July 12th, 2011
11:57 PM ET

KTH: Questions raised about Bachmann clinic

Editor's note: Questions are being raised about a clinic run by GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann's husband. CNN's Anderson Cooper reports.

Related on the CNN Political Ticker: What's going on at the Bachmann clinic?

Controversial Clinic: Join the Live Chat
July 12th, 2011
09:47 PM ET

Controversial Clinic: Join the Live Chat

GOP presidential hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann is hitting her stride on the campaign trail, while at the same time dodging serious questions about her husband's christian counseling clinic. The clinic practices reparative therapy, which claims to change sexual orientation. It's a controversial practice. Mr. Bachmann denies using it. We're Keeping Them Honest. Plus, the investigators in the Casey Anthony case speak out and defend their work. Find out what they have to say about the jury's verdict.

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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Filed under: Live Blog
July 12th, 2011
07:36 PM ET

Taxes, Social Security fears cited in debt ceiling talks

Washington (CNN) - Partisan warfare over the looming debt ceiling crisis escalated Tuesday as GOP leaders once again refused to consider any tax hikes and President Barack Obama warned that, absent a deal, he can't guarantee older Americans will continue receiving Social Security checks next month.

"There may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it," Obama said, according to excerpts of a CBS News interview scheduled to air Tuesday night.

"We can't guarantee - if there were a default - any specific bill would be paid," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

Top lawmakers from both sides of the aisle met with Obama for almost two hours at the White House later Tuesday, and another session was scheduled for Wednesday, according to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia.

Cantor also said Obama presented more details of his proposed cuts to entitlement programs such as Medicare, and that Republicans support what they heard. However, Cantor reiterated GOP opposition to higher taxes, which is the main sticking point to a deal.

Administration officials have warned that a failure to raise the current $14.3 trillion ceiling by August 2 could trigger a partial default. If Washington lacks the money to meet its bills, interest rates could skyrocket and the value of the dollar could decline, among other things.

Negotiators have been debating trillions of dollars in possible savings over the next decade, a response to GOP demands for significant spending cuts in exchange for any debt ceiling increase. Democrats are furious, however, that Republicans refuse to consider any tax hikes as part of a deal.

In the CBS interview, Obama noted that former President Ronald Reagan compromised on increasing tax revenue, and wondered why Republicans today remain so adamantly opposed.

"The question is, if Ronald Reagan could compromise, why wouldn't folks who idolize Ronald Reagan be willing to engage in those same kinds of compromises," Obama said.

In addition to ruling out tax increases, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has also said overall spending cuts must exceed the size of any debt ceiling increase, and that new restraints must be imposed on future spending.

"One hundred percent of the problem is on the spending side," Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a member of the GOP leadership, said Tuesday morning.

Senate Minority Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said he has lost any hopes of a "grand bargain" with the White House.

"As long as this president is in the Oval Office a real solution (to the country's fiscal problems) is unattainable," McConnell said. Obama "will do almost anything to protect the size and the scope of Washington, D.C.'s burgeoning bureaucracy."

For their part, Democrats also dug in their heels.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
July 12th, 2011
07:29 PM ET

Anthony cops defend case to reporters

Orlando (CNN) - The detectives who built the murder case against Casey Anthony said Tuesday they stand behind their evidence but urge the public to respect the jury's acquittal of her.

"In any case - especially a case with this many witnesses and this much evidence - you can always look back and improve on what you have done," Orange County Sheriff's Office Sgt. John Allen told reporters. "I don't know if anybody up here can think of anything we could have done differently that would change the outcome."

Anthony was found not guilty last week on felony charges, including capital murder, in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. She was convicted of four misdemeanor counts of lying to investigators. In a related issue, prosecutors announced Tuesday that Anthony's mother, Cindy Anthony, won't face perjury charges stemming from her testimony in the trial.

The verdict followed three years of intense publicity surrounding Caylee's death and provoked outrage among many who watched the case closely.

"I wish there was something I could say that would bring closure to everyone, but there isn't," another of the investigators, Cpl. Yuri Melich, said Tuesday. "I just know that, unfortunately, people are going to have to come to their own sense of closure within themselves and understand that as far as this case is concerned, as far as the judicial system is concerned, there's nothing else we can do."

Anthony, 25, was given the maximum sentence on each of the misdemeanor counts - a total of four years. But with credit for the time she has spent jailed since her 2008 arrest, she is slated to be released Sunday.

"I think all of us respect the jury system, and we respect the jury's verdict," Allen said. "I would hope that people who followed us, people in the community, would also respect the jury's verdict and our process.

