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FROM THIS EPISODE

The marines and sailors are back home in England as the rest of the world measures the winners and losers. The crisis is personified by Tony Blair and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  We'll hear how perceptions differ from the Middle East to the Western world.  Also, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's "clarification" on yesterday's peace offering and, on Reporter's Notebook, between both parties, the presidential campaigns may top a billion dollars by November of next year.  Beyond the money, what will it take to win?

Producers:
Vanessa Romo
Karen Radziner
Katie Cooper

Reporter's Notebook Is Money the Last Word in Presidential Politics? 8 MIN, 25 SEC

The year 2008 could see the first billion-dollar presidential campaign in history.  So far, Democrats have topped Republicans, but each party is likely to raise and spend $500 million before it's all over. Barack Obama stunned political pros by virtually matching Hillary Clinton's first-quarter fundraising with $25 million to her $26.  John Edwards is next with $15, and Bill Richardson has $6 million--which would have put him in the top tier four years ago.  On the Republican side, Mitt Romney--little known to most voters--came in with $21 million, topping Rudi Giuliani's $15.  With $12 million, John McCain is said to be revamping his fund raising operation. We get an update from Ron Brownstein, national affairs columnist of the Los Angeles Times.

Guests:
Ron Brownstein, National Journal (@RonBrownstein)

Main Topic Freed Sailors Arrive in London amid Many Questions 34 MIN, 45 SEC

After a week and a half of what looked like comfortable captivity in Iran, fifteen British marines and sailors are back with their families as the rest of the world looks at the aftermath of a potentially dangerous episode. Iran and the European Union already have resumed discussions on Iran's nuclear program, so communications channels are still open. What about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Tony Blair? Was the prisoner release a "gift" from Iran or dramatic damage control?  Despite Britain’s denials, was there a deal? We’ll hear how perceptions differ from the Middle East to the Western World. 

Guests:
Julian Borger, Guardian of London (@julianborger)
Mansour Farhang, Professor of Political Science at Bennington College
Joseph Cirincione, Ploughshares Fund (@Cirincione)
Fawaz Gerges, London School of Economics and Politics
Nile Gardiner, former Advisor to Rudy Giuliani
Robin Wright, US Institute of Peace (@wrightr)

Making News PM Olmert Denies Pelosi Carried a Message from Israel to Syria 5 MIN, 52 SEC

In Damascus, Syria yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said President Bashar al-Assad responded favorably to a message from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.  She said both sides were ready for peace talks.  However, today, Olmert's office issued what it called a "clarification:" there was no such message from him.  Yoav Stern is Arab Affairs correspondent for the Israeli daily Ha'aretz.

Guests:
Yoav Stern, Arab Affairs Correspondent for Ha'aretz

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