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Conrad Murray Found Guilty; Election Day; Incumbent Advantages; Does Italy Need a Bailout?

Aired November 8, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, I`m Carl Azuz. I always introduce CNN Student News. Sometimes I might even toss a paper airplane your way at the beginning of the show. Today, though, I`m going to let some friends of mine do it.


GROUP: CNN Student News starts right now.


AZUZ: A bit of breaking news from yesterday afternoon, many of you know who Michael Jackson was. The self-titled "King of Pop" died of a heart attack two years ago at age 50.


AZUZ (voice-over): Yesterday a jury found that Jackson`s personal doctor, Conrad Murray, was guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Michael Jackson had trouble sleeping, and what Murray did was give Jackson Propofol, a drug used to keep people asleep during surgery.

That, along with other sleeping drugs is what killed Michael Jackson. Dr. Murray could be sentenced to four years in prison for the crime.


AZUZ: It`s Election Day in the United States. A lot of local elections are happening for positions like city council, mayor and judge. The big presidential vote is 363 days from now. And while it`s pretty certain that no Democrats will challenge President Obama for his party`s nomination, we don`t know yet who will represent the Republicans.


AZUZ (voice-over): The Republican debates you`ve heard about help voters hear what the candidates have to say, and the process of deciding the Republican nominee will start early next year in a series of decisions called primaries and caucuses.


AZUZ: Typically an incumbent president, a leader who`s running for reelection, has some advantages in campaigning against his challengers. Jessica Yellin explains what these advantages are, and why President Obama isn`t taking advantage of all of them.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Whether it`s Air Force One, "Hail to the Chief," or even the White House itself.

GEORGE H. W. BUSH: This crisp, cool day in the Rose Garden.

YELLIN (voice-over): . part of the reelection playbook is leveraging the power and prestige of the presidency to overshadow your opponent. Though it hasn`t always worked, the so-called Rose Garden strategy has been deployed by most modern presidents.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Most of the predecessors of Barack Obama would use the White House as a staging platform. They want to remind people that they are the commander in chief, that there`s just an inherent power of seeing the Great Seal of the United States behind you from the White House.

YELLIN (voice-over): Burned by Washington gridlock, President Obama is taking a different approach.

ANITA DUNN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Washington, right now, is politically as toxic as you can get, and as most people can remember it being. I think the president enjoys going out and talking to the American people.

YELLIN (voice-over): So over the past three months, he`s repeatedly hit the road to small towns, looking more like Candidate Obama than commander in chief, often ditching Air Force One for a bus, rolling up his shirt sleeves, sometimes skipping "Hail to the Chief" altogether.


YELLIN (voice-over): The image mirrors the message.

OBAMA: It was time to get out of Washington.

YELLIN (voice-over): The president wants to distance himself from Washington and the partisan politics that he promised but failed to fix.

OBAMA: Some folks in Washington don`t seem to be listening.

What`s broken is our politics.

The problem is, is that we`ve got the kind of partisan brinksmanship that is willing to put party ahead of country.

YELLIN (voice-over): You`ll hear him say throughout the campaign that he`s tried to fight the gridlock, something he explained at a recent press conference.

OBAMA: I used up a lot of political capital and I`ve got the dings and bruises to prove it.

YELLIN (voice-over): Democrats say this message can work.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: He can go out there and say, I`ve been trying to change the system, I`ve been fighting the established order, I`m pushing my jobs bill, which is, really, I think, the best thing he`s got going for him right now.

YELLIN (voice-over): But Republicans are already building a case against it.

WHIT AYERS, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: The problem is that he`s the head of the government in Washington. And his party controls half the Congress in Washington. It just becomes a very, very difficult sell to the American people to persuade them that the head of the Democratic Party that controls the Senate, and the head of the entire government is running against the government that he heads.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Ms. Sheets` eighth grade American history classes at Glades Middle School in Miramar, Florida. Silvio Berlusconi is the leader of what country? Here we go. Is it Spain, Portugal, San Marino or Italy? You`ve got three seconds, go.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has led Italy since 2008. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: A prime minister under pressure, austerity measures -- a government`s way of cutting spending -- huge debt and protests. You might guess we`re talking about Greece.


