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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  September 8, 2009 11:00am-1:00pm EDT

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downloading as many fans want. >> great way to end a show. beatles music. i'm heidi collins. cnn "newsroom" continues with tony harris. >> it's tuesday, september 8th, here are the faces of the stories driving the headlines today in the cnn "newsroom." president obama, his welcome back nation to the nation's school children. we've got the address live. >> the american soldier, eight u.s. troops lose their lives today in the wars in iraq and afghanistan. teen tennis player melanie oudin. we told you to look out for this kid last week earlier than anyone. she's on fire in the u.s. open. is she a threat to serena williams? good morning, everyone. i'm tony harris.
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you are in cnn "newsroom" where we get you caught up on the day's hot headlines and break down the big issues to find out why they really matter leading the way this hour, no politics. just a pep talk from president obama when he delivers his back-to-school speech next hour. the address will be available to students around the country on television and the web. some conservatives blasted the speech as an attempt by the president to promote his political agenda but the white house released the text in advance. one of the most vocal critics calls it a good speech. the president will deliver his message from wakefield high school in arlington, virginia. congress gets back to work on health care today after an august filled with clatter and commotion. democratic leaders go to the white house this afternoon to talk strategy with president obama. he's addressing a joint session of congress tomorrow night. a leading senator in the debate democrat max baucus is
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circulating a reform plan and is one of a gang of six trying to write a compromise health care bill. the bill does not include a government option but pays for expanded coverage with attacks on health insurance companies. senator charles grassley, a republican member of the gang of six, talked to cnn this morning. >> i've been working the last three or four months with senator baucus one-on-one and then later with a group of six to come up with a bipartisan plan. it seems to me that the bipartisan approach is the best. if you look at the president during his campaign, he wanted to be post-partisan. it seems to me like those statements yesterday were very partisan contrary to what he promised in the last campaign. >> even if the president gets a compromise in the senate, house leaders insist on a bill that includes a government option. eight u.s. troops killed today at war. the military says four died in iraq when with roadside bombs
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struck their patrols in two separate incidents. the other four were killed in the other war, afghanistan, during fighting in kunar province and new fallout in fraud allegations in the presidential vote. now a partial recount ordered of ballots from several polling centers. this comes after the u.s. ambassador to afghanistan urged president karzai to allow a vote fraud investigation. officials report getting more than 2,000 complaints. a little after 8:00 in the san francisco bay area. the peak of rush hour. the bay bridge, the major artery linking san francisco and oakland reopened an hour ago. we were hoping for live pictures. we don't have them? no. not yet. crews got a two-inch crack fixed earlier than predicted heading off potential rush hour gridlock. president obama will urge
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school children to take responsibility for their education during his hotly debated speech next hour. supporters say it is an appropriate message but some critics say it shouldn't come from the president. >> i think it should be up to the parents decision if they want their children to hear that or not. >> he only has a good message. is it all about politics? no, not necessarily. it's about being a good person and doing the right thing. >> it's good. they need that to see the president speak that will make kids want to look up to him and want to go to school. >> i think that's a good idea to talk to the children because they need to know that it is their responsibility because apparently a lot of the parents are not taking the responsibility. >> okay. white house correspondent suzanne malveaux joining us live. suzanne, so much pre-speech analys analysis. what will the president say in less than an hour? >> reporter: we have a copy of the speech. it is calling for students to
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take responsibility for their own school work and to make their parents proud, their school proud and their country proud. he talks about not to be afraid of failure. not to be afraid to ask people for help or even to make mistakes. he uses his own example and his own childhood saying there were times his own mother had to get tough on him from time to time but he turned things around and that anybody can do that in this country. it's very much a message that doesn't seem political in any way that he's addressing to the children. the controversy in part came from a lesson plan that was suggested by the education department for children to write an essay about how to help the president. it's a message that previous presidents have also addressed towards children but there was controversy around that and people said -- some people said he was indoctrinating the children. one person leading the charge, jim greer with the republican party in florida, said it was a
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socialist ideology. i had a chance to speak with greer on this and pressed him on this point whether he saw anything in this speech that was close to what he was claiming. take a listen. >> teachers are told not to lead students in the direction that they would have a week ago, my kids will watch the president's speech as all -- as i hope all kids will. >> reporter: he's backed down from his criticism from before. he says he still had objections about the lesson plans but the white house has withdrawn suggested lesson plans. greer also said he thought perhaps this was a different speech and that it's not the original one. the white house has come back this morning and spoken with several officials saying that's not true. it was largely written a couple weeks ago. they say he has no credibility.
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the president is going to go forward to the nation's children and try to give them a pep talk that's inspirational and interestingly enough it will be greer's own four children sitting in school listening to this speech. >> my goodness. one more quick one here, suzanne. cabinet secretaries out there today giving their own version of a pep talk to students. >> reporter: certainly. this is something that the white house decided that they were going to broaden their base here and broaden their scope and talk to kids on their first day of school. you have secretaries from the state department, energy, commerce, housing, you name it. they're all going to be out there in elementary, high school, middle schools essentially to give the same message to encourage kids to do well in school and this is something that they do from time to time when they want to underscore the president's message. they're doing that again today. >> suzanne malveaux at the white house, good to see you. thank you. >> president obama's pep talk to students today is live at noon and you can also see it live online at cnn.com/live. and i want to know what you think of the president's speech.
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everyone else has had their say at this point. what do you think about it? watch it for yourself and watch it here at cnn and give us your comments on my blog at cnn.com/tony. if there's a road to success or failure in securing afghanistan, this could be it. we'll take you along the taliban highway but first, a look at the latest numbers from wall street. the dow as you can see is up 48 points. we're back in a moment. what? with unbeatable prices on aveeno daily moisturizing beauty costs less save money. live better. walmart.
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a water main break a couple blocks from here caused a large sinkhole where if it continues to pan, you'll see something dramatic. take a look at that. a sinkhole where a fire truck was, the front half of it, looks like something you see in sand box. nobody hurt in this event. they're all scratching their heads as to what they're going to do next. all right. that's what's happening in california. not a lot of heavy rain out there. that sinkhole again caused by what's believed to be a 95-year-old water main break about 64 inches in diameter. that's a big one. takes a long time to shut those puppies off that's for sure. this is tropical storm fred. winds 65 miles an hour. it's more than 300 miles southwest of cape verde islands. you got it. you can tell. you don't need to be a pro to figure out what's going on. expanding and strengthening moving west at 14 miles an hour. with that sort of movement and trend in strengthening, national
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hurricane center says it will become a category 1 storm. look at that curvature into the central atlantic. it does stall it. what it does after it stalls, that's a whole other ball game. we're not done with fred yet. don't let your guard down. it will be several days if not a week before we have to deal with it. folks in the carolinas are dealing with this. especially across parts of north carolina and delmarva. flooding rains up for this part of the world. be aware of that. it will be with you for a good couple of hours. a soaker for the hampton roads area. tightness in my chest came back- i knew i had to see my doctor. he told me i had choices in controller medicines. we chose symbicort. symbicort starts to improve my lung function within 15 minutes. that's important to me because i know the two medicines in symbicort are beginning to treat my symptoms and helping me take control of my asthma. and that makes symbicort a good choice for me. symbicort will not replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. and should not be taken more than twice a day.
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symbicort contains formoterol. medicines like formoterol may increase the chance of asthma-related death. so, it is not for people whose asthma is well controlled on other asthma medicines. see your doctor if your asthma does not improve or gets worse. i know symbicort won't replace a rescue inhaler. within 15 minutes symbicort starts to improve my lung function and begins to treat my symptoms. that makes symbicort a good choice for me. you have choices. ask your doctor if symbicort is right for you. (announcer) if you cannot afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help.
