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What would you like to hear Sarah Palin say?
August 31st, 2011
06:00 PM ET

What would you like to hear Sarah Palin say?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Turns out "drama" may be Sarah Palin's middle name.

A source close to the half-term, dropout governor of Alaska tells CNN that Palin will, in fact, appear at a tea party rally in Iowa on Saturday.

This comes after Palin's staff indicated earlier today that her appearance was being put quote "on hold."

They cited "issues with the planning," and said event organizers had been "dishonest" about the speakers.

Palin had been talking for months about attending and keynoting this event. Supporters from around the country have booked plane and bus tickets to attend.

But - it looks like Ms. Palin wasn't happy that former Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell was also supposed to speak at this event. Perhaps Palin thought the stage wasn't big enough for both of them.

Well guess who's no longer speaking at that tea party rally? Once palin threatened to pull out of the event, organizers removed O'Donnell from the program - for the second time in 48 hours.

Meanwhile - O'Donnell is another winner. she walked off the set of Piers Morgan's program because she didn't want to answer questions about public statements she's made which are in the book she was there to promote.

So now... O'Donnell is out and palin is in. Guess Sarah Palin got her way.

The whole thing is pretty puzzling... and petty. This tea party event has been highly anticipated since palin is expected to make a decision about a 2012 run by the end of September.

It's all so high school.

Here’s my question to you: What would you like to hear Sarah Palin say?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Sarah Palin
Why is Rick Perry suddenly the darling of the Republican field?
August 31st, 2011
04:16 PM ET

Why is Rick Perry suddenly the darling of the Republican field?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Republican Party has apparently found itself a new messiah in Rick Perry.

The conservative Christian governor of Texas has come out of nowhere and has already lapped the Republican field for President.

In the two short weeks since he's entered the race, Perry has shot to the top of the polls and leads his nearest competitor by double digits.

The latest CNN/ORC International Poll shows 27% of Republicans supporting him, followed by Mitt Romney at 14%, Sarah Palin – who's not a candidate – at 10%, and Michele Bachmann and Rudy Giuliani – also not a candidate – at 9%. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul come in at 6%.

Perry's supporters tend to be older, white and rich, and his strongest backing comes from tea party supporters. He holds a whopping 23-point lead over Michele Bachmann among tea party members in one CNN poll.

It's an astonishing impact in so short a time, especially when Perry has managed to jump to the top of the pack without laying out a single plan or idea for solving America's problems.

Instead, Perry has spent the past two weeks making several dumb comments – while, in the proud tradition of President George W. Bush, pretending he's a cowboy.

Meanwhile, these poll numbers must have Romney's people tearing their hair out. Romney supporters are urging him to kick up his campaign a notch before it's too late. Which is likely why Romney has changed his schedule this weekend so he can attend two separate tea party events in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

And, as Politico reports, "Perry panic" has also fired up the left... something even President Obama has been unable to do recently.

Liberals are terrified at the thought of a President Perry when it comes to his stance on issues like women's rights, gun control, the death penalty and the separation of church and state.

Here’s my question to you: Why is Rick Perry suddenly the darling of the Republican field?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

Should students be paid to attend school?
August 25th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Should students be paid to attend school?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The city of Camden, New Jersey, reportedly will pay high school students $100 each not to skip school.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the move is part of an effort to end truancy. It will focus on conflict-resolution and anger-management workshops during the first month of school, the paper says.

The program - called I Can End Truancy or ICE-T for short - is being funded by a grant from New Jersey's Department of Criminal Justice. The money needs to be used by September 30, or Camden won't have a shot at getting the grant next year, according to the Inquirer.

Sixty-six participating students will be paid $100 each on September 30 if they attend most of the anti-truancy sessions and school days, the newspaper says.

The students and their parents have to sign a pledge saying the youths won't skip classes later in the year. Officials will track the students’ attendance.

Absences will be assessed case by case because many of the young people in Camden face "extraordinary things," one official told the Inquirer. For example, a ninth-grader in the program can't read, and several students go hungry at home, that official said.

Not everyone thinks paying kids to attend school is a good idea.

One former school board member told the paper the plan was "outrageous." He says it sends the wrong message to students and that schools need fundamental changes to keep young people interested.

Supporters point out that other cities have used similar programs.

Camden's mayor hopes to continue the anti-truancy program with other grants so more troubled students can participate, the newspaper says.

Here’s my question to you: Should students be paid to attend school?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Education
100 CEOs pledge no political donations
August 25th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

100 CEOs pledge no political donations

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Maybe Washington will finally listen... now that some in corporate America are taking aim at their bank accounts.

This has the potential to get interesting.

More than 100 CEOs have signed a pledge to stop all political campaign contributions until lawmakers stop the gridlock. That could be a while.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is leading the movement. He says it seems like lawmakers are only interested in re-election... he's right about that... and that the lifeblood of re-election is fund-raising.

In just a week - Schultz has gotten more than 100 business leaders on board... including the CEOs of AOL, Whole Foods, Intuit, Zipcar, J. Crew... and billionaire investor Pete Peterson.

