American Morning

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April 3rd, 2009
02:00 PM ET

We Listen!

Here’s your daily recap of the best feedback we got from YOU on the blog, Facebook, Twitter, Email. Continue the conversation below. And remember, keep it brief, and keep it clean. Thanks!


With President Obama’s French Town Hall live this morning, American Morning viewers shared their opinions on Mr. Obama’s first two months in office. The majority passionately approved of the President’s performance, especially with international leaders:

  • Elizabeth: “For too many years we were thought of as ugly Americans. I think President Obama gives a new face. A face of the every day American. It's been a great trip. I thing that it would be very arrogant of us to think that we would get every thing that we wanted. But what we did get was even more important. More respect in the world.”
  • AJS: Excellent job by Obama. I am very proud of him as our President.
  • Leo: Obama is right; we need to understand that we are in a new era and America and the European have to get together and put the past behind us but don't forget where we are trying to go. We need to get America and the rest of our world back on track. We need peace and partnership people.

A minority expressed serious doubts about the president’s direction for the country:

  • Kay: For the first time in my 60 years I am NOT PROUD of my country and scared to death that the 'death of America" is imminent.

What’s your opinion on how President Obama has performed in his first two months in office? What areas do you see need improvement? Tell us your thoughts.

CNN’s coverage of the G-20 Summit and the live Town Hall generated mixed reviews, with some absolutely ecstatic with our live coverage:

  • Anonymous: “Please do NOT use my name. I think I died and went to heaven this morning; Carol Costello AND Christiane Amanpour AND LIVE, LIVE, LIVE intelligent coverage of Obama in France. No other station has LIVE coverage, or, if they do, they have the self-serving talking heads talking over the coverage. UGH! Bring Carol Costello back to the morning news, please! She is terrific - where has she been?”

Others were not so kind, claiming that CNN has lowered its editorial standards:

  • Vernon: There was a short snippet this morning where Carol Costello commented that President Obama appeared to be groveling to the Saudi representatives at the G20 summit. You showed a still photo that could have had any (or no) context but you did not show the video only the still. What the heck are you guys doing? What kind of news organization shows a still photo and implicitly states that it shows that the President is groveling. You (and the viewing audience) have NO IDEA what the man was doing but you imply something. Where have the editorial standards gone with CNN? This kind of stunt is something that you would see in a National Enquirer not a national television news organization. My respect for CNN as a news organization is significantly lower this morning, as a result of this type of reporting.

Grade our coverage. Have we been performing to your standards? What did you dislike about the coverage? What areas would you have liked further reporting? Where can we improve? Share your thoughts with us.


Filed under: We Listen
April 3rd, 2009
11:00 AM ET

Meet AM: Bruce Dunkins – Floor Director

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Bruce Dunkins takes a look at what’s on tap for the day’s show."]

Each Friday in “Meet AM,” we’ll introduce you to the people who get American Morning to air.

Today, we’d like you to meet Bruce Dunkins. He’s one of AM’s floor directors, which means he helps to make what’s been planned actually happen on the set. Bruce is from Maryland and has been in television since 1991. He’s been with CNN for six and a half years, but he says it’s gone by fast.

How did you end up working as floor director?
Throughout my career in television, I have held several different jobs (writer’s assistant, associate producer, child talent coordinator). Then an opportunity presented itself where I was able to be on the set and train as a stage manager. I found that being on the floor was exciting and I also felt more connected with the production than when I was behind a desk. So I went from behind the desk, onto the set, and never looked back.


Filed under: Meet AM
April 3rd, 2009
10:00 AM ET

Mom stands between families and homelessness

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Steinhardt converted her basement into a child care center as part of her effort to help low-income families."]

VIENNA, Virginia (CNN) - Despite working three jobs, Carolina Wines and her husband, George Wines, couldn't afford housing. For six months they had to live out of their van, hanging sheets on the windows for privacy and stopping at gas stations to wash up.

A medical disability kept George Wines from working, leaving it to his wife to support both of them.

It was a battle, and they were losing.

