August 27th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

End of Camelot mean end of Kennedys' influence?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/08/27/kennedy.camelot/art.1948.jfk.jpg caption=" Ted Kennedy, far right, with brothers Bobby, center, and Jack in 1948."]FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

(CNN) - Despite the fact that the second generation of Kennedys has so far failed to distinguish themselves to the degree that Jack, Robert and Ted did – a bunch of them have still managed to find their way into elected office.

In addition to finding a replacement for Ted Kennedy in the Senate, it's likely to become a bit of a parlor game trying to figure out who will eventually emerge as the political leader of the remainder of the Kennedy family.

Some of the possibilities include the late senator's sons Edward Kennedy Jr. and Congressman Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, who have been named as possible replacements for his seat, along with his nephew, former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy the second.

The Daily Beast reports that when Caroline Kennedy failed to launch a bid for Hillary Clinton's old Senate seat, many thought that meant the end of the Kennedy dynasty, but they point out there are several younger Kennedys who might just be waiting to step in including:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a lawyer and environmentalist.
Kerry Kennedy, who has led human-rights delegations to dozens of countries.
Christopher Kennedy, who's avoided politics up until now, but was seen as a possible replacement for Barack Obama's Senate seat.
-and Maria Shriver, wife to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has been a very involved First Lady and is considered one of her husband's closest advisers.

Here’s my question to you: Will the end of Camelot mean the end of the Kennedys' influence in America?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Kennedy family • Ted Kennedy
August 27th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Pentagon profiling U.S. reporters?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/27/art.afghanistan0827.gi.jpg caption="U.S. soldiers from the 1st Platoon Alpha 3-71 Cavalry and Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers walk up a hill to a school during a mission in the Baraki Barak district of Logar Province, Afghanistan on August 22."]FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

(CNN) - The Pentagon is profiling reporters covering the war in Afghanistan.

The newspaper "Stars and Stripes" reports that despite denials from the Pentagon, they are in fact rating the work of reporters as either "positive", "neutral" or "negative". They're contracting this work out to a private p.r. outfit called The Rendon Group, which has come under fire before for its work in the Iraq war.

Profiles of various reporters suggest these ratings are meant to help manipulate the kinds of stories that reporters come up with while they're embedded with troops. For example, one newspaper reporter is rated as "neutral to positive" in his coverage. The report suggests any negative stories he writes "could possibly be neutralized" by feeding him quotes from military brass.

Earlier this week, the Pentagon denied a story that appeared in "Stars and Stripes” saying "There is no policy that stipulates in any way that embedding should be based in any way on a person's work". Both the Defense Department and Rendon even denied a rating system exists.

Meanwhile, this latest revelation comes as polls show the war in Afghanistan is becoming less popular among the American people. Journalism groups and media ethicists are criticizing the Pentagon's efforts to rate and manipulate reporters. One military official says "it shows utter contempt for the Constitution." And contracting the work out to a civilian firm is even more odious.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that the Pentagon is profiling U.S. reporters?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5 p.m. 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: Pentagon
August 27th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Can Sen. Kennedy's death bring bipartisanship to health care?


Can Sen. Kennedy’s death bring bipartisanship to the health care debate? (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

- Democrats are hoping that Senator Ted Kennedy's death will help breathe new life into health care reform.

Some believe the loss of Kennedy will bring a new spirit of bipartisanship to the issue, and at the very least change the tone of the debate, which has become downright nasty. Already, one group against reform has suspended its advertising out of respect for Kennedy.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Kennedy's "dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration." Democrats plan to name the forthcoming legislation after the late senator.

But not everyone is so sure Kennedy's death will make any difference on the health care debate. One top Republican tells the New York Times the fight was pretty much suspended with the president on vacation and that it would likely "pick up right where we left off in a week or two."

In fact, several Republicans say they think Congress would be closer to reaching a deal if Kennedy had been healthy and involved in crafting the legislation – since he had the ability to cross the aisle and compromise.

And, it's not just Republicans who will need to start cooperating here. Some say the real question will be whether Kennedy's passing prompts Democrats who have been wavering on reform to get on board.

Here’s my question to you: Can Senator Kennedy's death revive the spirit of bipartisanship when it comes to health care reform?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health care • Ted Kennedy