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President Obama Unveils Proposal to Cut Deficit

Aired September 20, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, everyone, I`m Carl Azuz. Today on CNN Student News, we`re talking about an important group of people involved with the 2012 U.S. presidential election, not the candidates, though, a specific group of voters.

First up, though, American leaders do not agree of President Obama`s plan to reduce the country`s debt. This is not the president`s jobs plan we told you about recently. This is a separate proposal that aims to decrease how much money the U.S. government owes.

The president says his plan will save about $3 trillion. One of the ways that we do that is by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. That`s an idea that Republican leaders are strongly against. They say it`s unfair to target one group of Americans. They also argue that forcing that group to pay higher taxes could end up hurting the economy.

The president believes that Americans who might be able to afford more should have a bigger role in helping the U.S. economy.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We shouldn`t balance the budget on the backs of the poor and the middle class. And for us to solve this problem, everybody, including the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations, have to pay their fair share.

AZUZ: World leaders are getting together in New York this week for the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. The U.N. has 193 members. The newest of one of those is South Sudan, and the general assembly is a time for them to come together and talk about major global issues.

The week started with a special meeting about non-communicable diseases. This means things like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, illnesses that aren`t passed from one person to another. U.N. officials say these diseases are now the world`s leading killer.

They`re trying to come up with strategies to reduce the risks. And this is just the second time a health issue has been debated during a special U.N. meeting. The first was a decade ago. It was about HIV/AIDS.


PHIL BLACK, CNN REPORTER: (Inaudible) right here, a pot shot. There`s something in the distance. A lot of their fighters have opened up and there was some big return (ph) fire.



That footage, from CNN`s Phil Black and his team shows that parts of Libya are still very dangerous, especially areas where rebels are fighting against forces that are loyal to former leader Moammar Gadhafi. Some of the worst fighting is happening in the city of Sirte, Gadhafi`s hometown. More than 20 rebel fighters were killed in Sirte on Sunday. Dozens more were injured.

In this next report, Ben Wedeman looks at some of the towns that have been liberated by the rebels, the people there know that for the first time in more than 40 years, they`re not living under Moammar Gadhafi`s rule. What they don`t know is what happens next.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): This sweep through the south is more of a show of force than the arrival of the new order in Libya. What happens after the men with guns move on is unclear.

Some of them have doubts about the sudden conversion to the revolution in a part of the country traditionally loyal to Gadhafi. University physics student Mohammed Athoma (ph) isn`t convinced.

MOHAMMED ATHOMA (PH), STUDENT: (Inaudible) right, before, it was a lot of people with Gadhafi. But right now, everybody`s disappeared, you know? (Inaudible).

WEDEMAN (voice-over): But (inaudible) resident Mohammed Abdullah (ph) insists the village is completely behind the uprising that ousted Gadhafi from power.

All the people are with the revolutionaries, he says. One hundred percent, I ask? One hundred percent, he responds.

The relative ease with which this area has been taken has left the young fighters in high spirits. At midday, they find shade in a mosque, singing the songs of the revolt.

It`s the experience of a lifetime for university student Mohammed Ramadan (ph), whose family comes from Sabat (ph), a Gadhafi stronghold.

MOHAMMED RAMADAN (PH), STUDENT: They are -- the most amazing feeling in my life, I feel it now. Now I`m on the moon now. Actually, I`m very happy.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): He may come back down to earth if the newly liberated towns change their tune -- Ben Wedeman, (Inaudible), southern Libya.


AZUZ: The United States and the United Nations are both calling for an end to violence in Yemen. People in the Middle Eastern nation have been protesting against their government. They want a change in power, and there are reports of Yemeni forces using violence against the protesters.

Medical officials say dozens of people were killed on Monday. One resident in Yemen said there are concerns that the conflict could turn into a civil war.

There`s a "Shoutout" coming up in a second, and the next one could be dedicated to you. There`s one way to make that happen, here at our home page, Go to the "How do I." box and click on "How do I . get a shoutout?" Teachers, you can submit your "Shoutout" dedication iReports there. Your school could be featured on our show.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the Shoutout.

In 1988, which U.S. president expanded Hispanic Heritage Week into Hispanic Heritage Month? If you think you know it, then shout it out.

Was it Lyndon Johnson? Ronald Reagan? George H. W. Bush? Or Bill Clinton? You`ve got three seconds, go.

President Ronald Reagan expanded the observance into a full month in August 1988. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: From September 15th through October 15th, we`re celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month here on CNN Student News. According to U.S. government statistics, there are more than 50 million people of Hispanic origin living in the United States. That makes them the country`s largest minority group. And as Rafael Romo explains, that means Hispanics are a powerful force in American politics.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg habla Espanol.

NEW YORK MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: My Spanish skills, I can tell you poco y poco, they mejera. They`re, oh, es dificile. Tengos essentially nueve anos (inaudible) dificile...

ROMO (voice-over): Or at least he tries.

President Barack Obama greeted supporters in Spanish on a trip to Puerto Rico earlier this year.

OBAMA: Buenos tardes.

ROMO (voice-over): And some Republican presidential candidates seem to be courting Hispanics.

MITT ROMNEY, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hispanics, as you know, have been hit terribly hard, disproportionately hard, with an unemployment rate that is substantially higher than the national figures.

ROMO (voice-over): Experts say appealing to the fastest growing ethnic group in the country is crucial the year before presidential elections.

MARK LOPEZ, HISPANIC PEW CENTER: Latinos have played a growing and important role in the nation`s presidential elections over the last few election cycles. There are now more than 21 million Hispanics who are eligible to vote. And Latinos reside in some key states.

ROMO (voice-over): In the 2008 election, in Colorado, Latinos represented 13 percent of all voters, 14 percent in Nevada, 15 percent in Florida, and a whopping 38 percent in New Mexico, all considered swing states.

LOPEZ: So even the participation rate among Hispanics in presidential elections has been growing.

ROMO (voice-over): In 2008, 9.5 million Latino voters went to the polls out of 12 million registered. The leader of an organization that tracks Latino voting trends says he`s expecting a dramatic increase next year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we make an estimation about how many Latino voters we`re going to have in 2012?

JUAN ANDRADE, U.S. HISPANIC LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE: We have probably -- we estimate at least 12 to 13 million registered to vote in the next presidential election. It could be even higher.

ROMO: In 2004, former President George W. Bush won more than 40 percent of the Latino vote. Four years later, 67 percent of Hispanic voters went for Barack Obama. Experts say anybody getting that kind of support from Latinos next year, whether Democrat or Republican, has a good chance of winning the presidency.

ANDRADE: The Latino vote can prove decisive. And we have demonstrated the ability to swing critical states, again, like we did in 2008.

ROMO (voice-over): And that`s exactly why Democrat and Republicans are going after the country`s largest minority group -- Rafael Romo, CNN Atlanta.


AZUZ: Before we go, we got a project that puts Jules Verne to shame. Phileas Fogg tried to go around the world in 80 days. But thanks to the images you`re seeing here, you can make the trip in just one minute.

These are pictures of Earth from the International Space Station. One person combined 600 of these to make this time-lapse video of the ISS circling the globe. You could see cities, countries, even lightning out over the Pacific Ocean.

When it comes to different ways we view our world, we guess "the sky`s the limit." That`s all the "space" we have for today. We know, some of our puns are kind of rough. Some are "out of this world." For CNN Student News, I`m Carl Azuz.