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May 30th, 2008
06:04 PM ET

Which Hollywood celebrity would you like to leave the country?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It happens every time there's a presidential election. Some Hollywood celebrity comes out and announces that if the candidate they don't like wins the election, they are going to leave the country.

They say this with a sense of high drama, like anybody cares. Problem is, they never leave. In 2000, Alec Baldwin's wife had reportedly told a magazine that if George Bush won, her husband would make good on a threat to leave the country. I was working at CNNfn at the time and remarked I wanted to be sure to get off on time because I was going to go out to Long Island and help him pack. Alec Baldwin is still here.

This time around it's Susan Sarandon. If John McCain wins, Sarandon is threatening to move either to Italy or Canada. It might be reason enough to support McCain. But five will get you ten that regardless of the outcome of the race between John McCain and Barack Obama, you won't find Susan Sarandon at the Calgary Stampede or the Vatican.

But we can dream, can't we?

Here’s my question to you: Which Hollywood celebrity would you like to see leave the country and why?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Uncategorized
May 30th, 2008
05:05 PM ET

Will oil probe lead to cheaper gas?

 Gas prices soar over $4.00 a gallon in NY.

Gas prices soar over $4.00 a gallon in NY.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here we go again. Every time oil and/or gasoline prices get high enough, someone in the government announces an investigation. The idea is to try to convince the poor soul forking over four bucks a gallon for gas that his government gives a damn. This time it's the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.

We've been here before. Investigators this time say they're looking at potential abuses in the way crude oil is bought, shipped stored and traded nationwide. Usually they don't publicize this kind of stuff, but say they are doing so now "because of today's unprecedented market conditions." That and senators and congressmen are catching hell from their constituents who want an explanation of why oil prices are up 42% since last December.

And, heading into the peak summer travel season, gasoline prices are up an average of 76 cents over where they were a year ago.

When you read the fine print, you discover experts say this investigation – like all the others before it – will likely have a limited impact on oil prices, which have been going up for many reasons, including growing demand from places like China and India, the falling value of the dollar, international tensions and low interest rates.

Meanwhile, a new Gallup Poll asks Americans what should be done to reduce gas prices. A majority of those surveyed, 53% favor price controls. 58% support draining oil from the strategic petroleum reserve, and 57% are for drilling in U.S. coastal and wilderness areas that are now off limits.

However, a majority of people say it's a bad idea to ration gas, bring back the 55 mph speed limit or – are you listening, John McCain – suspend the federal tax on gasoline for the summer. If it makes you feel any better, the highest gas prices in Europe are in Norway where motorists pay more than $9 a gallon.

Here’s my question to you: Do you think a government investigation of oil prices will lead to cheaper gasoline?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Oil Prices • US Economy
May 30th, 2008
01:57 PM ET

Important for Obama to go to Iraq?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Despite worries on the home front about the economy, the housing market and record high gas prices... the war in Iraq has made it to center stage once again in the presidential campaign.

Turns out both of the likely candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama, think the debate over the war can work to their advantage.

McCain has been blasting Obama about Iraq, criticizing him for making decisions without visiting the war zone since 2006. McCain argues conditions on the ground have changed drastically since then. The RNC says, "the fact that there are 2-year-old Iraqi children who weren't born the last time Obama was in their country raises questions about what he is making his decisions on."

It's part of a larger strategy to paint Obama as inexperienced. It's also pretty convenient to shift attention away from domestic issues – like the economy, energy and health care – where Obama polls much stronger than McCain.

Obama's camp now says the candidate is considering a trip to Iraq, during which he would focus on how best to withdraw U.S. troops, not reconsider whether or not they should leave. Obama suggests McCain hasn't learned enough from all his travels to Iraq, since all he wants to do is continue President Bush's war policies – even saying at one point American soldiers could be in Iraq for 100 years.

If elected, Obama has vowed to start pulling out troops immediately, with all combat brigades out of the country within 16 months. On the other hand, McCain says the U-S can't go until Iraqi forces have been trained and al Qaeda is defeated.

However, there's also a risk for McCain here: by talking about travels to Iraq, he reminds people about his infamous stroll through the Baghdad market last year where he returned to the United States and gave Americans a completely false report about how peaceful and secure it was there.

Here’s my question to you: How important is it for Barack Obama to go to Iraq?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Barack Obama • War in Iraq
May 29th, 2008
05:20 PM ET

Gay marriage in the U.S. inevitable?

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(PHOTO CREDIT:GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

California is set to start marrying gay couples next month – barring an unexpected legal challenge to the state's recent decision to overturn a ban on same-sex marriages.

