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President Obama Makes Case for his Jobs Plan; GOP Presidential Candidates Debate

Aired September 13, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: It`s Tuesday. This is CNN Student News, and I`m Carl Azuz. Now let`s get rolling with today`s headlines.

First up, President Obama is making the case for his new job creation plan. This is a plan he discussed in a speech to Congress on Thursday. Yesterday he actually gave the detailed plan to lawmakers hours after making a fresh pitch for it at the White House Rose Garden.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The bottom line is, when it comes to strengthening the economy and balancing our books, we`ve got to decide what our priorities are. Do we keep tax loopholes for oil companies - or do we put teachers back to work?

Do we keep tax loopholes for oil companies, or do we put teachers back to work? Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, or should we invest in education and technology and infrastructure, all the things that are going to help us out-innovate and out-educate and out-build other countries in the future?

AZUZ (voice-over): As we mentioned last week, this comes as the nation`s unemployment rate remains stuck at around 9 percent. Now if the $447 billion plan is approved by Congress, here`s some of what it would involve: keeping and expanding certain tax cuts, extending benefits for people who can`t find a job, and creating jobs in part by repairing the nation`s roads and bridges.


AZUZ: But some Republicans are hesitant to jump on board with the plan right away. House Speaker John Boehner said Monday that lawmakers will consider it, but they`ll be cautious, based on the record of other economic proposals enacted.

Last night, eight Republican presidential candidates were scheduled to take the stage at a debate in Tampa, Florida. Taxes were expected to be one issue on the agenda. Part of the reason for that, the debate was cosponsored by the Tea Party.

That`s a political movement calling for less government spending and regulations, and lower taxes. In fact, "Tea" is an acronym standing for "taxed enough already." Some of the other big topics expected to be discussed last night were health care and Social Security.

And if you`re wondering how the debate`s format was supposed to work, some questions came from the moderator -- that was CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer -- other questions from Tea Party activists, audience members and voters in other states.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s the word? It`s a verb meaning "to fail to make a payment on a debt."

Default, that`s the word.


AZUZ: Stock markets in Europe and the United States have dropped in recent days because of renewed fears that the country of Greece might soon default on its debts. Investors are concerned that Greece may not get another round of bailout money.

And if doesn`t, the country simply won`t be able to pay what it owes. That`s not sitting well with the people of Greece. These are images of riots that broke out over the weekend, as people there protested the government`s handling of the nation`s economic crisis.

Police say at least 15,000 people were involved in the protests, which follow a number of other protests in recent months. Many in Greece are angry about government cutbacks already in effect, and the possibility of even more cutback in the near future. Measures already passed by the government include higher taxes and a requirement for people to work longer before they retire.

Meantime, in the U.S., a major financial institution is facing cutbacks of its own. Bank of America says it plans to eliminate 30,000 jobs over the next few years. That`s about 10 percent of the company`s workforce, and it comes after Bank of America had already announced a cut of 6,000 jobs. This is also the largest single job reduction by a U.S. company this year.

The job cuts are aimed at saving the company $5 billion. The move is one of several that the company is making to save the bank. It`s been struggling because of mortgage investments that have gone bad, and a lack of cash on hand.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the Shoutout. Which word describes the ability to read and write? If you think you know the answer, shout it out.

Is it literate? Alliterate? Illiterate? Or liberate? You`ve got three seconds, go.

Literate is an adjective describing the ability to read and write. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: Literacy plays into our next story. You and I didn`t have iPads when we were in kindergarten. But that may be where things are headed for today`s young `uns, as Elizabeth Cohen tells us. A school district in Maine is giving each of its kindergartners a personal iPad. It`s an effort to improve students` ability to read.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): It`s a big day in Ms. McCarthy`s kindergarten class at Fairview School.

KELLY MCCARTHY, KINDERGARTEN TEACHER: What time do you think it is?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) lunchtime.

MCCARTHY: Not lunchtime. What do you think it is?


MCCARTHY: iPad time.

COHEN (voice-over): Today, these kids are getting their own iPads.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Thumbs on top.

