Moderate Moment | Moderate Moms

Posts Tagged ‘CNN’

Are We Ever Going to Live Together?

It isn’t just tempers heating up around the police involved shooting in Ferguson, the thermostat is heading north, too. We are now facing days on end of near 100 degree weather. These could be the hottest days this Summer.

The headline today is that Attorney General Eric Holder is in Ferguso to confer with local officials about the federal investigation into the shooting death of Michael Brown.

I like to listen to as varied a spectrum of news outlets as possible when digesting the news and today, I tuned in Rush. I think it is critical to listen to as many voices as possible when trying to understand the polarization affecting this country right now.

It was a good day to do so. Rush kept questioning why CNN interviewed director Spike Lee last night. Well, if you haven’t seen the movie, “Do the Right Thing,” rent it. The key line in that movie, after a hot summer day filled with racial tension ends in violence, is “Are we ever going to live together?” What a fitting line for this situation.

I guess I am naive but I truly believe it’s what most people want. And that there is more good than bad. And more people interested in peace than violence.  I know I am naive because I blogged a few years ago that, having elected our first African American President, we had proven that we had moved beyond race. Finally, we could be that rising tide that lifts all boats. In other words, we could focus on that entrepreneurial spirit that defines this country. Having said that, we need to acknowledge religious plurality and tolerance were also values this country was founded on.

I went up to Ferguson the other day and what I saw was a middle class community with working class areas, pockets of lower income areas, kids in racially mixed groups who looked like kids in any other middle class community on a hot Summer day and a coffee shop filled with Moms at mid-day.

But, I am seeing something else every night on television and social media. They’re looters with covered faces who don’t want to be identified but have somehow attached themselves to a protest that started out over a police department’s reluctance to identify the officer accused of shooting Michael Brown. What? You can’t have it both ways. Remember the issue was transparency, right? Show your faces, looters and molotov cocktail throwers unless that isn’t why you’re there.

Today, the faces calling for the County Prosecutor to be removed from the case are those of African-Americans like the County Executive, a State Senator and a United States Congressman. They question whether McCulloch can be objective given that his own father, a police officer, was killed by an African-American suspect while responding to a call when McCulloch was just 12 years old. McCulloch said he isn’t stepping down but if Nixon doesn’t decide soon whether to appoint a Special Prosecutor, it could hurt the case.

McCulloch has also said repeatedly that guilt or innocence isn’t decided by him. A grand jury will decide if there is enough evidence to bring charges and a jury will decide from there.

The quote I was most relieved to hear came from FBI Director James Comey who said, while announcing there are 40 field agents looking for witnesses in Ferguson, “We don’t give a rip about the politics.” That’s good. It means someone is focussed solely on the facts in this case.

 

A Teachable Moment

Folks, this is a teachable moment!

This is the moment Planned Parenthood has been waiting for. The answer to the inexplicable sacrifice Title X funds get every time a race starts to narrow and a moderate needs to appease the far right.

I am wondering if Gloria Borga of CNN is right and whether it will wind up that Congress steps in to provide supplemental coverage.

In an ideal world, the government wouldn’t be involved in sex ed, abortion services or birth control, at all. But our world is less than ideal, especially if you are a poor woman who doesn’t have a job or health insurance or who works for a small, privately held company whose bosses don’t cover it, because of their religious beliefs.

What perfect timing for Planned Parenthood to say, “If it is unfair to add a contraception mandate to a mandate a lot of family owned business already didn’t like (Obamacare), then someone needs to recognize how unfairly Title X has been treated all these years.”

I’ve been blogging for a few years in hopes of opening up new ways of thinking around the Republicans and politics in general. A swing voter or an Independent Republican, I’ve advocated just going purple and electing the best people, regardless of whether they identify blue or red.

Last weekend, I was one of three people in a car heading to a Republican political event in Columbia, Missouri . Two of us were scrambling to help the driver with directions by looking them up on our phones. We both had the same address but my Mapquest was telling me to turn left; his app was telling him to turn right. I laughed because that pretty much summed up the conversation we had been having on the car ride down about the direction of the Republican Party.

But now, the Supreme Court, which used to be above party politics, represents not only that intractable ideological divide between the Republican and Democratic parties but also the gender divide. OMG. Yes, I know that OMG is a bad pun. But, maybe it’s time for the justices, once charged with rising above the political rancor, to cast off the black robes and just wear the red and/or blue.

The male justices were right that you can’t violate religious freedom. And the female justices were right that many women will need access to the contraceptive methods at the heart of the case, sometimes for reasons other than birth control.

