October 14th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

How will your children's lives compare to yours?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

So much for the American dream….
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A new poll shows that a majority of Americans are pessimistic about their children's future. More than half of those polled in the Bloomberg survey say they are "not confident" or only "somewhat confident" that their children will have a better life than they do.

This is a shocking statistic. For a very long time in this country - each generation has had the expectation that the next generation will have a better, easier, and more successful life than their own.

But the Great Recession may have brought all of this to a screeching halt.

One 65-year-old retiree from Massachusetts says of his three grown children, "I don't think they've got a chance," adding that he's "very angry at what's going on in this country."

Pluralities of people say they're not hopeful they'll have enough money in retirement, and expect they'll have to keep working to make up the difference. A whopping 85 percent say they've taken some steps to cut costs - from using coupons, to cutting a regular expenses like cable TV, telephone or internet service, to putting off a major purchase.

The outlook is bleak. A new survey of top economists has cut its growth forecasts for both this year and next.

They expect GDP to grow at a pace of 2.6 percent this year and next... that's down from the group's previous prediction of 3.2 percent.

They've also lowered their outlook for consumer spending - which makes up two-thirds of the economy - and expect this year's holiday sales to be "especially weak."

Here’s my question to you: How do you think your children's lives will compare to your own?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Children • Longevity
October 14th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Pelosi hurt the Democrats in midterms?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may wind up doing in her own party in the midterm elections.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/10/14/art.pelosi.jpg caption="Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)."]
Jonathan Allen writes for Politico on how Pelosi, even more so than President Obama, could be the heaviest drag on the Democrats' hopes of holding onto the House in November.

All around the country, Republicans are using Pelosi's image on billboards, in mailers and in video clips to encourage voters not to support the Democratic candidate.

In Florida, billboards show one Democrat as a marionette with Pelosi as the puppeteer; and the National Republican Congressional committee is airing anti-Pelosi ads in dozens of districts that show how often a Democratic lawmaker has voted with Pelosi.

Midterm elections are usually seen as a referendum on the president, but Allen writes that if the Democrats lose the House, it's as likely to be a rejection of Pelosi, one of the most unpopular figures in U.S. politics today.

One expert says the strategy of demonizing Pelosi didn't work for the Republicans in the past two elections, but this time around it just might. He says the "vitriol" against Pelosi is similar to what Democrats showed against Newt Gingrich.

And Democrats are feeling the pressure. Several of them have already said they will not vote for Pelosi as speaker in the next Congress, that is if their party manages to keep control.

Other Democrats insist the GOP is pouncing on Pelosi because she has been so successful passing legislation such as health care and Wall Street reform.

Here’s my question to you: How much might House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hurt the Democrats in the midterm elections?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Democratic Race • Democrats • Nancy Pelosi
October 13th, 2010
05:54 PM ET

What would you ask Delaware's Christine O'Donnell?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In a little over an hour, all eyes will be on Christine O'Donnell - the Tea Party-backed, Sarah Palin-backed Senate candidate from Delaware. She scored a major upset last month to win the Republican Party's nomination.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/10/13/art.odonnell.jpg caption="Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell."]

O'Donnell will face off tonight in a debate for the first time against her opponent, Democrat Chris Coons. Polls show Coons with a 19-point lead over O'Donnell. Only 35 percent of voters say O'Donnell is qualified to be a senator, compared to 64 percent for Coons.

And part of that is due to the fact that there are a lot of questions about O'Donnell's past and her lack of experience.

There are several lingering financial issues, like O'Donnell's former campaign manager accusing her of paying rent with campaign donations. She says there's "no truth to it."

  • O'Donnell has also dealt with the IRS on issues related to unpaid income taxes
  • Democrats and even Republicans, including Karl Rove, have attacked O'Donnell's qualifications.
  • And don't forget O'Donnell's controversial remarks about dabbling in witchcraft, sexuality and masturbation.

This debate has potential.

For the most part, O'Donnell has refused to talk to the national media since her win, thanks to advice from Sarah Palin.

So, it's reasonable to believe that there's a lot people would like to know about O'Donnell… in what has fast become one of the most-watched races in the country.

Here’s my question to you: What question would you ask Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Senate
October 13th, 2010
04:02 PM ET

Would you support N.J. Governor Christie for president?


Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is pictured at a campaign event for California Republican Party gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman last month. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

We're talking rare here - like monsoons in the Sahara Desert, one-eyed snakes, Blitzer beardless.

We're talking about a politician who gets elected by telling the voters one thing ... and then, when he gets into office, doing that exact same thing. This almost never happens.

And in the process, New Jersey's Republican Gov. Chris Christie is putting the lie to the traditional idea that political success must be accompanied by squandering the taxpayers' money on all manner of foolishness and extravagance.

