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May 29th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

President Obama: "You ain't seen nothing yet", should he be so confident?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Perhaps feeling proud of his accomplishments during his first four months in office, President Obama told a star-studded Hollywood crowd, "You ain't seen nothing yet."

Should President Obama be so confident about his presidency?

Should President Obama be so confident about his presidency?

At a fund-raising dinner where couples paid $30,000 a ticket, the president said he would put his first four months in office up against any prior administration since FDR.

Mr. Obama ticked off a list of some of the successes he's achieved so far including: passing the largest economic recovery package in the history of the U.S., removing the ban on funding of embryonic stem cell research, taking measures to stabilize the housing market, cracking down on predatory abuses by credit card companies and expanding the children's health insurance program. He also praised Sonia Sotomayor, his nominee for the Supreme Court.

Mr. Obama acknowledged that although his administration has made progress, there is more work to do and said we can't rest on our laurels. "It won't be easy. There will be setbacks. It will take time." He added that he's made some mistakes and guarantees he'll make more.

Meanwhile, when it comes to raising money, Barack Obama hasn't lost his fastball. The celebrity dinner, along with a concert later that evening, brought in between $3 and $4 million for the DNC.

Here’s my question to you: President Obama says "You ain't seen nothing yet" when it comes to his presidency. Should he be so confident?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: President Obama
May 29th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

How will your children's lives be different from yours?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: CANCAN CHU/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The American Dream may be slipping away. Examples are everywhere. One comes from CNNMoney.com, which reports how the life of autoworkers is changing.

It used to be that getting a union job on the production line of a big car company would instantly vault someone into the middle class, even if they didn't have much formal education. But those days are gone.

With Chrysler declaring bankruptcy, and General Motors expected to follow soon, the government is demanding these companies bring their labor costs in line with foreign competitors. That means an entry-level autoworker who used to make $28 an hour could soon be making $14 an hour.

Workers' benefits are also taking a hit. Union employees will have to pay a much larger share of their health care expenses. And when they retire, the company won't be paying for their health care anymore. Also, going forward, fewer medical procedures and drugs will be covered.

The story of the American autoworker is just a slice of what's happening across the country. It seems increasingly likely millions of people won't be able to maintain the standard of living they've grown accustomed to, not to mention what's around the corner for the next generation.

A recent poll found more than a third of parents think their children's standard of living will be worse than theirs is now.

Here’s my question to you: How will your children's lives be different from yours?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Children
May 29th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Feelings toward former President Bush softened at all?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

While Former Vice President Dick Cheney hasn't been able to keep his mouth shut since leaving office, the former president has been largely silent. Until last night that is.

Former President Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush board Marine One following the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Former President Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush board Marine One following the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Speaking in Michigan, George W. Bush repeated Cheney's claim that the enhanced interrogation program - what some people call "torture" - was legal and helped get valuable information that prevented more terror attacks... and saved lives.

The former president told the crowd of 2,500 people that after 9-11, he vowed to take quote "whatever steps were necessary to protect you." Bush said after the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, he wanted to determine what means were legal to get information from the terror suspect.

Although Bush's message might be similar to Cheney's, the tone is very different. Bush repeatedly insisted that he doesn't want to criticize Pres. Obama and he didn't specifically refer to the debate over the new president's decision to stop using harsh interrogation techniques.

In a departure from how these kind of events were handled before, Bush answered questions directly from the audience for almost an hour – instead of responding to questions that had been submitted ahead of time.

When asked what he wants his legacy to be, Bush said, "The man showed up with a set of principles, and he was unwilling to compromise his soul for the sake of popularity.”

Here’s my question to you: Have your feelings toward former President Bush softened any now that's he's been out of office for four months?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

May 28th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Is the government getting too involved in the auto industry?

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President Obama's 'car czar' Edward Montgomery tours a GM plant in Flint, Mich. in May. (PHOTO CREDIT: BILL PUGLIANO/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When it comes to restructuring the auto industry, the Obama administration is knee-deep.

General Motors is expected to follow in the footsteps of Chrysler, and file for bankruptcy in the coming days. It would be the largest industrial bankruptcy in U.S. history.

G.M. says a committee of bondholders has agreed to a new deal offered by the government. It would erase GM's unsecured debt in exchange for company stock.

