.
June 22nd, 2011
05:36 PM ET

Can a Mormon be elected President of the United States?

ALT TEXT

(L to R) Obama, Kennedy, Romney, Huntsman. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A lot of people didn't think Barack Obama could win the White House in 2008, because he's black. But he did. In 1960, a lot of people didn't think John F. Kennedy could be elected president, because he was Roman Catholic. But he was.

According to the Pew Research Center, voters' attitudes toward candidates who are black, female, Catholic or Jewish have changed. Americans have warmed up to the idea of voting for someone who might be different from previous presidents or different from themselves.

But that doesn't necessarily hold true for all minority groups. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the current Republican front-runner, and a new entrant to the race, former Utah Gov. and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, are Mormons, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It's a church many Christians, particularly evangelicals, are skeptical of. Most people don't know much more about it beyond the church's former ties with polygamy. But whatever people know or don't know about Mormons, they aren't necessarily trustful of them. According to a Gallup poll, 22 percent of Americans say they would not vote for a Mormon for president, even if that candidate represented the voter's own party.

Huntsman is reportedly the less religious of the two. He told Fortune magazine last year, "I can't say I'm overly religious. I get satisfaction from many different types of religions and philosophies."

Romney, on the other hand, is more active in his church. He was once a lay bishop of Massachusetts' temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He spoke openly about his religion during his 2008 run for the presidency, and critics feel that speech ultimately killed his chances.

Here’s my question to you: Can a Mormon be elected President of the United States?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2012 Election
June 22nd, 2011
05:00 PM ET

If President Obama's approval rating doesn't rise above 45 percent, can he be reelected?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

While America's fixating on numbers from President Obama in his speech tonight on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, like how many troops are coming home and by when, the president and his re-election team are probably stuck on a very different set of figures.

For example, 43 percent, the president's daily job approval rating according to Gallup. It's been moving down this week. And 49 percent, the percentage of Americans who disapprove of the job he is doing. They aren't very good numbers.

Here's another number that's probably going to keep the Obama reelection campaign awake at night: 30 percent. That's the very small percentage of Americans who say they are certain they would vote to re-elect President Obama come next November. And 36 percent, the percentage who say they definitely won't cast a vote for four more years of his presidency. These stats come from a new Bloomberg National Poll. Here's one more from the same poll, maybe the worst one of all: 66 percent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track.

It's a tight spot for President Obama to be in. So much of his sinking poll numbers has to do with the economy and the lack of real recovery we've seen during his term. But it also has to do with the four wars we are fighting and the nation's growing deficit too.

What it doesn't have much to do with is Obama's potential Republican opponents. No one in that lackluster field is really getting the voting population excited. And that might be the only thing that's keeping the president in the 2012 race at this point.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

June 21st, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Why is America becoming nastier?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When former Utah governor and U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman announced he is running for president earlier today, he promised a campaign of civility. Huntsman told the crowd, "I don't think you need to run down anyone's reputation to run for president."

We'll see how long that lasts.

According to a new survey on civility and behavior in America released exclusively to Politico,com, 85% of Americans think politics in this country has become increasingly uncivil. And nearly three-quarters think things will get nastier as we get deeper into the 2012 presidential race. That's probably a pretty good bet.

But it's not just politics where America's gotten nastier. Eight-six percent of Americans say they have been treated uncivilly recently - most commonly while driving or shopping. Sixty percent say they themselves have been rude to someone else.

Also in the survey, Americans were asked to rank 25 U.S. institutions from least civil to most civil. Political campaigns were the least civil, followed by pop culture, then the media, government and at No. 5, the music industry. But the sixth least civil institution? The American public. Seventy percent of those surveyed said the public wasn't civil.

And that says a lot about our society. If we can't treat each other nicely, how can we ever expect to get this country back on its feet?

Here’s my question to you: Why is America becoming nastier?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: United States
June 21st, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Why are there more U.S. troops on South Korea's border than on our own border?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The 1,200 National Guard troops deployed along the U.S. border with Mexico will stay in place until September, a Homeland Security spokesman said late last week. The troops were scheduled to leave June 30th. But a sheriff in southern Arizona calls the move "pandering" on the part of the Obama Administration. That number, he says, falls far short of what's needed to keep the country safe.

Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County in southern Arizona went on to compare the number of troops we have along the U.S. border with Mexico to the more than 28-thousand U.S. troops stationed along the South Korean border with North Korea. The 1,200 guardsmen aid a little more than 20-thousand border agents along the Mexico border, and it's just not enough. For Babeu, who has been named Sheriff of the Year by the National Sheriffs Association, illegal immigrants, drug smuggling, and human trafficking are commonplace in his county. He knows what's needed to protect the border and it's far more than the federal government has been willing to do.

The sheriff's statement comes at a time when Senator John McCain is under fire for some comments he made about immigration over the weekend. After touring the scene of the devastating wildfires in his state, McCain told reporters that there was "substantial evidence" that some of the fires were caused by illegal immigrants. McCain went on to say, "The answer to that part of the problem is to get a secure border."

Senator Jon Kyl and Congressmen Jeff Flake and Paul Gosar, also Republicans from Arizona, released a joint statement backing up what McCain said. But immigrants' rights groups have jumped all over McCain, accusing him of using illegal immigrants as scapegoats.

Here’s my question to you: Why are there more U.S. troops on South Korea's border than on our own border?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: United States
June 21st, 2011
01:00 PM ET
June 20th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Should Congress cut off funding for operations in Libya?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Questions continue over President Obama's decision to send U.S. forces to Libya. Whether or not he complied with the War Powers Resolution, or if he even needed to.

The president says he didn't.

Either way, lawmakers didn't have much say in the matter - and 90 days into the conflict, they still don't. But what they do have a say in is how much money can go toward a military operation like this one.

And House speaker John Boehner– who has said repeatedly that the president was in violation of the Vietnam era resolution - says the House could cut funding for U.S. military involvement in Libya when it takes up a defense appropriations bill later this week.

On the Sunday talk show circuit, two Republican Senators - Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona - both said they oppose cutting funding and warn that it could hurt NATO efforts in the region. Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates also said cutting off funding in the middle of a military operation is always a mistake.

Gates also said he thinks that this conflict will "end okay" but he could not make a prediction as to how long it would last or when Moammar Gadhafi would fall.

But for a number of lawmakers the eventual outcome as well as the decision to go into Libya are beside the point. Last week, a bipartisan group of 10 House members filed a federal lawsuit challenging Obama's decision to send U.S. forces to Libya.

This is far from over.

Here’s my question to you: Should Congress cut off funding for operations in Libya?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Congress • Libya
June 20th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Why would NBC edit out part of the Pledge of Allegiance before the U.S. Open?

ALT TEXT

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his U.S. Open victory. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A 22-year-old from Northern Ireland won the U.S. Open Sunday at Congressional Country Club outside Washington. It was a stunning performance. It's too bad the same can't be said about NBC, the network televising our national championship.

At the beginning of the telecast, NBC aired a patriotic montage featuring video clips of national monuments and soldiers raising an American flag, cut around a group of school-aged children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Only during the pledge, the phrases "under God" and "indivisible" were edited out, twice. The piece was supposed to play up the whole patriotism theme with the golf course hosting our national championship so close to our nation's capital and all. But a lot of people couldn't get past the missing lines. Who does this?

Angry viewers immediately took to Twitter bashing NBC and suggesting a boycott of the network. Others called into their NBC affiliates to complain. And before the broadcast ended, announcer Dan Hicks issued an on-air apology of sorts, saying the omission was not meant to upset anyone and that the network was sorry to those who were offended. It wasn't nearly enough.

Today, NBC went one step further, releasing a statement:

"We are aware of the distress this has caused many of our viewers and are taking the issue very seriously. Unfortunately, when producing the piece - which was intended to capitalize on the patriotism of having our national championship played in our nation's capital - a decision was made by a small group of people to edit portions of the Pledge of Allegiance. This was a bad decision."

The network also said if disciplinary action is taken, it will be handled internally and not be made public.

The original Pledge of Allegiance, of course, did not include the words, "Under God." They were added by Congress in the 1950s. As a result, they are as much a part of our salute to our flag as the rest of the words in the pledge. And it boggles the mind that a bunch of morons at NBC can take it upon themselves to decide which part to include and which part to omit. Those responsible ought to be fired on the spot.

Here’s my question to you: Why would NBC edit out part of the Pledge of Allegiance before the U.S. Open?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: News Media
June 16th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

What does it mean that the housing crisis is now worse than the Great Depression?

ALT TEXT

A long line of unemployed and homeless men wait in New York to get free dinner at the municipal lodging house during the Great Depression, circa 1930. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here's a sobering thought: A new report from Capital Economics describes the current housing market bust as, "larger and faster than the one during the Great Depression."

