December 8th, 2010
11:44 AM ET

Video: The story of John and Yoko

Editor's Note: Today is the 30th anniversary of John Lennon's death. Recently Anderson Cooper sat down with John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, to talk about their love affair, John's death, the Beatles, and much more. Watch the three part series below.

Part 1: The meet-cute


Filed under: 360° Interview
December 8th, 2010
11:34 AM ET
December 8th, 2010
10:46 AM ET

Video: Perry's Principles: Parents involved at school

Editor's Note: CNN Education Contributor Steve Perry has a blueprint for America’s teachers, parents, decision makers and anyone who cares about the education of America’s children. In our series ‘Perry's Principles,’ Steve identifies a challenge and highlights successful examples of how the challenge was solved by introducing you to the passionate people behind each approach. Every week, AC360° will illustrate one of Perry's Principles and tell you how you can be involved in educating America's youth.

Filed under: Perry's Principles • Steve Perry
December 8th, 2010
10:27 AM ET
December 8th, 2010
10:20 AM ET
December 8th, 2010
10:18 AM ET

Opinion: Why Obama is right to defy far left

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/12/08/art.getty_obamacu.jpg]Editor's note: John P. Avlon is a CNN contributor and senior political columnist for The Daily Beast. He is the author of "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America." The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of John Avlon.

John Avlon
CNN Contributor

The fault lines beneath the Democratic Party have been rumbling between the left and the center. Now with President Obama's compromise on the Bush taxes, they threaten to erupt entirely.

But it's just the newest chapter of an old fight, and despite the liberal base's fury, it's evidence that Obama is trying to re-center himself before the 2012 elections.

One of the strangest signs of our political times is that while the far right considers Obama a socialist, the far left thinks he's a corporate sellout. Of course, he can't be both. But this distorted view disproportionately dominates our political debates. And long before Frank Rich joined the liberals' dumping on Obama by diagnosing him as suffering from "Stockholm Syndrome" at the hands of his Republican captors this weekend, the left has been saying that the problem with the president is that he's too centrist.

This goes back to the '08 campaign. Liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman took early aim at Obama, saying, "I find it a little bit worrisome if we have a candidate who basically starts compromising before the struggle has even begun." Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas extended the narrative from the netroots by saying that Obama might be one of those "spineless Democrats who are ... afraid of controversy."

To the left, these concerns have been validated by Obama's recent tax cut compromises. But even during the liberal high-water mark of successfully fighting for health care reform attempted by Democratic presidents since Truman, Obama was being attacked by the left for not steadfastly supporting a public option.


Filed under: Democrats • John Avlon • Opinion • President Barack Obama • Taxes
December 8th, 2010
10:13 AM ET
December 8th, 2010
09:52 AM ET

Letters to the President #688: 'Advice from Uncle Al'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/12/08/art.cnn_obamataxes.jpg]Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama is taking more heat than a steamed clam over his efforts to make a deal on the Bush tax cuts. I hope he’s also taking some time to read today’s letter to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

Al Capone once purportedly said, “Pat your enemies on the back until a small bullet hole appears between your fingers.” Which is an interesting thought from two points of view.

First, if one is thinking about how to deal with one’s opponents, this is an intriguing approach. Lure them in, lull them into a sense of security, and then finish them off. Nice, neat plan.

But there is a flipside to that single. You have to be wary of people who pretend to be your friends, because they might be pulling the same trick on you. (And for the record, I’m speaking purely in a figurative sense, lest any historian in the far off mist of the future look back and try to suggest that we were trading notes on how to deal with enemies in a sort of mobster-homicidal sense.)

I mention this because I’ve been watching the steady flood of snarky comments from your Democratic “pals” over this tax deal. I understand why they are upset. I don’t doubt that they are sincere in their belief that you should have fought harder to keep the cuts for the middle class, but take them from richer folks. (And please note that I said “richer” not “rich.” That will be a future conversation….)

I also think that the evidence pretty strongly supports your position that this was the best deal you could get under the circumstances, their complaints not withstanding. Equating the uproar with the “public option” kerfuffle during the health care debate is spot on. Would these critics be happier letting all the tax breaks expire for everyone simply because that would possibly place more pressure on the Republicans? Would they rather have no loaf than half of one?

Principled stands are important, I’ll readily admit. I can’t blame your more liberal party members from feeling as if this was an area on which you should have staked your ground and held it. But living meaningfully for a cause beats dying senselessly for one any day. I think any notion that the Republicans were going to fold if you tried to stare them down is a fantasy; remember, they had your party on the run during the last election, not the other way around.

Anyway, my point is that any president…Democratic or Republican…has to constantly reassess who his true “friends” are, especially in D.C. Make allowances for the disappointment of some of those who are criticizing you. Don’t be too angry about it. But do remember it. Because they will. And months from now when your re-election bid is in full swing, be mindful of whose hands are patting you on the back.

Other than that, I hope all is well. Up in New York where guess what? They had cupcakes for my birthday at the office! It was very nice. I had a carrot cake one with a frosting that was too delicious for words. I’ll swing by the table before I leave tonight and if there are any left, I’ll bring one back for you.

Call if you can.



Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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