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Series of High-Profile Attacks in Kabul; GOP Hopefuls Square Off in First Tea Party Debate; Poverty On the Rise in America

Aired September 14, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for checking with CNN Student News. I`m Carl Azuz. We have a lot of ground to cover today, so let`s get to it.

First up, a series of high-profile attacks in the capital of Afghanistan. Fighting raged for hours after militants opened fire on these targets: the U.S. embassy, NATO headquarters and Afghan intelligence offices. At least four people were killed in the attacks.

They were carried out by the Taliban -- that`s a Muslim fundamental group that took control of Afghanistan`s government in 1996, and ruled there until 2001.

In 2001, a U.S.-led invasion kicked the Taliban out of power, because the Taliban had given a home to the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Recent intelligence reports suggested insurgent might strike in the capital around the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. That was Sunday.

Suzanne Malveaux is in Kabul. She has more on the significance of Tuesday`s attacks.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What makes this so powerful for people in the community here is the fact that it really is at the heart of the city.

These are the power brokers you were talking about, the international police force, the Afghan officials, intelligence officials, at the heart of the security apparatus. And that is where this firefight is taking place. It is meant to make the people here afraid, afraid of the transition, afraid of Afghans taking over their own security.


ANNOUNCER: Time for the Shoutout.

What is the symbol of the GOP? If you think you know it, shout it out. Is it the elephant, horse, eagle or donkey? You`ve got three seconds, go.

The GOP or Grand Old Party is the Republican Party, and its symbol is the elephant. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: Monday night, eight Republican candidates squared off in a debate in Tampa, Florida, each hoping to become the next president of the United States. Let`s take a look at who was there.


AZUZ (voice-over): The first person you see, walking out right here on your screen, is Rick Santorum. He`s a former senator from Pennsylvania.

Up next, that`s Newt Gingrich. He`s a former Speaker of the House, and he served under President Bill Clinton.

The next person walking out, after Newt Gingrich, is Mr. Ron Paul. He is a representative from the state of Texas.

And while we`re in the state of Texas, next up is Rick Perry. He is the governor of Texas, walking out right now on your screen. And this man, Rick Perry, is widely considered the Republican frontrunner.

Next up, you see Mitt Romney. He`s the former governor of the state of Massachusetts.

And the next candidate after Governor Romney is going to be Michele Bachmann. There she is. She`s a representative from the state of Minneapolis.

Couple more folks coming up. Next is going to be Herman Cain. Herman Cain, right here, is a business man and radio host from Georgia.

And the last person we have to talk to about is Mr. Jon Huntsman. Jon Huntsman is walking out right there. He`s the former Utah governor, and also has served as U.S. ambassador to China.

These eight candidates debated a range of topics affecting the nation, from Social Security to health care. We`ve got a few of the highlights from this debate coming at you right now. Watch this.

FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY (R-MA.), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: . although the term Ponzi scheme, I think, is over the top and unnecessary and frightful to many people. But the real issue is that in writing his book, Governor Perry pointed out that, in his view, that Social Security is unconstitutional.

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s time for us to get back to the Constitution, and a program that`s been there 70 or 80 years -- obviously we`re not going to -- we`re not going to take that program away. But for people to stand up and support what they did in the `30s or what they`re doing in the 2010s is not appropriate for America.

ROMNEY: But the question is, do you still believe that Social Security should be ended as a federal program, as you did six months ago when your book came out, and returned to the states? Or do you want to retreat from that?

PERRY: I think we ought to have a conversation.

ROMNEY: We`re having that right now, Governor. This -- we`re -- that`s.

PERRY: . if you`ll let me (inaudible).

ROMNEY: . we`re running for president.

PERRY: . I`ll finish this conversation.rather than trying to scare seniors, like you`re doing and other people, it`s time to have a legitimate conversation in this country about how to fix that program, where it`s not bankrupt, and our children actually know that there`s going to be a retirement program there for them.

FORMER REP. NEWT GINGRICH, (R-GA.), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not particularly worried about Governor Perry and Governor Romney frightening the American people, when President Obama scares them every single day.