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four more u.s. troops killed in afghanistan and a suicide bomber strikes and the entrance to kabul's main airport, two people killed there. we're joined now from the afghan capital of kabul. good to see you. let's focus on the troops killed. what do we know? what's the latest? >> reporter: we have very little information at the moment. four u.s. soldiers were killed in kunar province where we are on friday with general stanley mcchrystal.
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they were showing us the new initiative from the obama administration to mix military and civilian effort together and we saw little steps when i spoke to an afghan police officer there, he told me that we may be safe in the area that we were standing at the moment but just 10 kilometers away from us was a village voecontrolled by the taliban. four u.s. soldiers died in the same province. >> tell us what you know about this attack at the main entrance of kabul's main airport. >> reporter: absolutely. kabul airport is a mixture of civilian airport and a military airport. when we talked to ministry of interior he said a suicide bomber went to the eastern gate, which is the military gate, where he then exploded killing two afghan civilians, injuring
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injuries. the international security assistance force said they didn't have deaths but they did have minor injuries. among those injuries were both u.s. and belgian troops. >> one final thought here on the election front. what are you following here? we're hearing the elections commission is now ordering a partial recount of ballots from several polling centers. >> reporter: if you want a political soap opera, come to afghanistan for the elections right now. you have some drama at the moment. the electoral complaint commission stating this was fraud involved and they want the independent election commission releasing results at the moment to actually investigate. many polls they say have had fraudulent votes but the iec today in a press conference today stating they took the order back stating there was a discrepancy between the versions and they will continue to release results until they have a proper order. >> okay.
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atia, good to see you. the deaths of four more american troops in afghanistan, the latest painful reminders of taliban resurgence. we look at a symbol of the taliban with a takeover of a road. >> reporter: afghanistan is hurting badly. eight years after america's war began here, the combat continues with the death tolls among coalition soldiers, afghan security forces and civilians ever rising. politically it's little better with the nation in limbo. the final results of last month's presidential election have been stalled by a storm of corruption allegations but it wasn't meant to be this way. having turned its back on afghanistan throughout the 1990s, once the serbian army lost its war here, the united
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states has been trying to make good on the last neglect. true and undeniable success is hard to see. for ordinary afghans, this is the simple, clearest measure of that. this is highway number 1. it's here that kabul ends and 300 miles down that road is kandahar and the taliban heartland. i remember taking the journey from kandahar to kabul was more than 12 exhausting hours. in 2004 american aid money repaved the road and cut it down to five or six. now the journey is back to nine or ten hours. there's at least three known taliban checkpoints on this american paved highway. people are being pulled off buses and executed by the taliban. this truck driver runs this once a week. the road, he says, is in terrible shape wrecked by
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explosions. drivers are left completely exposed. it's been blown up by land mines and there's no security on it, he says. a father of three, he has to provide for his children. he takes his life in his hands each time he travels highway 1. i'm compelled, he tells me. how else do we eat? there's simply no alternative. highway 1 looks like this. it is one of the most vital arteries in afghanistan rebuilt with almost $300 million in american aid money. it rolls from kabul to the west towards kandahar, the nation's second largest city. kandahar is just a short distance down there. kabul hundreds of miles that way. but here in kandahar, this is a city surrounded by pockets of
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taliban resistance and they just a few miles down that dirt road is a taliban control district. a few miles up the highway, the first taliban checkpoint. the fact that the taliban has been able to strangle the life out of this highway is a testament of the fact that there's simply not enough american, british, international or afghan troops to secure it. what had once been an american project hailed as a sign of progress has now become a mark of a mission in crisis. >> our anderson cooper takes you inside afghanistan all this week live from the battle zone tonight. don't miss this special "ac 360." north of los angeles unpredictable flames and winds are posing a challenge for firefighters. 246 square mile station fire is
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about 56% contained right now. yesterday firefighters had to scrap plans to set preventive backfires because of a new flare-up. milwaukee police arrested a suspect in connection with murders of nine women over the last 21 years. 49-year-old walter ellis is suspected of being a serial killer. police say dna evidence links ellis to the crimes. mel anie oudin two wins awa from the u.s. open title and a possible matchup with serena williams. 17-year-old oudin beat four russians in a row to reach her first grand slam quarterfinals. four wins in a row. her latest victim was a 13 seed. recess is over. time to get back to work for congress and they have brand new health care proposal to fight over.
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the mild mannered approach is gone. president obama looks fired up heading into strategy talks on health care this afternoon. he has house speaker pelosi and senate majority leader harry reid coming by the white house this afternoon. cnn's brianna keilar is on capitol hill. brianna, okay, congress is back from vacation. rubber hits the road this afternoon. i don't have any more cliches. what can you tell us about what's on the schedule today on health care? >> reporter: we're keeping an eye on a meeting happening this afternoon 2:30 eastern time. that bipartisan group of six
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senators on the senate finance committee will be talking about a proposal that has been laid out before them by the senate of the finance committee, senator baucus. one of the six senators in this so-called gang of six as we call them on capitol hill. a key element of this proposal is a health cooperative. a nonprofit health co-op that would be governed by the patients that it serves. this is an idea in senator baucus' proposal but it has a lot of bipartisan support among this gang of six including senator charles grassley, the top republican on the senate finance committee. this is what he said a short time ago. >> consumer driven and all of the consumers benefit from it. they're organized by members. there's no federal government running the co-ops, etc. that's the way that senator conrad has devised them. i've been discussing that with
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him. along the lines of what he suggested is very favorable. >> reporter: the big question is after these months and months of discussions between these six senators, can they come to some agreement. i asked senator grassley that a few hours ago. he told me that he hopes these three democrats and these two other republicans he's been meeting with that they can strike a bipartisan deal before president obama's health care speech tomorrow night. he said the time line is not ideal. he would like to have more time. he understands this is what senator baucus wants to do. he said he's hopeful but really you know how it is with this. we'll wait and see. this committee has missed some deadlines. we're waiting to see what comes out of this meeting today. >> the baucus proposal, does it also expand medicaid, health insurance to the poor? >> it does. right now medicaid covers children up to 5 and pregnant women who are either below the poverty line or one-third above the poverty line.
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this proposal would expand it so it would cover everyone up to one-third above the poverty level so that would mean more children and that would mean poor adults who do not have children and the question of how do you pay for this? in part there's a new tax proposed here on those cadillac health care plans, those high end health care plans that insurance companies would pay although some critics say it will trickle down to other health care consumers. i should also mention according to -- we're getting all of this information from sources familiar with this proposal and they are also stressing this protects people with pre-existing conditions and also that it would help limit out of pocket expenses. >> there is a lot there. okay. brianna keilar on capitol hill. appreciate it. thank you. president obama's message today at noon is for kids to stay in school. so, one question we're asking, is the dropout rate getting better or worse around the country? josh levs is here. he's tracking that for us. what are you finding? >> the numbers have changed
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big-time. we had the list of which cities have had the most improvement and which are falling the furthest behind.
