Editor's Note: Health care reform remained the topic of focus for Friday’s American Morning audience. Senator Baucus’ health care proposal, unveiled earlier this week, was criticized for claiming to be “bi-partisan” when neither Republicans nor Democrats had supported the plan. Many remarked that Senator Baucus had lost all “credibility” because of his push for inappropriate homeland security funding for his state.
Many viewers perceived the "Wingnuts" segment as too “right-leaning,” and asked the President Obama be given a “fair shake.”
President Obama has been in office for less than a year. Is he being judged too harshly by conservative critics? How do you feel about the strong opposition to many of his policies? Should he be given a “fair shake,” as the viewer above requests?
Could she be the next Jesse Ventura?
Linda McMahon is stepping down as CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment to enter the race for U.S. Senate in Connecticut as a Republican. She’s exchanging the wrestling ring for the political ring. And she has a tough fight ahead of her.
McMahon discussed her Senate bid with Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Friday. Below is an edited transcript of the interview.
Kiran Chetry: I just want to know, first of all, what made you decide I'm going to go for this year and I’m going to try to get through the primary and try to challenge Chris Dodd?
Linda McMahon: You know, Kiran, I'm a businesswoman and I've been watching what's been going on. The mounting debt that we have, people out of work, reckless spending going on in Washington and I couldn't sit on the sidelines and watch anymore. I really wanted to get in, to do something. I've found also as I've traveled around Connecticut and talked to people, there's been a growing sentiment and really consistent that our citizens have lost faith and trust in Chris Dodd. It was a good time to get in. It seemed the right time to get in. So I want to get there and make a mark for the people of Connecticut.
Introducing new concepts in the Army is never easy. The Army is deeply rooted in tradition and is typically resistant to change. While that mindset does have its benefits it can also hinder the military from moving forward. That has been the case for its physical training. For decades it has gone unchanged but now things are moving in another direction.
When Jason Carroll and I arrived at Fort Campbell we were introduced to Eagle Tactical Athletic Program or ETAP for short. This new training program was born out of a realization by the Army that soldiers were suffering a 40 to 60 percent injury rate during training.
They brought in Dr. Scott Lephart of the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition who has had success with reducing injury in professional sports teams. Lephart and his team spent 3 years compiling data on soldiers looking at what puts the most stress on soldiers physically and how to train them so their bodies can best withstand that stress.
The result is the ETAP program.
ETAP is a big step away from the traditional calisthenics that the Army has put its soldiers through. Through 45 second interval circuit training, it focuses on boosting a soldier's speed, agility, flexibility and balance. When we spoke to the soldiers going through this program their enthusiasm for it was clear.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House of Representatives approved an amendment Thursday that calls for halting government funding to the community organizing group ACORN.
The measure, added to a larger bill on reforming student loans that won House approval, follows a provision passed earlier in the week by the Senate that would halt Housing and Urban Development grants to ACORN.
Both measures would have to have their differences reconciled in Congress to take effect.
ACORN's chief executive officer says that the group gets most of its money from members and other supporters and that its operations would continue even if it is cut off from government grants.
However, approval of the House and Senate measures demonstrated the political fallout against ACORN after the recent release of videos that appeared to show the agency's employees condoning illegal actions.
Editor’s note: John P. Avlon is the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics and writes a weekly column for The Daily Beast. Previously, he served as Chief Speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun.
Who knew that we could hit a new congressional low so quickly after the summer recess – or that the uncivil outburst would become a conservative rallying cry approaching absurd folk hero status?
But that’s what happened to South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson since he shouted “you lie!” at President Obama during a joint session of Congress last week.
It was, by all internal accounts, an unhinged moment of anger. Wilson apologized to the president soon after and was roundly criticized by the likes of John McCain and other leading Republicans. He became the face of our coarsening civic dialogue, a sign that Tea Party anger is gaining currency in Congress.
Then he started raising conservative cash by the boatload, as his local Democratic opponent did the same. Hyper-partisan talk radio came rallying to his side. Wilson said he’d stop apologizing and hired a media consultant. Soon it was Wilson who was playing the victim card, with online ads that proclaimed “Joe Wilson is Under Attack.”
At the 9/12 protests in DC, I saw dozens of signs expressing their solidarity with Wilson – “Joe Wilson speaks for me,” “Joe Wilson told the truth,” “He speaks for patriots,” and “Palin-Wilson 2012.”
This week, the House decided to offer the first formal resolution rebuking a congressman for speaking out while the president was giving an address in its history. Wilson deserved it for his wing-nuttery, but my guess is that it will only make him more of a martyr to the fringe.
That’s also likely to be the impact of one Democratic congressman’s argument for the official rebuke. Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia told reporters that Wilson’s ugly outburst "did not help the cause of diversity and tolerance with his remarks.”
No problem so far. But then Congressman Johnson brought the specter of the KKK into it. “I guess we'll probably have folks putting on white hoods and white uniforms again and riding through the countryside, intimidating people," he said. "That's the logical conclusion if this kind of attitude is not rebuked."
On "Wingnuts of the Week," we’ve condemned overuse of KKK, communist and Nazi references in domestic political debates from whatever the source. Wilson and Johnson’s remarks are not equivalent, but saying that idiotic incivility will lead logically to a resurgence of the KKK doesn’t help the argument or the healing process. The moderate majority of Americans see Wilson’s comments for what they are – an unhinged ugliness bubbling up around this president.
The wingnuts' increasing influence in American politics should be a wake-up call – it is a challenge to the idea that what unites us is greater than what divides us as Americans. Expect more turbulence this fall – and more reason for us to call out the extremes and keep them accountable.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Avlon.
Here are the big stories on the agenda today: