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President Obama Announces Changes to U.S. Military

Aired January 6, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Hi, I`m Carl. Every Friday here on CNN Student News is awesome. But this first Friday of 2012 is especially awesome for Coleytown Middle School in Westport, Connecticut, because a student there was the very first one to get our social media question of the week.

First up today, President Obama announced a new plan for some changes to the U.S. military. The president`s idea is for the military to be leaner and cheaper. The country`s recent economic problems and the government`s budget concerns are part of this. And officials say they`re trying to balance America`s security needs and the country`s resources.


AZUZ (voice-over): When he announced the new strategy yesterday, President Obama said the military`s budget will keep growing over the next 10 years, it just won`t grow as much as it had been. He said his goal is to keep the military strong and the nation secure. But critics say it`s a sign that America is retreating from its global responsibilities.

One Republican in Congress said the president`s strategy would mean America couldn`t guarantee support for its allies.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta -- he`s to the right of the president here -- he says while the U.S. force will be smaller, it`ll be more flexible and more technologically advanced. But the new strategy means the U.S. won`t be able to actively fight two major wars at once like it did for years in Iraq and Afghanistan.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Ms. French`s students at Mill Creek Middle School in Comstock Park, Michigan. Detroit, Michigan, is also known by what nickname? You know what to do. Is it the Charm City, Emerald City, Motor City or Windy City? You`ve got three seconds, go.

Detroit is known as the Motor City because it`s the center of the U.S. auto industry. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: Looks like some good news for the Motor City. U.S. auto industry`s Big Three -- that`s General Motors, Ford and Chrysler -- are all set to report profits in 2011. That hasn`t happened for seven years.


AZUZ (voice-over): The Detroit companies will release their sales reports in the next few weeks. The U.S. auto industry took a major hit a few years ago. Ford survived on borrowed cash. GM and Chrysler needed bailouts from the government.

Some serious reorganizing helped lead to this financial turnaround, but it`s not a guarantee of more profits in the future. The auto industry is one of the most competitive industries on the planet.


AZUZ: Next up today, the race for the Republican presidential nomination. New Hampshire`s primary`s on Tuesday. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who had a narrow win in Iowa this week, has a big lead in the polls in New Hampshire. So there are some experts who are already focusing on the next primary, and that`s going to happen in South Carolina on January 21st.

Mary Snow now looks at what could be a make-or-break event.


MARY SNOW, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Iowa created a top tier of Republican candidates. Michele Bachmann`s now out, and others are fighting for momentum heading into New Hampshire. But the head of South Carolina`s Republican Party predicts his state will provide the next real make-or- break moment.

CHAD CONNELLY, SC GOP CHAIRMAN: The Iowa winner hadn`t always been the nominee. The New Hampshire winner hadn`t always been the nominee. But since 1980, we have picked the eventual nominee. And so I believe this is where the race really starts, and I think this is where it`s going to be decided, too.

SNOW (voice-over): Case in point: the 2008 Republican primary, where Mike Huckabee won Iowa with the help of evangelicals. But John McCain eventually became the party`s nominee. Like Iowa, the Christian Right has a heavy influence in South Carolina, but there are some key differences among voters there.

SNOW: In 2008, 60 percent of South Carolina`s Republican primary voters were evangelicals or born-again Christians. Of the 40 percent not in that category, they favored John McCain over Mike Huckabee, leading McCain to win the state.

SNOW (voice-over): Political watchers say social issues are a motivating force for evangelicals in South Carolina, but not a sole factor.

SCOTT HUFFMON, WINTHROP UNIVERSITY: Simply saying I`m an evangelical is not enough to win them over. You have to say, "I`m the evangelical candidate," or I`m a moral candidate. I am concerned about the social issue you`re concerned with, but I`m also concerned about the debt and the deficit.

SNOW (voice-over): Along with fiscal conservatives, there`s also a large number of active and retired military personnel living in South Carolina. And a win here is seen as key to winning the South.

HUFFMON: If you can appeal to the conservatives in South Carolina, if you can win in the heat and occasional dirty politicking of South Carolina, then you`re the type of candidate who has the mettle to move on. It does often provide a firewall.