In an ideal world, no one gets their rights infringed on. But no one knows better that life is less than ideal than Planned Parenthood. They’ve always been there to fill the gaps in contraception. To fill the gaps in education. To fill the gaps in income and access. To fill the gaps between what people wish would happen and what did.

 

Candidate Clinton?

What an interesting week it has been in politics. First, last week’s stunning defeat of Virginia’s Eric Cantor, who lost to an unknown Tea Party candidate. Then the admission on the heels of the Romney summit in Utah that there is a division within the Republican Party and no clear Presidential candidate in sight for 2016. Today, I read rumblings that some are hoping Gov. Mitt Romney will give it another whirl. That would be interesting, especially if he decides not to be muffled by the extremists and to run on a platform similar to the one he employed in Massachusetts. It’s time for moderate Republicans to organize and he really is a moderate at heart, as evidenced by his leadership as Governor. Speak past the extremists if you do, Mitt!

Now, Hillary Clinton’s “Is She or Isn’t She?” interview on CNN. The interview was ostensibly about her book, “Hard Choices.”  I dialed in late so I don’t know if Christiane Amanpour disclosed at the outset that her husband, James Rubin, had worked on Clinton’s 2007 campaign. Amanpour was clearly a “friendly” as we say in the media but I will not slam CNN or Hillary for that given that this is one woman in politics who has had her share of harsh treatment. Interestingly, harsh was missing from the exchange. She was measured and circumspect.

I will say it was interesting that the speech bubble Amanpour held up with viewers’  impressions of Hillary had only positive messaging on it. The most visible word on there was “President.”

Highlights of the interview include her statements that she is going to move forward on immigration reform, that she would send young children back to the Latin American countries they have fled to enter the U.S. illegally (once a responsible party is identified), that the blame for not arming rebels in Syria lies with Obama, that she is going to let states decide on recreational marijuana but hasn’t smoked herself. She was her most forceful on the issue of background checks, saying polls show Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of them.

Even if she doesn’t run, her interview raised some interesting points about American attitudes towards female candidates. Of course, we should be as comfortable electing a woman as a man. And we should pay her the same as we would pay him. But when someone like Hillary Clinton is asked why she wants to run when she has a grandchild on the way, you seriously have to wonder whether people realize how inherently sexist our assumptions still are. Her answer that a lot of Grandfathers have run for public office was spot on.

I just got back from a week in Texas. I saw three Presidential libraries in a week. First, President Bill Clinton’s in Arkansas, then Lyndon Baines Johnson’s in Johnson City and finally George H.W. Bush’s at Texas A & M in College Station. I told friends my favorite thing about the trip was how each of these Presidents’ libraries allowed them to depict their legacies as they see fit. The truth is there is more room for that than ever. With partisan rancor at its worst, Americans are so unsure of what is news and what is spin, that they are turning away from politics altogether.  That is where the danger lies. Not only when it comes to an informed electorate but also for future generations.

I’m actually beginning to question whether our conventional methods of weaning out the differences between candidates, like press conferences, debates and :30 campaign spots have become obsolete. Maybe each candidate should be given weekly one-on-one, half-hour or hour long, interviews in which they are asked to focus on just one issue like education, the economy, foreign affairs or energy. Americans will at least get to choose without the constant interruptions or one liners that make for exciting television but do little to help Americans decide who is telling the truth, who has the temperament and experience to lead and who inspires them.

I would love to see Mitt Romney in a similar interview to tonight’s interview with Hillary. After all, many people believe, he was treated unfairly by the press at times, in part because he was wealthy and successful.

In the last week, I have had a bright young person tell me she no longer believes in party politics. I listened to an accountant who has voted for Democrats say he’ll vote for whoever can right the ship financially by reforming entitlements, military spending, underfunded pensions and reigning in the interest on our debts. I’ve had a green Republican admit alternative energy has to be part of the energy mix going forward because of EPA mandates to upgrade infrastructure as well as concerns about global warming and sustainability.  I read an article about how handwriting could be phased out after second grade under Common Core because “kids won’t need it.”  I signed a petition urging our Governor to veto a law that creates a 72 hour waiting period for abortion because I am outraged that the one legal provider in our state is under attack … again. (As I’ve said before, “agreeing to disagree” on social issues is fine but dialing back rights isn’t) I wondered who is going to pay for Medicaid expansion in this state, which I was originally opposed to, but am reconsidering, as hospitals lay off employees because of the unfair burden Obamacare has placed on them.

