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August 15th, 2009
04:55 AM ET

What We Are Working On This Morning...

There’s plenty of coffee brewing while writers, producers, segment producers, bookers and the production crew prepare for this morning’s show. Here’s what we are working on right now in the CNN newsroom: A developing story out of Afghanistan... While you were sleeping a massive explosion rocked Kabul killing at least three people and injuring dozens. We’ll tell you who may be behind the attack.

Plus, the hot button topic of health care reform. People on both sides of the issue want their voices heard. They will get their chance at one of the many town hall forums going on across the country today. We’ll tell you where they will be happening. Also, the CNN Truth Squad will try to get to the bottom of this question: Will health care legislation give the government access to your bank account? Find out what our Josh Levs learned.

Earlier this week President Obama named the Medal of Freedom recipients. It’s America’s highest civilian honor. Reverend Joseph Lowery and actress/singer Chita Rivera were among the many recipients. Our Betty Nguyen will speak live with them both later this morning around 10:15am ET/7:15am PT.

The new book “Family Affair: What it Means to be African American” is a compilation of thought provoking essays written by a variety of celebrities discussing topics such as family, culture, relationships, community and self. Our T.J. Holmes sat down with soap actress Victoria Rowell who authored one of the essays.

We'll have those stories and much more this morning. So start your Saturday with T.J. Holmes and Betty Nguyen in the CNN Newsroom at 6am ET/3am PT.

June 12th, 2009
07:25 AM ET

Health Care Reform

President Obama hit the road yesterday to talk health care reform. At a town hall meeting in Green Bay, Wisconsin he laid out his case for revamping the nation’s health care system, highlighting vast differences in the quality and cost of health care across the country. The U.S. health care system is the most expensive in the world; we spend almost 50 percent more per person than any other country. President Obama emphasized health care as the biggest threat to the federal deficit and a vital part of fixing the overall economy.

Americans are also struggling with their own personal debt, in large part due to health care costs. A recent Harvard study found that more than 60 percent of bankruptcy filings are due to medical costs. From 2001 to 2007 the number of bankruptcies related to medical expenses rose 50 percent. In his remarks yesterday President Obama said, “Within a decade we will be spending one out of every five dollars we earn on health care. In thirty years, it will be one out of every three.” With hopes of having a new health care bill on his desk by October, there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered. So far there is little support for government-sponsored health care among Republicans, and little faith from Democrats in fixing the current system.

The President will continue to push his agenda on Monday as he heads to Chicago to convince America’s largest physician organization, the American Medical Association, which earlier this week said that they are opposed to a government-sponsored health care system. Another option that has been gaining in popularity as a potential compromise between a full fledged government-run system and a solely private option are non-profit health insurance cooperatives.

At 10:30am ET we’ll get the views and opinions from three different people in our Snapshot Across America. Heidi Collins will speak with Michael Cannon from the Cannon Institute, Dr. Jane Delgado, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, and Chris Woleske, Executive Vice President of Biden Health Care.

What are your thoughts on the issue? Post your suggestions and opinions.

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Filed under: Anchors • Heidi Collins
May 31st, 2009
12:00 PM ET

The Obamas' night out

It was a campaign promise President Obama made to his wife.

From a White House statement on the President's date night with the First Lady: "I am taking my wife to New York City because I promised her during the campaign that I would take her to a Broadway show after it was all finished."

No sooner than date night was announced, the Republican National Committee sent out a statement of their own attacking the President for spending tax payer's money in hard economic times.

What are you thoughts? Was the President's date night a much needed break from the White House or a waste of money?

May 17th, 2009
08:02 AM ET

Do You Remember?

This morning we were all sitting around our desks in the newsroom talking about the controversy surrounding President Obama’s commencement speech at Notre Dame. TJ asked, does anyone remember who spoke at their college graduation? Both TJ and Betty did not remember. Our Executive Producer Tenisha Abernathy remembered because she said her friend’s father gave the commencement address, former Surgeon General David Satcher. One of our producers Deanna Siste graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. She said Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison spoke at her graduation. I graduated from Arizona State University. I have no clue who spoke that day years ago. Interesting enough, President Obama gave the commencement address at my alma mater this year. Anyway, needless to say we liked the topic so much it became our Facebook topic this morning.

Here are some other questions to think about... do we not remember because the speaker was not very memorable? Or were we just so happy to graduate it didn’t really matter? I think it was a little bit of both.

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