January 30th, 2012
11:36 PM ET

Video: KTH: Pardoning 'crimes of passion'

There's outrage over former Miss. Gov. Barbour's "crimes of passion" reasoning. CNN's Anderson Cooper reports.

January 30th, 2012
11:23 PM ET

Video: RidicuList: State government hijinks

Stop me if you've heard this one before: A penguin goes into the Kentucky State Senate. No joke. Adventures in the Kentucky state senate lands on the RidicuList. 

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Filed under: The RidicuList
January 30th, 2012
11:12 PM ET

Video: Hood: Pardoned prisoners had connections

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says that some of the convicted criminals didn't deserve a pardon.

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment
January 30th, 2012
10:59 PM ET

Video: Conflict and death in Syria

An activist in Syria tells Anderson Cooper that innocent families are being killed.

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Filed under: Syria
January 30th, 2012
06:04 PM ET

Letters to the President #1106: 'Election time out'

Reporter's Note: The presidential election continues to heat up with tomorrow’s big Republican primary in Florida. Although, honestly, I can think of a lot of better things to go to Florida for.

Dear Mr. President,

I am sitting in my office eating a most excellent apple and frankly not giving a hoot about the election at this moment. We have months ahead jammed full of ads, attacks, press conferences, and public appearances. We’ll have debates, tractor pulls, baby kissings, and all manner of campaign silliness. And you know, today, I just can’t endure thinking about it.

So I’m eating an apple and looking out the window.

Part of the trouble is that I went for two excellent runs this weekend. Fourteen miles on Saturday and another seven on Sunday. I saw several enjoyable movies, and one truly awful one. The one I liked best was Midnight In Paris, which I’ve been trying to see for ages. The one that reeked like day old road kill…well, I won’t say. I know that there are plenty of people who just love this movie and I don’t want to make them feel bad. But the acting was horrible, the directing not worthy of even being called such, and the overall effect was dreadful. Strangely enough, there were people near us in the theater who were weeping aloud. My wife and I were crying too, but only because we bought tickets to such tripe.

That aside, it was a nice weekend, and accordingly it’s hard to come back to the meat grinder of election coverage. Sometimes (ok, most times) the things that you political types prattle about all day seem as disconnected from real life as reality TV.

In short, you can’t blame me for enjoying an apple and ignoring the whole circus for a while. It is, after all, not like it is going away.


Tonight on AC360: Raw Politics: The Long Game
January 30th, 2012
03:03 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Raw Politics: The Long Game

“The bottom line: Regardless of the message the Romney campaign wants to push and the media wants to deliver, this race is just getting started.” - memo from Michael Baker, Gingrich campaign political director, January 30.

I woke up this morning to an “internal campaign memo” mass-blasted to reporters that talked the long game and proportional delegate count. It all just felt so....familiar.

You may have heard that Republicans decided the 2008 Democratic death match was such a great idea, they’ve changed their delegate apportionment rules to increase the odds of this kind of state-by-state slog. Ron Paul’s been pledging one for a while now. And early this morning, that “internal memo” from Newt Gingrich campaign’s political director laid out his team’s road map of the months ahead. For a road that runs through Super Tuesday and March, and leads to the April vote in Texas and beyond.

So my first reaction was a PTSD flash to the period four years ago when those of us in the Political Unit went five months without a single full day off (cue tiny violins). My second thought, once the queasiness wore off: Huzzah! More frequent flier miles for everyone. I know one producer who earned enough points last time around for a free three-week vacation.

But as appealing as the thought of Puerto Rico in March might be (A note to my boss: they vote March 18. I think we should embed now and beat the rush), this isn’t 2008.


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Filed under: 2012 Election • Raw Politics
January 29th, 2012
10:15 AM ET

Letters to the President #1105: 'Where will you be?'

Reporter's Note: Next January the president either will or won’t be sworn in for a second term. For now, he can read my letters.

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you are fully dug into this re-election bid, and I am sure you are acutely aware of the months until the big vote. But have you stopped for a moment to really, clearly consider where you will be one year from now?

You will either be celebrating the fact that you have taken the oath for a second term in office, or you will be…well, a civilian again…a former president.

Either one is going to mean big changes to your outlook on life, I’m guessing, so you might want to start preparing for that even as you scramble around in campaign land.

If option A pans out, then you’ll be facing four years in which you don’t have to worry a bit about staying in office, because once that four is over, you’re done no matter what. Many presidents, as you may have noticed, find that to be a wonderfully freeing realization. They stop playing to the crowd; stop trying to placate their political cronies; and start actually doing some of the things they were elected to do. They become bold, brave, even daring.

If option B pans out, then you’ll face something altogether different; the challenge of figuring out what to do with the rest of your life. Because trust me, nothing else will ever rival the job you hold now. The professional high point of your life will be past, and you will be forever judged by it.

That’s why I recommend a simple plan: Do it now. Whatever it is that you want to do with the presidency, do it now. Don’t look around in a year and say, “If only I’d stepped up and hit the ball, I’d be leaving a bigger legacy,” or “If only I’d been more dynamic in my leadership, I might have been re-elected.” Do it now.

Because while you may get a second shot the office; you also, may not…and time is wasting.


January 28th, 2012
12:42 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Erin Brockovich investigates mysterious illness

In this preview, Anderson Cooper asks environmental advocate Erin Brockovich why she's looking into a medical mystery affecting girls in Le Roy, NY. Watch the full interview on Monday, Jan. 30 at 8 and 10 p.m. ET on AC360.

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Filed under: 360° Interview • Medical News
January 28th, 2012
11:16 AM ET

Letters to the President #1104: 'So who gets the scholarships'

Reporter's Note: The president has often talked about education.  I’m wondering in today’s letter if there are some other lessons he might consider. 

Dear Mr. President,

I noticed your speech the other day about holding down the cost of college.  Heaven knows there are plenty of families who will cheer for that idea.  But for all your concern about offering affordable education to the neediest students, I am rather surprised that I so seldom hear you talk about the best students.

Please hear me out.  I fully understand the need to make sure that, just because someone is poor, he or she does not get cut out of a higher education, especially if that child shows special talents.  But what about middle class families?  Many schools seem to make it a  point of pride to say, “Oh, no, we would never give a scholarship based on talent, intelligence, or dedication…we only answer to need.”

And yet, if we are to be the great, extraordinarily, globally competitive nation that you want us to be, shouldn’t we be trying everyday in every way to get the very best students into the very best schools, and rewarding their work, no matter what kind of families those kids come from?  After all, there are plenty of middle class families who do not qualify as needy, and yet can’t necessarily afford the top schools…especially with tuition soaring as you have noted.

Perhaps I am mistaken, but it seems as if some balance needs to be restored.  Sure, we should tell poor kids who try hard and show talent that we’ll find a way for them to get more education; but if we value our economic survival, it appears that we must also make sure that the smartest kids also get an unmistakable message; hard work and talent pay off.

Here is another way of looking at it.  Athletic programs award scholarships all day long based on talent alone.  If you are a top recruit for quarterback, no school is going to pull the offer off of the table just because Mom and Dad make enough money to be considered middle class or more.  Why shouldn’t academic programs do the same?  Certainly we should want our smartest students in the best schools, as much as we want wide ends and long snappers.

Just some thoughts for a windy Saturday.


January 28th, 2012
12:45 AM ET

Video: KTH: Fact-checking Florida debate claims

Romney claims blind trust and Gingrich complains about the debate audience. Anderson Cooper is Keeping Them Honest.

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