Schultz says his initiative has "triggered a national dialogue and a groundswell of support." He hopes ordinary Americans join in too.

The pledge has leaders agreeing to stop campaign contributions until lawmakers strike a "bipartisan, balanced long-term debt deal that addresses both entitlements and revenues."

The CEOs are also agreeing to look for ways to speed up job growth.

It's unclear how much impact Schultz's pledge will have but it's worth pointing out that a pretty small number of Americans make the bulk of political donations in this country.

Less than one half of one percent of Americans give more than $200 to candidates and political parties and those donations make up 65% of all contributions.

Here’s my question to you: More than 100 CEOs have signed a pledge to not make political donations. How will it affect Washington?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2012 Election • Government • Washington
What is the supercommittee waiting for?
August 24th, 2011
12:58 PM ET

What is the supercommittee waiting for?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The so-called Congressional super committee has a gigantic task ahead: they need to cut $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit in the next decade.

Which means these 12 lawmakers will have to address the politically sensitive issues of entitlement programs and tax increases – all coming up on an election year.

So far, the super committee has done... wait for it... nothing. In fact nobody even knows where they are.

Politico reports these dedicated public servants are enjoying the August Congressional recess along with the rest of Congress and don't plan to even convene until after Labor Day.

Even though their deadline to come up with these cuts is Thanksgiving.

Several of the members tell Politico they're ready to get to work sooner … but don't hold your breath.

One aide says that one of the co-chairs has been reaching out to every member of the committee - but so far those conversations are more introductory than substantive. And no work on cutting the deficit or raising taxes has been done. Nothing.

Critics are putting a lot of pressure on this committee to make sure its meetings are open to the public and transparent.

One committee member says he's "confident we will have public hearings." Really…the same kind we had with the health care reform bill? All done behind closed doors and rushed onto the floor for a vote before anyone had even read it? The law doesn't require the meetings to be open to the public and earlier this year other debt ceiling negotiations were held behind closed doors.

It's your money, but your government would rather you not know what's being done with it.

Here’s my question to you: What is the supercommittee waiting for?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Congress • Deficit
U.S. allergic to brains in presidential politics?
August 24th, 2011
12:53 PM ET

U.S. allergic to brains in presidential politics?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In an election where the Republican candidate actually stands a chance against a weakened incumbent president, so far, a couple of intellectual lightweights are stealing the show.

Since Michele Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll and Rick Perry entered the race, these two have been sucking up most of the media's attention for saying stupid things: Like Bachmann's claim that as president she would bring gasoline down to $2 a gallon, or Perry's highly inappropriate shot at Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke - saying his actions could be "treasonous."

Meanwhile, some Republicans, including Karl Rove, suggest that the former half-term dropout governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, will join the race as well. Swell.

Palin's people are pushing back against the speculation, saying that anyone who claims to know about her plans is misleading the American people. But Palin has certainly been acting like a candidate, what with that visit to Iowa during the straw poll and an Iowa-themed political video ahead of her Labor Day speech in Iowa.

If Palin runs, we'll have another Mensa candidate to join Bachmann and Perry. There's no doubt these three would consume the lion's share of the media coverage.

At the other end of the intellectual spectrum, there's Ron Paul, who placed a close second in the Iowa straw poll. He continues to talk sense - whether or not enough people are listening. And there's Newt Gingrich - love him or hate him, he's a very smart guy.

There's also Jon Huntsman, who says candidates like Bachmann and Perry are too far to the right and have "zero substance."

He may be right, but I venture to say none of those three has a prayer against Curly, Moe and Larry.

And that's a sad commentary on the state of our politics.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to presidential politics, why does America seem allergic to brains?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2012 Election
After Gadhafi, what’s next for Libya?
August 23rd, 2011
01:02 PM ET

After Gadhafi, what’s next for Libya?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In Libya, as in many parts of the Middle East, getting rid of the dictator is only the first step.

We're talking about people, for the most part, who have lived under oppression for generations and have no idea what freedom is about.

Now that governing will be in their hands, it's a good bet they'll make some mistakes along the way. And, change is not going to happen overnight.

You don't have to look too far for examples.

More than 8 years after Saddam Hussein was toppled, Iraq is still trying to figure out what it wants to be.

In Afghanistan, 10 years after the U.S. went in to knock out the Taliban, the country is pretty much the same disorganized, poverty-stricken collection of tribes that it's always been.

You can probably make money predicting 1,000 years from now it will still be that way... and Hamid Karzai and Barack Obama are not going to change that a whole lot.

Egypt without Mubarak is very much a question mark. Love him or hate him, Hosni Mubarak was a friend of the United States for a very long time and managed to keep the Camp David accords in place.

Since his ouster, the peace between Israel and Egypt has become more fragile.

In Tunisia, the social and economic problems that helped bring about that revolution are still weighing heavily on the interim government.

And now, Libya also finds itself on the threshold of a whole new way of life. In some ways, it's not unlike an inmate being released after serving a long prison sentence.

