April 6th, 2011
09:45 PM ET

Budget Battle: Join the Live Chat

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Right now, Pres. Obama is meeting with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Ariz.) to try to come up with a deal to stop a government shutdown at midnight Friday. We'll have the latest developments. Plus, Moammar Gadhafi's regime tosses several journalists out of Libya and more.

Want more details on what we're 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.

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Filed under: Live Blog
April 6th, 2011
08:33 PM ET

Alleged Libyan rape victim gives brief interview

CNN Wire Staff

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) - Eman al-Obeidy, the woman who claims forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi raped her, is grateful for support she has received, said CNN's Nic Robertson, who met briefly with her Wednesday.

"She is a very strong lady who told me to thank all people who have stopped her case from disappearing," Robertson said.

Al-Obeidy said she had a message for humanitarian organizations: They should come to Tripoli and "see how life is here," he said.

She said she is still recovering physically from the alleged assault and displayed faded bruises and rope burn marks on her wrists, Robertson said. But, she told him, she is unable to leave Tripoli and be reunited with her family and faces abuse whenever she leaves her house, he said.

The Libyan government is insisting on a review of the interview by a government representative before transmission. The review was scheduled Wednesday night, but an apparently imminent airstrike postponed the review until Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, al-Obeidy's mother said Wednesday that talking to her daughter by telephone Tuesday night was an emotional experience.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
April 6th, 2011
08:15 PM ET

Letters to the President: #807 'Who is playing politics?'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: The tug of war continues over the budget impasse, with a possible shutdown of the government on the horizon.

Dear Mr. President,

So you really created some positive buzz for your side with that whole hint that folks should act more like grownups over the budget debates. Or rather, I should say you have created some positive buzz for yourself; not sure how much that glow is spreading around your party, and that’s another subject for another letter.

But you also said something that just about makes my head twirl right off of my shoulders every time I hear a DC pol say it: You suggested your opponents are just playing politics.

Whenever a DC type says that, what he or she really means is “My party is diligently tending to the important matters of state with nothing but the best interests of American citizens at heart, while the opposition is doing nothing but striking fancy poses around the dying carcass of a serious matter in hopes of getting some nice campaign posters out of the opportunity!” In three words: That is nonsense.

April 6th, 2011
08:06 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Gadhafi's New Letter to Pres. Obama

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Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is calling on President Obama to end the NATO bombing of his country.

Gadhafi's push came in a rambling, three-page letter. But there is no offer from him to stop his offensive or negotiate, a senior Obama administration official said.

"We have been hurt more morally that physically because of what had happened against us in both deeds and words by you. Despite all this you will always remain our son," Gadhafi wrote, according to the official.

"As you know too well democracy and building of civil society cannot be achieved by means of missiles and aircraft, or by backing armed member of [Al Qaeda] in Benghazi," the letter claims.

Meanwhile, former Pennsylvania congressman Curt Weldon is in Libya to meet with Gadhafi and try to persuade him to step down.

Weldon last traveled to Libya in 2004 as part of a bipartisan Congressional delegation to show support for Gadhafi's decision to stop his country's nuclear weapons program.

Weldon provides details on his new mission in Libya in today's New York Times.

"I've met him (Gadhafi) enough times to know that it will be very hard to simply bomb him into submission," writes Weldon.

We'll have the latest on Weldon's efforts tonight on AC360°.

We'll also have an update on Eman al-Obeidy, the woman accusing pro-Gadhafi troops of raping her.

Back here at home, there's a showdown over the federal budget. If an agreement isn't reached by midnight Friday the federal government will shutdown for the first time in more than 15 years.

President Obama invited House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to the White House tonight to try to work out a deal. We’ll let you know how that meeting went.

Chances are it will be tense. There’s been a war of words in Washington over the budget battle.

"Our President is not leading. He didn't lead on last year's budget, and he is clearly not leading on this year's budget," Boehner told reporters this afternoon.

"We've agreed to a compromise, but somehow we don't have a deal, because some folks are trying to inject politics in what should be a simple debate about how to pay our bills," Pres. Obama said in a town hall meeting in Pennsylvania.

Caught in the middle are millions of Americans.

If there's a shutdown, tax refunds would not go out, national parks would close and U.S. troops won't get paid.

We'll cover the Raw Politics with CNN Senior Political Analysts Gloria Borger and David Gergen, as well as Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET on CNN.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
April 6th, 2011
07:30 PM ET

Gadhafi asks Obama to end NATO bombing

CNN Wire Staff

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) - As rebel and pro-government forces in Libya maneuvered on the battlefield Wednesday, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi urged U.S. President Barack Obama to end the NATO bombing of his war-torn country.

Gadhafi made the appeal in a letter to the American president, a senior administration official said.

But the official said there was "nothing new" in the letter, the thrust of which was an appeal for an end to the alliance's air operations. It contained no offers to negotiate or step down, and the official said the administration isn't taking the note seriously.

