American Morning

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December 22nd, 2011
10:43 AM ET

Big Stars, Big Giving: Will Ferrell's serious commitment to charity

"Big Stars, Big Giving" is our special series that shines the spotlight on celebrities and the causes they support.

Will Ferrell famously played President George W. Bush on "Saturday Night Live." He spoofed the news business as Ron Burgundy in "Anchorman." And children of all ages fell in love with him in "Elf."

Ferrell is also giving back, focusing on one special charity close to his heart.

CNN's Alina Cho talk with Christine Romans and Ali Velshi this morning about her chat with the comedian who's making a serious commitment to cancer survivors.

For more information on Cancer for College, visit

Filed under: Big Stars, Big Giving
December 22nd, 2011
10:36 AM ET

Kenneth Branagh chats about his role in 'My Week with Marilyn'

It's called "My Week with Marilyn." It's a new movie showcasing the late screen siren back in the 1950s. But, there's more to Marilyn Monroe than we know: A history of insecurity and tension on set.

The movie shows a clash of acting approaches between Monroe and famous actor and director Sir Laurence Olivier.

This morning on American Morning, Kenneth Branagh who played "Sir Laurence Olivier" and has been nominated for a Golden Globe for "best supporting actor" for his performance, talks about his experience acting in the movie.

Filed under: AM Fun
December 22nd, 2011
10:28 AM ET

Dreaming of a White House Christmas – Author Coleen Christian Burke on the secrets to decorating for the holidays

Christmas at the White House is always a lavish affair and a lot of pressure for the First Lady.

Throughout history, they've been responsible for decorating the most famous house in the country and are expected to bring their own style and personal touch. So what does it take to decorate 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

This morning on American Morning, Christine Romans talks with Coleen Christian Burke, author of "Christmas with the First Ladies." A White House decorator herself - she helped decorated the White House for First Lady Laura Bush back in 2008, takes us through a look back at White House style secrets and traditions.

Filed under: Christmas • White House
December 22nd, 2011
10:16 AM ET

Sen. McCain: 'No incumbent is safe, nor should they be'

(CNN) - President Barack Obama is expected to make a statement Thursday on the partisan standoff over how best to extend the expiring payroll tax cut, according to the White House.

Obama will be joined by "Americans who would see their taxes go up if the House Republicans fail to act," the White House said. Some of those people have participated in Obama's social media campaign highlighting what a $40 loss to a paycheck can mean to the average American.

Wednesday, the President called House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to discuss the impasse, the White House said.

A two-month extension passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support by the Democratic-controlled Senate "is the only option to ensure that middle class families aren't hit with a tax hike in 10 days and gives both sides the time needed to work out a full year solution," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

Senator John McCain wants his fellow Republicans in the House to get their act together. He's said the standoff is damaging his party and is unfair to the American people.

Senator McCain talks with CNN's Ali Velshi live from Phoenix this morning about what it will take to break the impasse. He also responds to the recent surge of violence in Iraq since the U.S. military pullout.

Filed under: Iraq • Payroll tax
December 22nd, 2011
09:43 AM ET

Sen. Durbin on payroll tax standoff: We owe an obligation to this country that goes beyond the next election

Nine days now until a tax hike and House Republicans yesterday walked out of an effort by Democrats to force a vote on extending the payroll tax for two months. Republicans want to take care of it for a whole year.

There is no resolution in sight this morning, even after President Obama spent an afternoon on the phone with Congressional leaders on both sides.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin joins Christine Romans this morning on American Morning to discuss the latest impasse and whether the partisanship in government could improve.

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Filed under: Payroll tax
December 22nd, 2011
09:37 AM ET

Chinese hackers breach U.S. Chamber of Commerce – what do they want? A 'Popular Mechanics' editor explains

It's called digital espionage.

Chinese hackers breached the online defenses of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last year, accessing information about its 3 million members and stealing thousands of e-mails. It was one of the boldest infiltrations ever.

Cyber attacks like this one cost the U.S. economy billions every year.

On American Morning this morning, "Popular Mechanics" senior news editor Joe Pappalardo talks about the magazine's cover story on hacks from foreign countries and explains what the possible motivations could be behind these attacks.

Filed under: China • Hacking
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