If the deal goes through, the government – which has already lent GM close to $20 billion – could have a 72% stake in the company and provide billions more in financing for General Motors to keep operating while being reorganized.

The administration's goal for G.M. is to return to profitability. The White House reportedly wants to play "as minimal" a role and "exit" the investment as soon as they possibly can. But the risks for taxpayers are huge, when you consider U.S. auto sales are near their lowest level in 27 years.

Not everyone is sure the level of the Obama administration's involvement is a good idea.

A poll taken in Michigan by Detroit News/WXYZ shows 42% of those surveyed say the president's role has hurt the domestic automakers, while 39% say he's been helpful.

Here’s my question to you: Is the government getting too involved in the auto industry?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Auto Industry
May 28th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Does it hurt GOP when right-wing critics call Sotomayor a racist?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The national dialogue just doesn't seem to get any gentler. Right-wing conservatives like Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh are now out calling Judge Sonia Sotomayor a "racist."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is among several prominent Republicans who have called Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a 'racist.'

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is among several prominent Republicans who have called Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a 'racist.'

They are pointing to comments that the Supreme Court nominee made in 2001, when she said, "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.".

Gingrich goes so far as to say that a white racist male nominee would be forced to withdraw and so, too, should a racist Latina.

The White House is pushing back, saying it's important for anyone in this debate to be "exceedingly careful" in how they describe different aspects of the confirmation process. And Hispanic leaders warn that critics risk alienating Latinos if they appear to be judging Sotomayor before she can even defend herself; nominees traditionally don't say anything publicly ahead of their confirmation hearings.

As Ed Rollins writes on CNN.com, the battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party has now spilled over into this Supreme Court confirmation debate. He says critics who have been unable to attack President Obama think they can smear him with his court pick. But Rollins says there can be no debate over Sotomayor's qualifications, and warns Republicans that this confirmation "is not the battle to be waged and it won't be won."

Here’s my question to you: Does it hurt the GOP when Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh call Judge Sonia Sotomayor a "racist"?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Newt Gingrich • Rush Limbaugh • Sonia Sotomayor
May 28th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

National sales tax the answer to reducing deficits, paying for health care?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The idea of a national sales tax as a way to reduce deficits - which could total $4 trillion over the next 5 years - and pay for health care seems to be picking up steam.

Protestors in Manilla show anti-VAT signs in 2006.  A value-added tax may be gaining traction with lawmakers in the U.S.

Protestors in Manilla show anti-VAT signs in 2006. A value-added tax may be gaining traction with lawmakers in the U.S.

The Washington Post reports that some lawmakers and experts suggest such a tax is one of the only ways to right our financial ship. A "Value Added Tax" or VAT is a tax on the transfer of goods and services - that would include everything from a gallon of milk to a visit with a lawyer. This kind of tax is used in more than 130 countries, and ranges from 5% in Japan to 25% in Hungary and parts of Scandinavia.

One downside is that a national sales tax would fall more heavily on the poor, but supporters say that could be offset by using the proceeds to pay for health care for every American.

Other potential advantages are that this kind of tax is hard to dodge and it punishes spending rather than saving, which the Obama administration wants to encourage. Also, some economists say the threat of a VAT could help pull the country out of a recession sooner by making consumers spend before the tax hits. Depending on what percentage the VAT tax would be, it could exempt millions of Americans from paying income tax and lower the top income bracket for wealthier people.

Top government officials from Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker to the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee have expressed interest in exploring the idea.

Here’s my question to you: Is a national sales tax the answer to reducing deficits and paying for health care reform?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Health care • National Sales Tax
May 27th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

What will it take for Americans to embrace idea of gay marriage?

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Protestors demonstrate for the repeal of proposition eight Tuesday before the California Supreme Court. (PHOTO CREDIT: DAVID MCNEW/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A majority of Americans continue to oppose gay marriage by a margin of almost 3-to-2.

A new U-S-A Today – Gallup Poll shows 57% of those surveyed are against legalizing same-sex marriages, while 40% are in favor. Although support for gay marriage has increased a lot since the 1990s, it seems to have stalled in the last few years - peaking at 46% in 2007.

Not surprisingly, the poll shows Democrats and younger Americans are more likely to support gay marriage than are Independents, Republicans or those older than 30.