In fact, this guy is now being talked about more and more as possible presidential material.

Christie was elected governor of New Jersey with marching orders to stop spending money. And lo and behold, that's what he's doing.

For example, just last week, he pulled the plug on the largest public transit project in the country, a commuter tunnel running under the Hudson River into Manhattan. Christie said New Jersey couldn't afford its share of the cost overruns. Imagine that.

Christie has also taken on the teachers' and public workers' unions and their expensive contracts. And he's dramatically slashed spending, including for education and aid to towns and cities.

In all, Christie closed a more than $2 billion budget deficit last year and an $11 billion budget deficit this year.

Of course, it's totally ruffling the feathers of the status quo, the "you scratch my back with the taxpayers' back scratcher" crowd, who is used to their politicians handing over the public's money in exchange for their support. And that's just a wonderful thing.

Imagine what a guy like this could do in Washington, where Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid can't even be bothered to get a budget passed, let alone exercise any fiscal restraint. The possibilities seem breathtaking.

Of course, it will be a little tough to convert to socialism if the government money well dries up. But then, that's the point, isn't it?

Here’s my question to you: Would you support New Jersey Governor Chris Christie if he ran for president?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Elections
October 12th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

What comes to mind when you hear phrase 'federal government'?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Our federal government has some serious image problems with the American people.
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A new poll shows that more than seven in 10 of those surveyed use a word or phrase that is clearly negative when asked to react to the federal government.

The USA Today/Gallup poll finds the most common descriptions of the term "federal government" include: "too big," "confused" and "corrupt."

And there are lots of other choice words the public has for our leaders, including: bloated, wasteful, broken, mess, complicated, terrible, dysfunctional, disappointing, pathetic, out of control and crooked. And those are just the ones we can say on television.

Overall, 72 percent of the responses about the federal government are negative. Only 10 percent are positive, and 18 percent give a neutral or mixed reaction. This poll includes men and women from all over the country - Democrat, Republican and Independent.

The overall negative opinions of the federal government are consistent with the poor ratings the government gets in Gallup's annual poll on the images of different industries.

In that poll, the government received a 58 percent negative rating, the second worst rating after the gas and oil industries.

Other sectors that got high negatives like the federal government include banking, health care, real estate and pharmaceuticals. Good company.

The dismal opinions of our federal government show yet again how sick the American people are of Washington and the way it operates. It also suggests that the public may be looking for a real change when they head into the voting booth three weeks from today.

Here’s my question to you: What comes to mind when you hear the phrase "federal government"?

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: Government
October 12th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

OK when Democrats run against Pres. Obama?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With the midterm elections only three weeks away, some Democrats are running scared - from their own president.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/10/12/art.chris.jpg caption="Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)"]
Take Rep. Bill Owens, who won a special House seat in a conservative upstate New York district last year. He's out with an ad declaring that he voted with "the Republican leader 63 percent of the time." A Democrat bragging about how he's voted with the Republicans.

And he's not the only one. Other vulnerable Democrats have been promoting their votes against some of President Obama's signature pieces of legislation, such as health care and the stimulus bill.

One Democrat's campaign ad goes so far as to show the candidate shooting a bullet through the cap-and-trade legislation. Another uses an ad to tout his support of former President George W. Bush's Medicare plan.

But the Democrats claim this is all good. The lawmaker in charge of keeping control of the House - which is a tall order this election season - says this is actually a sign of his party's strength. Come again?

Rep. Chris van Hollen, D-Maryland, insists the Democrats are proud to have "an ideologically diverse caucus." He says members who voice their opposition to the president are showing their independence on certain issues.

Van Hollen says Democrats have a big tent, and they're problem-solvers. Maybe. But the White House has to be at least a little nervous that Democrats are distancing themselves from the president and some of his key initiatives.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Democrats • President Barack Obama
October 7th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Why are more people voting in the midterms?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If the primaries are any indication - these midterm elections might set records when it comes to voter turnout.
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USA Today reports that the number of voters casting early ballots in the primaries this year was up 50 percent over the 2006 midterms. That's a huge increase. About six million people took part in early voting in the 13 states they reviewed.

This increase in early voting is a game-changer. It forces campaigns and interest groups to alter their tactics as they reach out to voters ahead of November's election.

Although the midterms are still more than three weeks away, early or absentee voting is already underway in 10 states. And, early voting will kick off in another 17 states plus the District of Columbia in the next two weeks.

Experts say, for campaigns an early vote for you is like money in the bank. But an early vote against you is a lost vote that no TV ads or speech can change.

Others point to a trend where early voters tend to hold back and file their ballot closer to election day. That's because they haven't made up their minds as quickly as they do about presidential candidates.

