Overheard on CNN.com: Do Gingrich's divorces, Paul's newsletters matter?
Readers are debating how Newt Gingrich's past impacts his current GOP candidacy.
December 26th, 2011
07:29 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Do Gingrich's divorces, Paul's newsletters matter?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

The GOP candidacy saga continues in the days leading up to the Iowa caucuses on January 3. Current conversation is centering on two men: Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. Readers have been talking up a storm about recent CNN stories about both candidates.

Newly recovered court files cast doubt on Gingrich version of first divorce

Newt Gingrich claims his first wife wanted their divorce in 1980, but court documents obtained by CNN appear to show something different. Readers debated the importance of divorce in the presidency, with a large percentage of readers saying Gingrich's baggage makes him difficult to elect.

bzscorpio: "Even if Newt wasn't lying about his first wife wanting the divorce, the real issue here is that the man who wants to appeal to 'family values' voters has had two marriages end because of his infidelity. The guy is just a total scumbag."

There were also a lot of readers who thought commenters were being too judgmental of Gingrich.

cosaslo: "I must say, if you haven't been through one (divorce) you should keep your traps shut and your ideas to yourself. For those of us who have, what I can say is Newt, glad to see ya. The stuff they are throwing at you now ain't nothin'."

The comparisons to former President Bill Clinton did come.

obamamentor: "Let me get this right: Newt was trying to impeach a president for doing what Newt was doing also at the same time."

boblawbla: "I don't recall reading any stories of Newt Gingrich getting (oral sex) from an intern in the Oval Office and then lying about it. So much for that character thing everyone seems to be focused on."

Some said they were fed up with politicians on both sides.

StoneTools: "I can't, for the life of me, understand how anyone can run for political office or re-election with the baggage that these politicians carry with them. This includes Democrats, Republicans, independents, etc. The list of them is so long, it's not worth repeating here."

calmncool: "They are counting of a lot of really stupid voters."

What do you think? Can Gingrich become the GOP nominee? Share your thoughts on video via CNN iReport and post a comment below.

But let's not forget about Ron Paul, who also was the subject of thousands of comments on CNN.com. Conservative commentator David Frum wrote an opinion piece examining the roots of the candidate's devoted following, taking a look back at some controversial newsletters published under Paul's name back in the 1990s.

Ron Paul: Codger, crank or more?

Frum asserts that Paul "was ready to exploit the even greater racism and extremism of others for financial gain," and our commenters had plenty to say in response. Many were outraged:

Tempesttt: "If gullible people didn't take this tripe seriously, I'd be laughing about it. It's funny that the best they can do to tarnish Ron Paul's name is pull up some old newsletter from almost 20 years ago that he didn't even write nor endorse. The more the media hates on Ron Paul, the more I am convinced that he's the man I want to be the next president of the United States."

Readers debated the significance of newsletters written so long ago.

timjayko: "Ron Paul did not write those newsletters, nor does he agree with them. Take a look at Newt Gingrich's track record. You could write a whole friggin' book on his slimy history. Or Romney's flip-flopping policies. Could make a waffle breakfast for hundreds with this changes on political stances throughout the years."

nsinex: "If he didnt write them, he let people he trusted write them. If people he trusted had those views, he couldn't have thought their views were too far off."

PhillyEric: "What none of the Ron Paul defenders is willing to address is how his 'I didn't know the contents of the newsletters' defense is actually helpful. If you knew that there were newsletters being published with your name on them, wouldn't you verify that the contents reflected your views? Or wouldn't you at least take the time to find out who was writing them and what they stood for? All this defense argues is that he is so money-hungry or unprincipled that he didn't care what his name was being used for. I certainly haven't seen him offer to return the millions of dollars in profits."

But most simply disagreed with Frum.

narniaisboss: "I'm sorry, but whether or not you like Ron Paul, you have to admit that this is complete nonsense."

What do you think about these stories? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

December 26th, 2011
02:25 PM ET

Suspect in soldier shooting surrenders

A man accused of shooting and paralyzing a U.S. Army soldier at a homecoming party in his honor surrendered to authorities in California on Monday.

