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STUDENT NEWS

Iraq War Ends

Aired December 13, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: We spent months profiling this year`s Top 10, but who is the CNN Hero of the Year? You`re going to find out in the next 10 minutes. I`m Carl Azuz, and this is CNN Student News.

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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a historic moment. A war is ending. A new day is upon us.

And let us never forget those who gave us this chance, the untold number of Iraqis who`ve given their lives; more than 1 million Americans, military and civilian, who have served in Iraq; nearly 4,500 fallen Americans, who gave their last full measure of devotion; tens of thousands of wounded warriors and so many inspiring military families. They are the reason that we can stand here today.

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AZUZ: President Obama honoring the people whose efforts and sacrifices have helped bring an official end to the war in Iraq. Saddam Hussein, the former dictator of Iraq, was captured eight years ago today. That was nine months after the war started.

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AZUZ (voice-over): Yesterday, President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared a formal end to the war during a press conference at the White House. They also talked about their countries being partners into the future.

The last U.S. military troops will be leaving Iraq by the end of this year, but President Obama promised Prime Minister al-Maliki that the U.S. will give Iraq additional economic, diplomatic and military help.

Later in the day, the two leaders were part of a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. They paused for a moment of silence and helped lay a wreath as they paid their respects to the American troops who lost their lives during the war in Iraq.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Mr. Breuer`s social studies classes at Milford Junior High School in Milford, Ohio.

In the U.S., who has the final authority to decide whether a law is constitutional? Here we go. Is it the president, the U.S. Supreme Court, Speaker of the House or Department of Justice? You`ve got three seconds, go.

That final authority belongs to the U.S. Supreme Court. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: That`s part of what the U.S. Supreme Court will consider about an immigration law in Arizona. The controversial part of this law requires Arizona police officers to check people`s immigration status when police are investigating other crimes.

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AZUZ (voice-over): The Supreme Court can look at whether or not that and other parts of the law are constitutional. But the main question is whether Arizona can enforce this law on its own. The federal government says immigration issues are its responsibility. Arizona`s governor says the U.S. government hasn`t done enough. She also argues that her state`s immigration law supports federal rules.

Eight of the nine Supreme Court justices will hear this case. Justice Elena Kagan excused herself because she was working for President Obama`s administration when the government first objected to the Arizona law.

That means this ruling could end in a four-four tie. Now if that happens, it would mean Arizona could not enforce its immigration law, but it wouldn`t give any definitive answers about whether or not the law is constitutional.

AZUZ: That Supreme Court hearing will happen some time next year. So will the next U.S. presidential election. But the campaign season dominated headlines this year. And it`s just one of the topics that Karin Caifa reviews in her look back at some of the big political stories from 2011.

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KARIN CAIFA, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Politics in 2011 was a lot about 2012. One by one, Republicans jumped in for the chance to challenge President Obama next November. Some faces familiar.

FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m running for President of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

CAIFA (voice-over): . others hoping to make a name on the national stage.

FORMER GOV. JON HUNTSMAN JR., R-UTAH, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m Jon Huntsman, and I`m running for President of the United States. Thank you all.

(APPLAUSE)

CAIFA (voice-over): . all with plenty of ups and downs. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann made a splash in August with an Iowa straw poll victory.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: (Inaudible) Barack Obama will be a one-term president.

CAIFA (voice-over): . but found it tough to stay ahead of the pack. Texas Governor Rick Perry made a summer entry with bravado, but a series of debate flubs.

GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: . Commerce, Education and the -- what`s the third one there? Let`s see.

CAIFA (voice-over): . soon pulled him back in the polls. Numbers turned things in businessman Herman Cain`s favor in October.

HERMAN CAIN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: . my 9-9-9 plan.

CAIFA (voice-over): . but allegations of sexual harassment surfaced as the calendar turned to November. And in December.

CAIN: I am suspending my presidential campaign.

CAIFA (voice-over): . Cain stepped aside while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich surged to the top of polls.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney stayed steady in the top tier, and that made him a target.

ROMNEY: Would you please wait?

PERRY: . working.

ROMNEY: Are you just going to keep talking?

PERRY: . at your -- yes, sir.

ROMNEY: Would you let me finish with my -- what I have to say?

CAIFA (voice-over): But the Republican candidates did find one thing to agree on..

FORMER REP. NEWT GINGRICH, R-GA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`re going to need all of us together as a team to beat Obama.