Midterms are notorious for lack of voter interest and low turnout, but if the electorate is really as angry as we keep hearing, things may be different this time.

If people want their voices heard when it comes to the state of our economy, the skyrocketing and unsustainable deficits, taxes, war, health care, etc... they better turn out on November 2.

Here’s my question to you: Why are so many more people voting in these midterm elections?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Elections
October 7th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Why are many whites turning against Pres. Obama & Democrats?


President Obama shakes hands after addressing a rally last week at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama continues to have problems when it comes to race.

White independent voters helped make Barack Obama the first African-American president in history, but now a lot of them apparently don't like him so much anymore.

A CNN poll taken shortly after President Obama was inaugurated in April 2009 showed a 61 percent approval rating among whites. That same poll now shows the president with a 34 percent rating among whites. Meanwhile, more than 90 percent of blacks approve of the job the president is doing.

And there are more signs of trouble when it comes to support from white voters - not just for the president but for the Democrats in general.

Another new poll shows working-class whites are flocking to the Republican Party, which will make it even tougher for the Democrats to keep control of Congress.

The Associated Press-GFK poll shows whites without college degrees prefer Republican candidates by 22 percentage points. That's double the margin of the past two elections.

Compare that with white people with college degrees, who are split evenly between the two parties; and minorities, who heavily back the Democrats.

Working-class whites are a key voting bloc - they make up about four in 10 voters nationally, and the Democrats can't afford to lose more of them. A lot of these voters were never too fond of Barack Obama to begin with. Remember Obama's comments about bitter small-town voters who cling to their guns and religion?

The silver lining for Democrats here is almost 30 percent of working-class whites in this poll say they may still switch candidates. If they don't, the Democrats could see a tsunami.

Here’s my question to you: Why have so many whites turned against President Obama and the Democrats?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Democrats • President Barack Obama • Race
October 6th, 2010
05:41 PM ET

Bar people from protesting at funerals?


Protesters demonstrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court while justices hear oral arguments in the First Amendment case of Snyder v. Phelps. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Supreme Court is deciding a case involving the disgusting behavior of protesting at funerals.

The case focuses on a Baptist Church from Kansas whose anti-gay protests have targeted the funerals of soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The church claims the soldiers' deaths are God's revenge for the United States tolerating homosexuality. Members of this church have traveled around the country, showing up at funerals and shouting at grieving family members.

They also display signs with messages like, "Thank God for dead soldiers," "God blew up the troops" and "AIDS cures fags."

The Snyder family sued the church in 2007 after protests at their son's funeral. Their suit claims invasion of privacy and the intentional infliction of emotional distress. A jury awarded them more than $10 million, but that amount was cut in half by a judge and then overturned by an appeals court.

The judges said although the church's message was offensive, the speech was protected.

The soldier's father, Albert Snyder, said his son was not gay and the protesters shouldn't have been at his funeral, calling their actions "inhuman."

The attorneys general of 48 states and the District of Columbia, along with a bipartisan group of 40 senators, support the Snyders. So does common sense.

The church insists it has the right to protest at funerals. It is backed by First Amendment and media groups, which denounce the church's message but defend its free speech rights.

The Supreme Court's decision in this case isn't expected for months.

Here’s my question to you: Should people be barred from protesting at funerals?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Afghanistan • U.S. Army • War in Iraq
October 6th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Would promise to undo health care get you to vote for a Republican?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Much like the Democrats themselves, President Obama's signature issue of health care reform might get quite a beating in the midterm elections.
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For starters, three states will vote on proposed constitutional amendments that would let them opt out of key provisions in the health care law.

Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma are all hoping to follow the lead of Missouri - which has already passed a similar initiative with a whopping 71 percent of the vote.

The idea of these measures is to ban the federal government from forcing people to buy health insurance.

Supporters say it's unconstitutional. Whether it is or not, there is a lot of opposition to this law which was cobbled together out of public view, contains no public option, and so far hasn't done a single thing to bring down health care costs.

A lot of Republicans are latching on to the discontent over this issue; pledging to repeal the health care law if they win control of Congress.

Democrats who voted against the bill are also making sure their constituents know it, and a lot of those who voted for the bill are keeping quiet.

It's unlikely Republicans will be able to repeal the measure while President Obama is still in office. And it's unclear if moderate Republicans and Independents will support efforts to undo the law.

A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 47 percent of those surveyed want Congress to repeal and replace the health care law; and fewer than one in five think the law will personally help them or their families.

Here’s my question to you: Would a promise to undo health care reform be enough to get you to vote for a Republican?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Election Process • Elections • GOP • Health care • Republican Party • Republicans
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