN) – Ellen DeGeneres is making a rare plea for help in the wake of Facebook postings by an elected Arkansas school board official laced with the terms “queer” and “fag” and celebrating the deaths of gay people.

Related: Arkansas schools chief condemns anti-gay posts by school board member

The openly lesbian daytime talk show host calls on heterosexuals to condemn such hatred and bigotry in much the same way that some whites stood in solidarity with African-Americans during the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century.

“It would not be acceptable if someone used the n-word,” DeGeneres says in an interview that airs Thursday on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°. “When the civil rights movement happened, it took not just the community of blacks to make a change, but white people needed to step in and say this is unacceptable. We cannot tolerate this and treat any citizen with lesser value. And, I think, as a gay person, I would like to personally ask every heterosexual person out there who is appalled by this to – we need your help now. This is absurd and he should resign.”

Clint McCance, the vice president of the Midland School District in Arkansas, took to his personal Facebook page earlier this week and slammed a recent national awareness campaign sparked by a rash of suicides by young people who had been bullied because they were gay or perceived to be gay by their peers.

The local elected official wrote that he wanted gay people to commit suicide, according to The Advocate, a magazine focusing on gay news. McCance promised to disown his own children if they are gay and said he enjoys "the fact that [gay people] give each other AIDS and die."

In the interview, DeGeneres also tells Cooper she does not think McCance’s views are justified by his Christian faith, which he referenced in his controversial Facebook postings.

October 28th, 2010
07:45 PM ET

Accused 'ninja' killer: 'I've already been ... convicted by the media'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/CRIME/10/28/florida.couple.slain.case/story.gonzalez.jr.ecso.jpg caption="Leonard Gonzalez Jr. faces first-degree murder charges in the deaths of a Florida couple." width=300 height=169]

CNN Wire Staff

Pensacola, Florida (CNN) - A jury weighed the fate Thursday night of a man accused of leading a band of men dressed as ninjas into a Florida home then killing a couple execution-style, even as the defendant declared his outcome in another arena.

"I've already been tried and convicted by the media," Leonard Gonzalez Jr. said as he was escorted out of an Escambia County courtroom early Thursday evening, after the jury of 11 women and one man got answers to two questions they'd asked during their deliberations.

Judge Nickolas Geeker also assented to the jury's request for a magnifying glass, and turned down their request for transcripts of the three-day trial's testimony.

When the case went to the jury, hours earlier, Gonzalez winked at his wife Tabitha and nodded twice to the family of the late Byrd and Melanie Billings. Prosecutors argued during the first-degree murder trial that Gonzalez shot Byrd once in each leg, then led he and his wife into their master bedroom where he killed them while unloading seven more bullets.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar
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