.
September 22nd, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Congressman who called Obama a liar has since raised $2 million?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Congressman Joe Wilson has raised over $2 million since he called President Obama a liar. It hasn't even been two weeks since the Republican from South Carolina carried on like a child on the floor of the House during the president's health care speech before a joint session of Congress.

Rep. Joe Wilson shouts, "You lie!" after President Obama denies the health plan would cover illegal immigrants.

In fact, Wilson's outburst has been a money-maker for both parties. Wilson and his Democratic opponent in next year's election, Rob Miller, each raised more than $1.5 million in the week following Wilson's stunt.

Initially, Wilson was quick to apologize to the president for his behavior; but since then he's become more defiant. In videos on his campaign web site, Wilson says he's "under attack by liberals" and vows not to be "muzzled."

The House voted last week to formally reprimand Wilson, but that hasn't stopped the congressman from raking in the big bucks from all around the country. In fact, he's become somewhat of a hero to conservative activists - being invited to speak in other states.

But there's a darker side to all this... Some people, including former President Jimmy Carter, say Wilson's actions were racially motivated. Wilson insists that's not the case, although critics point to his past actions - like a 1999 vote against removing the confederate flag from South Carolina's Capitol dome.

Here’s my question to you: What does it say when the congressman who called the president a liar before a joint session of Congress has since raised $2 million?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

September 22nd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

More important for U.S. president to be liked or feared outside the country?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama may not be leaving the country this week - but it's likely his global support will be put to the test during the meetings of the U.N. here in New York and the G-20 in Pittsburgh.

As Mr. Obama meets with world leaders and addresses issues like climate change, the global economy and the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East - there's no question that this president is better liked overseas than his predecessor, George W. Bush.

A recent Pew survey finds significant support for President Obama still throughout Africa, Europe and Latin America. Attitudes toward the U.S. are also more favorable in some mostly Muslim countries.

The survey shows America's image has improved markedly in most parts of the world, reflecting global confidence in Barack Obama. In a lot of places - opinions of the U.S. are as high as they were before Bush took office.

But the question may be: Does it really matter? What's changed on the international stage as a result of President Obama's increase in popularity? The answer is - Not a whole lot...

North Korea, Iran, Russia, China, Afghanistan and Iraq all still present the same challenges to this country as they did before Mr. Obama won the election.

And - just because other countries may like our president - it doesn't always mean they're going to support his foreign policy decisions.

And the arrest of suspects in a terror plot this past week inside the U.S. indicates the terrorists haven't suddenly decided to lay down their arms and become our friends.

It's nice to be liked, but being president of the United States isn't necessarily about winning a popularity contest overseas.

Here’s my question to you: Is it more important for an American president to be liked or feared outside the country?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

September 21st, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Should gov't bail out newspaper industry?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama is open to the idea of bailouts for the struggling newspaper industry.

The president says although he hasn't seen detailed proposals, he'd be happy to look at bills before Congress meant to aid newspapers. One bill in the Senate, known as the Newspaper Revitalization Act, would give tax breaks to newspapers if they were to restructure as nonprofit businesses.

In an interview with the editors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Toledo Blade - The president calls himself a "big newspaper junkie," and says that good journalism is "critical to the health of our democracy."

He talks about the challenge of maintaining journalistic integrity and fact-based reporting in the light of a changing news landscape. Mr. Obama says he's concerned about the trend toward more blogs that have a lot of opinions but not much fact-checking.

And there's no question that newspapers are a dying breed... Thousands of journalists have been laid off and several newspapers have been closed in the last few years. The industry is also reeling from the economic downturn; trying to find a way to hold onto readers while newspapers lose advertising revenue to the Internet.

But the government propping up the newspaper industry could be a very slippery slope, as it could very easily put the press "in bed" with the very people they are charged with protecting us from - the government.

Here’s my question to you: Should the government bail out the newspaper industry?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: News Media
September 21st, 2009
05:00 PM ET

News media responsible for outbreaks of rude behavior in U.S.?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Ask the president and he'll tell you it's the news media's fault that the country has descended into a screeching, yelling, nasty batch of rudeness and lack of manners.

Serena Williams argues a call by the line judge which led to her disqualification during the Women's Singles Semifinal match of the U.S. Open.

President Obama appeared on five Sunday morning talk shows - which is a lot even by this visible president's standards. The idea was for Mr. Obama to continue selling his health care plan to the American people, which by the way, some Republicans now say is dead.