AZUZ (voice-over): We`re talking about Italy.

This is Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. He oversees a country that`s so deep in debt it can`t get a bailout like Greece. Berlusconi is trying to grow Italy`s economy and create jobs, but if he can`t or if the Italian government thinks he can`t, Matthew Chance describes what could happen.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN REPORTER: The Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, under renewed pressure today as his country`s economic crisis sends tremors through the financial markets.

At one point, Mr. Berlusconi was forced to deny persistent rumors that he`s poised to resign over his handling of the economy. Italy, of course, has enormous public debts and markets appear to have lost faith in Berlusconi`s ability to push through much-needed austerity measures.

The problem is the debt`s so high, more than Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland put together, bailing out Italy simply isn`t an option, and there are fears of an Italian default that could bring down the entire Eurozone.

At the weekend here in Rome, tens of thousands of protesters marched through the center of the city to demand Berlusconi step aside and call fresh elections or allow a caretaker government to take over. The public appear to have lost patience.

There`s a crunch budget vote in the Italian parliament on Tuesday, which will be a crucial test of Prime Minister Berlusconi`s fragile coalition. If he loses that, we could be looking at a new Italian government very, very soon.



AZUZ (voice-over): Update on the flooding in Thailand: these pictures tell you the story. What started with unusually heavy rainfall has turned into Thailand`s worst flooding in half a century. More than 500 people have lost their lives. Almost 15 percent of the population have flooding in their homes.

The waters are rising in Bangkok, the capital city. This was supposed to be an airport runway. Thailand`s government is concerned that things could get worse before they get better.


AZUZ: You can get involved in helping Thailand`s people by logging onto Click the "Impact your world" link in the Spotlight section to reach across an ocean.

And while you`re on our home page, you`ll see a box dedicated to CNN Heroes, people like Bruno Serato, an Italian chef who`s reaching across his community to help others.


BRUNO SERATO, CNN HERO: I came to this country 30 years ago. I love to cook, but to be in the restaurant business, you must love the people.

How`s your lunch, ladies?


SERATO: In 2005, my mom was here on vacation from Italy. I said, "Mom, let`s go to the Boys & Girls Club." This little boy, five years old, eating potato chips for his dinner -- he was a motel kid. I find out, a poor family who has nothing else, you live in a motel.

The motel environment is extremely bad, drugs, prostitution, alcoholics. It`s horrible.

When they go back after school, there is no dinner. There is no money. My mom say, "Bruno ,you must feed them the pasta."

I`m Bruno Serato, I listen to my mama, and now my mission is feeding hungry children. Six years ago, we start feeding the kids. When the recession came, customers dropped and the children doubled. Oh mama mio.

Spaghetti -- I don`t give the kids leftovers. I prepare fresh pasta.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bruno brings a tray in, and all the kids like start getting excited.

SERATO: Are you hungry? Are you hungry?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s good to get a free dinner.

SERATO: Right now, we are between 150 to 200 kids seven days a week.

Who likes the pasta?


SERATO: My mom, she made me start, now I could never stop.

I see you soon, huh?

They`re customers -- my favorite customers.


AZUZ: We`re cooking up something special for today`s "Before We Go" segment.


AZUZ (voice-over): The Annual Pumpkin Chunkin` event begins a creative way to get rid of Halloween leftovers. Would you believe it benefits charities? It sure doesn`t benefit the pumpkins.

Participants raised 70,000 bucks and more than a few gourds for scholarships this year. Could those be used to study engineering and build a bigger, better pumpkin chunker?


AZUZ: You`ve "gourd" to believe it could plant the seed. Maybe I should ground myself after that one, but you knew we wouldn`t leave you without a little "pun-kin".

Back tomorrow -- I`m Carl Azuz.