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not all schools will be tuning into the president's back-to-school message today. some districts in the virginia area won't air the speech. others will allow teachers to show it only if they notify parents in advance. here's what some parents and students at richmond had to say about the speech. >> it's one of the first presidents to talk to kids about school and i think it's very -- it's something good that kids can listen to. >> when i was a kid, it would have been a big deal to have the president come and address school children but given the political climate we live in now it's a tough call until you see what will be spun. >> it's unfortunate. all kids can hear this message. >> it's mixed feelings. like i said, it's current events. all kids if they have an understanding of it should know what's going on and should be able to watch it. >> a little background on the school where the president will deliver his message to students. wakefield high school has a
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projected enrollment this year of 1, 363 students. 63% graduate rate on time as of last year. the 2008 enrollment was 47% hispanic, 27% black, 14% white and 11% asian. students in the atlanta charter school will listen to president obama's address next hour. good to see you. we know that school is showing the speech. what about public schools in the city of atlanta? good to see you. >> reporter: good to see you as well. no surprise as you said the ron clark academy showing that speech as you see the kids behind me getting ready for that. it will play at noon eastern time. a big screen here. the kids are very excited. a lot of these kids met president obama at the inauguration performing that famous song now. some of the other schools in georgia have decided against it.
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other counties are leaving it up to each school district to decide. i want to bring in ron clark himself, the man of the hour. we spoke a little bit off camera. what was behind your decision to sh say, i'm going ahead and showing this? >> it's important to show kids both sides of every store. liberal, conservative, republican or democrat and we want our kids to be exposed to make their own opinions. kids said we want to see it. we need to be educated. once we're educated we can be a better citizen. >> reporter: you talked to your students who told me earlier about the schools not showing it and some kids said that's up to them. >> we teach our kids here how to be a good citizen. i love that our students said, you know what, mr. clark, it's a free country. they have that right. if parents don't want their kids to see it, that's their right and that's why it's wonderful we live in this country and a lot of kids said it's a message about hope and being a good student so we had both sides.
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>> you told me earlier and we both read the speech and your students did as well available on the white house website and in that speech it really said the kids are in charge of their own destiny. your philosophy here at this academy is let's bring parents in and get them involved but it has to do with students being responsible for themselves. do you incorporate that philosophy here? >> yes. we're about empowering these kids to feel strong and to be confident and have pride and in doing so we need to give them opportunities to express their own opinions and to find their own way and so to have the president make a live address to all of these kids is wonderful. excited that my students will hear his words inspiration and there are kids out there today that needs to hear what he has to say and kids that need him as a role model and i'm sad not everyone will see him today. >> reporter: we're excited to see the students' reaction to the speech at 12:00 eastern
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time. tony, forsyth county will not show it at all. and other counties are leaving it up to each school. depends on the school to decide if they want to show it. >> that seems to be the pattern around the country. tell ron i said hello. the kids there are just terrific. they do a nice job over there. appreciate it. thank you. a former first lady laura bush defends president obama's decision to talk to the nation's school children. mrs. bush sat down with zain verjee in paris. she supports the idea of the president encouraging school children but she says she also understands the concerns expressed by some parents. >> that certainly is the right of parents to choose what they want their children to hear in school. i think really what people were unhappy about were the guidelines that went out before the speech went out. i think those have been changed.
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i think it's also really important for everyone to respect the president of the united states. >> again, president obama's back to school speech is live in less than 30 minutes from now right here in cnn "newsroom." you can watch it online at cnn.com/live. i want your thoughts today. watch the speech with us. watch it online. you can do it if you want. watch us on television and there you go. leave us your comments on my block at cnn.com/tony. we'll read some of your remarks later in the cnn "newsroom." one of the president's big goals today to convince kids to stay in school. just how bad is the dropout rate in america? some call it a crisis. let's check in now with josh levs. what are you finding? >> there is some good news in this big picture of how many dropouts there are in america. you may be surprised by this. let's go straight to this with the education department. if you look back at the last 30 years, we have graphics for you here. things have improved to some
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extent. you go back to 1980. dropout rate was at 14%. look at that. under 9%. we're seeing overall a reduction in the number of dropouts in america. they also -- this is important, broken down by race. you can see what they say about black students. at 19% under 8.4% last year. hispanic opportunities at 35% in 1980. latest figures, 21%. that's still horrendous. still too many dropouts in america. it's a problem. you can see big picture things improving to some extent. >> we have figures on best and worst cities? >> we do. this is interesting. let me show you this. this is from a group that puts out magazine "education week" broken it down by city. closing the graduation gap and use the term dropout crisis. they looked at the stats and put together these graphics which show you the cities that are doing best in fighting the
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problem of dropouts they say philly, tucson and kansas city, missouri are the cities doing the best. schools on the opposite end where they are losing more and more and more students. the worst they have is las vegas, wichita, kansas and omaha. in those cities we see things getting worse. we'll post this on our blog and facebook and twitter so you can see it yourself. 2008 was a record setting year both oil and gold prices hit all-time highs as the recession reared its ugly head. gold prices again making headlines. susan lisovicz making headlines for us. she's on the floor of the new york stock exchange with the numbers. good to see you ms. susan. >> i'm tempted to take this gold bracelet and melt it down. i would get a nice price for it today.
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gold topping $1,000 an ounce. first time we've seen that in six months. oil another big commodity topping $71 a barrel. that's not $147 a barrel like we saw last summer but it is a jump of nearly $3.50 in one day. why is that? the greenback. u.s. dollar hitting a low for the year against the euro. the u.s. dollar falling against other currencies like the british pound and the yen. >> explain this connection here or is there a connection between the dollar, gold and oil prices? >> there is. basically you've heard this expression many times unfortunately. we've all heard it over the past year that the u.s. government, the treasury is literally printing money. there's a lot more dollars out there to finance all of this
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stimulus, a trillion dollars. what's happened is it has certainly weighed on the demand for dollars. there's a lot of concern about this deficit spending, one, and two, about what will happen as a result. the inflation that could result. we also have g-20 ministers meeting over the weekend saying their efforts continue stimulus spending and in fact increase the money supply. so their concerns about the dollar, where do you go to a safe haven? well, what used to be the currency, the number one currency for 6,000 years gold. there's a rush into gold. a rush into oil and i wouldn't call it a stampede into stocks but we do have nice positive momentum today following thursday and friday's rally. dow up 35 points. the nasdaq also up a few points as well. positive there. concerns about the dollar. that's something that we'll be talking a lot about.
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>> we were trying to get you on next hour. we're pretty busy around here in the "newsroom" and the president -- >> always available for you, to tony. >> see you next hour. eight u.s. troops killed today at war. the military says four died during fighting in kunar province in eastern afghanistan and the other four were killed in iraq when roadside bombs struck their patrols in two separate incidents. rescuers search for survivors after an early morning explosion at a coal mine in china. 35 people were killed. dozens of missing. the mine is 460 miles south of beijing. china's news agency says it was operating illegally. >>. >> the bay bridge linking oakland and san francisco reopened today. 24 hours earlier than expected. live pictures now. crews fixed the two-inch crack in the bridge heading off a potential rush hour nightmare for the bay area. no health care, no job?
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ali velshi takes the cnn express to one town in illinois that's struggling with both issues. sm. a smidge? y'know, there's really no need to weigh packages under 70 pounds. with priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service, if it fits, it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. cool. you know this scale is off by a good 7, 8 pounds. maybe five. priority mail flat rate boxes only from the postal service. a simpler way to ship.
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the cnn express on the road and asking americans about health care and the economy. chief business correspondent ali velshi sat down for beers in naperville, illinois.
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>> you're in naperville, illinois, with the cnn express. >> reporter: what do you think about this debate that set us on the road on this bus? do you think that this administration is doing the right thing to try to reform health care? >> if it doesn't happen now, i don't know what it will happen. >> i think it will go on and on and on. it's been in our main consciousness for a dozen years now. i don't think there's an end to it any time soon. >> is it the right time? how can this happen in four years? >> who is for world peace, everyone will raise their hand, right? there's going to be a lot -- there isn't going to be a perfect plan where everyone will be happy. >> i was in naperville several months ago. things have changed. back then we were still at that point where we really were confused about where this economy was going. there was more attention around it and that's dissipated a bit. >> the shock is kind of over.
