December 30th, 2010
09:53 PM ET

Christine O'Donnell is back and blaming 'thug politics.' Join the Live Chat

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

Christine O’Donnell, months after her failed Delaware Senate campaign, continues to be dogged by campaign finance questions. She says its just “thug politics.” What’s really going on? We’re keeping them honest tonight. And the final part in our extreme living series, where we're looking at what drives people to push themselves to the extreme, not for survival, but as a way of life. Tyler Bradt, extreme kayaker. He kayaked over a nearly 190 foot waterfall and into the world record books. Meet him tonight.

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")
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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
December 30th, 2010
03:00 PM ET
December 30th, 2010
02:56 PM ET

What Republicans have done - and what they need to do

Ed Hornick

After being left for dead in the wake of the 2008 election, Republicans staged a stunning comeback over the past year.

Winning back the House and gaining a significant number of seats in the Senate in November gives them another stab at governing. The energized GOP, added to Americans' discontent with the way the country is headed, played a large factor in the midterm election wins.

The good

In January, Republicans will control the agenda in the House and the future of bills in the Senate.

It didn't hurt that they were able to win over an influential voting bloc - the independents who make or break elections - in rolling up impressive wins in November.

Any analyst will tell you that offense is key to winning a game, and that's what Republicans went for. They shined a spotlight on Democratic policies and were able to convince American voters that change was needed.

Mix in a bad economy and record high unemployment, a rough period during which they weren't the ones at the helm, and you have a recipe for success.

10 things Republicans must do in 10 weeks

According to midterm exit polls, 88 percent of voters found economic conditions to be not good or poor, and 86 percent said they were very worried or somewhat worried about the economy.

Republican wins, some say, came from a perception of the party as being a unified force, all on the same legislative page.

Full Story

Filed under: 360° Radar • Raw Politics • Republicans • Tea Party
December 30th, 2010
02:36 PM ET

Beat 360° 12/30/10

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:

Young travelers rest near dozens of suitcases while stranded at Terminal 4 following a major blizzard at John F. Kennedy International Airport December 27, 2010 in the Queens borough of New York City. A massive snowstorm crippled much of the Northeastern United States leaving up to a foot of snow for New York City and New England and left millions of holiday travelers stuck at airports and train stations around the eastern seaboard. (Photo by Chris Hondros/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:

Steve Brusk
“The rest of Ms. Jolie's luggage will be along in a minute..."


Janine from PA
"The baggage fee is too damn high convention."

___________________________________________________________________________Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
December 30th, 2010
11:38 AM ET

Video: Airport misery lingers

Who or what's to blame?

Filed under: 360° Radar • Keeping Them Honest • Randi Kaye
December 30th, 2010
11:36 AM ET

Video: Passengers stuck days after blizzard

Weather may be better, but the travel situation at many airports remains an issue.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Keeping Them Honest • Randi Kaye
December 30th, 2010
11:28 AM ET

Letters to the President: #710 'You are eligible!'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: Much was made of President Obama’s fancy Blackberry/cell phone device when he took office. We don’t hear much about it anymore. I certainly haven’t heard anything from it..like a call…hint, hint. Here is today’s letter.

Dear Mr. President,

Some of the smartest people I know are folks who can see a good idea in one field and incorporate it into their own. You know, like a guy who sees a pizza delivery service take off in a neighborhood, and starts offering in-home computer repairs, too. I went through an experience today that gave me an idea that might help you. It’s a phrase really: “You are eligible for an upgrade.”

Yes, that’s right. I just bought a new cell phone. Two of them actually; replacing outdated, beaten up and barely working models owned by my wife and elder daughter. (Seriously, my wife’s phone was carved out of wood!)

I realize that as President you don’t have to stop by your local cell phone vendor anymore, but let me assure you it is quite an adventure. Sixteen TSA pat downs would be less disturbing. When you receive an e-mail, or a piece of snail mail, or a sales call saying “You are eligible for an upgrade,” it sounds as if you’re being given something. And you are. You are being given the opportunity to spend more money on phones, and that involves a descent into one of the more troubling circles of technological hell.

I won’t go into details, but we spent well over two hours grinding through models, ideas, service plans, data plans, warranties, accessories. It was more exhausting than a Three Stooges movie marathon. I’m not complaining, really, because there are certainly much worse things. Still, it’s one of those modern life challenges that seem unavoidable if you’re going to remain with the non-Luddite crowd.

Nevertheless, throughout the process I kept thinking of the brilliance of this marketing scheme; making you feel grateful for the opportunity to buy. Don’t you think this is something you could modify for your purposes? “Congressman Ringer? This is the president. Look, I just called to let you know that you are once again eligible to vote for my legislation. I know you’ve waited a while, and it’s a limited time offer, of course, but what do you say?”

Think of the appeal! Suddenly instead of twisting arms to make people support a measure they may find unappealing, you look like you’re doling out favors. This is genius! “Hey, I just got a call from the White House! I’m up for a yes vote!”

Sound silly? Maybe. But if you’d told me twenty years ago that I’d line up with millions of other Americans for the pleasure of spending more money even in difficult economic times…I guess I would have thought that was silly, too.

Think it over. And btw, have I mentioned that you are eligible to give me a call? Ha!


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

December 30th, 2010
11:13 AM ET

O'Donnell slams criminal investigation as 'thug tactics'

Kevin Bohn
CNN Senior Producer

Republican Christine O'Donnell, who lost her bid for U.S. Senate from Delaware, is lashing out at reports the Justice Department and FBI have launched a criminal investigation into possible misuse of campaign funds for personal expenses, calling any such probe "thug tactics."

Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents have started the investigation, a source with knowledge of the probe confirmed to CNN. The source could not speak on the record because of the investigation is deemed sensitive. The source would not provide any further details and the FBI and Justice Department had no comment.

When O'Donnell ran in the Republican primary and in the general election campaign, she faced repeated questions about her finances, including the use of her home that doubled for a time as her campaign headquarters. She acknowledged using some campaign funds to help pay the rent but is adamant she did not nothing wrong.

The advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed complaints with the Federal Elections Commission and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Delaware regarding her finances, asking for investigations of her alleged use of campaign funds for personal expenses.

"We've been warned by multiple high-ranking Democrat insiders that the Delaware Democrat and Republican political establishment is jointly planning to pull out all the stops to ensure I would never again upset the apple cart," O'Donnell said Wednesday in a statement after the Associated Press first reported the FBI and Justice Department were in the early phases of an investigation

Full Story

Filed under: 360° Radar • Raw Politics
December 30th, 2010
11:00 AM ET

Video: Aid worker freed from Haitian jail

Aid worker accused of voodoo is now free

Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Haiti
December 30th, 2010
10:45 AM ET

Video: Meet youngest person to scale Everest

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows us why this teen, who scaled Mount Everest, climbs so high

Filed under: 360° Radar • Dr. Sanjay Gupta
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