This is all well and good for gays who get married in California, but what if they move to a state where gay marriage isn't legal? While there's been a slow and steady march in the direction of gay marriage in some states for years, there remains a question about the recognition of these unions in states where gay marriage remains against the law.

In light of this, New York Governor David Patterson has told state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed in states and countries where they are legal. This could affect as many as 1,300 state laws and regulations governing everything from joint filing of income tax returns to transferring fishing licenses between spouses.

Critics insist Paterson is trying to circumvent the legislature and courts, while experts say this would make New York the only state that doesn't allow gay marriage itself but fully recognizes same-sex unions from other states.

But the whole issue remains murky. Different states have different rules. Some states – like Vermont and New Jersey – allow civil unions but no marriage. With California, there will be only two states where gay marriage is legal. The legal rights accorded gay couples will continue to vary widely from one state to another complicating the decision of a gay couple that wants to move.

Nevertheless, the country seems to be developing an increasing tolerance for something that was once considered unthinkable.

Here’s my question to you: Is gay marriage in the U.S. inevitable?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Gay Marriage
May 29th, 2008
04:58 PM ET

Your questions for McClellan?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan is now talking, and everyone but the White House is listening.

McClellan strongly defended his critical memoir about the Bush Administration in a TV interview this morning. He said the president decided to go to war against Iraq shortly after the 9-11 attacks. He said Mr. Bush did not review all the evidence before making his decision and instead relied on his gut.

McClellan said he became "disillusioned" with the administration once he realized he was being used as a pawn in a much larger political game. He said the president and his aides operated in a "permanent campaign culture", which caused them to ignore the facts leading up to the war once those facts didn't fit their picture and advance their political agenda.

McClellan says the tipping point for him was the CIA leak case, particularly when he found out that it was the president himself who had secretly declassified parts of an intelligence report about Iraq, enabling Scooter Libby to leak classified information that bolstered the case for war to the media. These are damning revelations in light of Bush's repeatedly condemning the selective release of secret intelligence information.

McClellan says the low point of his job was being ordered to tell the press that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby were not involved in leaking CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to the press. A criminal investigation later revealed that they were.

Critics call McClellan a turncoat, a sellout and a disgruntled former employee. The White House has called his book puzzling and sad, and some former colleagues want to know why McClellan never voiced any of these doubts earlier. His former deputy, Trent Duffy, says McClellan owes his whole career to President Bush yet he's "stabbing him in the back... and dancing on his political grave for cash."

Scott McClellan will be a guest in the Situation Room tomorrow.

Here’s my question to you: What would you ask Scott McClellan?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Scott McClellan
May 29th, 2008
02:13 PM ET

Clinton’s “I’m more electable” working?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Despite being hopelessly behind in pledged delegates and with only three primaries to go, Hillary Clinton refuses to give up. In fact, she continues to insist that she is more electable than Barack Obama.

Clinton told voters in South Dakota yesterday that her wins in swing states and her strong vote margins among certain groups make her more likely to beat John McCain in the general election.

At the same time, her campaign sent uncommitted superdelegates a letter with polling data showing how she could compete better than Obama in the fall. They pointed to her wins in states like Ohio and West Virginia along with her strong showings among older women, Hispanics and rural voters.

While Clinton has toned down her attacks on Obama in recent weeks, she has implied that if he becomes the nominee, the Democrats could lose in November. Clinton insists she's the stronger candidate against McCain "based on every analysis of every bit of research and every poll that's been taken and every state a Democrat has to win." Not true at all.

There are polls that show Clinton in a close race with McCain, many within the sampling error. And more importantly there are polls that show Obama beating McCain by a larger margin than she does. Sometimes facts are very inconvenient.

Clinton also claims to have won the most popular votes – but that's only if you include Michigan and Florida, states that were stripped of all their delegates after breaking the party's rules. Their votes don't count. Obama actually leads by 570,000 in the popular vote, and is now just 45 delegates shy of clinching the nomination.

Here’s my question to you: Has Hillary Clinton's continual drumbeat of "I'm more electable" gained her any traction?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: 2008 Election • Hillary Clinton
May 28th, 2008
05:03 PM ET

More Americans choosing bankruptcy

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here's another troubling sign of the state of our economy: more Americans are choosing to file for bankruptcy, despite a 2005 law that makes it more expensive and difficult to do so.

The Washington Post reports bankruptcy filings were up 38% last year for Chapter 7 – which wipes out debt, and Chapter 13 – which reorganizes it. The reasons behind the bankruptcy filings are many, including declining incomes, rising costs, poor health insurance and job instability.

Experts say that the bankruptcy trend cuts across all walks of life – including the young and old, homeowners and renters, the poor and middle class. It used to be that bankruptcies were more likely filed by those who had sudden life changes – like a divorce or job loss. Not anymore.