PERRY: . at the end of the day, this was about trying to stop a cancer, and giving the parental option to opt out of that. And at the end of the day -- you may criticize me about the way that I went about it -- but at the end of the day, I am always going to err on the side of life.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, (R-MN.), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just wanted to add that we cannot forget that, in the midst of this executive order, there was a big drug company that made millions of dollars because of this mandate.the governor`s former chief of staff was the chief lobbyist for this drug company.

The drug company gave thousands of dollars in political donations to the governor, and this is just flat-out wrong.


BACHMANN: The question is, is it about life, or was it about millions of dollars, and.

(UNKNOWN): Wow (ph).

BACHMANN: . and potentially billions for a drug company?

BLITZER: All right.

PERRY: The company was Merck, and it was a $5,000 contribution that I had received from them. I raise about $30 million. And if you`re saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I`m offended.

BACHMANN: Well, I`m offended for all the little girls and the parents that didn`t have a choice. That`s what I`m offended for.

FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM, (R-PA.), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we need to hear what Governor Perry`s saying. He`s saying that his policy was right. He believes that what he did was right. He thinks he went about it the wrong way.

I believe your policy is wrong.

ROMNEY: I think Governor Perry would agree with me that if you`re dealt four aces, that doesn`t make you necessarily a great poker player.

Under Ann Richards, job growth was 2-1/2 percent a year; under George Bush, was 3 percent a year; under Rick Perry; it`s been 1 percent a year.

Those are all good numbers. Those are all good numbers. But Texas is a great state. And I`ll tell you, if you think that the country is like Texas, going swimmingly well, then somebody who has done that is just terrific. But if you think the country needs a turnaround, that`s what I do.

PERRY: .Mitt, you were doing pretty good till you got to talking poker.

AZUZ: Now remember, we are heading into election season. And the purpose of debates like this is to help voters find out more about the candidates so they can make an informed decision.

The eight people you just saw are all running for president. But eventually only one Republican will be chosen as the party`s candidate. It might not be even one of those eight. And whoever wins the Republican nomination will compete against the Democratic nominee, which is expected to be President Obama.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? The U.S. Constitution requires a census be taken every 10 years.

Yes. The Constitution says an "enumeration," or counting of people, shall be made every term of 10 years.


AZUZ: Tuesday, the government released some new info from the 2010 census. Here`s what it told us: poverty is on the rise in America. Take a look at this.


AZUZ (voice-over): The nation`s poverty rate rose to 15.1 percent in 2010. That is its highest level since 1993. It means more than 46 million Americans are now considered in need. And the number of children in poverty is up two, more than 22 percent of people under age 18 are considered poor.

So how do you define poverty? The government says the poverty line falls at around $22,000 a year for a family of four. For individuals, it`s roughly $11,000. And the census data showed some parts of the country were poorer than others. The South had the highest poverty rate, nearly 17 percent. The Northeast had the lowest, just under 13 percent.


AZUZ: What? You want to be on CNN Student News? Of course you do. And it`s super easy. You just make a video of you or a friend introducing our show, and send it to us in an iReport.

Carl? How do we do that? Check this out. You go to, find the "How Do I." box and click on how do I ".send CNN Student News my iReport?" Then you send it and look for our email to set it all up.

Before we go, if your stomach`s starting to do that growly thing, because it`s getting kind of hungry, this ain`t going to help.


AZUZ (voice-over): Feast your eyes on the world`s largest chocolate bar, 12,000 pounds, three feet high, 21 feet long, and we`re not "fudging" those numbers, either. Might want to split that with a friend, or maybe 12,000 friends.

And in case you want to make one of these at home, you`re going to need to get yourself about 5,500 pounds of sugar and 1,700 pounds of cocoa butter, and you`ll be "cooking" in no time.


AZUZ: And we realize you had to wait till the very end of the show for that "sweet" story. But, hey, better "choco-late" than never. Whoo! All right. We`ll see you tomorrow. Have a good day.