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like lisa said how do we rebuild? where do we go from here? >> start planning for the next steps. >> what do the next steps include. >> living within your means. we never live within our means. now hopefully this is the big wake-up call. >> do we know how to do that? >> yeah. i think we do. >> what do you think? >> i think so. i definitely think we do less impulse shopping. now i think about it before i buy it or not. >> let's talk about this government. >> a lot of politicians focused on what the other party is saying and how can i disagree with them in an eloquent manner. >> the federal. >> guest: continues to spend and belt tightening needs to get more serious. >> i just don't know if sending a crew out to resurface a road is really best for our country.
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>> naperville is an affluent suburb of chicago and hasn't been as hard hit by the downturn as factory towns in the heartland. which kids will see the president's back-to-school speech today? which ones won't and what's behind the decision? we'll find out. and an environment in balance. between consuming less and conserving more. there is one important word: how. and it is the how that makes all the difference. to the planet we all share.
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"what do you mean homeowners insurance doesn't cover floods?" "a few inches of water caused all this?" "but i don't even live near the water." what you don't know about flood insurance may shock you. including the fact that a preferred risk policy starts as low as $119 a year. for an agent, call the number on your screen.
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we have some flood watches in effect. there he is, meteorologist rob marcia marciano. what region of the country wru watching, rob? >> mid-atlantic and now moving up the coastline. a slow-moving system. here it is on the radar scope. delmarva, specifically, including southeastern parts of virginia, northern parts of north carolina. parts of southern north carolina yesterday got 10 inches of rain in a very short amount of time. we're looking at kind of a similar sort of action. here's the low and it's not moving very quickly. so, everything's kind of spinning around that low, and we do have some flood watches that
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are posted for much of the hampton rhodes hear and the delmarva. 1 to 3 inches of rain are possible. this system will slowly march its way up to the east coast, including new york see before too long. and over the next couple of days, several more inches of rainfall in the new york city area. back to the west and wichita seeing rainfall here, that also producing some flooding. i do want to touch on what's going on with tropical storm fred. right now winds of 65 miles. er hour. this is probably going to become a hurricane. heading to the west at 14 miles an hour. we'll show you the track of that in just a second. but, first, rough weather moved through parts of washington over the weekend. some cleanup damage from this, reports to the national weather service at last check, were straightline winds. but certainly did enough damage there to make folks think like, hey, it was a tornado. temperatures today are going to look like this. 86 degrees -- >> chad, chad, chad, what are
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you doing to me? chad, what's happening? a changing of the guards here -- >> a crossover? >> chad is trying to help me. i can feel that he's trying to help me. >> yes. and he's killing you? >> and he's killing me! >> good stuff. >> good to see you, again, my friend. all right, tropical storm -- here's the track. that's what he thought i was going to the track and i was getting to that. >> okay. >> but hurricane -- category 1 status expected, probably going to be become a storm. throw up the l.a. camera. we paid for it so -- >> there you go. >> kcal from kcbs, a little bit of smoke in the populated areas and they are still battling it out. >> just because that little bump there, i found a highlight. let me say, you have been doing fantastic work, "where in the world is rob marciano" recently. here's the good work. everybody needs to appreciate what this man has been doing -- >> don't do it again, tony. i mean, i was in the fires for a week and this is a good way to scrub off the smoke.
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never, ever surfed before in my life. never even touched a surfboard, and it's evident, isn't it? >> it is quality entertainment. what do we call it, rob's road show? >> which has been canceled according to my bosses. i hit the poor kids, for crying out loud. >> you nearly took out a family. i couldn't resist. it's good to have you back, my friend. >> all for the good of the network. making myself looking extremely bad. >> take care, rob. thank you. >> all right. here's what we're working on for cnn next hour. what do educates are think of president obama's school speech? we will talk to the principal of a connecticut school to get his take on the message on the controversy after it's over. tomorrow, the president goes before congress. it's his big speech on health care reform. talk of a trigger and a public option? could there be a compromise? we will have analysis from the executive editor of politico-. we're back in a moment. only one a day men's 50+ advantage... has gingko for mem÷$y and concentration.
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when president obama gives his back-to-school pep talk, a few minutes from right now, many students across the country will not hear it. our gary tuchman reports on one principal's difficult decision about airing the speech. >> reporter: this north carolina school principal hadn't decided whether or not to air president barack obama's speech for students in his school. the pressure was on. >> this may sound a little strange, but after a flurry of phone calls, my first thing was go in my office, shut my door, and have a prayer, because i knew i was going to have to make a decision. >> reporter: what was he hearing from parents?
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mostly comments like those we heard at the county fair just down the road. do you think the school should play barack obama's speech? >> absolutely not. >> it's getting more like communism saying we going to do this and do that. >> i think it should be up to the parents' decision if they want their children to hear that or not. >> reporter: and that is exactly what principal chris gibbs decided. the speech will not be shown at claremont elementary school. >> i'm not going to sit here and deny that the political climate is pretty high. a lot of emotions are flying high. it just didn't feel like kids should be put in a position where they could be singled out or staff parents singled out or parents singled out. >> reporter: single out because they didn't want to stay for the speech? >> exactly. >> reporter: parents that we talked to backed the decision. in the schools or school districts that won't be showing the speech live, we found perhaps not surprisingly some of
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them were in counties where barack obama did not do well during the elections. here, john mccain received 67% of the vote here. this is what he's going to say in the speech. if you quit on school, you're not only quitting on yourself, you're quitting on your country. isn't that a message you'd want your kids to hear? isn't that part of what education is all about? >> most definitely. we've asked our parents going back to responsibility. responsible parents are going to talk to their kids about staying in school. >> reporter: but barack obama's message about it won't be shown in an edited form in days to come. the principal decided if the children are to see any of it, it should only be from their parents. let's say president obama said i want to come to your school. he calls you up, i want to make a live appearance at your school assembly, would you be dealing with the same thing with the parents, wouldn't you? >> i would. probably. >> reporter: how does it make you feel? >> well, we have a long way to go. and the issues out there today are divisive issues, they're sensitive issues, but if the
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president wanted to come to claremont elementary school, he'll certainly be welcome to come to claremont elementary school and i would go back in my office and shut the door and prayer again. >> reporter: this principal believes in the words he put on the school marquee, the price of greatness is responsibility. the world leader getting top billing here on tuesday will be winston churchill, not barack obama. gary tuchman, cnn, claremont, north carolina. all right, time for your midday reset. i'm tony harris in the "cnn newsroom." it is noon in arlington, virginia, where president obama is about to address students at wakefield high. school kids all around the nation will watch live. it is noon on capitol hill, where congress is getting back to the same challenge it had when it left health insurance reform. it is 9:00 a.m. in san francisco, where work crews headed off a nightmarish morning commute. they got the bay bridge fixed and reopened today. let's get started! you've heard the controversy, and the criticism, just about a minute or so, you will hear the actual message.
