February 27th, 2012
11:09 PM ET

Video: KTH: Santorum's college and religion claims

A fact check on Rick Santorum's statements about the president's push for college, and religious practices of students.

February 27th, 2012
10:58 PM ET

Video: Ohio student: 'We were at a loss'

Student Nate Mueller shares his experience caught in the shooting at Chardon High School in Ohio. He was grazed by a bullet before escaping the gunfire.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • School Shooting
February 27th, 2012
10:54 PM ET

Video: Marie Colvin's family on her legacy

The journalist's family is speaking out to honor her life and commitment to human rights. She died in Syria last week.

Filed under: Marie Colvin • Syria
February 27th, 2012
10:52 PM ET

Video: KTH: Clinton says Syria had a 'phony referendum

The Syrian government was praising their new constitution while deadly violence against civilians continued.

Filed under: Keeping Them Honest • Syria
February 27th, 2012
07:32 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Marie Colvin's mom: Return my daughter's body

Marie Colvin's family wants her body returned from Syria so they can give her a proper burial. In this preview, she explains her message to Assad. Watch the full interview on AC360 at 8 and 10 p.m. ET tonight.

Filed under: Marie Colvin • Syria
Raw Politics: Can Santorum's Michigan campaign count on a volunteer army?
Rick Santorum speaks during a campaign stop while surrounded by supporters at the The Colonial Valley Suites on February 26, 2012 in Davison, Michigan. (photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
February 27th, 2012
04:40 PM ET

Raw Politics: Can Santorum's Michigan campaign count on a volunteer army?

Editor's note: On the eve of the Republican primaries in Arizona and Michigan, tune in to AC360 for Raw Politics at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.

Rick Santorum is no stranger to unorthodox scheduling decisions: this is the campaign, after all, that scheduled a major economic speech for a Friday night, where news stories generally go to die. So there’s a certain sort of logic to the fact that their big home-stretch phone-banking event in Michigan - featuring some of their candidate’s highest-profile surrogates - happened to coincide with the top of the Academy Awards broadcast. (In some ways, it’s an understandable oversight: there are no visible TVs at the Troy rent-an-office currently serving as the campaign’s only official Michigan base.)

Still, there was a healthy showing yesterday. Reality show stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar spoke to an enthusiastic group drawn from all across the southeastern part of the state, pointing to the divine roots of Santorum’s rise as several in the family-heavy crowd nodded their agreement. “You can see the hand of God in what’s happened in this campaign,” said Jim Bob Duggar. “We have to pray that God move the hearts of the people to support Rick Santorum.” Some of the volunteers present looked eager enough to hit the streets that night.


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Filed under: 2012 Election • Mitt Romney • Raw Politics • Rick Santorum
February 27th, 2012
04:38 PM ET

Letters to the President #1134: 'Faith and Faithlessness'

Reporter's Note: I write to the president every day. I must have faith he reads my letters, because heaven knows I’ve seen no evidence of that.

Dear Mr. President,

I am intrigued by the most recent dust up over “church and state” involving GOP contender Rick Santorum, because like a lot of Americans, I am often not entirely sure what a politician means when he or she addresses that phrase.

Case in point: Santorum mentioned that famous speech by Sen. John Kennedy in 1960 when he was seeking the presidency. Amid boiling questions over whether his Catholic faith would somehow give the pope power over the Oval Office, the senator form Massachusetts said “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.”

Such a statement would seem unequivocal, and certainly the former senator from Pennsylvania, Santorum, thought of it in such terms. As such, he found it disturbing, and he may not be alone. After all, while many Americans do not want presidents to wear their faith on their sleeves, that is different than wanting our leaders to be utterly divorced from religious faith.

It is a fine line, but President Kennedy, legions of other politicians, and you have all walked it; in one breath eschewing the idea that faith might play an improper role in the public arena, and yet in the next instant asking voters to give you credit for your personal beliefs and religious convictions.

It reminds me of a old joke. A small town’s troublemaker runs into a minister on the street, who starts lecturing him about his evil ways. The bad man nods and murmurs agreement over and over, until at last the preacher concludes. “Well then, you’ve seen the errors of your life?”
“Yes,” the man replies.
“And you’ll change?”
“Yes, I shall.”
“You’ll be a better man?”
“Certainly, I will.”
“And you’ll give up drinking, womanizing, and I’ll see you in church on Sunday?”
At which point the man says, “Hold on, Reverend. You just crossed the line from preaching into meddling.”

