Even the leader of the free world had time Tuesday to comment about the National Football League after Monday night’s controversial Seahawks-Packers game.
Replacement referees, standing in for regular officials who are locked in a labor dispute with the NFL, controversially ruled that a Seahawks receiver caught a game-winning touchdown pass as time expired. The referees also missed what the NFL says was a penalty against that same receiver – a penalty that, had it been called, would have rendered the catch controversy moot and given the win to the Packers.
Airwaves and social media were buzzing with reaction Monday and Tuesday from NFL players, fans, and yes, President Barack Obama, who says he wants to see the regular referees get back to work.
NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs' lockout is settled soon. -bo—
Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 25, 2012
Discussion of the call virtually took over Twitter in the United States, with the game generating more than 1 million tweets, the social media company said Tuesday. Already disappointed in missed and botched calls since replacements began working in the preseason, many fans and players called for the NFL to quickly settle the labor dispute.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez told CNN that after Monday night’s 14-12 Seahawks victory over the Packers, “it’s becoming embarrassing.”
Here is a look at some of the stories that CNN plans to follow this week:
One of the larger delegate prizes is up for grabs in Tuesday's Illinois primary. The four Republican candidates will slug it out for the state's 54 delegates to the party's national convention in July.
Flagging frontrunner Mitt Romney on Sunday called himself the "economic heavyweight" in the field, while referring to closest competitor Rick Santorum and President Barack Obama as "lightweights."
For his part, Santorum took to CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" to slap at Romney's inability to put his competitors away despite vast financial resources: "When you have this amount of resources and this amount of advantage, (yet) you can't manage and deliver the mail and win this nomination, that shows a real weakness in his ability to be able to govern," Santorum said.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been concentrating on the March 24 Louisiana primary, including a tour of the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans on Friday. “With both Santorum and me, (Romney is) now confused as to who he is attacking. It's his only technique," Gingrich said. "I tell people he's like a 4-foot-8 guy who wants to play center and his only technique is to shrink the others, which I think bodes very badly for a general election."
The fourth man in the race, Rep. Ron Paul, is far behind in the delegate count and spent more money than he took in during February. Paul’s self-reported spending of $3.54 million outpaced his fundraising of $3.27 million, and he ended the month with $1.36 million in the bank. His campaign reported carrying no debt.
Queen to make rare speech
Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is scheduled to deliver a speech to both houses of Parliament on Tuesday. It is expected to be the only time she will publicly acknowledge her Diamond Jubilee, the 60th anniversary of the beginning of her reign. (Plenty of others are talking about it, though, including soccer megastar David Beckham.)
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who will lose her position as speaker of the House when the new Republican majority takes over in January, used her Twitter account Friday to announce she will seek to continue to lead the Democratic caucus.
"Driven by the urgency of creating jobs & protecting #hcr, #wsr, Social Security & Medicare, I am running for Dem Leader," Pelosi tweeted. The abbreviations stand for health care and Wall Street reform.
(Updated at 9:26 a.m.)
BP hiring fishing boats to help
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Protection posted this notice:
"BP is looking to contract with vessels for hire (shrimp boats, oyster boats, etc.) to deploy boom in the Gulf of Mexico. The response contractors for this program are already collecting information on vessels. Specifically, they need the name, owner, dimensions, characteristics (including length, draft, horsepower, etc) and other pertinent information you can provide. Direction and training will be provided and determined by area response plans based on the highest priority areas on down.
"As soon as you have gathered the relevant information on your vessel, please email that information to the managing contractor Vince Mitchell at email@example.com or 425-745-8017. As well, please copy BP's coordinator Grant Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org."
(Updated at 9:19 p.m.)
Floridians: What now?
For many residents and businesses along Florida's Panhandle, the oil spill has been met with uncertainty, CNN affiliate WALA reports.
The question for many Floridians bracing for the oil spill to head their way isn't why, or how, but simply, what to do now?
"I guess one thing about hurricanes is you know what you can do," Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce President Meg Peltier told WALA. "You go to the store, you shop, you buy all your goodies and you get ready. People want to get ready for this, but they don't know what to do," Peltier said.
Buddy Rogers, who operates a beach business, told WALA that "The phones have just about stopped ringing, and those that are calling, they're cancelling charters." Rogers said, "I've offered the boat [to authorities] in any way I can, pull booms, whatever they think we can do to help. Right now, all I can do is cut all my spending, save what little bit I can."
Gulf Coast residents worried
Mississippi Gulf Coast residents see their way of life imperiled as the oil slick sloths toward the shoreline.
Fisherman Harold Strong told WLOX, "We'll be out of business, basically, pretty much devastated. I see no recovery. If you lose two to three years, I can see absolutely no way to come back from it."
Marc Douroux Jr., who fishes for a pasttime rather than livelihood, said the oil spill is sure to change marine life.
"All the livestock is going to be killed, birds are going to die, crabs are going to die, fish are going to die, there's not going to be nothing to fish for no more," he told WLOX.
[Updated at 7:04 p.m.]
Tour boat captain says oil spill worse than Katrina
CNN All Platform Journalist Sarah Hoye and photojournalist Mark Biello are currently in Gulfport, Mississippi. They spent the morning with local tour boat captains, whose livelihoods – ferrying tourists around the barrier islands – are threatened by the approaching oil spill.
Louis Skrmetta is the operations manager of Ship Island Excursions, a family-owned business since 1926. He told CNN that the oil coming to shore is worse than Hurricane Katrina.
"At least with Katrina we had clean water and something to eat," he said. "I'd rather lose my house again than go through this."
With his three boats docked, Skrmetta says he is considering filing for bankruptcy if he cannot operate tours this summer, his busiest time of year.
Lesley Enriquez went to a birthday party and brought her husband and baby daughter along. After the food and cake and singing and children's games were done, the family piled into the car and headed home.
They never made it.