Editor's Note: Monday’s American Morning debate on heath care captivated the audience, especially guest Ron Paul. Viewers expressed deep concern about Rep. Paul’s contention that socialized medicine was a questionable choice for Americans. Many felt he was attacking such a system in favor of insurance and big pharmaceutical companies.
Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has stepped back into the spotlight, if only for a few minutes.
Over the weekend he surprised the audience at a comedy show in Chicago that pokes fun at almost every aspect of his life – from his wife – to his political career.
Blagojevich made a special appearance Saturday night at Second City's production of "Rod Blagojevich Superstar."
As the curtain rose, there was Blagojevich with his arms stretched out mimicking a crucifixion.
The play is a parody of "Jesus Christ Superstar" and lampoons his rise and fall in politics. He opened the production with a monologue.
"What they say to you before you go out on stage I thought is very interesting and that is ‘we got your back.’ I've been in politics and that's not anything anybody said to me."
As Blogojevich left the stage, the cast launched into a song that asked, "What kind of idiot sells a Senate seat?" Of course, Blagojevich was indicted on charges he tried to sell President Obama's old Senate seat.
The former governor stuck around after the show to participate in some improv where he took issue with one particular part of the show, saying "That brush he has, it’s too small.”
The reviews were mixed. Some audience members cheered throughout the show while others found it a bit awkward. "He laughed a few times, he was quiet a few times, it was queasily uncomfortable even sitting behind him a few times."
The play was supposed to have its final performance this month but due to its popularity Second City has decided to extend it until August. Meanwhile, Blagojevich is facing as much as twenty years in prison if convicted on some nineteen counts, including racketeering and extortion.
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) - Iran's defeated main opposition leader appeared at a rally Monday, the first time he has been seen in public since last week's elections which he says were rigged to give hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad overwhelming victory.
Iranian opposition supporters protest in Tehran on Monday.
Reformist Mir Hossein Moussavi, whose claims of fraud in Friday's vote have fueled three days of unrest and prompted authorities to launch a probe, spoke to supporters in Tehran's Freedom Square using a loudspeaker, and clasped his hands over his head as the crowd cheered.
Wearing a striped shirt and smiling, he appeared confident, despite official election results showing that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad convincingly won Friday's election.
Hundreds of thousands of people turned out for the demonstration, said Amir Mehdi Kazemi, a reporter for the Iranian government-backed station.
CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour saw a pair of four-wheel drive vehicles - believed to be transporting Moussavi to the rally –pass at high speed to join the march, one with security officials hanging off the car and the other with a camera.
Crowds shouted "Moussavi! Moussavi!" as they passed.
There was little or no chanting of political slogans among the marchers, with demonstrators quieting anyone who tried to shout, Amanpour said, because the Interior Ministry has banned political demonstrations.
Keep reading this story »
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/15/ron.paul.healthcare.cnn.art.jpg caption="Rep. Ron Paul says 'socialized medicine' will not solve the nation's high health care costs."]
President Obama heads to Chicago today, but he will not be greeted by a hometown crowd. Instead, he'll be trying to sell his plan for a public, government-sponsored health insurance plan to the American Medical Association. Skeptical doctors who don't like what they see in his health care reforms are going to be in the audience.
Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) has a unique perspective on the issue. He is a member of the House of Representatives, but also a doctor. He spoke to Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Monday.
Kiran Chetry: The American Medical Association does have some serious concerns about a government-sponsored, public health care program. You share some of those same concerns. In a nutshell, what troubles you the most?
Ron Paul: Well, I don't like socialized medicine. We've had corporate medicine now for about 30 years, which is managed medicine by the government and it's been a total disaster. And it didn't do much more than push the cost up. And it didn't work. So now we only have one other choice, it seems, and that is going towards total government medicine. I would like to see that medicine be delivered in the marketplace like other goods and services. There's no reason we can't do this. Everybody complains about one thing. The cost of medicine is too high. And it is. But they never talk about exactly why.
There's an inflation factor involved too. We create inflation, but it goes into certain areas of the economy more so than others. The more the government is involved in an industry or a service, the higher the prices go. So in education, cost goes up way beyond the cost of living and the cost of medicine goes way up. So you can't solve the problem of medical care by…ignoring this. Now, Obama says, what we're going to do is we're going to tremendously increase the services and we're going to cut all of the payments to the doctors and the hospitals. Where is he coming from? This can't possibly work.
By Fawaz A. Gerges
Special to CNN
Editor's note: Fawaz A. Gerges holds the Christian A. Johnson Chair in Middle Eastern Studies and International Affairs at Sarah Lawrence College. His most recent book is "The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/15/art.fawaz.gerges.slc.jpg caption="Fawaz Gerges says the elite running Iran has lost the support of two key groups – women and young voters."]
(CNN) - With an apparent political coup in Iran by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his supporters over the weekend, the ruling mullahs have dispensed with all democratic pretense and joined the ranks of traditional dictators in the Middle East.
The hardliners in Tehran, led by the Revolutionary Guards and ultra-conservatives, have won the first round against reformist conservatives but at an extravagant cost - loss of public support.
Widespread accusations of fraud and manipulation are calling into question the very legitimacy and authority of the mullahs' Islamic-based regime. The electoral crisis has exposed a deepening divide between female and young voters, who represent about 70 percent of the population, and a radical conservative ruling elite out of touch with the hopes, fears and aspirations of young Iranians.
The consensus in Iran, particularly among young voters, is the election was stolen from reformist candidate, Mir Hossein Moussavi, and that the outcome did not reflect the electorate's genuine will.
After the Interior Ministry announced the final election results showing a nearly 2-to-1 landslide for Ahmadinejad (62.63 to 33.75 percent), thousands of young protesters took to the streets and clashed with police and set trash bins and tires ablaze. Shock and disbelief turned to anger and rage.