But during several of these interviews - although President Obama insisted he wasn't doing media-bashing - he seemed to do media bashing.

Right here on CNN, the president called out the three cable news networks, and said the easiest way to get on any of them is to "say something rude and outrageous." He said if people are polite and sensible and don't exaggerate about their opponent, it's harder to get noticed by the press.

President Obama said that instead he'd like to see "all of us reward decency and civility in our political discourse."

The president went on to say news organizations can't get enough of the conflict, calling it "catnip to the media." He says in the 24-hour-news cycle, the extreme elements on both sides get the most attention. And he's right.

Just last week in the Cafferty File, we reported on celebrities from Kanye West to Serena Williams to Congressman Joe Wilson behaving badly; and about what their uncivilized behavior says about the rest of society.

Here’s my question to you: Are the news media responsible for the recent outbreak of rude behavior across America?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: News Media • U.S. Global Image • United States
September 21st, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Commanders: Failure in Afghanistan without more troops

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Military commanders on the ground in Afghanistan are about to force President Obama to do something he doesn't want to do - make a decision. The day of reckoning has been coming for a while now - as the U.S. death toll continues to rise, the Taliban strengthen their hold on ever-increasing parts of the country, and the effectiveness of the Karzai government when it comes to troops and security remains very much in doubt.

History suggests Afghanistan is a tough nut to crack. And to think you can do it on the cheap with limited budgets and a limited number of troops is just plain ludicrous.

In effect - the White House is being told by the people fighting the war: either come up with a strategy that has a chance of working and commit enough troops to make it happen - or resign yourself to the same failure that all foreign invaders of Afghanistan have ultimately come face-to-face with.

It's time for the administration to stop equivocating. First we heard a decision on troops is "weeks and weeks" away, then we were told there were no plans for additional troops for Afghanistan.

But the people fighting the war say without them - there are no plans for victory either.

Since World War II - we have failed to achieve victory in Korea, in Vietnam, in Iraq... And the polls indicate the American people are not eager to commit the resources that might be necessary to win this one either.

Here’s my question to you: What should President Obama do when commanders are saying the mission in Afghanistan will fail without more troops?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • Troop Withdrawals • U.S. Army
September 17th, 2009
05:41 PM ET

Are you as happy with your job as you were a year ago?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Nearly seven million jobs have been lost since this recession started - but it turns out those Americans out of work aren't the only ones hurting. CNNMoney.com reports that many people still lucky enough to have jobs are unhappy and unmotivated.

For one thing - raises, bonuses and other incentive programs have all but disappeared in a lot of places. There have been cutbacks in things like health insurance and retirement plans. And in many places, fewer employees are left doing more work. In many cases, for less money.

One recent survey shows 40-percent of employees at companies with layoffs say productivity has taken a hit. Of those, two-thirds say morale is hurting and people just aren't as motivated anymore.

Some employers say there's more "slacking off" lately, with employees spending more time surfing the internet or talking on their cell phones than they did when the economy was stronger.

Worker morale is a big part of running a successful business. If a company gets a reputation for being a bad place to work, they then have problems attracting employees once the economy turns around. As a result, they may not be ready to meet increased demand when things improve.

One expert says that employee morale is the "leading predictor of future growth and profitability." She predicts that at some point employers will have to start giving more incentives to their workers.

Here’s my question to you: Are you as happy with your job as you were a year ago?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Happiness
September 17th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

DHS secretly approves $15 million border checkpoint that 3 people cross a day?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Homeland Security ought to be embarrassed by the way its spending stimulus money... with the administration even coming under fire from fellow Democrats on this one.

Turns out they're not following their own internal priority lists when deciding which border checkpoints get money for renovations. Instead - they're using a secretive process potentially influenced by politics. Just like President Obama promised during the campaign, right?

This translates to spending millions of dollars at tiny checkpoints... and skipping over busier, high-priority areas. One example is a $15-million dollar project in Whitetail, Montana where only 3 people cross a day.

This is insane. President Obama continues to promise transparency when it comes to the spending of economic stimulus dollars, but this is far from the openness the American people were promised.

Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota says the department is treating the stimulus plan like a "bottomless pit" of taxpayer money, and that with the country deep in debt "this is not a smart investment."