Christopher Sullivan, 22, had just returned home to California from Kentucky where he was stationed while recovering from injuries sustained during a suicide bombing attack in December 2010 while he was in Afghanistan. The San Bernadino County Sun reported that the Army specialist narrowly survived the attack which killed five members of his unit and left Sullivan with a cracked collar bone and brain damage. Sullivan was awarded the Purple Heart after the incident.

Sullivan, 22, was shot at the party in his honor on Friday after an "argument and physical confrontation" with 19-year-old Ruben Ray Jurado, San Bernadino Police Department Sgt. Pete Higgins told CNN.

Accompanied by an attorney, Jurado turned himself in to authorities in Chino Hills early Monday afternoon, said Lt. Gwendolyn Waters. He was then transferred to the custody of San Bernardino police and was to be booked into jail, she said.

Jurado will face charges of attempted murder, police said.

The fight broke out after Jurado and Sullivan's younger brother began arguing about football, his mother, Suzanne Sullivan, told CNN.

"[He] pulled out a gun and shot him twice," she said.

Higgins said Jurado then fled the scene after the shooting.

Suspect Ruben Ray Jurado is wanted by police.


December 26th, 2011
12:40 PM ET

Medical helicopter carrying 3 people crashes

A medical helicopter carrying three people crashed Monday morning in Florida, said the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA would not confirm the condition of those on board and did not specify whether any of the three people on board were patients.

The chopper crashed around 6 a.m. ET, according to Kathleen Bergen, spokeswoman for the FAA. CNN affiliated WJXT reported the helicopter was on a flight from Gainesville to Jacksonville, Florida.

Bergen said the helicopter was flying for the Mayo Clinic and was owned by SK Jets. Neither organization has confirmed reports of the accident.

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Filed under: Florida
December 26th, 2011
12:12 PM ET

Police seek motive in Texas family deaths

Autopsies will be conducted Monday on seven family members who were shot - apparently by one of their own - at a Christmas gathering, police said.

"The information we have is that this is a family, some of them related by marriage but mostly by blood," Grapevine, Texas, police Sgt. Robert Eberling said Monday. "They have lived in other areas in the (Dallas) metroplex and they came yesterday for a Christmas gathering."

Authorities believe the shooter "was one of the individuals inside the apartment that was also deceased," Eberling said. "We know he is a family member ... we are working to find out why exactly this took place. We contacted other family members to piece this together."

Police said Sunday the group was either in the process of opening Christmas gifts or had just finished doing so when the shootings occurred in the living room of the apartment in Grapevine, about 25 miles northwest of Dallas.

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Filed under: Crime • Texas • U.S.
December 26th, 2011
12:12 PM ET

Iranian officials: Woman may be hanged instead of stoned

A woman sentenced to die by stoning will be executed, Iranian officials said Monday, but the method of execution is still being debated, according to an Iranian media report.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's case drew international attention after she was sentenced to die by stoning for adultery.

"This lady is accused of two crimes," Hojatoleslam Sharifi, the judiciary chief of Eastern Azarbaijan province, told reporters at a news conference on Monday, the semi-official Iran Student's News Agency reported. "One is adultery which is punishable by stoning to death, and the other is assisting in her husband's murder. She is currently serving 10 years for helping to kill her husband."

He said "we did not have the needed facility for stoning," so officials asked the then-head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, for advice, Sharifi said. "He was too busy at the time and this issue was left for his successor to handle."

The current judiciary head, Ayatollah Amoli Larijani, "is of the opinion that since the objective is execution, and since stoning is not practical, the execution should be done by hanging," he said. "However, (Larijiani) has decided to wait for now and discuss the issue with other Islamic scholars until a clear and accurate decision is reached."

