May 16th, 2012
10:16 PM ET

Letters to the President #1213: 'Show votes'

Reporter's Note: I write to President Obama all the time.

Dear Mr. President,

This charade up on Capitol Hill all day was truly exhausting. The way the Republicans trotted out one budget bill after another; waving charts, pointing fingers, raising their voices; then watching each one go down in flames was just silly. Your pal, Harry Reid was right to refer to it all as a bunch of “show votes.”

On the other hand, you have to admit: They could not have pulled that stunt if your party had produced and passed a budget.

I know that a lot of people get upset over “false equivalency;” the idea that both parties are to blame when sometimes circumstances suggest one party deserves more blame than the other on a certain issue. But I also think that argument can be used to avoid another, equally troublesome matter: Joint blame.

When it comes to the budget, I think there is ample evidence that neither side really wants to grapple with the hard decisions and compromises that we’re probably going to need to contain the deficit, whether now or later. Both sides are, I suspect, using the other’s opposition to protect them from taking real action on taxes, entitlements, spending, you name it.

Sure, in theory, each side hints that it wants to pursue a certain course…but in reality, I think they are betting that it will never happen. Kind of like a kid who is threatening to meet another guy for a fight after school, all the while absolutely counting on his friends to hold him back so the fight never happens.

Is there some false equivalency? Is one party more to blame than the other? Maybe. But I’m not sure which party. And I am sure of this: They both own part of the blame, despite all the “show votes” they can muster.


May 16th, 2012
09:57 PM ET

A call to close Backpage's adult section

The president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children responds to a claim made by Backpage.com that they work together, and that the site is part of the solution to child sex-trafficking. Ernie Allen says screening is not a solution.

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Filed under: 360° Interview • Human Trafficking
May 16th, 2012
09:53 PM ET

Next debt limit vote more of the same?

Ari Fleischer and Paul Begala discuss the lack of compromise between parties and the president over the debt limit vote.

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Filed under: Raw Politics
May 16th, 2012
09:51 PM ET

RidicuList: Shape-ups are sketchy

On the RidicuList, Skechers has agreed to pay a $40 million fine to customers complaining their Shape-Ups sneakers didn't "tone their buttocks" to mirror Kim Kardashian.

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Filed under: The RidicuList
May 16th, 2012
09:40 PM ET

Why didn't John Edwards take the stand?

Newsweek's Diane Dimond tells Anderson Cooper about John Edwards' defense, who didn't testify and how long she thinks jury deliberations will last.

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Filed under: 360° Interview • John Edwards
May 16th, 2012
09:36 PM ET

KTH: $56 million donated, no vets helped

CNN's Drew Griffin questions a charity for injured veterans that raised $56 million but spent nothing towards the cause.

May 16th, 2012
09:33 PM ET

KTH: Police stance on Backpage adult section

A lawyer for the site said they work with law enforcement to find child sex traffickers. Anderson asks police to respond.

May 16th, 2012
07:48 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Should Backpage close the adult section?

The president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children says Backpage.com should close the site's adult section. Watch a preview and see the full interview on AC360° at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.

Tweet your thoughts to Anderson and the staff during the broadcast.

Filed under: Human Trafficking
May 16th, 2012
04:55 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Drew Griffin speaks with Disabled Veterans National Foundation charity board member

AC360's Drew Griffin has been investigating a national charity that collected $56 million for disabled veterans. Those donations were intended for service members and their families, but IRS documents show that very little of the money has been directly given to those the organization promised to help.

Instead, the Disabled Veterans National Foundation has spent tens of millions on marketing services. CNN spoke to the head of a local veteran aid group that received candy, small bottles of hand sanitizer and other unnecessary items - but no funds. Another small organization was sent hundreds of chefs coats and aprons, along with a needlepoint design pillowcase and cans of acrylic paint.

CNN has tried for more than a year to speak with the president of DVNF, Precilla Landry Wilkewitz, to find out what happened to the money they raised. Griffin went to her home but she declined an interview.

Today, she was scheduled to give a speech in California, so Griffin went to the event in hopes of getting answers from her. But she canceled her appearance. Instead Griffin talked with another board member, vice president Valerie Conley, at the event. Hear her response tonight on AC360°.

Anderson will also speak with CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin about the story. Do you have questions for him? Submit them in a comment and tune in at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.