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we will bring you president obama's speech to schoolchildren live, as soon as it begins. our white house correspondent, suzanne malveaux, joining us live with a bit of a preview. and, suzanne, what do we know about what's going on right now with that virginia high school? >> reporter: tony, they're getting ready to listen to the president. he just wrapped up what was kind of a a q-and-a. a personal, what he would be like if his father was with him. president obama was candid, saying his father was a smart and arrogant man. he said if his mom said if his father were around, they'd have gotten into some arguments. he said with his mom he had to raise himself but it made him stronger. he was asked about his goals before college and in his words he said he was a bit of a goof-off. and he talked about the fact
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that he did find his way. those are the kind of things we'll be hearing from the speech, these from the excerpts from the copy of the speech that has been put out ahead of time. he's going to talk about the times he missed about having his father in his life. when he felt lonely. he says he didn't fit in. he said he wasn't always focused as he should have been. there were things he wasn't proud of and that he got in trouble when he shouldn't have. that his life could have easily taken a turn for the worse. but he learned from his mistakes and failures and eventually he found his way and took responsibility for his actions and turned his life around and he felt he had the kind of support he needed, but not a lot of support at times. that's the message he's trying to get across to school kids today to make responsibility, to make themselves proud, their parents proud, their country proud. not to be afraid to ask for help or to even fail from time to time to turn things around. and that is essentially -- that's essentially the crux of the speech, tony.
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>> well, suzanne, let's do this. let's put that split up, suzanne and arne duncan, the education secretary, who is warming up the crowd just ahead of the senior class president there at wakefield, who will introduce the president. and, suzanne, now that the text has been released, as i look at arne duncan, you know, it occurs to me and certainly to you, that it is part of the ruckus surrounding the speech had to do with a lesson plan that came out of the department of education, correct? >> reporter: that's right. it was a suggestion by the department of education that school kids write an essay to themselves about how they could help the president. there were some people, some republicans, who took issue with that. one in particular, jim greer of the florida republican -- republican group there. who felt that that was in some way a political act, that it was, in his words, indktrynating the children. and we have since talked to jim greer, who has taken a look at
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the president's speech, and does not agree in his previous statements that he made earlier, that this was socialist ideology. there is no such thing in this speech. he said he's photog send his four kids to school to take a listen to this speech. that is definitely a reversal from before. it was the lesson plans that some people took issue with, and the white house seeing perhaps it was a problem for some folks, they pulled that suttinged lesson plan and suggested that students write a letter to themselves and put down short-term and long-term goals. they put the controversy to rest and this is basically a rather innocuous speech. >> all right, our white house correspondent, suzanne malveaux, for us. thank you. we'll keep this shot up of tim spicer. he's the senior class president at wakefield high school, and he is about to introduce the president of the united states. can you imagine what a moment this is for this young man? a little background as we get close to that particular moment. a little background on the
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school hosting the president's message to students today. wakefield high school has a diverse student body. the 2008 enrollment was 47% hispanic, 27% black, 14% white. and 11% asian. the school has a projected enrollment this year of 1,363 students. it had an on-time graduation of more than 63% last year. not all schools will be tuning in to the president's back-to-school message today. some districts in the virginia area won't air the speech. others will allow teachers to show it only if they've notified parents in advance. let's go back now to tim spicer. introducing the president of the united states. what a moment for this young man. >> yes, we can. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming the president of the united states of america, barack obama. ♪
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[ playing "hail to the chief" ] >> hello, everybody! thank you! thank you! thank you, everybody. all right, everybody go ahead and have a seat. how's everybody doing today? how about tim spicer? i am here with students at wakefield high school in arlington, virginia, and we've got students tuning in from all across america, from kindergarten through 12th grade, and i am just so glad that all could join us today. and i want to thank wakefield for being such an outstanding
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host. give yourselves a big round of applause. now, i know that for many of you today is the first day of school. and for those of you in kindergarten or starting middle or high school, it's your first day in a new school, so it's understandable if you're a little nervous. i imagine there's some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now with just one more year to go. and no matter what grade you're in, some of you are proudbably wishing it were still summer and you could have stayed in bed a little bit longer this morning. i know that feeling. when i was young, my family lived overseas. i lived in indonesia for a few years, and my mother, she didn't have the money to send me where all the american kids went to school, but she thought it was important for me to keep up with an american education. so, she decided to teach me
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extra lessons herself monday through friday, but because she had to go to work, the only time she could do it was at 4:30 in the morning. now, as you might imagine, i wasn't too happy about getting up that early. a lot of times i'd fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. but whenever i'd complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and she'd say, "this is no picnic for me either, buster. so, you know you are adjusting to being back at school, but you're here today because i have something important to discuss with you. i'm here because i want to talk to you about your education and what's expected of all of you in this new school year. i've given a lot of speeches about education, and i've talked about responsibility a lot. i've talked about teacher responsibility for inspiring students and pushing you to learn. i talked about your parents'
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responsibility for making sure you stay on track and you get your homework done and don't spend every waking hour in front of the tv or with the xbox. i've talked a lot about your government's responsibility for setting high standards and supporting teachers and principless principals and turning around schools and at the end of the day we could have the most dedicated teachers and the most supportive parents, the best schools in the world, and none of it will make a difference, none of it will matter, unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. unless you show up to those schools, unless you pay attention to those teachers, unless you listen to your parents and grandparents and other adults and put in the hard work it takes to succeed. that's what i want to focus on today. the responsibility each of you has for your education.
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i want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself. every single one of you has something that you're good at. every single one of you has something to offer. and you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. that's the opportunity an education can provide. maybe you could be a great writer. maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper, but you might not know it until you write that english paper -- that english class paper that's assigned to you. maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor, maybe even good enough to come up with the next iphone or the new medicine or vaccine. but you might not know it until you do your project for your science class. maybe you could be a mayor or a senator or a supreme court justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
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and no matter what you want to do with your life, i guarantee that you'll need an education to do it. you want to be a doctor or a teacher or a police officer, you want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military, you're going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. you cannot drop out of school and just drop into a good job. you've got to train for it and work for it and learn for it. and this isn't just important for your own life and your own future. what you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. the future of america depends on you. what you're learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future. you'll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learned in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and
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aids and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. you'll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness and crime and discrimination and make our nation more fair and more free. you'll need the creativity and ingenuity in all your classes. o we need every single one of you to develop your talents and skills and intellect to help us old folks solve our most difficult problems. if you don't do that, if you quit on school, you're not just quitting on yourself, you're quitting on your country. now, i know it's not always easy to do well in school. i know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your school work. i get it. i know what it's like. my father left my family when i was 2 years old. i was raised by a single mom who
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had to work and who struggled at time to pay the bills and wasn't always able to give us the things that other kids had. there were times when i missed having a father in my life. there were times when i was lonely and i felt like i didn't fit in. so, i wasn't always as focused as i should have been on school, and i did some things that i'm not proud of, and i got in more trouble than i should have. and my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse. but i was -- i was lucky. i got a lot of second chances, and i had the opportunity to go to college and law school and follow my dreams. my wife, our first lady, michelle obama, she has a similar story. neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn't have a lot of money. but they worked hard, and she worked hard so that she could go to the best schools in this country. some of you might not have those advantages. maybe you don't have adults in your life who give you the support that you need.
