June 23rd, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Should gov't have more power to regulate tobacco?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A majority of Americans disapprove of the new law that expands the government's power to regulate the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco. A Gallup Poll shows 52-percent of those surveyed - including most smokers - are opposed to the measure, while 46-percent support it.

Cigarette ads are visible at a Manhattan newsstand. Yesterday, Pres. Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

College graduates and Democrats are more likely to support it... while Republicans and those with a high school education or less are more likely to be against it.

President Obama signed the law yesterday, giving the Food and Drug Administration power to ban candy-flavored and fruit-flavored cigarettes - which are targeted at young people.

It also prohibits the tobacco companies from using terms like "low tar," "light" or "mild," requires larger warning labels on packages, restricts advertising, and requires companies to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes.

It's estimated than more than 400,000 people still die every year from tobacco-related illnesses. Health care costs related to tobacco top $100 billion annually.

Meanwhile... on a personal note, the president admitted in today's press conference that sometimes he's "fallen off the wagon" in his effort to quit smoking. Mr. Obama says he's "95-percent cured," but it's something he continually struggles with, like alcoholics do - which is why he believes the anti-smoking legislation is so important.

Here’s my question to you: Should the government have additional powers to regulate tobacco?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Government
June 23rd, 2009
05:00 PM ET

What message would Palin send if she does not run for reelection?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There's growing speculation in Alaska that Governor Sarah Palin won't run for reelection in 2010. Politico reports that top Republicans and Democrats are quietly lining up to run for the office - should Palin decide not to.

No one has filed the official paperwork yet; but many are taking the governor's silence as a sign that she'll opt out of a second term in order to get more involved in national politics.

One politician who is weighing a run put it this way: "If you're Palin, once you've flown first class, you don't go back to coach. She's been to the show and certainly seemed to like it there."

He suggests that barring some "unforeseen collapse on the national stage," Palin won't run again for governor.

Some experts expect the governor to wait as long as possible before announcing her plans - that way she can keep her options open and minimize her lame duck status as governor if she decides not to run again.

Although Palin's approval ratings have taken a hit since she ran with John McCain, she's still strong enough to scare off most challengers in her own party. One former staffer says if Palin files for reelection, the race is over.

A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 21-percent of Republicans would back Palin as the 2012 presidential nominee - putting her at the top of the pack.

Here’s my question to you: What message would Alaska Governor Sarah Palin send if she chooses not to run for reelection?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Sarah Palin
June 23rd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Is President Obama's 'honeymoon' over?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Barack Obama's honeymoon with the American public might be over.

Princeton professor Julian Zelizer writes in a piece on CNN.com that the president who once seemed invincible is now seen as potentially vulnerable, stating "This is when the sharks start to circle in American politics."

Zelizer points to the tensions between the left and center of the Democratic Party. For example, gay rights activists are disappointed with President Obama for not living up to promises they thought he made. Cracks in party unity will likely make it more difficult to get legislation like health care through Congress.

Then there's the deficit... Republicans have gained some political traction by seizing on the record spending and linking the president's policies to the government's red ink. There's also the wider question of the economy - now that things have stabilized, voters aren't as panicked; and Republicans are asking why the U.S. needs to spend stimulus money if the recession is almost over.

On the international front, the president is facing criticism over his response to crises like Iran and North Korea.

Nonetheless, even though some are taking issue with the president's policies, polls show the president himself remains very popular among Americans.

A CNN poll of polls shows Mr. Obama with a 60-percent approval rating. His average rating has held steady for the last two months and is higher than those of Presidents Bush or Clinton at a comparable time in office.

Here’s my question to you: Is President Barack Obama's "honeymoon" over?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: President Barack Obama