I write this a day after the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to consider whether vicious lies in the midst of political campaigns about a candidate’s criminal convictions and mental state fall under free speech or whether that should be criminal, as it currently is according to Ohio. A law like that, broadly applied, would be a game changing tipping point in politics as we know it.

 

 

 

Halloween and Obamacare: Trick or Treat?

 

By M.W. Guzy, special to the Beacon

6:34 am on Thu, 10.31.13

When I was a kid, Halloween was the day we gave thanks for attending Catholic school. Because the day after is All Saint’s Day in church liturgy, we were off for a holy day of obligation while our public-school counterparts attended classes as usual after a night of trick or treating. (Suckers.)

Of course, back then Halloween was the province of children. By the time you were old enough for junior high, you were expected to hang up your costume and act your age. You might escort younger siblings around the neighborhood or help your parents hand out candy, but your days of door to door marauding were over.

Today, all that has changed. Reflecting the fashionable “All Mardi Gras – No Lent” approach to life, church attendance has dwindled while Halloween has morphed into a major commercial holiday celebrated by people of all ages. Fewer people worship on All Saints’ but far more party on its eve.

From a societal perspective, the problem with our collective Peter Pan pledge to never grow up is that we’re fast running out of adults to provide the treats. This, I suspect, is the emergent problem with Obamacare.

The disastrous first effort to fully implement the Affordable Care Act — often referred to as the plan’s “roll-out” — was mitigated by a strange miscegenation of Republican stupidity and Democratic incompetence.

The Republicans, you’ll recall, recently decided to shut down the government. The last time they tried that trick, they were treated to the re-election of Bill Clinton. Reluctant to learn from experience, they decided to stick their hand back in the fire to see if it was still hot. Not surprisingly, they again got burnt.

Ironically, the casus belli for the GOP stunt was the effort to de-fund Obamacare. Not only did they fail in that endeavor but the outrage they engendered managed to divert public attention from the shocking ineptitude displayed by the administration during the program’s initiation.

Having spent three years and hundreds of millions of dollars in preparation, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius unveiled an enrollment website on Oct. 1 that people found difficult to use because it didn’t work. Luckily for the Dems, most people were too busy cursing Republicans to take much notice.

Eventually, of course, the government resumed full operations and public attention shifted to deficiencies in the Obamacare roll-out. The computer problems actually may have provided a hidden benefit for Democrats by delaying access to the plan. It seems the hardy souls who negotiated the hurdles of the website and got to the substance of the program often didn’t like what they found there.

I heard two different case histories reported as examples of the challenges of implementing the new venture. Both are admittedly anecdotal and thus not necessarily representative of the experience of others. Consider them parables illustrating the tricks and treats of health-care reform.

CNN interviewed a woman who’d spent three weeks trying to enroll on-line. She attempted to log in at midnight when she hoped most of her fellow citizens would be asleep; she tried during morning and evening rush hours when she thought most people would be commuting.

It was never explained why she didn’t enroll by phone but she did ultimately succeed in buying health insurance through the website for herself and her daughter. This victory was more than symbolic because both women suffered from pre-existing medical conditions that had previously precluded private insurance and their medical bills had driven their household into bankruptcy. For her, Obamacare — its shortcomings notwithstanding — represented salvation. She advises that, with her worries about medical bills allayed, she can now sleep at night.

CBS reported the story of a 56-year-old Florida woman who had a less happy ending. She currently has health insurance that she feels is adequate to her needs. Her contribution for the coverage is $54 a month.

She thought the president had guaranteed that persons who were happy with their insurance could keep it. Now, she learns that her satisfaction is not enough — the president has to like her policy as well.

Her insurer recently notified her that the current policy doesn’t satisfy the criteria of Obamacare. Among its deficiencies is its failure to provide birth control and maternity benefits. Effective Jan. 1, her monthly premiums will increase to $591 for better coverage.

That’s an annual increase of $6,444 — but the post-menopausal woman will have access to free contraceptives and full pregnancy care. She understands that she may be eligible for some kind of tax credit but states she can’t afford the extra $537 a month to continue coverage in the meantime.

With the control of the Congress at stake, you’ll hear a lot stories like these during the coming off-year election season. It is estimated that about 15 percent of Americans lack adequate health-care coverage without Obamacare. But that leaves 85 percent of the population who are presently fairly comfortable without it.

Most of the insured receive coverage through their employers. Paradoxically, the new law charges employers a head tax for each employee and employee dependant they cover. The government will thus penalize the businesses that provide most of the nation’s health care for doing so. Proceeds from the tax will be used to offset the increased cost of insuring applicants with pre-existing medical conditions.

