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The Origins of the GOP; Hispanic Heritage Month

Aired September 17, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET



MARLEN ESPARZA, OLYMPIC BOXER: Hi, I`m Marlen Esparza, U.S. boxing Olympian, and we`re celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, and you`re watching CNN STUDENT NEWS.


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: You sure are. Hi, everyone, I`m Carl Azuz. We`re going to have more from Marlen Esparza coming up, but we`re starting today with some global headlines.

First up, we`re heading to Afghanistan. The U.S.-led coalition is gradually transferring control to Afghan authorities, but the war is not over, and there are still tens of thousands of American forces there. On Sunday, four U.S. troops were killed by Afghan police. These attacks are sometimes called green on blue violence, when coalition troops are fired on by their supposed Afghan allies. Two other Americans were killed on Friday when a group of 15 insurgents raided this military base. Six jets were destroyed in that attack as well. 14 of the raiders were killed. The other was wounded and captured.

Next, we`re moving toward the Korean peninsula and Japan. Over in this part of the world, hurricanes are called typhoons, and the 16th one this year barreled through over the weekend. It`s called Typhoon Sanba. Forecasters said the storm was heading towards South Korea yesterday. It made landfall on the Japanese island of Okinawa Sunday morning. The storm`s eye was nearly half the length of the island, but there were no immediate reports of damage. Okinawa is built to handle powerful typhoons since it`s in an area where they happen so often.

Finally, we`re heading to the U.S. city of Chicago. The country`s third largest school district was not in class last week because the teachers union was on strike. Union officials and teacher representatives met to discuss the latest contract proposal. The teacher reps had the power to either stop the strike or to keep it going. The meeting was still under way as we were producing this show yesterday evening, but you can get the latest details at

In 50 days, Americans will head to the polls to vote for president. The two main candidates represent the country`s two main political parties, but how did these groups get started? Tomorrow we`re going to take a look at the Democrats. Today, Tom Foreman explores the origins of the modern Republican Party.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The modern Republican Party absolutely owes its origin to the fight over slavery. In the mid-1800s, in that tumultuous time right before the Civil War, many political activists were worried about slavery spreading into the Western territories, and they didn`t think the other parties would do much about it. The Democrats or the Whigs. So they said, let`s form our own party, and we`ll call it the Republicans, as a salute to former American leaders long ago who`d called themselves Republicans. In fact, at one point, almost every politician in this country called themselves a type of Republican, but that was the old Republicans. Now we`re talking about the new Republicans.

By 1861, they had their first president, Abraham Lincoln. Slavery soon fell, as we all know. The Whigs soon disbanded, and the Republicans began this long, steady march into power. Even back then, they talked about issues like immigration and religion and basic values and having a strong business climate. That`s why one newspaper back then that liked them said we will call this the Grand Old Party, the GOP. We still hear that to these days.

Their voting base was largely in rural areas and the West. That`s still partially true. And those people proved really adept at using the Electoral College system to produce presidents. Even sometimes when they couldn`t get the popular vote. Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, many more. They produced a lot of presidents, but then along comes World War I, and the party has these deep policy divisions over what to do. Herbert Hoover shows up, ushers in the Great Depression, and the Republicans go scurrying off into retreat. And that`s where they stay for quite some time. It`s 20 years until Dwight Eisenhower can finally get the White House back for them again.

However, since 1969, they`ve been pretty much back to their winning ways. During that period of time, Republicans have held the Oval Office almost twice as many years as the Democrats.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s time for the Shoutout. Which U.S. state was the first to ratify the Constitution? If you think you know it, then shout it out. Was it Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Georgia? You`ve got 3 seconds, go.

Delaware led the way, ratifying the Constitution on December 7, 1787. That`s your answer and that`s your Shoutout.

AZUZ: But before Delaware and the rest of the states could ratify it, the document had to be approved by a majority of the Constitutional Convention, and that happened on September 17, exactly 225 years ago. That`s why today is Constitution Day. Originally, the Constitutional Convention got together to revise the Articles of Confederation, but instead, the delegates decided to write a whole new document. They held secret meetings and posted guards outside the door. And when they signed it on September 17, they had come up with a Constitution that set up America`s new system of government and laid out the ultimate law of the land.

Today also marks the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. Actually, the holiday begins Sunday night at sunset. Rosh Hashanah means "beginning of the year" in Hebrew. It`s also known sometimes as the day of repentance. Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the Jewish high holy days. Those end 10 days later on Yom Kippur.

One of the most significant rituals during the holiday involves the shofar. It`s a ram`s horn that is blown kind of like a trumpet. During the high holy days, the shofar is used as a call to prayer. Another popular practice is to eat apples dipped in honey, which represents hope for a good year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? Hispanic Heritage Month originally started out as Hispanic Heritage Week. It`s true! The week-long event started in 1968 and was expanded to a full month 20 years later.

AZUZ: Month-long celebration started on Saturday. Marlen Esparza mentioned Hispanic Heritage Month when she kicked off today`s show for us. This woman is a trailblazer, and here`s why. She`s the first American woman to qualify for the Olympics in boxing. In these photos, you get a glimpse of Marlen in action during this year`s summer Olympics in London. Yes, she brought home some hardware too -- a bronze medal. But her passion goes far beyond the ring. Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the culture of Hispanic Americans. Marlen told us why her heritage is so important to her.


ESPARZA: I think it symbolizes kind of part of your soul, in a sense, of the direction that your mind takes you and your heart takes you, and it`s something that can`t be replaced or something that can`t be removed from you. And I think it`s actually a really beautiful thing to embrace where you`re from and who you are.


AZUZ: Here`s how you can get on CNN STUDENT NEWS. Couple of quick things. One, you have to be at least 13 years old, and two, we don`t want to hear any music in the background. We just want to hear you. So you shoot your video, that`s how you start. We did this on a cell phone, simple as that. Then go to, and where it says "introduce CNN STUDENT NEWS," just click "share your story." You fill out your info, you upload your video, and if it`s chosen, you will hear from us in an email about the last step. Good luck.

And next up today, we`re going to check out some highlights from a high school football game in Portland, Oregon. The guy tearing through the defense is Aloha senior running back Thomas Tyner. This is something that the other team just had to get used to, because Thomas had a pretty good game on Friday. He scored 10 touchdowns and racked up more than 640 yards. Yes, both of those are state records. His team won, obviously, and here is the best part. Thomas did all of this on his 18th birthday.


THOMAS TYNER: Oh, I`m exhausted, I can`t wait to go to sleep. I can`t wait to go to sleep.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you have gotten yourself a better birthday present?

TYNER: No. It was all I wanted.


AZUZ: And some world records for you before we go today. Like the tallest Mohawk. Sounds like a hair-raising situation. Then there`s the world`s tallest dog. The world`s biggest biceps. And the world`s heaviest bike. I`ve heard of big wheels, but this guy is going overboard.

The parrot who dunk the most basketballs is up right here. That record`s for the birds.

We`ve got the largest collection of hello, Kitty, and the biggest Barbie collection. These winners probably got all dolled up for their photos.

This is the world`s largest drum set right here, 340 pieces. If he wanted a record, he sure found a record to drum up attention. And the world`s smallest bull. Don`t make jokes, he`s kind of sensitive about it.

It`s time for us to moo-ve on out of here. I don`t know cow we cud top that, but we`ll give it a shot tomorrow. See you then.