American Morning

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May 22nd, 2009
12:00 PM ET

Meet AM: Emily D'Alberto – Anchor Producer

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Emily D’Alberto remains in constant contact with producers, writers, and John and Kiran during the 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 Emily D’Alberto. Emily is our anchor producer – she helps John and Kiran get ready for their day’s interviews, makes sure the graphics and video they want for these segments are ready, and otherwise makes sure the interviews go well. She’s been with AM for 4 years total.

How did you end up doing what you doing?
I majored in foreign policy at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. But after an internship with PBS my senior year, I decided journalism was my future. I started out as production assistant, and worked my way up through the business. Although I left television to work in politics for the Giuliani presidential campaign, I couldn’t stay away from the news business for long. I re-joined the American Morning staff last year as the show’s anchor producer.

Describe your average day:
My alarm goes off at 2:20am – and I immediately check my blackberry to catch up on the emails I missed while I was sleeping. I get into the office by 3am – and it’s non-stop till the show ends at 9am ET. I read the papers, go through the interview segments and help the anchors prepare for their interviews. I race into the control room at 6am. During the show I’m talking with the anchors, working with the writers and making sure the interviews go off without a problem.

What’s the hardest part of your job?
The schedule…as much as I love my job and the people I work with, I never get enough sleep!

What do you like most about working at AM?
I love the fast-paced environment, interesting stories, but most importantly – the people. There is no way I could come in at 3am if I didn’t love the team I worked with everyday.

What do you do outside of work? What do you do for fun?
I love to travel, good food and yes, the gym. It’s the gym that gets me through the constant tiredness!

From CNN's Aparnaa Seshadri

Filed under: Meet AM
May 22nd, 2009
09:34 AM ET

Matalin: Obama's 'soft power' makes us weak

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Former aide to Dick Cheney Mary Matalin tells CNN's John Roberts that Obama's policies have made us less safe."]

President Obama wants to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He made that point clear yesterday during his speech at the National Archives.

“So the record’s clear - rather than keeping us safer, the prison at Guantanamo has weakened American national security. It is a rallying cry for our enemies. It sets back the willingness of our allies to work with us in fighting an enemy that operates in scores of countries.”

A short time after President Obama concluded his speech, former Vice President Dick Cheney addressed the American Enterprise Institute on national security and he offered some blistering rebuttals. He called the release of the Bush-era memos a reckless distraction and belittled Obama's decision to close Guantanamo "with little deliberation and no plan."

CNN Contributor Mary Matalin was an aide to the former vice president. She spoke to John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Friday.

John Roberts: The former vice president has said several times that the Obama administration's policies are making America less safe. Where's the evidence for that?

Mary Matalin: Common sense and history… It’s one thing to say all of the things Obama said on the campaign trail but within hours of being the actual commander in chief, he was suggesting the previous seven years marked by no attacks were policies that were ineffective, were immoral, were illegal. That broadcast to our enemies a weakness. Weakness invites provocation. Secondly, as he was clear in his speech yesterday, he wants to return to a 9/10 law enforcement policy rather than a prevention policy.

Three, the threshold and key tool for fighting this enemy is gathering intelligence. And he’s clearly demoralized and undermined those intelligence gatherers. Four, Gitmo, releasing the hardest of the hardened terrorists into some system, whatever system that might be, either would divulge classified material... if they put them in the prison population, they can hatch plots as was the case in New York. So I could go on and on. But some of these policies, by virtue of the former vice president speaking out, were stopped as in the release of the detainee photos.


Filed under: Guantanamo • Terrorism
May 22nd, 2009
07:28 AM ET

Commentary: Wingnuts of the week

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.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Randall Terry (L) and Code Pink protestors at a Congressional hearing in March 2009 (R)."]

When President Obama gave the commencement address at Notre Dame earlier this week he called for a constructive pursuit of common ground, even on difficult social issues. It was a welcome attempt at forging a respectful ceasefire in the culture wars that have divided and bedeviled American politics since the late 1960s.