Now, of course, since this all came out, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is promising not to start any new border construction projects, and review how the projects were chosen. She says once the review is done, she'll make "all information, not involving national security concerns, public."

But it's kind of late for that. Even if she releases some information, it probably won't change much, since the department has already signed many construction contracts - like the $15-million dollar one in Montana. She should be fired.

Here’s my question to you: What does it say about transparency when Homeland Security has secretly approved $15 million for a border checkpoint where only three people cross a day?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.


Filed under: Immigration
September 17th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Should people be forced to buy health insurance?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

All Americans would be required to buy health insurance - as part of the proposal making its way out of the Senate Finance Committee. Those who don't could face steep fines - up to $3,8000 annually per family or $950 for an individual. People who can't afford their premiums wouldn't be fined.

This is all part of the plan that some see as the best hope for getting some kind of reform through Congress, but the problem is when committee Chairman Max Baucus introduced this thing yesterday, he didn't seem to have much support.

Republicans aren't backing it - saying the plan is still too expensive and intrusive.

And a lot of Democrats are unhappy with the proposal too... some are disappointed it doesn't include a public option, others say it doesn't go far enough to make health insurance affordable for the poor.

Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller is concerned a tax on expensive insurance plans would wind up hurting middle-class workers - especially union members such as coal miners in his state.

And - even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Baucus' proposal isn't good enough for his home state of Nevada. Reid worries his state won't be able to increase Medicaid spending like the bill requires.

Meanwhile a new Gallup poll shows 60-percent of Americans say they don't think the president's health care plan will accomplish what he wants - covering all Americans without raising taxes or lowering the quality of care.

Here’s my question to you: Should people be forced to buy health insurance?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Health care
September 16th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Does it surprise you if fmr Pres. Bush talked trash about politicians?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Former President George W. Bush wasn't short of opinions when it came to other politicians' shortcomings, according to a new book by a former Bush speechwriter titled "Speech-less: Tales of a White House Survivor."

Matt Latimer writes that Bush always believed Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic presidential nominee, and said of her: "Wait till her fat keister is sitting at this desk." Except he didn't use the word "keister."

After one of then-Senator Obama's speeches criticizing the Bush administration, the former president said of Obama, "This cat isn't remotely qualified," adding "this guy has no clue."

As for the now-Vice President Joe Biden, Bush said quote "If B.S. was currency, Biden would be a billionaire."

And the former president didn't spare his fellow Republicans either. Latimer writes Bush wasn't too impressed with Republican nominee John McCain.

When Bush was told McCain couldn't get enough people to show up at a planned joint appearance in Phoenix - McCain's home state - Bush said: "He couldn't get 500 people? I could get that many people to turn out in Crawford."

As for McCain's VP pick, Sarah Palin, Bush said: "I'm trying to remember if I've met her before. I'm sure I must have. What is she, the governor of Guam?"

Bush also told Latimer at one time: "I redefined the Republican Party." That's probably true to some extent and may explain why McCain lost and the Democrats now control both houses of Congress.

Here’s my question to you: Does it surprise you if former President Bush talked trash about other politicians?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

September 16th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Possible to eliminate hundreds of billions of $ in waste and fraud from Medicare?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The long-awaited health care proposal from the Senate Finance committee is finally out; and in it, the Democrats insist the $856 billion bill would not add to the federal deficit.

That's a claim we've been hearing a lot these days... with President Obama promising he won't sign a bill that adds "one dime" to the deficit.

But a lot of people have a hard time believing that, especially since there haven't been many specifics on how the country will pay for this nearly $900 billion plan over the next 10 years.

One potential source of revenue the president mentions is that the bill would get rid of "hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud" in the Medicare program. Really? Details, please...

If there's really so much to be saved from Medicare - why wait? Why not start now? Here's how a recent editorial in the Washington Post described it:

"When politicians start talking about paying for programs by cutting 'waste and abuse,' you should get nervous. When they don't provide specifics - and when the amounts under discussion are in the hundreds of billions of dollars - you should get even more nervous."

The president still needs to give specifics about taxes and spending cuts, and where the money will come to pay for this thing beyond 10 years.

Meanwhile congressional Democrats are admitting that they're having a hard time meeting the "restrictions" the president laid out - including his limiting the price tag to $900 billion over 10 years.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to paying for health care reform, do you think it's possible to "eliminate hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud" from Medicare?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Health care
« older posts
newer posts »