The world has changed and life without the structure behind the prison walls is frightening and challenging and a lot of them don't make it.

Here’s my question to you: After Gadhafi, what’s next for Libya?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm 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: Libya
Tea Party effect on 2012 elections?
August 23rd, 2011
01:01 PM ET

Tea Party effect on 2012 elections?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The national debt is increasing by an astounding $3 million a minute; $3 million. Meanwhile, President Obama and Congress are on vacation.

When the president took office in January 2009, the national debt was $10.6 trillion. Less than three years later, it's $14.6 trillion.

Obama has presided over the fastest, largest increase in the national debt in our country's history, something to be truly proud of.

Under President George W. Bush, the national debt increased by $4.9 trillion, but it took eight years to increase that much.

Obama has the distinction of putting us an additional $4 trillion in the hole in less than three years. And he's still talking about wanting to spend more. It's insane. These rates of borrowing are unsustainable. It is far and away the biggest problem we may have ever been faced with. Eventually, our country's survival will be at stake.

And whether anyone likes it or not, the tea party seems to be the only group that gets it. The group became a force during the midterm elections because of the growing national debt and the refusal of Washington to do anything about it.

In fact, the recent debt ceiling standoff was driven by a group of only 60 tea party members in the House of Representatives.

You can bet that the tea party will continue to ring the alarm bells as we head into the 2012 elections - and it should.

Because just remember this: In the time it would take you to listen to this Cafferty File segment - a minute and a half or so - our national debt increased by more than $5 million.

Here’s my question to you: What effect will the tea party have on the 2012 elections?

Tune in to “The Situation Room” at 5 p.m. to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.

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


Filed under: 2012 Election • Tea Party
U.S. troops may stay in Afghanistan until 2024. What's the point?
August 22nd, 2011
02:04 PM ET

U.S. troops may stay in Afghanistan until 2024. What's the point?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

U.S. troops may stay in Afghanistan until 2024. That's 10 years later than when the U.S. has said it would hand over security to Kabul.

But the British newspaper "The Daily Telegraph" reports that the two governments are close to signing a deal that would allow thousands of U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan for the long haul.

What for?

The reason we went into Afghanistan – Osama bin laden – is dead. The U.S. economy is collapsing under a mountain of debt. We are either unable and/or unwilling to fix our own financial problems.

So what exactly is the point of dumping billions of additional dollars, not to mention human treasure, into Afghanistan?

According to The Daily Telegraph, this agreement would allow both military trainers and U.S. special forces and air power to remain in Afghanistan until at least 2024. Top officials for both governments reportedly say they want to sign this pact before December.

No surprise that Afghanistan's neighbors – like Iran and Pakistan – are none too happy about the prospect of American troops staying for at least another decade.

It's also likely the Taliban would reject such a deal. They've said all foreign troops must leave Afghanistan before they'll negotiate with Hamid Karzai's government.

Meanwhile, U.S. troops have already begun withdrawing from Afghanistan to meet the 2014 deadline. Earlier this summer – President Obama announced that the 33,000 additional "surge" forces would be home by next fall... and the 2012 election. Back then, Mr. Obama said that it's time to "focus on nation building here at home."

Once the surge forces withdraw from Afghanistan, that would leave about 70,000 U.S. troops.

Here’s my question to you: U.S. troops may stay in Afghanistan until 2024. What's the point?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm 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: Afghanistan
What should happen to Libya’s Gadhafi if captured?
August 22nd, 2011
02:01 PM ET

What should happen to Libya’s Gadhafi if captured?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Another day, another Middle East dictator on the verge of falling. Except no one can find him.

Libyan rebels have control of most of the capital city of Tripoli and they say they have three of Moammar Gadhafi's sons in custody.

But the main prize will be Col. Gadhafi, and it's unclear where exactly he is.

Some believe Gadhafi is hiding in Tripoli, while others think he's fled to a neighboring country like Chad or Algeria. The Pentagon says it believes Gadhafi is still in Libya.

If Gadhafi is captured alive – and that's a big if – the question will be what happens to the man who ruled Libya with an iron fist for more than four decades.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague has warrants for the arrests of Gadhafi and one of his sons, along with his brother-in-law, who also happens to be the head of military intelligence.

But it's yet to be seen if the Libyans will want to hand Gadhafi over to the International Criminal Court or administer their own brand of justice. My money is on the latter.

Look at Egypt: Former President Hosni Mubarak is standing trial for the crimes committed against his own citizens. It’s unusual for an Arab leader to be called to account by his own people.

There are surely millions of Libyans who would like to see Gadhafi brought to justice. Think Saddam Hussein. Since taking power in a 1969 coup, Gadhafi has destroyed any and all opposition, even sending hit squads to shoot down Libyans in exile. He called them "stray dogs."

Gadhafi has also been tied to some of the most notorious terrorist atrocities worldwide before the 9-11 attacks, including the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

Here’s my question to you: What should happen to Libya's Moammar Gadhafi if he's captured?

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: Libya
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