The employer will then be responsible for insuring himself, his family, his employees, their families and for paying a bonus to insurance companies for selling their product to people they don’t want to cover in the first place.  Sounds fair to me…

Democrats have about a year to convince insured Americans that Obamacare provides better treatment than they receive at present. All things considered, that sales job could be a tricky proposition.

 
 

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Can it be stopped? 8 answers on Obamacare and the shutdown

By Z. Byron Wolf, CNN
Washington (CNN) — Over the next few days, the drama of a potential government shutdown will collide with the promise of a new health insurance system known as Obamacare.

Here are answers to eight of the most pressing questions about both:

1. What happens on October 1 with Obamacare and the government shutdown?

First, the health insurance exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act — or Obamacare — will be open for business. Millions of uninsured Americans will be able to enroll in health plans before the law kicks in on January 1, 2014. Second, the U.S. government might “shut down” if lawmakers can’t agree to pass a funding bill that has attached to it a provision to defund Obamacare. These two events are linked. The reason both houses of Congress may not be able to agree on a funding bill — also known as a continuing resolution — is that some senators and representatives see this as their last chance to stop Obamacare. But that’s really where the link ends.

 2. Does a government shutdown shut down Obamacare?

Not really. Most of the funding for Obamacare comes from new taxes and fees, from cost cuts to other programs like Medicare and other types of funding that carry on even in the event of a government shutdown. Congress’ research arm, the Congressional Research service, prepared a memo for Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, that suggested an effort to use the government shutdown as leverage to force Democrats to delay implementing the law would not really work because the law will continue regardless of a shutdown. Plus, the law would still be in effect, so its many new requirements — everything from forcing insurance companies to cover anyone who wants insurance to forcing everyday Americans to carry health insurance or pay a fine — would still be in effect, too.

Government shutdown: Again? Seriously?

3. Do I have to sign up for a new health insurance plan on October 1 when open enrollment for Obamacare begins?

Maybe — Take this quick survey and we’ll find out:

A. Do you get health insurance from your employer? 
If the answer is yes — and this is by far the No. 1 way Americans get health insurance — go on about your business. Obamacare doesn’t really affect you. At least not yet. A lot of people think that because of Obamacare, fewer companies will offer health insurance, particularly to low-paid workers and retirees. There is some evidence of this. These employers would have to pay a per-worker fine to the government, but it might be cheaper for them in the long run to pay this fine to the government rather than offer insurance. Other companies might cut hours for some workers, making them part-timers working fewer than 30 hours a week in order to avoid helping pay their health insurance. But it will take some years to see if it really comes to pass. However, if you get health insurance at work, you could probably drop that coverage and buy health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. But you might not want to. You won’t qualify for any government help to buy your insurance and your employer wouldn’t be contributing any of the money it is now.

B. Do you get health insurance from the government? 
If the answer is yes, go on about your business. Obamacare doesn’t really affect you. At least not yet. While Obamacare relies on making Medicare more efficient as a way to pay for some new services for younger people, it is not supposed to change the services offered by Medicare. One big test of this promise is Medicare Advantage. These are privately administered insurance plans that provide Medicare services to seniors. They cost the government more per person to provide Medicare. So, Obamacare seeks to bring their spending back in line with the rest of Medicare. This could lead to changes in Medicare Advantage options, like gym memberships and other items that are offered as enticements. But the same core Medicare services are supposed to remain in effect. The same goes for Medicaid. If you get your insurance from one of the 50 state-run Medicaid programs, Obamacare should not affect you. But you’ll have a lot more company in these programs, which will grow to insure a larger portion of Americans.

 

Zelizer: GOP strategy on shutdown courts doom

4. Do you have an individual health insurance plan?

If yes, Obamacare is going to affect you. It is possible that your insurance plan won’t change, but it’s just as likely that your plan doesn’t meet all the minimum requirements the law imposes. These include new rules for how much profit companies can take for plans, new rules for coverage of women’s services, new rules for how much more insurance companies can charge for women than men, and a lot more. So, you might have to buy a more expensive plan. In this case, your insurance company has probably already let you know. It’s also possible you might want a new plan. Check out your new state health insurance exchange or the one the federal government set up in your state if your state government refused to do so. People who like and dislike Obamacare have something to like about costs of individual plans. Prelminary estimates have come in lower than some government prognosticators expected. So it is fair to say Obamacare might be cheaper than expected for some individuals. But it is also accurate to say that premiums are likely to rise for healthy people on the individual market. Why? They’re going to get more robust insurance plans that cover more things. At the same time, a lot of sick people who get private insurance now pay a ton for it; their costs could decrease.

