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Senator Cruz Talks for 21 Straight Hours on Senate Floor; 7.7 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Pakistan

Aired September 26, 2013 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: 21 straight hours of talking -- U.S. Senator Ted Cruz just did that. The Republican started Tuesday afternoon and didn`t stop for nearly a day. It wasn`t a filibuster, Senator Cruz wasn`t blocking a vote. He helped the Senate floor to discuss something he and some other members of Congress think is crucially important.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R ) TEXAS: All across this country, Americans are suffering because of Obamacare. Obamacare isn`t working. And yet, fundamentally, there are politicians in this body who are not listening to the people.


AZUZ: The rules allow a senator to take questions from colleagues without giving up the floor. Senator Cruz did that. The rules don`t say what you have to talk about. And during part of his time, Senator Cruz read his kids who were watching at home, a bedtime story.


CRUZ: I do not like them here or there, I do not like them anywhere. I do not like green eggs and ham.


AZUZ: Senator Cruz`s marathon effort got a lot of attention, but some of his colleagues questioned the point.


SEN. HARRY REID, (D) MAJORITY LEADER: We all admire the senator from Texas for his wanting to talk. All due respect, I`m not sure we learned anything new.


AZUZ: So, why did he do it? Dana Bash looks at the reasons and the reaction.


DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ted Cruz seized the Senate floor and vowed not to let go.

CRUZ: I intend to speak in support of defunding Obamacare until I`m no longer able to stand.

BASH: To be sure this is theater, Cruz aides fully admit he`s using the Senate floor stage to speak directly to his audience -- conservative grassroots activists who filled his Tea Party upset last year.

CRUZ: Where is the outrage? Where are the senators standing here saying, what a travesty that young people are being denied a fair shot in the American dream because of what we have wrought, because of Obamacare?

BASH: Cruz`s talk fest is exactly what his Republican leadership who oppose his tactics were trying to avoid. In fact, even as Cruz started, GOP leaders were talking to reporters a few feet away, urging him to abandon what they consider a complicated fool`s errand.

For procedural reasons, Cruz is opposing the bill he supports -- funding the government, but defunding Obamacare. If you don`t follow, that`s exactly why many worried Republicans are exasperated.

(on camera): Effectively, he` saying the fact that you`re not standing with him, means that it`s Washington`s business as usual. Does he have a point?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R ) MINORITY LEADER: Well, look. I think we`d all be hard-pressed to explain why we were opposed to a bill we`re in favor of.

BASH (voice over): Cruz`s scorched earth strategy tying defunding Obamacare to a must-pass spending bill is enflaming many fellow Republicans who think if this causes a government shutdown, they`re going to get burned.


AZUZ: A very powerful earthquake, one with the magnitude of 7.7 hit part of Pakistan on Tuesday. It could be felt hundreds of miles away.


SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This earthquake lasted two minutes, but it`s caused widespread devastation in the area. Just to explain, it`s a remote part of Pakistan in the southwest Balochistan province, alongside Pakistan`s coastline, Awaran is very difficult to get to. A road therefore, the military has been deploying helicopters to try and get both rescue workers and medical teams to the people affected there. One saving grace rescue workers are telling me, is that it is scarcely populated in that area.


AZUZ: But even in that rural part of Pakistan, hundreds of people were killed when the quake hit. And what you`re looking at here is an island off the country`s coast, it wasn`t above water before the earthquake. The tremor was actually strong enough to push it above the surface of the Arabian Sea. An American geophysicists said yeah, this is unusual.

Hassan Rouhani has been Iran`s president for just a few months, but he`s showing off some big differences from Iran`s previous president. During his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, President Rouhani said Iran is prepared for immediate talks about its controversial nuclear program. Iran`s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust a myth. In an interview with CNN, President Rouhani acknowledged and spoke out against the Holocaust. He didn`t meet with President Obama during the General Assembly. He did have a message for the American people.


PRES. HASSAN ROUHANI, IRAN: I bring peace and friendship from Iranians to Americans.


AZUZ: A journalists who covered Iran for a decade says President Rouhani`s statements are only meaningful, if they`re supported by Iran`s ayatollah. He is the country`s supreme leader and has the final word on state matters there.