SNOW: One other thing to watch in South Carolina is the issue of jobs and the economy. Unlike Iowa and New Hampshire, where the unemployment rate is below the national average, South Carolina`s unemployment rate is 9.9 percent -- Mary Snow, CNN, New York.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? Slavery is illegal in every country in the world.

This is true. But there are still millions of slaves around the globe.


AZUZ: In fact, experts estimate that around 27 million people are enslaved. And while that might be hard to believe, it`s more than ever before in human history. A lot of us think of slavery as when one person owns another person, but there are other forms of slavery as well. There`s debt bondage, forced labor, indentured servitude -- you`ve heard about some of these in class.

There are people working to end modern-day slavery though, like the ones who attended a Christian conference here in Atlanta this week. Jim Clancy looks at their efforts.


JIM CLANCY, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Thousands of young Christians cheered as a sculpture of an uplifted hand was unveiled, and their determination to end human trafficking in their lifetimes unleashed.

BRYSON VOGELTANZ, CHIEF STEWARD, DO SOMETHING NOW: So is it a hand of worship? Yes. Is it a hand of justice? Yes. Is it a hand of the generation? Absolutely. It`s all those things. It is a -- it`s a symbol of freedom.

CLANCY (voice-over): More than 40,000 young people came together from across the U.S. and more than 30 countries around the world to participate in the faith-based event Passion 2012. Organizers are making the fight against human slavery the focus of the Do Something Now campaign.

BROOKE, CONFERENCE ATTENDEE: I think the inspiring thing is to not even know that there would be this many people here, much less this many people willing to give. And it`s great to see that once someone is willing to stand up, everyone is happy to follow, and just wants to be a part of something bigger.

BLAGIO, CONFERENCE ATTENDEE: To be able to say that, you know, we`re here in the name of Jesus to fight this, I think that`s incredible to be a part of. So, yes, I`m definitely happy to be a part of this.

CLANCY: All of these young people are lining up to contribute money from their own pockets, or money that they`ve raised from family and friends to fight human trafficking. The goal: raise $1 million to help fund six ongoing projects in India, Cambodia, Nepal, Ukraine and right here in the United States.

"MELISSA", HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIM: They`re actually stepping outside themselves to be a part of something bigger, to help. And they`re doing something now about it. They`re not waiting next week or when the emotions die down. They`re actually giving now and doing something, which is amazing.

CLANCY (voice-over): Money donated by these students will educate young people about the risks from human traffickers, help free slaves and provide shelter and support for those who have been rescued.

VOGELTANZ: The fact that there`s 27 million slaves today -- the most that we`ve ever had in history -- we just think that that`s over, that`s done. And you know what? We believe in this generation of 18- to 25-year old. Some people call us crazy, but we believe that this generation, in their lifetime, can end slavery, can end human trafficking.

CLANCY (voice-over): More than a few shed tears as they wrote personal messages on clothing and other slave-made products that cloak the 30-meter-tall sculpture. They believe in God, in themselves and in the noble notion that as individuals coming together, they can take a stand against modern-day slavery -- Jim Clancy, CNN, Atlanta.


AZUZ: All right, bundle up. We`re heading out to Colorado for today`s "Before We Go" segment.


AZUZ (voice-over): It might be hard to tell at first -- look closely at your screen here -- that`s a dog that the firefighter is pulling out of the frigid water. The golden retriever and his buddy, who`s watching the rescue on the left of your screen there, they were chasing after some geese on a frozen pond.

Then the ice gave way, and one of the dogs went in for what could be called an unexpected swim. Luckily someone saw all of this. They called out the fire department and the rescue operation took about 20 minutes.


AZUZ: The dog is OK. He`s back home with his owner, which makes this story a true "golden retrieval." That has got to be like my first pun of the year so far.

We`ve got many, many more coming your way, like this one: you could say that dog better not try any more stunts because he`s already on thin ice. That`s going to wrap up the week. For CNN Student News, I`m Carl Azuz, we hope you have a great weekend, and we will see you right back here next Monday.