 

Congress: will it be a government shutdown or budget compromise?

5. Do you have no health insurance?

If so, Obamacare is for you, like it or not. You’re either going to have to enroll in Medicaid or buy health insurance from a private company on an “exchange” organized by either your state government or the federal government. If you’re single and you make less than $15,281.70 ($31,321.50 for a family of four), you’re likely to get Medicaid, although some states have refused to expand their programs. Those income levels for Medicaid — 133% of the federal poverty level — will increase from year to year.

10 ways a government shutdown would affect your daily life

6. How much is Obamacare going to cost me?

It depends. What if you make more than $15,281.70, but not that much more? You don’t get Medcaid. You don’t have employer-sponsored health insurance and you do want coverage. How are you supposed to afford a new health insurance plan?

The government is going to help a lot of people pay for it. If you’re single and you make less than $45,960 ($94,200 for a family of four), you’ll qualify for a government-sponsored subsidy to help you buy insurance. The Kaiser Family Foundation has estimated the average government subsidy for a family will be about $2,700 and the average premium costs will be about $8,250. Those costs will vary depending on the age and number of family members and the level of plan they choose to buy. Try your own scenario here.

Q&A: The lowdown on the shutdown, or why you should care about the CR

7. Is Obamacare health insurance government insurance?

No. Many state Medicaid programs will grow to insure much larger portions of their state populations. But the core of the law is the creation of new health insurance exchanges. These are places — online, mostly — where people who don’t get insurance can buy it from a private company. On the one hand, the government is making people either carry insurance or pay a fine, on the other hand the government is making insurance companies provide insurance to anyone who wants it and they’re controlling how much the insurance companies can charge.

 

8. What happens if I don’t buy health insurance?

You’re young and healthy. You don’t really want health insurance. No sweat. You don’t have to buy it. You can “opt out.” But then you’ll have to pay a fine of between $95 for every adult in your house or 1% of your income after $10,000, whichever is larger. So if you’re single and you make $50,000, you’d have to pay a $400 fine for not having health insurance. The Supreme Court called this fine a tax. You can look at it that way. Or you can view it as an upfront payment for having hospital and ambulance services able to come get you if you need them. Or you can look at it as horrible government overreach. Some people do.

5 strange things about deb

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RNC threatens to boycott CNN over Clinton documentaries 

The Mom Vivant / Great debate moments in history from CNN

I thought it would be fun to reprint this article from CNN.com on some memorable debate moments in Presidential campaigns from the past. It will be entertaining, if nothing else, to review.

Follow Wednesday’s presidential debate coverage starting at 7 p.m. ET on CNN TV, CNN.com and via CNN’s apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. Web users can become video editors with a new clip-and-share feature that allows them to share favorite debate moments on Facebook and Twitter.

(CNN) — Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin says that even though a lot of modern debates are programmed, there are still moments that no one expected.

“And it’s sort of like championship boxing,” she says, “you do get revelations of character, of temperament, of humor, of anger, and you get a feeling of this person during these one-on-one debates that really nothing else can provide.”

Goodwin describes 10 key presidential and vice presidential debates that made a difference:

1960 — Kennedy vs. Nixon: First TV debate

Debates enter the TV age

Just having Kennedy on the same stage as an experienced vice president made a difference for JFK because he could hold his own with Nixon. But then, of course, when it was listened to on the radio, it made it seem like it was pretty equal, and even some people giving an edge to Nixon. But he looked so terrible. His makeup was bad. He wasn’t feeling well. He looked sallow, He looked scornful. And people just reacted to that image of a vigorous, young Kennedy, and an almost sick-looking Nixon. And from then on, somehow JFK became a figure.

iReport: 10 questions you would ask at the presidential debate

1976 — Carter vs. Ford: No Soviet domination of Eastern Europe?

Ford: ‘There is no Soviet domination’

Ford had done well in the first debate, but in the second debate he was asked a question about Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. And he answered it incomprehensibly. There was already a perception, a vulnerability, that he wasn’t intelligent. And then this thing just got parodied, just got talked about, and became a huge event. When ordinary people watched that debate, they didn’t feel the Ford had screwed up. But when it was pointed out, that he didn’t understand what was happening in the Cold War in Eastern Europe, then suddenly they had shifted their minds, and he seemed much worse than it had seemed at that moment.