But wingnuts aren’t interested in finding common ground. Armed with ideological certainty, they come to protest and polarize. They are addicted to their drug of choice – a righteous indignation that makes them unable to see any perspective other than their own. Alternately strident and silly, callous and clueless, they become caricatures. They are unwittingly their own side’s worst enemy.

With this week’s wingnuts we’re shining a light on protestors from the right and left who were in the news this week – Notre Dame protestor Randall Terry and Code Pink.

Longtime anti-abortion protestor Randall Terry embodied the outer reaches of American politics this week with a series of stunts and accusations surrounding President Obama’s speech at Notre Dame. While many anti-abortion protesters were respectful and thoughtful, Randall Terry did not honor their common cause.

Camped out in South Bend, Indiana, Terry began with a particularly colorful protest that got him arrested on campus, pushing a baby stroller across the college with dolls covered in fake blood and bumper stickers that read: “Obama '09, one dead baby at a time.”

He escalated in an interview with CNN days before the President’s speech. The money-shot comparison in hyper-partisan politics is Hitler, with a close second being Pontius Pilate. Terry managed to do both in reference to our president. Take a look

In a few short minutes, Terry not only described President Obama as “the premier promoter of child-killing in the Western Hemisphere and perhaps the world" but described the invitation from Notre Dame as being “like inviting Pilate to speak after he ordered Jesus to be crucified.” Then came the inevitable Hitler reference: “If you and I agreed with [Obama] on every issue but he just wanted to kill Jews, would you say, 'Listen, he builds great roads, he has great economic policies; let's forget that Jewish thing for now'?"

Terry somehow managed to hit a new low soon after. With fake blood on his hands and an Obama mask on his face, he lurched forward to scare a group of children who'd been assembled in what was an ostensibly pro-child photo op. Captured by one vigilant video-blogger and posted on YouTube, you can watch a grinning Randall Terry redefine crazy-town callousness in American politics.


Filed under: John Avlon • Wingnuts of the week
May 22nd, 2009
07:07 AM ET

Don’t call me a cougar

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore at a UK film premiere in November 2008."]

There is a brand new sitcom on ABC this fall: “Cougar Town.”  It stars the gorgeous Courtney Cox as a 40-something woman on the prowl for sex with 20-something men. Some of my friends are excited about this new comedy, others are appalled.

There is no doubt though, our pop culture has gone “Cougar Crazy.” Saturday Night Live often parodies the craze and there are dozens of websites devoted to “cougars on the prowl.”

One of those websites, “,” defines Cougars as: “…women in their forties, who smoke, drink and go to clubs to pick up young men in their twenties." You’ll notice the definition does not include the word “relationship,” but “pick-up.” Some say that’s liberating for women who just want to have fun. Others question the wisdom of reducing “cougarism” to something so shallow.


Filed under: Entertainment • Just Sayin'
May 22nd, 2009
06:01 AM ET

What’s on Tap – Friday May 22, 2009

Here are the big stories on the agenda today:

The Senate sending the White House a message, approving a $91-billion bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but refusing to authorize any spending on President Obama's plan to close Guantanamo Bay prison.   This comes after the present collided with the past, over the best way to protect you.  President Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney clashed over closing Gitmo, harsh interrogation policies and other approaches to fighting terrorism, as they delivered dueling speeches in which they both pointed fingers and forcefully defended their respective policies.  Supporters on both sides are loud.  Opinions are strong.  We’ll hear from Liz Cheney, a former State Department official who says her father is on the right side of history.  We want you to join the debate, too.  Call us at 877-MYAMFIX.

We're also following developments in the life-and-death search for a cancer-stricken teenager and his mother.  Authorities in Minnesota have issued a felony arrest warrant for Colleen Hauser, who fled with her 13-year-old son Daniel to avoid court-ordered chemotherapy treatments.  The warrant allows other states to detain the pair if they're found.  It's believed mother and son may be headed to Mexico for an alternative treatment for the boy’s Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  Doctors say without chemotherapy, Daniel's chances of survival are slim, and his father is making a public appeal to his wife to return with their son.

And… who are the “wingnuts” of the week?  John Avlon is here to expose those on the far left and right who are pulling this country further apart.

Filed under: What's On Tap