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March 26th, 2008
04:58 PM ET

What will you do with your rebate check?

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A tax payer rebate from New York City. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When it comes to our ailing economy, you may remember how the Democrats and Republicans in Washington finally managed to work together quickly on something. They came up with that 170 billion economic stimulus package. The idea: to put money in the hands of ordinary Americans in the hopes they'll spend it to boost the economy.

Well, things may not work out as expected. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll finds that only 21% of those surveyed plan to spend their rebate check... of $600 for individuals who earn less than $75,000 and $1,200 for married taxpayers who earn less than $150,000 together.

32% say they'll save the money. 41% say they'll use it to pay off bills, and 3% say they'll donate it to charity.

In the past, taxpayers have spent half to two-thirds of their rebate checks, but today's unsure economic times may mean people are less likely to part with that money. However, the chief economist at Moodys.com says it's important to distinguish between what people say they'll do and what they actually do. He thinks taxpayers will end up spending two-thirds of their rebate checks.

Meanwhile, in yet another sign of tough economic conditions, it's reported that almost 1 in 10 people in Ohio now receives food stamps. That's the highest number in the state's history, with caseloads almost doubling since 2001. The factors to blame are those now familiar to many Americans: low wages, unemployment, and the rising cost of necessities like groceries and gasoline.

Here’s my question to you: What do you plan to do with your rebate check?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Economy
March 26th, 2008
01:29 PM ET

McGovern: easier to elect black man president than woman

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.  Sen. Hillary Clinton, with George McGovern at the Johnson County Democrats' annual barbecue, 2007, in Iowa City, Iowa

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It will be easier to elect a black man president than a woman.

Those are the words of former senator and 1972 Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern. He's actually a Hillary Clinton supporter, but he says he feels that where this country stands today in its thinking, it's going to be harder to elect a woman. He also says, "I wish that weren't true... I'd love to see Hillary as president."

McGovern says he sometimes hears from men who don't think a woman is ready to assume the responsibilities of the top office in the land. Some worry it's "too big a job" for a woman or that she wouldn't be able to "handle those terrorists." McGovern says he rarely hears the same concerns about a black man.

Some may question whether McGovern is just saying this stuff to lower the bar for his candidate, but a recent survey suggests he might be on to something. The CBS News poll shows 39% of those surveyed believe a woman candidate faces more obstacles in presidential politics today compared to 33% who feel that way about a black candidate. However, African-Americans disagree, saying by an overwhelming margin that black candidates have a harder time.

When asked if people they know have judged Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama more harshly because of race or gender, 42% say Clinton has had a tougher go of it and just 27 percent say Obama.

That's despite the fact that polling shows Americans see racism as a much more serious problem for the nation overall than sexism.

Here’s my question to you: George McGovern, who supports Hillary Clinton, says it'll be easier to elect a black man as president than a woman. Is he right?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2008 Election
March 25th, 2008
05:52 PM ET

What will it take for world to boycott Beijing Olympics?

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Nepalese policemen arrest a Tibetan monk protester in exile during an anti-Chinese demonstration in front of the consular section of the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu on March 25, 2008. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There's a small but growing chorus of voices that's telling the Chinese government to knock it off.

Latest reports are Chinese police opened fire on hundreds of monks and nuns in an effort to quell demonstrations by Tibetans in parts of China. Witnesses say one monk and a farmer were killed and about a dozen people were wounded.

The government in exile of the Dalai Lama in India says the overall death toll has risen to 140; the Chinese government says it's lower. Of course, there's no way to verify these numbers because there's no such thing as a free press in China and foreign journalists are being barred from any areas where there has been unrest.

The president of the European Parliament has said European countries should not rule out threatening China with an Olympic boycott if violence continues in Tibet. Shooting monks and nuns is not a good way to make friends in the global community.

So far, the only response from President Bush is that he plans to attend the opening ceremonies in Beijing, saying the Olympics are about the athletes and not about politics.

When it comes to the United States, the politics are: we are in debt to China up to our eyeballs. Money borrowed to finance President Bush's war in Iraq and the stimulus package. And it might be hard to keep borrowing billions from the Chinese if the U.S. called them out for being nothing more than barbaric savages in their treatment of one of the most peaceful people on earth, the Tibetans.

Here’s my question to you: How bad does China's crackdown on Tibet have to get for the world to boycott the Olympics?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Beijing Olympics • China • Tibet
March 25th, 2008
05:00 PM ET

American voters all ears?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The sleeping giant may be starting to wake up. All it took was: The illegal invasion of Iraq, which led to a war that's now in its sixth year. The destruction of our civil liberties in the name of the war on terror. The quadrupling of oil prices. And the early signs of a recession that could be as bad as anything we've seen in a long time. And suddenly, the American voter is all ears.

The evidence is in the record turnouts for this year's primaries, especially among Democrats. Young people are suddenly showing up to vote in numbers we've never seen before. And based on information from places like Arizona, it looks like this tidal wave of voters is only going to continue to swell right into November.

Politico reports Arizona says voter turnout could be as high as 80%. In 2004 voter turnout hit 61% nationwide – and that was the highest level since 1968.

It's about time. For the first time in our history, our worldwide reputation is shot and our standard of living is beginning to decline. One reason this has happened is we have allowed it to.

By not being proactive and participating in our democracy, the forces that would exploit it and ultimately destroy it have had a free rein. But these voter registration numbers are very encouraging because when Americans finally get up off their collective butts and decide to do something, it's a force that's simply unstoppable.

Here’s my question to you: What does it say about the importance of this election if voter turnout in November could be as high as 80% in some states?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2008 Election • Voter Turnout
March 25th, 2008
02:15 PM ET

Gore-led ticket good compromise for Democrats?

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A Florida congressman is suggesting that a brokered convention for the Democrats could lead to some pretty unexpected results. In other words, forget about Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

Representative Tim Mahoney says he wouldn't be surprised if someone different is at the top of the ticket. He says a compromise candidate could be someone like Al Gore.

In a newspaper interview, Mahoney said if the convention is deadlocked and either Clinton or Obama suggested a Gore-Obama or Gore-Clinton ticket, the party would accept it.

Mahoney is one of the almost 800 superdelegates who would get to cast a vote at the convention. He hasn't endorsed either Clinton or Obama yet, but has been wooed by both.

It's an interesting idea. It's not clear if Democrats really know what they're in for if this nasty battle continues all the way to the Denver convention. The way things are going, there could be enough acrimony by the time it's over that neither Obama nor Clinton would any longer be viewed as electable.

Al Gore has insisted he won't run and that he has "no plans to be a candidate", although he's also said "I see no reason to rule it out entirely." And, it's worth pointing out that the former vice president and Nobel Prize winner has not yet endorsed either Clinton or Obama. So stay tuned.

Here’s my question to you: If a ticket led by Al Gore somehow emerged from a brokered convention, would that be a good thing for the Democrats?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Democratic Race
March 24th, 2008
05:50 PM ET

How is America affected by death toll of 4,000 U.S. troops in Iraq?

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Corporal William Ward, a combat correspondent with the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, holds the dog tags of fallen companions as the Marines of Regimental Combat Team 5 memorialize 100 Marines, soldiers, and sailors who died during the regiment’s Iraq deployment. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Only days after marking the 5th anniversary of the United States-led invasion of Iraq, the U.S. reached a tragic milestone – a death toll of 4,000 U.S. troops.

Four American soldiers were killed in roadside bombings yesterday, a day when the Green Zone was hit repeatedly by rocket and mortar fire. The ability of insurgents to attack a supposedly protected area shows just how fragile the security situation in Iraq remains.

The military insists that "no casualty is more or less significant than another”, that each loss is equally precious and tragic. And the White House calls it a "sober moment”, adding that President Bush spends time every day thinking about those who have lost their lives in the war. The president also insisted last week that he has no regrets about starting the war.

It's not clear how this latest news will affect the American public or impact the presidential campaign. Both Democratic candidates have called for a timetable for withdrawal. John McCain says it's important to finish the fight and even suggested we could have troops in Iraq for 100 years.

One expert tells Reuters that the 4,000 troop death toll could trigger another wave of heated debate at home. But others think it won't have as much of an impact as the 3,000 mark... which came at a time when the overall situation in Iraq was seen as going badly.

Meanwhile, as the war enters its sixth year, estimates of the Iraqi death toll range from 80,000 to hundreds of thousands. An estimated 2 million people have been forced to leave Iraq, and another 2.5 million are displaced within the country.

Here’s my question to you: How should the milestone of 4,000 U.S. troop deaths in Iraq affect the American people?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

March 24th, 2008
04:58 PM ET

Who’s taking the moral high ground: Clinton or Obama?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is getting nastier the farther behind Senator Clinton falls.

Bill Richardson, the New Mexico governor who endorsed Obama on Friday, is being compared to the traitor Judas. Clinton supporter and CNN political analyst James Carville said that Richardson's backing of Obama came "right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver." Richardson served in President Bill Clinton's administration and is now endorsing his wife's rival.

Richardson says he's still the Clintons' friend and refuses to "get in the gutter" like some Clinton people are doing. Richardson says that many in Clinton's camp think they have a sense of entitlement to the presidency.

Meanwhile Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell says Obama is trying to "have it both ways”, accusing his campaign of complaining about negativity while frequently going after Hillary Clinton unfairly.

Rendell, who is supporting Clinton, points to remarks by an Obama surrogate, General Tony McPeak, who compared Bill Clinton to Joe McCarthy, the famous Communist witch hunter of the 1950s. McPeak was reacting to remarks by former president Clinton questioning Obama's patriotism.

On Friday, Clinton said quote, "I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country"… suggesting that would be a match-up between Hillary Clinton and John McCain.

With more than four weeks to go to until the Pennsylvania primary, the Democratic Party continues along the path of self destruction, giving John McCain extra time to read up on the economy and learn the difference between Sunnis and Shia.

Here’s my question to you: Which of the two Democratic campaigns, Clinton or Obama, occupies the moral high ground?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton
March 24th, 2008
02:46 PM ET

Why would Clinton not tell the truth about her 1996 Bosnia trip?

