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Preview of Presidential Debate; Message in a Bottle

Aired October 3, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: A celebration turns into chaos. A message in the bottle becomes a lesson in the classroom, and it`s time for round one of the U.S. presidential debates. I`m Carl Azuz, this is CNN STUDENT NEWS.


PETER EYRE, COMM. ON PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES: What you`ll see is Governor Romney and President Obama standing at podiums on the stage, then we`ll have the moderator, Mr. Lehrer, on the lower level.



AZUZ: That`s what it will look like tonight, but this was the arena on Monday with crews putting that stage together and getting ready for the lights to go up. That happens tonight when the candidates face off in the first of three presidential debates. This one is happening at the University of Denver, and some of the students who were going to be in the audience talked about their excitement leading up to the event.

COLE ORTEGA, UNIV. OF DENVER FRESHMAN: I thought it was cool that the debate was coming to D.U., but now that I get to go and actually see the whole -- the actual debate live, I think that will be awesome, and I hope to just learn more about the political process.

PAUL MACLAS, UNIV. OF DENVER GRADUATE STUDENT: It`s just something that I can say, to, I don`t know, my children or something like that, that I can -- that I was -- I was here witnessing that with my fellow student body.


AZUZ: Of course, you don`t have to be in the arena to see tonight`s debate, you can tune into CNN or log on to It all starts at 9 p.m. Eastern. These debates are a chance for the candidates to present their ideas to a big audience. What`s said during a debate can influence how people vote, sometimes they can define the presidential campaign. Anderson Cooper looks back at some memorable debate moments from the past.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: September 26th, 1960. The first televised presidential debate signaling a new era, where appearances matter more than ever. And gaffes, however small, are magnified.

JOHN F. KENNEDY: The goals are the same for all Americans.

COOPER: John F. Kennedy, a young senator from Massachusetts, facing off against Vice President Richard Nixon, who`s knows to be a fierce debater.

But on screen, Kennedy looks cool and calm, while Nixon looks uncomfortable, sweating profusely under the hot studio lights.

RICHARD NIXON: I think I better shave!

COOPER: Nixon flounders under the glare of television for all four debates. Kennedy goes on to win the election.

In 1976, President Gerald Ford makes this blunder in his debate with Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter.

GERALD FORD, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford administration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m sorry, could I just .

COOPER: The remark becomes a central theme in Carter`s campaign, and is blamed by many for costing Ford the election.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan is repeatedly attacked by President Carter for his stance on healthcare.

JIMMY CARTER, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Governor Reagan as a matter of fact began his political career, campaigning around this nation against Medicare.

COOPER: But Reagan wins fans and the election by staying cool.

REAGAN: There you go again.

COOPER: Four years later, President Reagan again uses humor to handle attacks on his age during his debate with Walter Mondale.

REAGAN: I want you to know that also, I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I`m not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent`s youth and inexperience.


COOPER: During the 1988 vice presidential debate, Republican Senator Dan Quayle`s comparison to John F. Kennedy elicited this blistering response from his opponent.

SEN. LLOYD BENTSEN, D-TEXAS: Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy.


COOPER: Body language plays a part in the presidential debate. In 1992, George W.H. Bush deliberately looks at his watch, and he pays for it when the audience and voters see it as disrespectful.

GEORGE W. BUSH: There is differences .

COOPER: Body language makes a difference in a debate between Al Gore and George W. Bush as well. Gore sighs over and over again, and Bush, the underdog, surprises by winning the debate and, of course, the election.

Both President Obama and Governor Romney are seasoned debaters, and experts say neither are prone to making major gaffes. But if there is one thing that history has taught us, when it comes to presidential debates, expect the unexpected.

Anderson Cooper, CNN.


AZUZ: Authorities in Hong Kong are investigating a crash that happened on Monday evening. Passengers on two ferries were heading out to watch a fireworks display and celebrate China`s national day. But the night turned into chaos when the ferries collided. this one rolled before it partially sank. At least 38 people were killed in the crash. Rescuers who got to the scene and started helping out. They picked up more than 120 survivors on Monday night. They were still searching for others yesterday. A passenger on the ship that partially sank said it was standing straight up in the water, and that everything was sliding down. The other ferry was able to get back to a dock. Police have arrested seven crew members from the two ships on suspicion of endangering passengers.