"But for us, I certainly don't have any doubt after working on this," he said. "I felt our case was solid."

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Beat 360° 7/12/11
Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson attend the New York premiere of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2" at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center on July 11, 2011 in New York City. (Photo credit: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
July 12th, 2011
06:29 PM ET

Beat 360° 7/12/11

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!

Joey Gardner
“In 5 years the two of you will be 20 pounds heavier and signing autographs at Comic Con for a living.”


Simon Byrne
“Eyemakeupicus ridiculis"

Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360°
July 12th, 2011
01:45 PM ET

Syria slams Clinton comments; 'national dialogue' ends

Damascus, Syria (CNN) - The embattled Syrian government lashed out at U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her criticism of Bashar al-Assad's regime Tuesday and hailed the political leadership's initiative to pursue reforms, one of which is the just-completed "national dialogue" meeting.

Quoting an official Syrian source, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency Tuesday upbraided Clinton, who criticized Syrian authorities Monday for not protecting the U.S. and French embassies in Damascus, which were attacked by demonstrators.

Clinton said President al-Assad "has lost legitimacy" and wants to deflect attention from the government's four-month, internationally-reviled crackdown on peaceful protesters. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that about 1,400 civilians and 350 security and military forces have died since the unrest began.

The Syrian source called the comments "additional evidence of the flagrant U.S. interference in Syrian domestic affairs." There has been criticism of U.S. officials since last week, when U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford visited the city of Hama and met protesters there.

The issue emerged at the United Nations on Tuesday.

Peter Wittig of Germany, the U.N. Security Council president, condemned the attacks on Tuesday and urged Syrian authorities to protect diplomatic property and personnel.

Syrian Ambassador to the U.N. Bashar Ja'afari said the United States and France have exaggerated the facts about the attacks.

As for Clinton, she insisted that Syria meet its "international obligations immediately" to safeguard diplomats and property, hours after U.S. officials say that hundreds descended on its embassy for the third time in four days, scaling its walls and inflicting considerable damage.


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Middle East
Second Iowa poll in as many days has Bachmann on top
July 12th, 2011
01:30 PM ET

Second Iowa poll in as many days has Bachmann on top

(CNN) – For the second straight day, Republican presidential candidate and Rep. Michele Bachmann's at the top of a new poll of likely Iowa GOP caucus goers.

According to a survey from the American Research Group, 21 percent of people questioned say they are backing the congresswoman from neighboring Minnesota for the GOP presidential nomination in their state's caucuses. Bachmann was at nine percent in ARG's April poll.

In second place at 18 percent, and within the survey's sampling error, is former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who's making his second bid for the White House. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who's making his third run for the presidency, is in third place at 14 percent, followed at 11 percent by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who hasn't decided whether she'll launch a presidential campaign. Every one else is in single digits.

The ARG poll follows by one day an IowaRepublican.com survey which indicate put Bachmann at 25 percent, with Romney at 21 percent.

Both polls follow a much reported recent survey from the Des Moines Register which had Romney at 23 percent and Bachmann at 22 percent. That poll sparked some favorable stories for Bachmann, who earlier in June received positive headlines for her performance at the much watched CNN/WMUR/New Hampshire Union Leader GOP presidential debate.

FULL STORY on the CNN Political Ticker
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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
Another book on the way from Snooki
July 12th, 2011
12:45 PM ET

Another book on the way from Snooki

(CNN) - Snooki's book part deux is on its way.

Simon & Schuster has confirmed the company will publish a second book from "Jersey Shore" cast member Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi. "Gorilla Beach" will be a follow up to Polizzi's first book "A Shore Thing," which ended up on the extended New York Times bestseller list.

FULL STORY on the CNN Marquee blog

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
July 12th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #904 'Do it now'

Reporter's Note: President Obama continues to wrangle with the debt issue - trying to get his own party and the Republicans to some sort of middle ground on spending and taxes.

Dear Mr. President,

You were talking about wrestling with this stubborn debt issue and you said something that really caught my attention, something to the effect of “we may as well do it now, because it’s not going to get any easier.” I could not agree more, and that bolsters my belief that you are right to tear into this problem immediately.

I met a woman once who was in deep personal debt. She owed about $30,000 to a credit card company. By the time we spoke she was working it out, pruning her expenses, and pounding away at reducing the principal. In other words, she was acting like a rational person once again, not an 18-year-old NBA star.

July 12th, 2011
12:05 AM ET

The RidicuList: 'Octomom' haters

Editor's note: For dissing Nadya "Octomom" Suleman and her 14 children, Anderson Cooper adds Suleman's haters to The RidicuList.