But, what's interesting is that although a majority of Americans are against gay marriage - most people are willing to support gay rights in a lot of other areas. For example, the same poll found: 69% are in favor of gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, 67% say gay domestic partners should have access to health insurance and other employee benefits and 73% say they should have inheritance rights. 67% favor expanded hate-crime laws to cover crimes committed against gays.

Meanwhile, California won't be joining the list of states where gay marriage is legal. The state's Supreme Court has upheld a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages.

Gay marriages are now legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine and Iowa, and will be legal in Vermont in September. The District of Columbia has voted to recognize gay marriages performed elsewhere although it doesn't give marriage licenses to gay couples.

Here’s my question to you: What will it take for Americans to embrace the idea of gay marriage?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Gay Marriage
May 27th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Any signs in your life that economy is turning around?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Some people who know a lot more about the economy than most of us think things are about to start looking up.

art.money052709.gi

A new report by a group of leading economists says the recession should end in the second half of 2009,although it will be a more moderate recovery than what typically happens after a major downturn.

The report by the "National Association for Business Economics Outlook" also forecasts:

– The nation's gross domestic product will turn positive in the third quarter. It experienced its biggest decline since 1957 during the first half of this year.

– A total of 4.5 million jobs will be lost this year, which would push the unemployment rate to 9.8%. It's expected to drop to 9.3% in 2010

– When it comes to real estate, most of the panelists expect home sales to bottom out by the middle of this year and a majority say housing starts will bottom at the same time.

– As for consumer spending, an overwhelming majority of these economists say "more thrifty behavior is here to stay, at least for the next 5 years"

Speaking of a 5-year outlook, more than half of the economists say they expect the potential growth of the economy to be between 2 and 2.5% in that time.

But enough of what the experts say, millions of ordinary Americans have been hit hard by the recession, and we want to know if things are getting any better from where you sit.

Here’s my question to you: Do you see any signs in your day-to-day life that the economy is turning around?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Economy
May 27th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

GOP dare to vote against 1st Hispanic woman nominated to Supreme Court?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Republicans are in yet another tough spot – this one when it comes to the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States. Chalk up another brilliant bit of political strategy to our new president.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic U.S. Supreme Court justice if confirmed.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic U.S. Supreme Court justice if confirmed.

President Obama's nominee would be the first Hispanic justice - and only the third woman justice - in the history of the nation's highest court.

Conservative critics are branding her as a liberal activist judge, and are pointing to her past comments. In 2001, Sotomayor said, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

Rush Limbaugh calls Sotomayor a "reverse racist" and "an affirmative action case extraordinaire” who puts down white men in favor of Latina women.

But the White House is defending the judge's comments, saying taken in context, what she says is "very much common sense in terms of different experiences, different people.”

Another comment getting attention came in 2005 when Sotomayor said, "a court of appeals is where policy is made.”

Republican senators say she will need to prove her commitment to impartiality, but RNC Chairman Michael Steele warns that if his party hopes to include more Hispanics, they have to be careful about how they approach Sotomayor.

The bottom line here is barring some unforeseen scandal, Sotomayor's confirmation will likely sail through the Senate with Republicans afraid to challenge it for fear of alienating Hispanic voters.

Here’s my question to you: Will Republicans dare to vote against the first Hispanic woman nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor
May 26th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Who would Republicans be better off listening to?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Republicans making the most noise seem to be attracting the fewest followers. According to a CNN opinion research corporation poll 70% of Americans favor former Secretary of State Colin Powell while 30% favor right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Let's factor in a previous CNN poll which found 37% of Americans favoring former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has had no loss for words lately. After being virtually silent for eight years he can't, or won't stop talking.

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If you narrow it down further and look at the responses of only Republicans, 66% favor Cheney, 64% favor Powell and 62% favor Limbaugh.

At a time when the GOP is trying to rid itself of the legacy of the Bush administration, two former government leaders and a talk show host are the ones making headlines, and two out of three for the wrong reasons.

These three have been butting heads lately. Powell has said Republicans need to stop listening to Limbaugh while Cheney and Limbaugh have proclaimed that Powell is no longer a Republican, which Powell has denied.

Here’s my question to you: Who would Republicans be better off listening to Colin Powell, Rush Limbaugh, or Dick Cheney?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Colin Powell • Dick Cheney • Rush Limbaugh
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