CAIFA (voice-over): Taking the greatest aim at the president`s economic policies. With the nation`s unemployment rate stuck around 9 percent, the economy dominated the debate from the campaign trail to Capitol Hill, where Republicans kicked off 2011 with a new majority in the House of Representatives, and a goal of cutting spending and slicing the deficit.

That sparked a budget battle that almost shut down the federal government in April.

OBAMA: I`m pleased to announce that the Washington Monument, as well as the entire federal government, will be open for business.

CAIFA (voice-over): . led to a contentious debt ceiling debate that brought the nation to the brink of default in August.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: We made promises to the American people that our kids and grandkids just can`t afford.

SEN. HARRY REID, (D) MAJORITY LEADER: Well, we got it done and brought our economy back from the brink of disaster.

CAIFA (voice-over): . and set the stage for a congressional super committee tasked with making spending cuts. But when they gave up with no agreement, it was deemed a super fail.

Bipartisan bickering and political posturing aside, who`s got the best plan to take the nation forward in 2012? From Iowa to New Hampshire and beyond, the voters will decide. In Washington, I`m Karin Caifa.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBIN LIM, CNN HERO OF THE YEAR: We`ve helped so many people since 2005, almost 113,000 people got free medical care and medicine.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, AC360: What does that feel like, to start with one person and then slowly start to build the organization?

LIM: I found that if you have a good idea and you do it with love, a lot of people want to help you.

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AZUZ: CNN Heroes is all about recognizing people who make a positive difference in the world. You just heard from Robin Lim, the 2011 CNN Hero of the Year. All 10 finalists were honored on Sunday night during CNN`s special tribute program. AJ Hammer recaps the event for us right now.

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AJ HAMMER, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Laughter, tears, standing ovations, it was a night of emotion and inspiration at Hollywood`s famed Shrine Auditorium.

COOPER: Welcome to CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute.

HAMMER (voice-over): Selected from more than 10,000 nominations, 10 remarkable men and women were honored for their extraordinary work, like the wife of a fallen soldier, who made it her mission that no military widow would feel alone.

TARYN DAVIS, AMERICAN WIDOW PROJECT: I love you, Michael.

(APPLAUSE)

HAMMER (voice-over): . an American midwife, who moved to Indonesia to run a free clinic for at-risk mothers; a former refugee, who brings free recycled soap to needy communities around the world.

DERRECK KAYONGO, GLOBAL SOAP PROJECT: And who knows, you might, you know, help save a life.

HAMMER (voice-over): . a paralyzed man who brings the gift of mobility to others in need.

EDDIE CANALES, GRIDIRON HEROES: There is nothing better than to serve God and help others.

HAMMER (voice-over): . and a grandmother from Chicago, who takes kids off the street and gives them a chance.

DIANE LATIKER, KIDS OFF THE BLOCK: Please don`t give up on our young people.

HAMMER (voice-over): . and with the help of some of Hollywood`s brightest young stars, CNN also honored three young wonders, their battle for clean water and fight against hunger and homelessness proves that heroism has no age limits.

MILEY CYRUS, SINGER (singing): Just keep pushing on.

HAMMER (voice-over): From the first moments on the red carpet.

ICE CUBE, ENTERTAINER: These are the real celebrities to me, you know, these are the heroes.

HAMMER (voice-over): . to the final announcement of the night.

COOPER: The 2011 CNN Hero of the Year is Robin Lim

(APPLAUSE)

HAMMER (voice-over): . a global spotlight shined a light on 10 remarkable heroes, everyday people with big hearts and rock-solid determination for changing the world -- AJ Hammer, CNN, Los Angeles.

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AZUZ: And before we go, we`re going to check out a college hockey game.

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AZUZ (voice-over): Utica College just scored the first goal of the game. But that was enough to make the crowd go crazy. It`s raining . teddy bears? If you hadn`t guessed already, this was planned in advance as the Annual Teddy Bear Toss. All of it`s for charity.

After the first goal, 4,500 teddy bears went flying, then someone collects and distributes them to local kids. It`s for a good cause, but.

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AZUZ: . if you didn`t know it was coming, it might seem like pure "panda-monium." It`s "an ice" tradition, but the animals` view is probably the polar opposite for them. It`s just a "grizzly" scene. In fact, we hear they can "bearly" stand to watch. Whoo! We stuffed as many puns as we could into these. Goodbye, and we will "toy" around with some more options tomorrow. See you then.

END