About the Show

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

The latest news and analysis on the crisis in Ukraine.

The latest news and analysis on the crisis in Ukraine.

world lead

December 17th, 2013
06:48 PM ET

Snowden offers to lend Brazil a hand

(CNN) - Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden traveled from Hawaii, to Hong Kong, to Russia. But the latest post card from Snowden is actually an open letter to the people of Brazil.

The man who got away with the "keys to the kingdom" of the intelligence community, according to one National Security Agency official, is now responding to what he says were requests by Brazil's government for a hand in their investigations of the United States' spying programs.
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money lead

December 17th, 2013
06:38 PM ET

Mega Millions: What are the odds?

(CNN) - It's Mega Millions day, time to pull out those $1 bills from your wallet for a chance to win $636 million.

But the lottery changed its rules in October, increasing the pool of numbers players have to choose from. Before then, odds were 1 in 176 million of winning; now odds are 1 in 259 million. You have a better chance of getting struck by lightning, getting killed by a vending machine, dating a supermodel, or spotting a UFO. In fact, just marry a millionaire, the odds are better.

While Mega Millions won't admit it, they changed the rules to compete with the Power Ball lottery, which consistently runs larger jackpots, says Los Angeles Times consumer columnist David Lazarus.

"The guys at the Mega Millions had jackpot envy, and wanted to find a way to get into the hundreds of millions of dollars of jackpots," said Lazarus.
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politics lead

December 17th, 2013
06:06 PM ET

Roundtable: New poll puts Obama at the worst approval rating of his presidency

(CNN) - The White House is not exactly ending the year on a high note.

A new poll from The Washington Post/ABC News puts President Barack Obama at the worst public approval rating of his presidency: 43%.

What a difference a year makes. Last December, in the weeks before his second inaugural, the same poll had Obama at 54%. That is an 11-point slide.

But the biggest hit may be on the public's perception of how capable the President is of helping the middle class - on the question of who could do a better job for the middle class, just 46% say Obama. While that is still a bit more than the Republican Party, last year Obama had a 26-point advantage on this question.

Our political panel with former governor of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Arkansas and chair of the It's My Business Coalition Blanche Lincoln, and CNN political commentator and The New Yorker correspondent Ryan Lizza discuss.

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world lead

December 17th, 2013
05:57 PM ET

North Korea's top brass commemorates Kim Jong Il's death

(CNN) – On the second anniversary of the death of former North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il, the nation held a memorial in his honor, lauding his life and achievements.

During the ceremony, his son, Kim Jong Un sat front and center below the image of his father, which was festooned in gold-colored flowers. He assumed power after his father's death in 2011.

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pop lead

December 17th, 2013
05:48 PM ET

Shia Labeouf apologizes for plagiarism in short film

(CNN) - Shia LaBeouf's new short film went live online Monday, and now the actor is facing allegations of plagiarism.

A comic book publisher says LaBeouf's movie "Howard Cantour.com" is almost a line-for-line ripoff of a 2007 story written and drawn by artist Daniel Clowes.

LaBeouf took to Twitter to apologize, writing, "Copying isn't particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else's idea to produce something new and different is creative work. He then back-tracked further, apologizing to the original artist."

He then back-tracked further, apologizing to Clowes, and eventually went with a straight-forward mea culpa, tweeting: "I f***ed up."

The film has since been password-protected.

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