Gadhafi asked Obama to stop the "unjust war against a small people of a developing country" and said those in the opposition are terrorists and members of al Qaeda, the official said.

"We have been hurt more morally than physically because of what had happened against us in both deeds and words by you," Gadhafi wrote, according to the official. "Despite all this you will always remain our son."

The strongman expressed hope that Obama wins re-election next year, the official added. And he wrote that a democratic society cannot be built through missiles and aircraft.

"You are a man who has enough courage to annul a wrong and mistaken action," the leader wrote to the president.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the NATO strikes will stop when Gadhafi steps down and leaves the country.

"I don't think there is any mystery about what is expected from Mr. Gadhafi at this time," Clinton said.

The letter came amid diplomatic, economic and military developments in Libya, which remains in a deadly stalemate as pro-Gadhafi forces battle opposition fighters demanding democracy and an end to Gadhafi's nearly 42-year-rule.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
April 6th, 2011
07:00 PM ET

Former lawmaker in Tripoli to 'persuade' Gadhafi

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - The former U.S. lawmaker invited to Libya by Col. Moammar Gadhafi still had not met with the embattled Libyan leader as Wednesday turned into Thursday there, and it was unclear when the expected meeting would take place.

Curt Weldon, a Republican former Congressman from Pennsylvania, is leading what he calls "a small private delegation" with a cease-fire proposal for the Libyan leader.

"I'm here to tell him face to face it's time for him to leave. It's time for him to step down, allow the people to take over the government of this country," Weldon told CNN affiliate WPIX-TV in New York.

In a New York Times column, he wrote, "There is no question that America should play a critical role in helping the Libyans build a new government. Sadly, in the years since my first trip, Washington has squandered many opportunities to achieve that goal without bloodshed. And unless we begin to engage with the country's leaders - even those close to Colonel Gadhafi - we may again lose our chance to help build a new Libya."

Weldon notified the Obama administration about his trip in advance, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Wednesday afternoon.

But Toner clarified, "He is in no way acting on behalf of the U.S. government."

Since Weldon's first trip to Libya in 2004, he has developed a unique relationship with Libya and Gadhafi.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
April 6th, 2011
06:35 PM ET

Beat 360° 4/6/11

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:

Avon Chairmen and CEO Andrea Jung and award winning singer Fergie celebrate AVON's 125th Celebration at the Believe World Tour at Madison Square Garden on April 6, 2011 in New York City. Fergie sings Happy Birthday (Photo credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for AVON)

Update: Beat 360° Winners:

Steve Brusk
“Ice breaker at tonight’s White House budget meeting."


Cory Walsh
Andrea Jung: "I thought they meant Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York....."

___________________________________________________________________________Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360°
April 6th, 2011
06:30 PM ET
April 6th, 2011
01:00 PM ET

Tea Party: Bring on a government shutdown

Tom Cohen

Washington (CNN) - To the Tea Party movement that helped fuel Republican electoral success last November, a promise is a promise.

So when it became clear last month that House Speaker John Boehner, a conservative GOP hero, was willing to accept far smaller spending cuts for the rest of the current fiscal year than what Republicans pledged in the 2010 election campaign, the Tea Party reaction was both swift and decisive.

"There is no other way to put this," Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips wrote on the group's website in early March. "The Tea Party movement should find a candidate to run against John Boehner in 2012 and should set as a goal, to defeat in a primary, the sitting Speaker of the House of Representatives."

Such commitment to the cause of shrinking the government explains why Tea Party supporters, including some members of Congress they helped elect, welcome a possible government shutdown as soon as midnight Friday. Bringing to a halt what they consider to be a bloated and misguided federal government would be a tangible success for their citizen activism that claims allegiance to no single party.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
April 6th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Alleged rape victim in Libya tells mother of ordeal, threat

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - Eman al-Obeidy, the woman who claims forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi raped her, spoke Tuesday with her mother, who has come to her defense, for the first time since her ordeal began.

Al-Obeidy told Aisha Ahmad that a court employee pulled a weapon on her when she went to a courthouse.

Al-Obeidy, who burst into a Tripoli hotel last month to tell her harrowing story to journalists, told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an emotional phone interview that the administrative court employee threatened her life.

"The people came and started pulling him," said al-Obeidy, who related the incident to her mother, also on the phone. "The whole day in the court they were saying we are going to kill this failure who reports on our brigades."

A car took her home, al-Obeidy said. "They don't want me to go to the court at all."

CNN could not independently verify the 29-year-old law school graduate's claims.

Al-Obeidy, who is no longer in custody after authorities rushed her away from the hotel, said she still fears for her safety in Tripoli, which she called a "large prison."

She told "AC360" that Gadhafi forces took her passport and would not let her cross the border into Tunisia.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
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