1980 — Reagan vs. Carter: ‘There you go again’

Reagan: ‘There you go again’

In 1980, Carter was primed to go after Reagan about his record, especially on Medicare. He was going on the offensive: ‘You did this! You voted this way! You said that!’ And Reagan, just with humor and subtlety, said, ‘There you go again.’ And it somehow relaxed Reagan and it took the offensive away from Carter. It was a brilliant answer to a really serious critique of Reagan’s past that might have been troubling for him.

1980 — Reagan vs. Carter: ‘Are you better off now than you were four years ago?’

Reagan: ‘Are you better off?’

There was no more brilliant closing than Reagan’s ‘Are you better off now than you were four years ago?’ What it did was to make people think, ‘Yes. That’s what’s happened to me. My economic life, my family life, my working life, has been hurt by the economy over these last four years.’ And once they realized that, it almost gave a poster to the entire campaign. It wasn’t just a great moment in the debate, it became a theme encapsulated in just a few sentences. And in the end saying, ‘if you are better off, then you vote for Mr. Carter. If you’re not, you do have another choice. Me,’ And at the same time, Carter gave a very weak closing statement.

Opinion: When candidates said ‘no’ to debates

1984 — Mondale vs. Reagan: ‘I will not exploit … my opponent’s youth and inexperience’

1984: Reagan jokes about Mondale’s youth

In the first debate between Reagan and Mondale, Reagan had appeared old. He was the oldest candidate in history at that time. He seemed confused by some of the questions, his answers had wandered, and the issue of age really became a large question among the press. So when he comes back in the second debate, and they ask him, ‘Do you think age is a problem?’ He had that answer prepared, and boy did he nail it. It was subtle, it was humorous, and Mondale knew, he said right then, that he had not only lost the debate, but probably the election.

1988 — Dukakis vs. George H.W. Bush: ‘If your wife, Kitty Dukakis, were raped and murdered?’

1988: ‘If Kitty Dukakis were raped…’

The question asked to Michael Dukakis in 1988 was a difficult one. I mean, ‘What would you do, given your feelings about the death penalty, if your wife, Kitty Dukakis, were raped and murdered?’ And what you would’ve expected might have been a home run, where Dukakis would’ve said, ‘I would’ve wanted to kill that person who murdered my wife. But we have a country of laws and that would be wrong.’ But instead, he answered in a policy-wonkish way about the death penalty that underscored a vulnerability that he already seemed to be without emotion and without passion.

1988 — Bentsen vs. Quayle: ‘You’re no Jack Kennedy’

1988: Bentsen: ‘You’re no Jack Kennedy’

During the campaign, Quayle had already been saying many times that he had as much experience as Jack Kennedy did, so Bentsen was primed for that and when he mentioned it again in the debate, I’m sure Bentsen was saying ‘Yay! Here comes my line!’ And again, Quayle handled it OK and said it probably wasn’t called for but it was such a zinger of a line that people loved it and told one another about it and it became the line of that debate.

Opinion: The mistakes candidates make in debates

1992 — George H.W. Bush looks at his watch

Bush checks the time

It looked like he was bored, that he didn’t care about the debate and that underscored the feeling that he wasn’t connected to the problems of the people and the country. He later said when he was looking he was looking at his watch he was thinking, ‘I hate these debates, I’m so glad it’s almost over.’ In that debate Clinton showed his empathy — he was wandering around the stage. He talked to the people, almost wrapped their arms around them. The debate format in that year was perfect for Clinton because they could wander away from the microphones. When Bush is seen stiffly to be looking at his watch and seemed not engaged, and not connected, it underscored Clinton’s enormous capacity to emotionally connect.

1992 — Stockdale vs. Gore vs. Quayle: ‘Who am I? Why am I here?’

1992: ‘Who am I? Why am I here?’

When [Ross] Perot had chosen [Adm. James] Stockdale as his [running mate], Stockdale appeared to in that debate to be stunned; he almost didn’t seem to belong there. He looked like an observer of the other two candidates and that was underlined when he said, ‘Who am I, what am I doing here?’ What it underscored was a problem of judgment on Perot’s part — how could he have chosen somebody who himself was wondering, ‘Why am I here?’ It made no sense to the audience and it hurt Perot’s credibility as a presidential candidate.

2000 — Al Gore sighs

Al Gore sighs while Bush speaks

Focus groups right after Al Gore and George W. Bush debated seemed to give a slight edge to Gore because he was more articulate, he had better answers, but once the television cameras caught that sighing, that constant look on his face where he seemed annoyed by the whole idea of having to be there with Bush, it seemed to underscore, as somebody said, as a teacher’s pet who knew all the answers but was annoying and irritating. And they kept playing it over and over again and it became parodies on the comedy shows and late night TV. Then people began to project onto Gore a personality trait of just annoyance and irritation of people in general and it became devastating for him to live that down.