ANNOUNCER: It`s time for "The Shoutout." What is the world`s most visited theme park? So, is this Universal Studios Japan, Disneyland Park, California, SeaWorld, California or Disney`s Magic Kingdom, Florida. You`ve got three seconds, go.

The Magic Kingdom tops the list and Disneyland Park in California comes in second. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.


AZUZ: Some of the people heading to those two parks will face a new policy starting next month: visitors with disabilities won`t get instant access to rides at Disneyland or Walt Disney World. The current policy lets disabled visitors get a guest assistance card for quicker access to rides, they can bypass the lines, but there were reports of people abusing that policy. Under the new policy, which starts October 9th, disabled guests will get a ticket with the time to enter an attraction, that way they won`t have to physically wait in line. One parent of a disabled child says she`s worried the new rule could make things more complicated. She pointed out that some people`s conditions require certain medical procedures at certain times.

Another parent who blogs about kids with special needs said Disney has a long history of accommodating disabled guests. She said she can`t imagine the company, "would ever leave kids with special needs in the dust."

Our next story today takes us to the Texas town of West. Back in April, it went through a powerful disaster. A fire at a fertilizer plant led to huge explosion, more than 12 people were killed, most of them firefighters and paramedics, nearby homes and schools were damaged. The high school football field was used as a triage center. People with injuries were taken there to be treated. Last Friday, players were back on it, for West`s homecoming game. Fans were back in the stands, after a disaster like this town went through, getting back to a routine, a sense of normalcy can offer comfort.

West`s head football coach has been telling his team how important this season is to them in their community. West won their homecoming game 31 to 13, it was their first win of the season.

Well, we are adding a new state to our roll call map. And calling out a mascot, we haven`t seen before either. This is Sparta. Well, it`s the Spartans from Villa Park High School in Villa Park, California. Next up, we`re going somewhere normal -- Normal, Illinois and Parkside Junior High, home of the Pythons. And our last school is our first one from Virginia. The Nottoway High Cougars and Crew, welcome to the "Roll Call."

Four years ago, most people didn`t know the name Scotty McCreery. He was your age, a high school student on the baseball team. Then he auditioned for this little show called "American Idol," he won and now, the country music star wants to use his fame to make a difference.


SCOTTY MCCREERY, AMERICAN IDOL WINNER: I could have never imagined to prepare for what was going to happen to me. At 17, I was planning (inaudible) average high school student and all of a sudden, that all happened.

I love the fact that nowadays kids get to look up on me. I love that responsibility and I embrace it. And it seems like the only story we go on the news are child stars, now gone crazy, so I want to be the opposite to them.


MCCREERY: You know, right off the gate, (ph), we`ve had opportunities to do different things with charities. I grew up having two loves in life: baseball and music, so (inaudible) program and DMLB, it just seemed like a natural fit to me, and so (inaudible) baseball in the inner city.

When I was growing, I learned a lot of my biggest life lessons from playing ball, whether it was perseverance or whether it`s just competition, or just hard work, you know, team work. They were my best memories made there so just -- making sure these kids get the same -- same opportunities, and I can relate to these kids. (inaudible) handing the money I can talk to them about what they are doing and the experience they are sharing, and kind of share my stories with them, and so it`s cool ahead, it`s kind of connection there with these kids.

I`m Scotty McCreery and together we can make an impact on America`s children.


AZUZ: I`m not going to demonstrate the chicken dance to fox, trot, or the worm. But now, we do have the gorilla. He`s got his own moves. This is Zola, and Zola is getting down. In fact, this fame might be spinning out of control. Officials at a Zoo in Canada posted videos of the groovy gorilla on YouTube and his fancy footwork has found a following: Zola is heading to a new zoo in Texas, he`s one of a kind, but he`s not traveling alone: Zola and his brother are heading to Texas together.

Zola`s skills might diminish with time, so you`d better catch a show now while he`s in his primeee (ph). Anytime you get a change to see a dancing gorilla, you should totally take advantage of the apertunity. There is no dancing around it, we`re out of time. We`ll (inaudible) pack tomorrow with more CNN STUDENT NEWS.