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maybe someone in your family has lost their job and there's not enough money to go around. maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don't feel safe or have friends who are pressuring to do things you know aren't right. but at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life, what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you've got going on at home, none of that is an excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude in school. that's no excuse for talking back to your teacher or cutting class or dropping out of school. there is no excuse for not trying. where you are right now doesn't have to determine where you'll end up. no one's written your destiny for you. because here in america you write your own destiny. you make your own future. that's what young people like you are doing every day all across america. young people like jasmine perez
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from roma, texas. jasmine didn't speak english when she first started school. neither of her parents had gone to college, but she worked hard, earned good grades, and got a scholarship to brown university, and is now in graduate school studying public health on her way to becoming dr. jasmine perez. i'm thinking about andoni shultz from los altos, california, who fought brain cancer since he was 3. he's had to endure all sorts of treatments and surgery, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer, hundreds of extra hours to do his schoolwork. but he never fell behind. he's headed to college this fall. and then there's shantel steve, from my hometown of chicago, illinois. even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods in the city, she managed to get a job at a local health care center,
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start a program to keep young people out of gangs, and she's on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college. and jasmine and andoni and shantel aren't any different from any of you. they've faced challenges in their life just like you. in some cases, they've got it a lot worse off than many of you, but they refuse to give up. they chose to take responsibility for their lives, for their education, and set goals for themselves. and i expect all of you to do the same. that's why today i'm calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education, and do everything you can to meet them. your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending some time each day reading a book. maybe you'll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity or volunteer in your community. maybe you'll decide to stand up
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for kids who are being teased of bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like i do, that all young people deserve a safe environment to study and learn. maybe you'll decide to take better care of yourself so you could be more ready to learn, and along those lines, by the way, i hope all of you are washing your hands a lot and that you stay home from school when you don't feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter. but whatever you resolve to do, i want you to commit to it. i want you to really work at it. i know that sometimes you get that sense from tv that you can be rich and successful without any hard work. that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality tv star. chances are, you're not going to be any of those things. the truth is, being successful is hard. you won't love every subject that you study.
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you won't click with every teacher that you have. not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right at this minute. and you won't necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try. that's okay. some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who have had the most failures. j.k. rowe kchlk. rowlings who w potter. her first harry potter book was rejected 12 times before it was finally published. michael jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career, but he once said, "i have failed over and over and over again in my life, and that's why i succeed." these people succeeded because
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they understood that you can't let your failures define you. you have to let your failures teach you. you have to let them show you what to do differently the next time. so, if you get into trouble, that doesn't mean you're a troublemaker. it means you need to try harder to act right. if you get a bad grade, that doesn't mean you're stupid. it just means you need to spend more time studying. no one's born being good at all things. you become good at things through hard work. you're not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. you don't hit every note the first time you sing a song. you've got to practice. the same principle applies to your schoolwork. you might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right. you might have to read something a few times before you understand it. you definitely have to do a few drafts of a paper before it's good enough to hand in. don't be afraid to ask
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questions. don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. i do that every day. asking for help isn't a sign of weakness. it's a sign of strength. because it shows you have the courage to admit when you don't know something, and that, then, allows you to learn something new. so, find an adult that you trust, a parent, a grandparent or a teacher, a coach or a counselor, and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals. and even when you're struggling, even when you're discouraged and you feel like other people have given up on you, don't ever give up on yourself. because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country. the story of america isn't about people who quit when things got tough. it's about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best. it's the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago
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and went on to wage a revolution and they founded this nation, young people. students who sat where you sat 75 years ago who overcame a depression and won a world war. who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded google and twitter and facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other. so, today, i want to ask all of you, what's your contribution going to be? what problems are you going to solve? what discoveries will you make? what will a president who comes here in 20 or 50 or 100 years say about what all of you did for this country? your families, your teachers, and i are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. i'm working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books and the equipment and the computers you need to learn. but you've got to do your part,
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too. so, that's why i expect all of you to get serious this year. i expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. i expect great things from each of you. so, don't let us down. don't let your family down or your country down. most of all, don't let yourself down. make us all proud. thank you very much, everybody. god bless you. god bless america. >> there you have it. the president, his message at wakefield high school in virginia. pep talk to students there. president of the united states. we want to know what you think. of the president's speech. you've heard it. opportunity for you now to leave your comments on my blog. do you know what, we've got a couple comments here. let me read a few. folks who have been watching the speech and have sent them right away. able to turn those around. this from dawn, don't see what the problem is with having our
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children hear the president of the united states speak. we voted him into office as a nation, as long as we have a democracy, where we can choose our president, i don't see why people are so upset. it is not like we are in north korea. with a dictator at the reins. lavet writes, it's a sad day in america when a presidents speech to kids has to be screened before being released, and then after being previewed, our kids are still denied this talk. where did i put the other one here? this knowledge, because of your hatred, we know the underlying reason for this opposition against the president's speech. we just dared to say it. this one from pascal, here in canada, we respect our prime minister. we would never question him. if he would decide to speak to our kids, we'd trust him, even if we don't agree with all his policies. just a quick question to our team back in the control room. anyone still in opposition to
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the speech who has blogged us so far? nothing so far? okay. we will continue to watch the blog, cnn.com/tony, if you'd like to get us your comments on the president's speech. president obama is trying to reach out to students. i'm going to talk to a school leader who has a tremendous track record in that area and ask him how the president did. we're back in a moment. when i need to look my best, i know tresemmé will keep every hair in place. the pictures are gonna be great! with unbeatable prices on tresemmé tres two hairspray
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we want to roll this for you. just before the pep rally, the pep talk to students at wakefield high school, the president held this kind of informal, roundtable discussion with students. we just wanted to play this for you and have you listen in. >>-- whatever it is i feel like picking up. i can't go take a walk without shutting down a whole bunch of roads and really inconveniencing a lot of people. and so in terms of my own personal life, i think the biggest change is that i'm inside what's called the bubble, you know? i can't just do things on the spur of the moment, and that's actually the toughest thing about being president. because, you know, you want to just be able to interact with people normally, right? and these days, either people are waving and really happy to see me or they're booing me saying, you know, but nobody just kind of interacts with you
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in a normal way. the good thing about being president is i've got this really nice home office called the oval office, and it means that i don't have a commute. basically i walk downstairs. i'm in my office. i'm working. and then i can leave to get home in time to have dinner with my family. so, i'm spending a lot more time with my kids now and my wife now and having dinner with them every night. that's a lot better than it was before when i was traveling a lot and commuting back and forth between d.c. and chicago. so, that's really good. now, obviously the other way my life has changed is just i have so much more responsibility, but that part -- that part of the job i really enjoy. i mean, i really like meeting smart people who are passionate, you know, about their work, trying to figure out how do we get the schools better, how do we, you know, provide health care for people who don't have it.