Obtaining affordable housing "was impossible," she said. The couple spent five years on the public housing wait list.

"When it would be really cold, in the 20s, I'd be up most of the night keeping the van running," said George Wines.

But with help from Suezette Steinhardt, families such as the Wineses are getting back on track and into their own homes. The couple now have an apartment, and Carolina Wines said she is moving forward with her education and her career.

"Without Suezette," said Carolina Wines, "we would probably be dead."

Keep reading this story

Filed under: CNN Heroes
April 3rd, 2009
08:55 AM ET

Just in: 2 million jobs lost so far in '09

Unemployment rate spikes to 8.5%, a 25-year high, as 663,000 jobs lost in March.
5.1 million jobs have now been lost since the beginning of 2008.

By Chris Isidore, senior writer

NEW YORK ( - Job losses continued to mount in March and unemployment hit a 25-year high, according to the government's latest reading on the battered labor market Friday.

Employers trimmed 663,000 jobs from their payrolls last month, roughly in line with forecasts of a loss of 658,000 jobs, according to economists surveyed by

For the first three months of the year, 2 million jobs have been lost, and 5.1 million jobs have been lost since the start of 2008.

To put the three-month loss in context, if no more jobs are lost over the next nine months, 2009 would still be the fourth worst year for job losses since the government started tracking the number of workers in 1939.

March's monthly loss is up slightly from the loss of 651,000 jobs in February, although it's less than the number of jobs lost in January. That figure was revised up to a loss of 741,000 jobs - which now stands as the biggest monthly drop in 59 years.

The unemployment rate climbed to 8.5% from 8.1% in February, in line with economists' forecasts. It was the highest since November, 1983.

Keep reading this story

Filed under: Economy
April 3rd, 2009
08:00 AM ET

U.S. and France: A love-hate story

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are welcomed by French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and French President Nicolas Sarkozy"]

French-American relations hit a very low point in 2003 when the French refused to support the American invasion of Iraq. Things got so bad that many Americans actually got behind a movement to CHANGE the name “French Fries” to “Freedom Fries”. Read the story.  Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) actually held a press conference to pronounce that the House cafeteria would “rename the ‘French Fry’ to the ‘Freedom Fry’ because of our disappointment with the French.”


Since then the French elected a new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, who embraced America so much he actually vacationed in the USA in the summer of 2007. Sarkozy was invited to speak before a joint session of Congress where he embraced “the American Dream.” Read his speech.

So, what’s with President Sarkozy now? Headlines on the eve of the G-20 Summit said that he threatened to stay away unless the United States got tough with financial regulation.


Filed under: France
April 3rd, 2009
07:00 AM ET

Fast Forward

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Here are some of the stories that will be making news later today:

At 8:30am ET – The Labor Department releases its March unemployment report. Economists expect a loss of more than 650-thousand jobs and a jump in national unemployment rate to 8.5 percent. If they're right it would be a record four straight months with job losses topping 600-thousand.

Iowa's supreme court is expected to issue a ruling this morning on whether the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. A national gay rights organization sued the state on behalf of six gay and lesbian couples who were denied marriage licenses

The Coast Guard is preparing to move about 4.7 millions of gallons of oils stored near Alaska's Mount Redoubt. The volcano has had 18 major eruptions in just two weeks – but has quieted in the past 48 hours. Officials fear a massive oil spill at the storage facility that's just 22 miles away.

While we could all use a vacation, Congress is getting two weeks. After today, lawmakers are scheduled to start their spring-Easter vacation. They reconvene on April 20th.

Disgraced former NFL star, Michael Vick, is expected to take the stand around 9am ET this morning in his own chapter 11 confirmation hearing. The proceeding is meant to determine how he will emerge from bankruptcy. Vick's fortune was depleted after his arrest for involvement in a huge dog fighting ring.

And at one o'clock ET this afternoon – Demonstrators will stage a protest rally in New York against bailouts for the big banks. Their "bail out the people" march on Wall Street will call for a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions.

Filed under: Fast Forward
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