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First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton kisses Emina Bicakcic, 8, from Sarajevo who dedicated a poem to her shortly after her arrival at the Tuzla Air Base, Monday March 25, 1996.  Click the Play Button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

On two different occasions, Senator Hillary Clinton has described a trip she took as first lady to Bosnia in March of 1996.

To hear her tell it, she was lucky to escape with her life, landing in a hail of sniper fire. She said they were forced to cut short the greeting ceremony at the airport and, "run with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."

But apparently there was time to stop and visit at the airport with an 8-year-old girl who greeted Mrs. Clinton on the tarmac when she landed and read her a poem.

The military commander on hand to greet Clinton at the time, Major General William Nash, told the Washington Post he was unaware of any sniper threat to Clinton during her 8-hour stay.

Also traveling with the first lady was her daughter Chelsea, the singer Sheryl Crow and the comedian Sinbad, who said the scariest part of the trip was deciding where to eat.

Hillary Clinton claims that she was sent to places that her husband, President Clinton, could not go because they were "too dangerous."

Back to Sinbad... When commenting on Clinton's version of events, he said, "What kind of president would say, 'Hey man, I can't go because I might get shot… but I'm gonna send my wife and daughter. Oh and take a guitar player and a comedian with you.'"

The Washington Post has awarded Senator Clinton "4 Pinnochios" for her story about Bosnia, which it gives for major "whoppers."

Now that all this has come to light, Clinton's campaign is allowing as how she may have "misspoke" about her 1996 trip.

Here’s my question to you: Why would Hillary Clinton not tell the truth about her trip to Bosnia in March of 1996?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Hillary Clinton
March 21st, 2008
06:00 PM ET

How significant is Bill Richardson's endorsement of Obama?

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Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Barack Obama January 10, 2008 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Click on the Play Button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It could be the beginning of the end for Hillary Clinton.

Bill Richardson's endorsement of Barack Obama today is huge. Richardson, after all, served under President Bill Clinton as ambassador to the U.N. and secretary of the Energy Department. He's also a friend of the Clintons who watched the Super Bowl together with the former president last month.

So it couldn't be easy for Hillary Clinton when Richardson – whom both candidates had lobbied hard for an endorsement – came out today and called Obama a "once-in-a-lifetime-leader." Richardson said the speech Obama gave on race "appealed to the best in us."

The New Mexico governor and former presidential candidate's endorsement carries a lot of weight. He's the only Hispanic governor in the country, which presumably will help Obama in the Hispanic community.

He's also a superdelegate, and this may be the key. Richardson could potentially have a lot of influence over the remaining undecided superdelegates, which is still roughly half of the almost 800 party insiders. Today he suggested that it's time "for Democrats to stop fighting amongst ourselves and to prepare for the tough fight we will face against John McCain in the fall."

Clinton shrugged off the endorsement saying that both she and Obama have many great endorsers and it's the voters who will ultimately decide this election.

But when it comes right down to it, there are endorsements and then there are endorsements. Yesterday Dick Morris, former political adviser to President Clinton said the race is over and Obama has won. Today Bill Richardson, who likewise has ties to the Clintons, announces he's endorsing Obama.

Here’s my question to you: How significant is Bill Richardson's endorsement of Barack Obama?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Barack Obama
March 21st, 2008
05:59 PM ET

Pres. Bush puts foot-in-mouth on Iran & nuclear weapons

 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad casts his ballot in the parliamentary elections at a mosque on March 14, 2008 in South Tehran.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad casts his ballot in the parliamentary elections at a mosque on March 14, 2008 in South Tehran.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's been quite a week for U.S. foreign policy.

In a radio interview meant to reach the Iranian people on the Persian new year, this is what President Bush had to say about the Islamic republic's intentions:

"They've declared they want to have a nuclear weapon to destroy people. And that's unacceptable to the United States, and it's unacceptable to the world."

Uh, Mr. President, your own intelligence experts have said that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Experts on Iran and nuclear proliferation tell the Washington Post that the president is flat-out wrong, that Iran has never said it wanted a nuclear weapon for any reason. The National Security Council says Mr. Bush was referring to Iran's previous statements about wiping Israel off the map. But that's not what he said.

One global security expert says the president's comment on Iran is as uninformed as John McCain's statement in front of foreign leaders in Jordan that Iran is training al Qaeda. This is a man who touts his foreign policy experience as one of the top reasons why he should be elected, but who apparently gets confused when it comes to Sunni vs. Shia vs. Iran vs. al Qaeda. It's embarrassing.

Oh, and there was this: The White House announced that President Bush will still attend the Beijing Olympics despite China's crackdown on Tibet. Mr. Bush's position is that the Olympics "should be about the athletes and not necessarily about politics." So it's fine that Chinese soldiers are killing Tibetans... let the games begin.

Of course we owe China so much money, it would be a little tough for President Bush to say anything else, wouldn't it? We didn't used to be like this.

Here’s my question to you: Why would President Bush say Iran has declared it wants "to have a nuclear weapon to destroy people" when his own experts say that's not the case?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Iran
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