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Filibuster Reform; Potential Deal Between U.S., Afghanistan

Aired November 22, 2013 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Fridays are awesome! Welcome to CNN STUDENT NEWS. My name is Carl Azuz reporting from the CNN Center. In Congress, the so called nuclear option doesn`t refer to weapons. It refers to a procedural rule in the U.S. Senate. It takes a simple majority, 51 votes, for the Senate to confirm a presidential nominee. But it takes 60 votes to hold the confirmation vote, or it used to. Yesterday, the Senate passed the nuclear option. Now, the vote to vote only takes 51. The idea or requiring 60 votes was to ensure debate in the U.S. Senate. To make sure that the minority party in the Senate, right now Republicans, didn`t get muscled out by the majority party, right now the Democrats. Some senators argue that the 60 votes requirement was stopping anything from getting done. The new 51 vote rule only applies to executive and judicial nominees, not to Supreme Court nominees. And remember, the majority party won`t be in the majority forever. When that power shift happens, senators from that party will get to experience the other side of this nuclear option rule.

Next up, a potential deal between the U.S. and Afghanistan. American forces were first sent to that country after the 911 terrorist attacks in 2001. Since he was elected, President Obama has promised to end the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The White House says that timeframe is still on track, but this new deal could mean that some American forces would stay in Afghanistan after 2014.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Secretary of State John Kerry announced the deal that could leave thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan for years to come.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: There is no combat rule for United States Forces, and the bilateral security agreement is an effort to try to clarify for Afghans and for United States military forces exactly what the rules are with respect to that ongoing relationship.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The draft agreement is now before an Afghan council of tribal leaders called the Loya Jirga. Until they approve it, it`s far from a done deal. To get their (inaudible) and President Karzai wants a letter of assurances from the White House including a pledge U.S. troops won`t enter Afghan homes unless American soldiers` lives are at stake. Past raids have killed innocent Afghans and fueled anger among the population. And Karzai says the U.S. should acknowledge these past mistakes. But is that tantamount to an apology for U.S. actions in the 12- year war?

KERRY: I honestly don`t know where the idea of an apology started, but let me be clear: President Karzai didn`t ask for an apology, there was no discussion of an apology.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It oil boils down to semantics: U.S. officials in the past have offered some form of apology for civilian deaths, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates and General John Allen who led U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. Even the draft agreement expresses regret for Afghan suffering and the loss of innocent lives, language one of President Obama`s top advisors repeated Wednesday.

BEN RHODES, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: We have, of course, throughout the war always indicated regret when there are instances of civilian casualties. But I think the Afghan people understand the great sacrifices that Americans have made on behalf of their security.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just the facts: John F. Kennedy was born in Massachusetts in 1917. After serving in the U.S. House and Senate, he was elected president in 1960, although there is some controversy surrounding his very narrow win. Kennedy was the youngest man elected president and the first Catholic to be president. His presidency involved the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba and the Cuban missile crisis, a nuclear faceoff between the U.S. and former Soviet Union. President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963.

AZUZ: It was November, 22, exactly 50 years ago today. President Kennedy was in Texas riding in an open convertible limousine. At 12:30 he was hit by two bullets. He was declared dead 30 minutes later, the fourth U.S. president to be killed in office. News has sometimes referred to it as the first rough draft of history. And President Kennedy`s assassination was, of course, a major news event. The first radio bulletin came six minutes after the shooting. The first television broadcast, four minutes later. For several days, major TV and radio networks had continuous news coverage, like they did after the 911 terrorist attacks. For many Americans, the events surrounding President Kennedy`s death still resonate 50 years later.


VICTOR HOLLINGSWORTH, SENIOR PRODUCER, CNN DIGITAL: For my generation, it was where were you when President Kennedy got killed?

DONNA KRACHE, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, CNN STUDENT NEWS: November 22nd, 1963. I was in the second grade, I was seven years old. And I was in the catholic school in New York.

MONTE PLOTT, COPYEDITOR, CNN DIGITAL: I was a sixth grader at a school in North Carolina.

HOLLINGSWORTH: In 1963, I was in second grade elementary school, seven years old, at Lafayette, Louisiana. What I remember about that day was we were all sitting at our desks and all of a sudden the intercom came on. The principal was saying, the president has been shot. President Kennedy has been shot. And his voice was so frantic, that I don`t remember the intercom ever be coming on until that day.

KRACHE: And I remember, of course, knowing who the president was, even though I was very, very young at the time. I knew who the president was. I knew about his family. He was kind of a hero to us because he was catholic. I was in catholic school. And he had a daughter who was close to my age. So, that was pretty cool too.

PLOTT: Purely timing coincidence, but we were lowering the American Flag that afternoon on Friday, November 22, 1963 when another guy in the school came running up and he said did you guys hear? The president`s been shot! When I came in, the secretary - the school secretary was sitting at her desk and she was crying. Tears were screaming down her cheek. So I ran back to my classroom, I burst in the door and said, President Kennedy has been shot. And about that time, the principal came on with the announcement. And he told everybody let`s go to the buses, let`s go home, go straight home when you get off the bus.

KRACHE: I got on the bust that afternoon and the older kids were really quiet, just very, very quiet and one of them said to me, do you understand what`s happening? And I said I knew the president had died, and I felt bad because it was Caroline`s daddy. I mean that`s kind of my frame of reference at the time. I remember going home, my parents were both there, it was very quiet, we were watching TV and I remember my dad cried, and that was the first time I ever saw him cry.

HOLLINGSWORTH: And I went home and it was like a hush fell over our little part of the world. Everything went quiet. The radio and TV was all news. For the first time in history, the networks went all night, the TV networks, and there were only three. It was quiet for months. And really, I think the thing that got us out of that was a few months later, there was this musical group from England, a band called "The Beatles." And they came over and all of a sudden, people had something else to talk about.

KRACHE: I remember watching the funeral and I remember we were out of school that day and the mood in my house was very quiet, very somber and, you know, just a very sad day for the entire country. I also remember the salute that young John did to his father`s coffin, and my mom had just had a baby, and his name was John. He was born in September of 1963. And after that we started calling him John John. That was the president son`s nickname.

HOLLINGSWORTH: Just the week before, a "Weekly Reader" had come out. And had President Kennedy on the cover. Somehow it had gotten balled up and thrown away at home. And I was so upset that my mother actually fished it out of the trash can and ironed it for me so I could still have it. Nothing was the same after that because it was like something (inaudible) changed and we just couldn`t figure out why.


AZUZ: The southeast, Midwest, northeast. We`re going to hit them all in today`s "Roll Call." In Marietta, Georgia, there is some buzz for the yellow jackets from Sprayberry High School. Hello, everyone. From there, we head north to Minnesota to check in with the Bull Dogs from Lester Prairie High School and our last stop is Beverly High School in Massachusetts, the Panthers close out the "Roll Call" for this week.

Add this to the list of things that are harder to do in space: washing your hair. This astronaut says she gets asked a lot how she does it, so she posted this video on YouTube to explain. She squirts water directly on her scalp, hopes the drops don`t float away, then busts out some no rinse shampoo. Now that might sound simple, but if you look at it, you`ve got to admit: it looks like a hair raising experience. You know how it goes with these puns: hair today, gone tomorrow. But about next week: we will be hear on Monday and Tuesday, so we`ll see some of you then, the rest of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and a great weekend ahead.