COHEN (voice-over): The Auburn, Maine, school district spent more than $200,000 to outfit every one of its 250 kindergartners with the tablets, and a sturdy case to protect them. They believe they`re the first public school district in the country to give every kindergartner an iPad. Ms. McCarthy says the iPads give her 19 students more immediate feedback and individual attention than she every could.

MCCARTHY: As much as you would love to, as a person, be able to get to everybody right away and individualize what they`re doing, sometimes you can`t.

COHEN (voice-over): Forty percent of the third graders here in Auburn are not reading at grade level. Superintendent Katy Grondin says the goal is to fix that.

KATY GRONDIN, AUBURN SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT: We put a stake in the ground that our kindergarten classes from here on out, by the time they reach third grade and leave third grade, that 90 percent of those students are meeting benchmarks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to (inaudible) around like that.



COHEN (voice-over): There`s no question these kids love their iPads, maybe a little too much, some might say. A study done last year shows kids with too much computer time are more likely to have psychological problems. Some experts worry too much screen time takes them away from reality and away from face time with other kids and teachers.

The school district says they`re making sure that doesn`t happen.

MCCARTHY: We`re going to really make sure that they`re outside playing, that they are interacting with each other, they`re interacting with adults, besides using this -- the tool that we`re giving them.


COHEN (voice-over): Soon they`ll find out if the iPads help or hurt when they test the kindergartners` reading and math skills in November.


AZUZ: All right. So every kindergartner gets an iPad. It sounds cool for them. But do you think it`ll help them read better as it`s intended to do? That`s the question we`re asking today on our blog at One thing to keep in mind, it`s first names only on the blog. Last names, last initials, anything like that won`t get published and they won`t get on the show.

Before we go, what do you get when you cross an airport, two soldiers in love and a certain special question? Rick Hightower of WRTV has the answer.



She makes me laugh, she makes me smile, just everything about her.

RICK HIGHTOWER, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Indiana National Guard Staff Sgt. Jesse Fordyce was hoping for a big "yes" Saturday, as he waited nervously at the airport baggage claim for his girlfriend and fellow soldier, Kelly Osborn.


FORDYCE: All right, love you. `Bye.

OK, so she`s off the plane.

HOLLY NUNEMAKER, KELLY OSBORN`S SISTER: It`s very, very exciting. She`s found a wonderful man, and we`re very excited.

KENNA FORDYCE, JESSE`S MOTHER: They`ve given so much, you know, to our country and to all of us, and we`ve all seen them go through so much, when Jesse was injured and everything. And Kelly`s just a great soldier, too, and I just couldn`t be happier for both of them.

HIGHTOWER (voice-over): Finally.

FORDYCE: There she is.

HIGHTOWER (voice-over): Osborn, an Afghanistan veteran, emerged at the top of the escalator, where she saw the big question unfurled.

She made her way down the escalator and into Jesse`s arms, where he popped the biggest question of his life.


FORDYCE: Will you marry me?

HIGHTOWER (voice-over): After lots of hugs and kisses, she, of course, said.

OSBORN: I did say yes.

FORDYCE: (Inaudible) yes, numerous times.

OSBORN: I think before he asked. I`m shocked.

HIGHTOWER: The Iraq veteran and Purple Heart recipient was relieved that he was now engaged.

FORDYCE: I love you.

OSBORN: I love you, too.

HIGHTOWER (voice-over): A couple that`s given much to their country now plan to give themselves to each other.

FORDYCE: You know, if we have to be away from each other, it -- you know, we`ll make do. You know, that`s why we signed up, to do our job. So if we have to be apart from each other, then that`s what we`ll do.

Want to put it on?

OSBORN: Yes. Does it fit?

FORDYCE: It should.


AZUZ: And that "ties the knot" on this edition of CNN Student News. We "propose" you join us again tomorrow, and we hope you`ll "say yes." It would make us "marry." See you later.



FORDYCE: Will you marry me?

FORDYCE: I love you.

OSBORN: I love you, too.

FORDYCE: Want to put it on?

OSBORN: Yes. Does it fit?

FORDYCE: It should.