Declining home values have made bankruptcies even more common... in fact, many people are filing for bankruptcy in order to save their homes. By filing for Chapter 13, owners get a foreclosure frozen and they can negotiate payments with their lenders.

Meanwhile, billionaire investor Warren Buffett is warning that the economy is already in a recession. He believes though it may not be a recession as defined by economists, the people are already feeling it. Buffet adds, "It will be deeper and longer than what many think."

A new Gallup poll seems to show that most everyone is already feeling it, with 87% of those surveyed saying the economy is getting worse and only 17% rating the economy as "excellent" or "good."

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when more Americans are choosing bankruptcy?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: US Economy
May 28th, 2008
05:00 PM ET

What should Dems do about Michigan & Florida?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Democratic Party is going to try to sort out the headache created by Michigan and Florida.

The rules committee meets this weekend to decide what to do with the delegates from those states. Michigan and Florida broke party rules by moving up their primaries and as punishment were stripped of all their delegates. It was made clear to them before they changed the primary dates that is what would happen.

Party lawyers say the DNC has the authority to seat some of these delegates, but not all. They say seating half of the delegates is quote "as far as the committee can legally go." And, once the committee decides how many of the delegates to seat then they need to figure out how to divide them between Clinton and Obama. Could be a long weekend.

It becomes pretty tricky when you consider that in Michigan, Barack Obama's name wasn't even on the ballot. It's also important to note that both candidates signed a pledge not to campaign in either state and agreed the primaries should be invalid if the states changed the dates. Senator Clinton appears to have forgotten this.

Clinton is hoping the committee will seat as many delegates as possible, so she can narrow the gap with Obama and then try to persuade superdelegates to side with her. But the fact is that even if the delegates are fully restored, it won't be enough for her to overtake Obama's lead.

Meanwhile, a Florida court has thrown out a lawsuit challenging the party's decision not to seat the state's delegates. The judge sided with the Democratic Party, saying that political parties have the right to make their own rules. It's the second lawsuit in Florida protesting the DNC's decision to be thrown out of court.

Here’s my question to you: What should the Democrats' rules committee do about Michigan and Florida?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

Posted by
Filed under: 2008 Election • Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton
May 28th, 2008
02:10 PM ET

How will McClellan’s book affect the election?

 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:

The Bush White House sold the Iraq war to the American people with a "political propaganda campaign" that was led by the president, and focused on "manipulating sources of public opinion" and "downplaying the major reason for going to war."

These are some of the withering charges in an explosive new book by former White House press secretary Scott McClellan. McClellan saw it all from the inside as a member of the president's inner circle.

McClellan stops just short of saying that the president lied about Iraq, but he says the administration played fast and loose with the truth in a way that almost guaranteed that the use of force would be the result. McClellan concludes: "What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary."

The White House is dismissing McClellan's claims as the work of a "disgruntled" former employee. But his book may have implications for John McCain. McCain has practically staked his campaign on his national security credentials and the war in Iraq – suggesting the U-S could be in Iraq for 100 years. He has also criticized Democrat Barack Obama for having "no experience or judgment or knowledge on Iraq."

McCain and Hillary Clinton voted for the war. Barack Obama did not. McClellan's book would suggest Obama got it right.

While McCain goes around saying he will never surrender in Iraq, without saying whom he would surrender to, his sale of the Iraq war to the American people as a campaign issue just got a whole lot trickier. A White House insider says the war wasn't necessary.

Here’s my question to you: How will Scott McClellan's book affect the presidential election?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: 2008 Election
May 27th, 2008
05:01 PM ET

What to do about Iran’s nuclear program?

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz uranium enrichment facilities in April. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Iran is withholding critical information needed to prove whether it's trying to make nuclear weapons, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The U-N's nuclear monitor is out with a pretty harsh report, suggesting Iran has stonewalled them. The report says Iran has ventured into explosives, uranium processing and a missile warhead design – all activities that could go hand-in-hand with building nuclear weapons.

Iran continues to insist its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, namely for energy. It dismissed the documents put out by the U-N as "forged”, although it refused to provide any paperwork to back its claims. One Iranian official says the country will continue to cooperate with the agency.

But the report suggests there hasn't been all that much cooperation going on. One senior official close to the IAEA told The New York Times that there are some parts of Iran's nuclear program where the military seems to have played a role. The report also alleges that Iran is learning to make more powerful centrifuges. The nuclear watchdog agency says that in April, it was denied access to sites were Iranians were making centrifuge components and researching uranium enrichment.

U.S. intelligence says that Iran stopped working on nuclear weapons in 2003, but not everyone believes that is the case.

Here’s my question to you: What should be done about Iran's nuclear program?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Iran
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