Explaining the Ambassador’s assasination to kids

A lot of kids may be worried and anxious about the events in Libya. Especially now that President Barack Obama is saying the United States will seek justice in the slaying of our U.S. Ambassador and three other Americans there on Tuesday. Below we are featuring CNN’s six things you need to know about the attacks. It may help to tamp down some of the worry to identify what the movie was about that is being blamed for the attacks and to understand a little bit about the politics unfolding there post Arab Spring.

 

 

Six things to know about attack that killed Ambassador Stevens

Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, were killed Tuesday as gunmen set fire to and fought security forces at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

The attack came as protesters outside the compound rallied against a movie that unflatteringly portrays Islam’s Prophet Mohammed. U.S. sources are giving conflicting accounts about whether the attack was planned before the protest and whether the attackers used the protest as a diversion.

If you’re new to the story and need to catch up, here are six key things to know about the incident.

1) What happened?

On Tuesday night, protesters were outside the consulate in Benghazi, demonstrating against the video “Innocence of Muslims,” which reportedly was made in California by a producer whose identity is unclear.

Eventually, a group of heavily armed militants “infiltrated the march to start chaos,” according to Libyan Deputy Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif.

Initial reports indicate the four-hour assault began around 10 p.m. as attackers pelted the U.S. Consulate complex’s main compound with gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades . Within 15 minutes, the gunmen entered the building.

Four hours of fire and chaos: How the attack unfolded

The attackers set the consulate ablaze – it’s not clear how, though one senior U.S. official said a rocket-propelled grenade started the fire. American and Libyan security personnel tried to fight the attackers and the fire.

As the fire spread, three people Stevens, Foreign Service information management officer Sean Smith and a U.S. regional security officer were in a safe room, senior State Department officials said.

The three tried to leave when smoke filled the safe room. After the security officer escaped the building, he returned with others to try to rescue Stevens and Smith. Smith was found dead, apparently of smoke inhalation, officials said.

Stevens was missing. Libyans later said that bystanders found an unconscious Stevens and took him to a hospital, though U.S. officials could not confirm that account. His body was handed over to Americans at an airport; it’s not clear how he died.

Ex-SEALs, online gaming maven among Benghazi dead

Two other Americans, whose names haven’t been released, were killed and two others were wounded during a gunbattle between security forces and militants at the complex, a senior administration official said.

2) Who did it, and why?

National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said on Wednesday: “At this stage it would be premature to ascribe any motive to this reprehensible act.”

But sources tracking militant Islamist groups in eastern Libya say a pro-al Qaeda group responsible for a previous armed assault on the Benghazi consulate is the chief suspect.

They also note that the attack immediately followed a call from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri for revenge for the death in June of Abu Yahya al-Libi, a senior Libyan member of al Qaeda.

U.S. sources also have said they believed the attack was planned and used the protest as a diversion, though the sources could not say whether the attackers instigated the protest or merely took advantage of it.

A London think tank with strong ties to Libya was among those to speculate Wednesday that the attackers “came to avenge the death of Abu Yaya al-Libi.”

It was “the work of roughly 20 militants, prepared for a military assault,” the think tank Quilliam said, noting that there were no other protests against the film elsewhere in Libya.

“Jihadists will want the world to believe that the attack is just a part of the protests against an amateur film produced in the U.S., which includes crude insults regarding the Prophet Mohammed. They will want the world to think that their actions represent a popular Libyan and wider Muslim reaction; thus, reversing the perception of jihadists being outcasts from their own societies,” Quilliam president Norman Benotman said.

The significance of the timing of the attack, which fell on the 11th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, is unclear.

3) What is this movie that people were protesting?

Again, it’s not clear whether the attack stemmed directly from outrage over the movie. But protesters outside the consulate did demonstrate against “Innocence of Muslims” before the attack, as did demonstrators outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, 700 miles to the east of Benghazi.

An online trailer for the movie depicts Islam as a fraudulent religion bent on getting rid of nonbelievers. Cartoonish scenes show Mohammed as a womanizer, child molester and ruthless killer.

But the film’s actors and crew members released a statement Wednesday saying they were “grossly misled” about the filmmaker’s intent. An actress in the film who asked not to be identified said the original script did not include a Prophet Mohammed character, and that the actors’ lines had been changed post-production.

A casting call published in July 2011 in publications for actors identifies the working title of the movie as “Desert Warrior” and describes it as a “historical Arabian Desert adventure film.”