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the policy work of thinking through, you know, how can we make changes in the country that will give people more opportunity, better jobs, better education, that stuff is what i spend most of my day doing, and that's really interesting. i really enjoy it. all right. who else? right here. >> all right. there you have the president of the united states and the education secretary, arne duncan. these are the moments just before the pep talk, which concluded, oh, about three, four, five minutes ago. this was just a sort of infor l informal, roundtable discussion with the discussion and the education secretary, with the president reflecting on his job, what it's like. he says he's got a pretty cool office that doesn't require a commute. his likes and what his day and days are typically like. so, the president and the education secretary, arne duncan, there. president obama holding a health care strategy session
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with democratic congressional leaders this afternoon. aides say the president will be very forceful about reform when he addresses congress tomorrow night. we may have gotten a bit of a preview when he gave a fiery, campaign-style speech at a labor day rally. the president had a question for his health care critics. >> what are you going to do? what's your answer? what's your solution? and you know what, they don't have one. congress is back from vacation, and a group of key senators is huddling on health care. the gang of six, trying to fashion a compromise bill in the senate finance committee. one of those senators noted the president's new tone, republican charles grassley, on cnn's "american morning." >> i've been working the last three or four months with senator baucus, one-on-one, and then later with the group of six to come up with a bipartisan plan, and it seems to me that the bipartisan approach is the
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best. and if you look at the president during his campaign, he wanted to be postpartisan, and it seems to me like those statements yesterday were very partisan, contrary to what he prols eprom the last campaign. congress is back after a break, punk waited by the ruckus over health care reform. little appears to have changed since lawmakers left town in july. if anything, the atmosphere seems bitter and a bit more divisive. is that possible. cnn's brianna keilar is on capitol hill, and jim vandehei is here with us from politico. bring us up to date on what lawmakers are working on today. the gang of six that we're talking about. >> we're keeping an eye on a meeting that is set to happen in a couple of hours, tony, between the so-called gang of six, three democrats, three republicans on the senate refinance committee who are working towards a bipartisan agreement. three don't have one yet, but there is a proposal on the table
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put there by senator max baucus, the top democrat, the chairman of this committee. the key element, of course, not a public option. it is a health care cooperative, a nonprofit health co-op. i spoke with senator grassley this morning, he said he's hopeful that this group can strike a bipartisan deal before the president's speech tomorrow night. he said it's a really tight timeline, it makes him a little bit uncomfortable, but he's hopeful they can strike a deal. it's still up in the air whether they can achieve that. >> let's bring in jim vandehei. what does the proposal mean for the president and the president's speech tomorrow? does it in essence say the president, look, this were of a public option, take it off the table, it's a nonstarter, it's not going anywhere, and furthermore, don't think about writing your own bill, that's probably not going anyway either what does the proposal mean? >> it makes it a heck of a lot harder to put the finishing touches on the speech. my understanding he's going through another draft of the speech. they don't know whether baucus
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and grassley can get a deal were and in all likelihood we won't know until tomorrow. he would like to have a bipartisan deal even if it's defined by having one or two or three of all of the republicans supporting it. they don't think they'll get that, but as long as there's hope, that's the easiest way out for him. as far as the public option, he's going to continue to say that he personally supports it but he won't let reform die over it. that will infuriate the left and the right, the right will say it's part of a government takeover and the left will say why can't be fight harder. we've got a new draft from one of the top officials in the obama administration, he's now criticizing the obama administration and the president himself saying he really wishes they would fight harder and cling more to the principles they talked about in the campaign. and i think that just illustrates the frustration that there is on the left. the president is in a very tough situation, because the right's not happy. the left's not happy. and the center is sort of happy one day, sort of not happy the next. >> jim, fighting harder, what
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does that really mean practically? does that really mean, in essence, go it alone if necessary? >> right. >> do the deal just the democrats behind this, all the way, hopefully getting olympia snowe on board? >> yes, absolutely. and i think there's a lot of liberals that say i don't care if we get a single republican. listen, we've got power. we won the election. it was a mandate, let's use it. you don't get power like this often, let's ram it through. let's have a public option. let's do health care the way that we want to do it. the problem with that is they're not just getting objections from republicans. they're getting it from centrist democrats who got an earful when they went home, so if they can't get ben nelson and the blue dogs and the blue dogs are the centrists and conservative democrats in the house, they can't get it through with their own party and that's why the president finds himself in this pickle. and i don't care how good that speech is, it's not going to be enough to get this thing done right away. it will take weeks and weeks and weeks of working its way through
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an ugly legislative process to see if the compromise is possible. >> brianna, let's bring it back to you. this idea of a compromise, is a compromise even possible here? look, you've been reading the tea leaves. you've been talking to everyone in the finance committee, you've take an look at this proposal from the chairman of the finance committee, max baucus. is a compromise even possible? >> reporter: i think at this point you can't shut the door on it. in the senate finance committee. and you heard chuck grassley say that he's hopeful. there seems to be this coalescing, as there has been for some time, over this idea of a co-op. but the bigger issue is that democrats and this group, this gang of six, in the senate are really at odds with democrats in the house. you heard jim talk about that huge gulf that the president has to straddle. you know, there are some liberal democrats in the house that are really digging in and saying, i'm not voting for health care overhaul unless it has a public option. and something that really struck us as very interesting this morning, tony, mike ross,
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congressman from arkansas. >> yes. >> reporter: we went to his town hall meetings, he says he will not vote for a health care overhaul bill if it has a public option. and this is really interesting, because he actually struck a deal to allow a bill to move out of committee that included a public option. he actually struck a deal to allow to it move forward in committee. it included a public option. and so you can just see now people are really staking out their claims. >> yeah. >> reporter: but more than anything, in between those positions, there are a lot of democrats that want to know what do i need to hold on to, what can i let go of? they are looking to the president for guidance on that. >> jim, it seems that morals the major stakeholders in this, we're talking about doctors, we're talking about hospitals, we're talking about insurance companies, are on board with the idea that health reform is necessary. you put this in to the political arena, and i'm wondering, where are we in this entire process? if this is a 100-meter race,
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where are we? 60 meters to the finish line? 70 meters? where are we? >> it depends if there is a finish line. i mean, i think if you're going to get a deal, you'll get it in the next eight to ten weeks. is it possible to have a compromise? absolutely. why? because the president himself is very willing to compromise. i think he cares about the broad details, i don't think he cares about the details. he wants a bill. i'll save your viewers time as they sift through it. there will not be a public option in the bill. there are not the votes in the house and senate to get it through. the president knows it. rahm emanuel knows. they are trying to find a compromise, it might be a trigger or a co-op. but the public option that we just keep talking about it. there isn't the will. brianna was talking about it, mike ross came back, a bunch of people came back, these are democrats, i don't want a public option because the public has said no to this. what does the final bill look like? there is a broad area of consensus, to make sure that health care is portable, that you don't lose it with a severe
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illness, you find a way to cut costs and use medicaid or other programs to take people who are uninsured and get them insurance. i think there is consensus around those areas, so you could have the nucleus of a deal, so we're still a long way from the deal. 60 yards, 100 yards, i have no clue. >> your analysis, jim, there is not going to be a public option. >> no, there's not the votes right now. that's why the white house is having a hard time. you talk to the white house officials they tell us off the record that they know it. the votes aren't there. that liberals might love the idea, but they can't get moderate democrats and they can't get a single republican vote. therefore, it takes 60 votes or you can go to reconciliation in the senate which is a messy, ugly process which is far more complicate d than i think peopl realize. it allows you to do it with 50 votes than 60 votes. they don't want to do it. it's the last thing they want to resort to. it makes the town more ugly than it is right now with the politics right now. they are trying to figure out a compromise bill and they know at
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the very least there would be a trigger if the they can't bring offer the the prices down, several years before they could bring the prices down before the trigger would come on. >> whoa, jim vandehei, that's really strong. brianna you just heard that. any reaction to what jim has just said? >> reporter: well, i think it -- i think it's one of those things. he's say nothing public option and we've been saying for some time, tony, that there just really isn't the will for it in the senate unless they go -- he called it reconciliation. this budget maneuver in the senate. >> yes. >> reporter: and there's a sense that if democrats are going to go that way, and they keep sort of waving that around as a stick, if you will, but if they're going to go that way, there's a sense that they'll get a lot less than they want. and there are a lot of democrats who don't want to go that route. so, i think now, the next step is, as you hear the administration saying that no public option is not a deal breaker for them, or signaling that at least, how do you bring some of those liberal democrats on board?
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for instance, in the house, who say they are not voting for a bill without a public option. you have to give them something. >> yeah. >> reporter: and so i think we're going to see is that insisting on market reforms really making insurance companies get in line. >> yeah. >> reporter: what are they going to be offered? >> we are getting -- we are absolutely getting to the rub of this. jim vandehei, appreciate it. brianna, as always, thank you. let's get to our top stories. president obama wraps up his welcome back speech in a high school in arlington, virginia. the message -- be smart, stay in school. some districts have chosen not to show the speech. others have picked an alternate viewing time. north of los angeles, unpredictable flames and wind are posing a challenge for firefighters. the 246-square-mile station fire is about 60% contained. they had to scrap plans to set backfires because of a new flare-up. milwaukee police believe they've caught the so-called north side strangler, 49-year-old walter ellis is
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suspected in the murders of nine women over the last 21 years. most of them were prostitutes. police say dna evidence links ellis to the crimes. we will get another check of your top stories in about 20 minutes. president obama and his generals face a major obstacle in gaining support for their mission to bring stability to afghanistan. is there a solution? ly. people notice my love for animals. my smile. my passion for teaching. my cool car. people notice i'm a good friend and a good listener. people notice that i'm a good boss. people notice my love of nature. people notice i can fix anything. (announcer) thanks to miracle-ear what people don't notice about you is your hearing aid because, look closely, our hearing aids are nearly invisible. our exclusive line of open fit products are so lightweight, so small and so natural sounding even you won't know you're wearing one. you know, most people don't know how good or bad their hearing is... they just know when they're missing things or hearing words incorrectly.