Since home prices peaked in 2006, prices have fallen an average of 33 percent. During the 1920s and '30s, home prices dropped 31%.

Analysts point out one of the reasons we're in worse shape today is that the boom that came before the dramatic downturn was unlike anything this country saw in the years leading up to the Great Depression. This time around millions more Americans had access to the housing market, and many of those people wound up buying homes they couldn't afford despite having bad credit, or putting little or nothing down.

Foreclosures were down last month, but that may say more about the banks than the people who can't pay for their homes. Banks have been having trouble selling the homes they've already repossessed, so there's little incentive for them to continue the pace of foreclosures.

Additional data out in the last few weeks show nationwide prices are at their lowest level since 2002. What's more, almost one-quarter of all homeowners are underwater, meaning they owe the bank more than their home is worth.

A recent CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll found that 48% of Americans believe another Great Depression is likely to occur in the next year. Sadly, for a lot of people, it already has. There is a bright spot in all of this. It's a great time to buy a home with rock bottom prices and mortgage rates near historic lows. The problem is so few of us can afford one these days.

Here's my question to you: What does it mean that the housing crisis is now worse than the Great Depression?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Economy
June 16th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Why is the Republican presidential field such a yawn?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Scintillating is not a word I would use to describe the current field of Republican candidates hoping to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012. Stultifying is more like it.

(L to R) Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Texas congressman Ron Paul, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

(L to R) Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Texas congressman Ron Paul, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

So far, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has emerged as the front-runner. But that may not last, and he's already lost this race once. The universal health care plan that passed in Massachusetts on his watch, which has been compared to "Obamacare," isn't helping him. Neither is the criticism that he has trouble talking to "real" Americans. Some say that being a practicing Mormon could hurt him, too.

But the other candidates aren't exactly dazzling GOP voters either.

There was buzz about U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's performance the other night at the CNN debate and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty seems to be campaigning his heart out, but so far neither is likely keeping Obama up at night. Rick Santorum is barely registering on voters' minds. Lack of experience is hurting former pizza CEO Herman Cain. And U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, who has a small and devoted following, likely will find out the third time is not a charm.

People don't know too much about Jon Huntsman, who is going to announce he's running next week. He was a very popular governor in Utah, but he was also the ambassador to China under Obama until he resigned earlier this year and he, too, is Mormon. Texas Gov. Rick Perry may throw his cowboy hat in the ring soon, too, and some say he could shake up the field. But so far, it's been a snooze.

Even voters from the candidates' own states aren't excited. According to a report on Politico.com, polling data show most of the current candidates have higher unfavorable ratings than favorable ratings in their own states. And some would not even be able to win their states in a general election. 'Nuf said.

Feet to the fire, come November 2012, most Republican voters will pull the lever for whichever candidate represents their party, no matter how dull or charismatic, but if independents and frustrated Democrats don't get excited about the candidate, Obama's a shoe-in for a second term.

Here’s my question to you: Why is the Republican presidential field such a yawn?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Uncategorized
June 15th, 2011
04:08 PM ET

How would you feel about the U.S. maintaining a military presence in Afghanistan for decades?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the calls for a quicker U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan get louder in Washington, an interesting story appeared in the British paper, The Guardian. The paper reports that U.S. and Afghan officials are in secret talks over a long-term security partnership between the two nations.

If this is the case, such a deal could put U.S. troops and other special forces and personnel in Afghanistan for decades. The Guardian reports these talks have been under way for more than a month. A U.S. official denies The Guardian report and said there are no plans for a permanent base in Afghanistan. We'll see.

The withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan is supposed to begin in July. And President Obama is planning to release his plan soon on how many of the more than 100,000 U.S troops in Afghanistan will come home as the withdrawal begins. More than two dozen senators sent a letter to the president today calling for a "sizable and sustained reduction" of military forces in Afghanistan.

The U.S. is involved in four wars right now. Even though the White House - in trying to clear the president of any wrongdoing under the war powers resolution - argues that the U.S. military action in Libya doesn't amount to full-blown "hostilities." But we're spending money on these operations, we're engaging in military action, and we're putting military lives at risk. And we're stretched pretty thin.

Here’s my question to you: How would you feel about the U.S. maintaining a military presence in Afghanistan for decades?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • Troop Withdrawals • U.S. Army
« older posts