The Wall Street Journal identified the filmmaker as Sam Bacile. The Journal reported that, in its telephone interview with Bacile, he characterized his film as “a political effort to call attention to the hypocrisies of Islam.”

But CNN has not been able to contact him, and a search of public records on Sam Bacile came up empty. Casting further doubt on the filmmaker’s identity, The Atlantic quoted a consultant of the filmmaker’s as saying Sam Bacile is a pseudonym and said “he did not know Bacile’s real name.”

Reaction to anti-Islam film fuels debate on free speech versus hate speech

News of the video, posted in July on YouTube, spread as Egyptian television recently aired segments and anti-Islam activists, including Egyptian-born Coptic Christian Morris Sadek, promoted it online.

Many Muslims find any depiction of Mohammed to be offensive  – a Danish newspaper’s publication in 2005 of Mohammed caricatures triggered riots – and derogatory depictions of the prophet are considered by some to be worse.

4) What will the United States do about the attack?

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the United States “will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act and make no mistake, justice will be done.”

A senior U.S. official told CNN that American surveillance drones are expected to join the hunt for jihadists who may be tied to the attack. The drones are expected to gather intelligence that will be turned over to Libyan officials for strikes, the official said.

A senior defense official said the drones would be part of “a stepped-up, more focused search” for a particular insurgent cell that may have been behind the killings.

In June, a senior Libyan official told CNN that U.S. controllers were already flying the unmanned craft over suspected jihadist training camps in eastern Libya because of concerns about rising activity by al Qaeda and like-minded groups in the region.

Two U.S. Navy destroyers  the USS Laboon and the USS McFaul are moving toward the coast of Libya, two U.S. officials told CNN. Both ships are equipped with tomahawk missiles that could be used if a strike was ordered.

About 50 U.S. Marines are headed to the Libyan capital, Tripoli, after the attack to beef up security in response to the attack, U.S. officials said Wednesday. The unit is specially trained to retake or guard diplomatic installations and other U.S. facilities in troubled regions.

The United States said it also would increase security at its embassies around the world.

5) How has the Libyan government reacted?

Libya’s leaders apologized for the attack. Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib called it a “cowardly, criminal act.”

U.S. and NATO warplanes helped a Benghazi-based rebellion drive on Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi last year. Gadhafi was overthrown.

The militants suspected in Tuesday night’s attack “are a very small minority” who are taking advantage of a fledgling democracy, Ali Suleiman Aujali, the Libyan ambassador the United States, told CNN’s “Amanpour.” “The good thing about this is the majority – 95, 98% of the Libyan people care not for this,” he said.

6) Who was Stevens?

Stevens served in several posts for the U.S. Foreign Service in the Middle East and North Africa before being named U.S. ambassador to Libya in May.

He was involved with Libya for several years, serving as the U.S. deputy chief of mission from 2007 to 2009. In 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent him to Benghazi to be an envoy to the rebels during the revolt against Gadhafi.

Stevens graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1982, then took a pause in his studies to join the Peace Corps, according to his State Department biography.

“Growing up in California, I didn’t know much about the Arab world,” he said in a State Department video prepared to introduce him to the Libyan people after his appointment as ambassador in May.

Slain ambassador warned in ’08 about extremists near Benghazi

“I worked as an English teacher in a town in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco for two years, and quickly grew to love this part of the world,” he said.

– CNN’s Suzanne Kelly, Sarah Aarthun, Michael Pearson, Moni Basu, Tom Watkins, Barabara Starr, Chris Lawrence, Jomana Karadsheh, Elise Labott, Nic Robertson, Jill Dougherty, Tom Cohen and Carol Cratty contributed to this report.

Life in the fast lane

Look around and what do you see? Most Moms just catching their breath now that the kids are launched back in school. Getting used to their Fall routines and trying to find time to start working out and working again. So how does all of that impact the female voter? The reason we started this blog was to reach them – those women who were practically on the fence in terms of choosing a party, who maybe voted for the Democrats last time but are feeling the pinch of a tough economy this time around and may be leaning Republican, women who are so busy with their kids and daily lives, they are not necessarily consumers of daily political news. But they do care. CNN has an interesting article that claims Obama got a bounce out of the conventions but Romney didn’t. In fact, it says Obama was up around ten percentage points in the polls. Obama has had a slight lead among women voters for most of the year. But as one pundit pointed out, at the end of the day, each of these victory clinching headlines fades and eventually we are back where we’ve been for the last few years, in a stalled economy.