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four more u.s. troops killed today in afghanistan. the military said they died during fighting in kunar province near the border of pakistan. that makes 13 american forces killed so far this month. meanwhile another attack today. a suicide bomber detonated near the military entrance in kabul.
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two people killed in that attack. the u.s. war in afghanistan is increasingly an uphill battle for support from the afghan people. our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr, reports on a few incidents making a bad situation even worse. >> reporter: swedish charity workers say u.s. soldiers and afghan forces forcibly entered this hospital last week, breaking down doors, ordering patients out of their beds, and tieing up staff. it was only later, they say, the troops told them they were looking for an insurgent leader. >> they didn't find any insurgent in the hospital, and they didn't hurt any -- any of the -- any of the staff. still, this is a clear violation of internationally recognized principles and rules. >> reporter: nato is investigating. but it couldn't come at a worse time for general stanley mcchrystal, the commander of u.s. and nato forces. he's trying to convince afghans that foreign troops will protect
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them against the taliban, but for now, he's busy trying to explain nato's actions. mcchrystal personally inspected a site where a predawn air strike on two hijacked fuel trucks killed perhaps dozens of afghan civilians, and he promised another investigation. >> from what i have seen today and going to the hospital, it's clear to me that there were some civilians who were harmed at that site. >> reporter: afghans are already upset by civilian casualties caused by nato. mcchrystal may soon be asking for more troops to deal with the rising taliban threat, and then informing afghans more foreign forces will be on their soil. those familiar with mcchrystal's thinking say perhaps his most urgent worry? the afghan view that the ongoing counting of votes in the presidential election is riddled with fraud, and hamid karzai may not win the people's support.
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without it? it will be tough to ask others to invest in afghanistan's future. >> we need, at the end of the day, to have a degree of support for the legitimate government of afghanistan that at least exceeds the support for the taliban. >> reporter: one senior administration said part of the problem is mcchrystal may find it tough to get nato, or perhaps even the u.s. congress, to agree to send more troops to afghanistan if it's believed the current president, hamid karzai, has not formed a legitimate government. barbara starr, cnn, washington. and our anderson cooper takes you inside afghanistan all this week live from the battle zone tonight. don't miss the special "ac360" at 10:00 eastern time. before we get to break, i got to tell you, we're overwhelmed at the blog. it's a good problem to have, it really is. we've only been able to approve 100 of your comments so far, but we've got 2,000, 2,000, since the president's speech, his pep talk, to kids. i want to read a couple to
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you. leslie writes, every president should speak and deference should be given to the office. mike from texas writes, of course, jim greer, and jim greer is the head of the republican party, the gop in florida, who was outraged at the i -- initially at the thought that the president was going to give the speech. not sure about the lesson plan materials that were sent out ahead of the speech. of course, jim greer has had a change of heart because he put his foot in his mouth, causing panic across the country. we will try to get to more of these responses. we are not able to keep up with all of your responses so far. 2,000. man, we're doing the best we can. it's a great problem to have. send more, why don't you? cnn.com/tony. - even the t.g.i. friday's potato skins. - yes! - guys, here you go. - yes! with unbeatable prices on t.g.i. friday's appetizers-- game time costs less at walmart. save money. live better. walmart.
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inundated, i tell you. we just asked you to send us some stuff to the blog, your thoughts on the president's comments, his speech to school kids, and 2,000, 2,000 and counting.
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can we get to 3,000 before the top of the hour? take a look at the money page. the money teams does a great job of getting you the latest news and analysis. it's cnnmoney.com. quickly now better than three hours into the trading day. let's get it to the big board, the new york stock exchange. as you can see the dow in positive territory throughout the day. up 28 points. and the nasdaq at last check up 11 points. we are following these numbers throughout the day with susan lisovicz from the floor of the new york stock exchange right here in the "cnn newsroom." i had felt fine. but turns out... my cholesterol and other risk factors... increased my chance of a heart attack. i should've done something. now, i trust my heart to lipitor. when diet and exercise are not enough, adding lipitor may help. unlike some other cholesterol lowering medications, lipitor is fda approved to reduce the risk... of heart attack, stroke, and certain kinds of heart surgeries... in patients with several common risk factors... or heart disease. lipitor has been extensively studied... with over 16 years of research. lipitor is not for everyone,
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over 2,000 responses to our blog question. what did you think of the president's pep talk to students? we get to 3,000, i'm going to read each and every one of them tomorrow. 2,400? president obama just wrapped his back-to-school pep talk around the country. but the debate over the speech is a lesson in controversy, really. joining us from hartford, connecticut, is cnn contributor steve perry. he's principal and founder of capitol preparatory mag nat school. good to see you. what do you think of the president's speech? no, i have a pretty idea of what you thought about the speech. why did you run the speech today when, as you know, so many districts were vexed over this? why did you run it?
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>> because it was the president of the united states. you know, when i talk to the kids, i asked them, so what do you think about this? they said, well, it's the president, wouldn't we? the teachers organized this themselves. they created an internet feed so we can see it in the school. what it actually shows -- the speech was relatively innocuous. what this debate shows is how petty adults can be and what happens when the adults get their pettiness involved in something as important as education. state after state 60%, or 70% of children are graduating from sky hool. in a state like connecticut where 80% of our children are graduating from high school. here in hartford, connecticut, less than 30% will graduate from high school. >> steve, any opposition from any of your parents to run the speech tonight? >> come on, this is a joke. we need to focus on real questions. there's not one single question that called us -- >> steve, steve, steve, i still have to ask the question, steve. >> the point is that none of our parents disagreen. i think most of the parents
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across the country even have forgotten he was supposed to speak today. the president gave the same kind of speech that if you had an account come in. he gave the rah-rah speech, saying, kids, stay in school and wash your hands is another one of the things he said. >> got you. student reaction, share some of that with us. >> the students were really excited about it. they thought it was cool that the president was taking the time out to talk to them. they wanted to know what it was he thought they should do this year. the kids get it. the kids understand here's a president that has taken the time out to communicate the needs of the nation to them. they felt it is was very important. it's not the first time the president has spoken to the students. i remember a vice president that had a little trouble spelling the word "potato." let's focus on the big picture. let's focus that too many children are not graduating from high school. if the president taking time out of his busy schedule can get more children to graduate from high school, let's get him to talk. >> you are one of the reform leaders in education, recognized
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around the country in this area. what is your message to your students this year? >> my message is very clear. nobody but you's going to be responsible for your education. you can go to the best school or worst school in the country, but you have to work your behind off to get everything you have. by the same token, though, we have to have a real reform discussion. what is necessary to give students a fighting chance at a good education. we'll look in our country and see japan, 240 school days a year. throughout the united states of america, 180. it's clear why out of 25 top nations in math, our 15-year-olds are 28th. >> terrific. cnn education contributor, steve perry. steve, appreciate it. thanks for your time. >> thank you so much, tony. >> my pleasure. my pleasure. we are pushing forward now with the next hour of "cnn newsroom" with kyra phillips, after a break. i love aveeno lotion.
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