This is where you political types live, I suspect, when it comes to religion. When you say you believe in separation of church and state, you recognize that many Americans do too…but only to a point. You want voters (especially those who are religious) to think that your decisions are informed by an over-arching set of tenets derived from years of faithful consideration and prayer, and yet you want other voters (especially those who aren’t particularly religious) to also realize that you won’t let your faith stray into the “meddling” zone.

No wonder I get confused when you all talk about faith; Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative.

Anyway, I hope your Monday is going well. What did you think of the Oscars? I saw more movies this year than I have in quite some time, so I took an above average interest in the affair. No big surprises as far as I could tell. You?


February 26th, 2012
08:44 AM ET

Letters to the President #1133: 'A visitor'

Reporter's Note: I write to the president. He does not write back. Sigh.

Dear Mr. President,

My younger daughter is back home, and we are delighted. She spent the last seven weeks or so on an educational exchange trip to South Africa, and my wife and I missed her more than you can even imagine.

That said, it seems to have been a wonderful experience. She lived with a lovely family there who tended to her well-being as if she were one of their own children. She attended an excellent school where she made ready and fast friends. She saw sights that most adults only dream of seeing, and she learned a great deal about the government, society, and history of that distant nation. And soon, we will have a young South African girl living with us for a while, learning about our country.

Her pending arrival has caused great discussion in our house over what we should take her to see. Think about it. America is a vast nation with a seemingly endless array of things worth taking a look at; natural wonders like the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and the Smoky Mountains; man made marvels like New York City, Mount Rushmore, and the Golden Gate Bridge. We have iconic, cultural landmarks such as Disneyworld, Fenway Park, and the Capitol Building; historic sites like Gettysburg, Constitution Hall, and the French Quarter. And that does not even address countless places which a teenager girl might find fascinating; an American shopping mall, Times Square, or an amusement park.

You see the challenge we face. Obviously we aren’t going to haul her coast to coast; she will, after all, still be attending school with our daughter during the visit, but it is an interesting exercise to ask oneself what should be shown…good, bad, and otherwise…to give a young visitor an accurate picture of America.

I’d be delighted to hear your thoughts on the matter, so if you have a moment, give me a call. Or better yet, if you think you can spare some time to say hello to her while she’s here, let me know. That would be good, too!


February 25th, 2012
01:16 AM ET

Letters to the President #1132: 'The Syrian situation'

Reporter's Note: I write to President Obama all the time. He doesn’t answer. I assume he is busy.

Dear Mr. President,

Certainly I don’t need to tell you that the situation in Syria appears to be growing more desperate by the day. The pressure on the city of Homs seems chaotic, crushing, inhumane really; and it is heart wrenching to imagine the terror and real danger some people there are facing at this very moment.

And yet, for all that, I can imagine how difficult it must be as a president to decide what, if anything, we should do.

In the heat of the moment, the temptation to rush forward in the name of humanity, decency, justice, and human rights is enormous. But I fear such emotions and thoughts are better suited to those of us who don’t actually have the power to do such things, because the reality is always fraught with unimaginable difficulties and unintended consequences. Plenty of times in the past, governments have stepped into distant conflicts in the name of doing “what is right” only to find over time that the long term consequences were far messier than anticipated, and the temporary good of intervention wound up washed away in the years of bad that followed.

I suppose I sound cruel; as if I don’t really take seriously the suffering of people there, or as if I would favor a paralysis by analysis in which neither we nor any other nations might act. I don’t mean it that way.

I guess what I am saying is this: I certainly hope something can be done to help end the carnage there, and yet for all the ideas that all of us seem to have about what we’d do if we were President…I’m glad this decision is yours. It is truly difficult and freighted with uncertainty. No president wants to step too directly into the affairs of another nation too soon; and neither does any president want to stand by too long while a great crime against humanity itself is underway. Best of luck with your deliberations on the matter.


February 24th, 2012
11:54 PM ET

Video: Rutgers bullying trial starts

CNN's Jason Carroll reports on the first day of testimony in the bullying trial of a Rutgers student.

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment
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