February 26th, 2014
10:44 PM ET

Christie Christie: "I have no problem with my poll numbers"

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is answering new questions about the bridge scandal engulfing his administration.

He appeared on a New Jersey radio segment 'Ask the Governor'.

Radio Host: You have political capital to advance second term agenda?
Christie: Sure. I have no problem with my poll numbers - still better than most people in my state.

It's an interesting comment in light of Christie's quip earlier Wednesday that pollsters are always wrong, just like weathermen, he said.

Christie also noted that no one asked him about the scandal during a town hall meeting - same as his last town hall.

But he did not note that both forums were held in very Christie friendly areas of the state.

Outfront tonight: Newsday Columnist Ellis Henican and Political Analyst​ Steve Adubato.

Filed under: Bridge Scandal • Chris Christie • News • Politics
February 26th, 2014
10:31 PM ET

House GOP takes on the rich with tax reform plan

The GOP is taking on wall street.

Republicans want to close one of the most ridiculous tax loopholes in America known as "carried interest."

As part of a major tax code overhaul, Republican House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp said Wednesday he will close a loophole that has netted the top Americans billions of dollars.

Whose benefited?

People like:

  • Stephen Schwarzman from Blackstone - worth $7.7 billion.
  • Henry Kravis from KKR, another private equity firm - worth $4.7 billion.
  • John Doerr from Kleiner Perkins - worth $2.9 billion.

According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, they would pay billions of dollars over the next decade if the loophole was closed.

At a time when every dollar counts, some would there'd be celebration on Capitol Hill.

But Republicans and Democrats have been afraid of challenging these business titans and their lobbyists.

House Speaker John Boehner was asked about carried interest on the Hill today. His response? "Blah, blah, blah," before going on to say the plan is "the beginning of [a] conversation" lawmakers need to have about tax reform.

President Obama is also guilty of caving to lobbyist pressure. He promised to close the loophole in 2007, and it's still wide open.

The loophole allows these people to pay half the taxes they would otherwise. They currently pay a tax rate of 20%, but their regular income tax rate would top out around 35% under Camp's plan.

Some loopholes make sense. Camp's plan has a few supporters, but not many.

Erin Burnett explains why:

When you're a partner in a private equity firm, you get a cut of the profits you make from investing other people's money. Usually, it's a 20 percent cut.

If you invest money with one of these men and your investment goes up in value, they get to keep a cut of the profits. Now, it's your money that was put at risk. While you get to pay the lower capital gains rate of 20% so do the guys, who simply manage your money. And their cut of the profits is a huge part of the money they earn.

Both parties get to pay the lower rate provided to Americans to encourage people to take risk - except it's not their money and it's not their risk.

They get to pay 20% on what is essentially their wages. Everyone else's wages are taxed at an ordinary income tax rate.

Burnett asks Michael Farr,  Author of "Restoring Our American Dream: The Best Investment," whether he thinks the tax reform will actually happen.

"What I'm hearing from my friend Greg Valliere at Potomac research is that the Republicans don't want to touch much of this a minute before they have to and certainly not before the mid-term election," says Farr. "I think something could happen but I think it's going to take a while."

Filed under: Economy • GOP • News • Politics • Tax Reform
February 26th, 2014
10:01 PM ET

Paula Deen to open new restaurant post N-word scandal

Paula Deen resurrects her fallen empire.

The celebrity chef announced Wednesday she is opening her first new restaurant since admitting to using the N-word.

Paula Deen to open first post-scandal restaurant

The $20 million restaurant called "Paula Deen's Family Kitchen" will open this summer in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, a tourist hub home to Dolly Parton's "Dollywood" theme park and a host of other attractions.

Pigeon Forge Mayor David Wear is OutFront.

Filed under: Business • News • Paula Deen
February 26th, 2014
09:48 PM ET

Spike Lee unleashes rant over gentrification: The "great influx of white people"

The gentrification of America.

It has been happening in major cities like San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Washington and New York for decades. But the results have been controversial.

Spike Lee explains expletive-filled gentrification rant

On Tuesday night, actor and director Spike Lee went off about the "great influx of white people" when he was asked this question New York City resident, D.K. Smith.

SMITH: You mentioned gentrification with some slightly negative connotation and I wondered if you've ever looked at it from the other side. Which is that if your family was still in that 40 thousand dollar home, it's now worth three and a half, 4 million dollars.

SPIKE: Alright, let me just kill you right now.
SMITH: Ok, go for it.
SPIKE: There was a b****t article in the New York Times today and the good of gentrification. I don't believe that.

But Spike Lee was just getting warmed up.

LEE: And then comes the m***k***g Christopher Columbus Syndrome. You can't discover this! We been here. You just can't come and bogart. There were brothers playing m***k***g African drums in Mount Morris Park for 40 years and now they can't do it anymore because the new inhabitants said the drums are loud.

D.K. Smith is the man who ignited the firestorm and asked Spike Lee that controversial question. He is OutFront.

CNN's Anderson Cooper sat down with Spike Lee to discuss his controversial gentrification rant. CLICK HERE for the blog post.

Filed under: News
February 26th, 2014
09:32 PM ET

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoes controversial "anti-gay" bill

(CNN) - Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have allowed businesses that asserted their religious beliefs the right to deny service to gay and lesbian customers.

Opinions have been sharply divided over the politically charged measure, with both sides ramping up pressure on Brewer after the state's Republican-led Legislature approved the bill last week.

Brewer said she made the decision she knew was right for Arizona.

"I call them as I see them, despite the cheers or the boos from the crowd," Brewer said, calling the bill "broadly worded" and saying it could have "unintended and negative consequences."

Brewer said she'd weighed the arguments on both sides before vetoing the measure, which is known as SB 1062.

Read Gov. Brewer's full statement

"To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes," she said. "However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want.

"Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value. So is non-discrimination."


Filed under: News • Politics
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