Some major milestones on this day in history: in 1922, Rebecca Felton was appointed to fill an open seat in the U.S. Senate, making her the first female senator.

In 1974, Frank Robinson was hired as the manager of the Cleveland Indians. He was the first African-American manager in the major leagues.

And in 1990, a year after the Berlin Wall came down, East and West Germany reunited as one country. For many, it marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War.

Well, it probably didn`t happen on this exact date in history, but about four years ago, someone wrote a note, stuck it in a bottle and tossed it out into the Gulf of Mexico. A pair of students found it, and their science teacher figured the message in the bottle was a perfect opportunity to study current events. Kim Brown of affiliate WBBH fills in the details.


CARL MELAMET, TEACHER: Have any of you ever done anything like that? Put a message in the bottle?

KIM BROWN, WBBH CORRESPONDENT: Students in Carl Melamet`s science class just got a rare assignment: they are figuring out how a message in the bottle survived four years in the Gulf of Mexico.

MELAMET: And it`s been out in the ocean for four years.

BROWN: Weathering storms, sea creatures, even the oil spill.

CHE HALL, STUDENT: I think it`s pretty cool how it was after four years, that it just kept circulating around it, then finally came back to one spot.

BROWN: Two Canaberry (ph) School students participating in a coastal cleanup on Sanibel Island, discovered the bottle near Bauman`s (ph) beach last month.

MELAMET: When you discover something like that on the beach, it brings up a lot of questions.

BROWN: So many questions in fact, this message handwritten on a piece of notebook paper, is all the class has to go by.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dear someone in the future .

BROWN: Written by a 12-year old girl vacationing on Sanibel in 2008.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope the future is very fun and exciting.

BROWN: Her wish granted.


BROWN: But the writer probably never imagined her message would turn into a lesson. Melamet is using it to help students understand currents and plastic pollution.

MELAMET: If the ocean hands me a bottle like this with a dated note in it, then, you know, you just take it and run with it.

BROWN: Some in the class find it odd that the bottle came back to the same area, but even Melamet himself doesn`t know how it stayed together or where it went.

MELAMET: It`s hard to say where she lost it, or where she tossed it out.

BROWN: But one thing is clear, it`s turned into a learning experience for all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s helpful for the course to learn about great ocean news (ph).

BROWN: Bri may never know her message was found or the students she was able to reach.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today`s "Shoutout" goes out to Miss Gruber`s class at Assumption Catholic School in Durand, Wisconsin.

What sport was originally called "mintonette"? Here we go, is it, volleyball, badminton, tennis or croquet? You`ve got three seconds, go!

Mintonette was invented at a YMCA at 1895, but it was renamed volleyball because of all the volleying done in the game. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."


AZUZ: Whatever you call it, Janson Daniel loves it. He`s hoping to get a college scholarship to play volleyball. But the thing is, Janson can`t play right now. His school in Yonkers, New York, doesn`t have a boys volleyball team. Last year the girls invited him to play, and everything seemed to go fine. But this year, he`s been benched by state officials. Based on how he did in a series of fitness tests, the state says Janson is too strong, that it would be unfair for him to play in the girls league. His teammates want Janson to stay on the squad, so do his school and school district. They filed an appeal to have this decision reconsidered. The state education department isn`t commenting on the case. For now, Janson is working out with his teammates, but is sitting on the sidelines during their games.

All right, we thought this story was a great opportunity to get your opinion. "Is having a guy on a girls` volleyball team an unfair advantage? Or should he be allowed to play if there is no guys` team? Two places you can tell us or blog at It`s first names only on that. Or if you are already on Facebook,

High school football. Oakmont (ph) scores a touchdown as time runs out to get within one. So, they line up to kick the extra point, tie the game and go to overtime. Right? No. Check out this Youtube video. The holder stands up, turns around, and lobs it to the end zone. It`s a trick play, results in a two-point conversion, Oakmont wins, and totally goes nuts. Look at this! The team`s coach says they practice the play every week, and this might change the team`s strategy for the rest of the season. They get the chance to kick, they might just take a pass.

All right. It`s time for us to toss it back to your teachers, because the clock`s run out, and we`re getting sidelined. See you tomorrow on CNN STUDENT NEWS.