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Filed under: Iran
Ship spends 10th day stuck in frozen waters off Antarctica
A New Zealand Air Force aircraft delivered pumps and equipment to the vessel Sparta after it became trapped in Antarctic ice.
December 26th, 2011
09:35 AM ET

Ship spends 10th day stuck in frozen waters off Antarctica

A research ship has arrived to help rescue a Russian fishing vessel that struck ice and became stuck in the frozen waters off of Antarctica 10 days ago, officials in New Zealand said.

The Sparta hit underwater ice December 16, leaving a one-foot hole in the ship's hull, according to the New Zealand Rescue Coordination Center.

The ship has been stranded in an area about 2,000 miles from New Zealand, where the ice has been so thick that rescue ships have had difficulty getting close.

Since becoming stuck, 32 crew members have been working with rescuers to try to patch up the hole to keep the ship from sinking. They had been given tools dropped by a New Zealand Air Force plane, helping them pump out freezing water that was rushing into the ship.


December 26th, 2011
07:41 AM ET

Monday's live events

We are now just over a week away until the Iowa caucuses.  CNN.com Live is your home for all the latest news from the 2012 presidential election.

Today's programming schedule...

4:00 pm ET - Santorum's pheasant hunt - GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum spends his day in Adel, Iowa, where he will speak with reporters and participate in a pheasant hunt.

CNN.com Live is your home for breaking news as it happens.

Filed under: Elections • Politics
Gotta Watch: Best interviews of 2011
December 26th, 2011
07:02 AM ET
December 26th, 2011
05:21 AM ET

Japan, China hold talks on the future of Korean peninsula

Beijing (CNN) - Chinese and Japanese leaders held talks Monday to discuss peace and stability on the Korean peninsula following the recent death of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Il, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda met with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Monday, wrapping up his trip to Beijing to discuss cooperation between the two countries.

"The two sides believe that maintaining peace and stability of the Korean peninsula serves the common interests of all parties," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters Monday. "The two sides are ready to make concerted efforts to realize peace and stability of the Korean peninsula."


Filed under: World
December 26th, 2011
02:02 AM ET

Arab League observers expected in Syria on Monday

Dozens of Arab League observers are expected to arrive in Syria on Monday to monitor whether President Bashar al-Assad's government complies with an agreement to end a brutal crackdown on protesters calling for the end to his regime.

The arrival of the observers follows opposition reports of an increase in attacks by government forces recent weeks that left numerous dead, particularly in the hard-hit flashpoint city of Homs, while a double bombing that targeted Syria's security apparatus in the capital city of Damascus killed dozens.

The opposition Syrian National Council called on the observers to go straight to Homs, citing a "tight siege and the threat of military invasion" by 4,000 soldiers in addition to "non-stop bombing" of recent days.


Filed under: Arab Spring • Syria • World
December 26th, 2011
01:28 AM ET

Suicide bomber targets Iraqi interior ministry compound

Baghdad (CNN) - A suicide car bomber struck a security checkpoint at the main entrance to Iraq's interior ministry compound in central Baghdad Monday, killing at least two people and wounding six others, police said.

The attack follows a weekend meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and senior security officials to review last week's deadly bombings that killed almost 70 people and wounded more than 200. The string of 20 explosions came just days after the final U.S. troops withdrew.

Al-Maliki said at that session that security and stability must be the country's top priorities.


Filed under: World
December 26th, 2011
12:50 AM ET

Casualties from storm in Philippines continue to mount

The death toll from the tropical storm that lashed the southern Philippines just over a week ago has risen further, the government said Monday, as hundreds of thousands of people continue to receive assistance from evacuation centers in the stricken region.

The number of dead has increased to 1,171 from 1,100 over the weekend, the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in a statement posted on its website. And the number of people injured as a result of the storm has more than doubled to 4,594 from 1,979 at the weekend, the council said, putting more pressure on already stretched relief agencies.

The United Nations said last week that the storm has created "huge" humanitarian needs on the island of Mindanao, the scene of the worst devastation. It has made an appeal to raise $28 million to deal with the immediate problems in the area, with hundreds of thousands of people displaced in and around the port cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.

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Filed under: Philippines • Weather • World