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STUDENT NEWS

Examining the Primaries; Korean Relations After Kim Jong-il

Aired January 3, 2012 - 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: Hello, and a very happy new year. I`m Carl Azuz, welcoming you to the first CNN Student News program of 2012. Hope y`all had great holidays and that you`re ready to dive back into the headlines.

First up, today marks the first major political event on the U.S. presidential campaign trail this year. It`s the Iowa caucuses. President Obama is likely the Democratic nominee, but which Republican will ultimately run against him? That`s what`s going to be decided by these primaries and caucuses.

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AZUZ (voice-over): The Republican candidates have been campaigning for months. Now the voters will start to weigh in. Some states hold primaries. That`s where each voter casts a single private ballot. Other states have public meetings called caucuses.

In Iowa, candidates or their representatives can make speeches at these caucuses to try to rally some last-minute support. Then voters pick which candidates they prefer. Sometimes they write it down on a piece of paper. Other times, it`s a show of hands.

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AZUZ: Three other states are holding primaries in January, starting with New Hampshire next week. South Carolina and Florida are later on in the month, but Iowa gets to go first with its caucuses today.

And the question you might be asking is how much influence does the Hawkeye State have on the race for the White House. Jessica Yellin is going to look back at the impact of Iowa`s caucuses on some past presidential campaigns.

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JESSICA YELLIN, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): In Iowa, a win can thrust a candidate into the national spotlight.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, Iowa.

YELLIN (voice-over): While a loss can kill a campaign`s momentum. Just ask Phil Gramm --

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE PHIL GRAMM: I want to congratulate the other candidates --

YELLIN (voice-over): -- or Howard Dean.

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE HOWARD DEAN: And then we`re going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House. Yeah!

YELLIN (voice-over): But in terms of picking a winner, whether it`s the president or a party`s nominee ,the record for the Iowa caucuses is mixed. On the Republican side, Ronald Reagan lost here in 1980. So did George H.W. Bush in 1988. Eventual Republican nominee Bob Dole in 1996 and President George W. Bush in 2000, both claimed victories in the state.

You may remember just eight years later, Mike Huckabee won the caucuses.

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MIKE HUCKABEE: I love Iowa a whole lot.

YELLIN (voice-over): But John McCain went on to become the GOP nominee.

For the Democrats, the original Iowa upset went to Jimmy Carter in 1976, when the little-known Georgia governor made a surprisingly strong finish here, launching his political rise to the White House.

FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER: We need to reorganize completely the executive branch of government.

YELLIN (voice-over): In 1984, Walter Mondale went from Iowa caucus winner to Democratic Party nominee. In 1988, Iowa Democrats chose Dick Gephardt over eventual nominee Michael Dukakis. And four years later, Bill Clinton was humbled with less than 3 percent of the caucus vote. Native son Senator Tom Harkin won that year.

Democratic nominee John Kerry won the caucuses in 2004.

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JOHN KERRY: Thank you, Iowa, for making me the comeback Kerry.

YELLIN (voice-over): And more recently, Senator Barack Obama staged a caucus upset that catapulted him to the front of the pack. Recall that Senator Hillary Clinton was considered all but a shoo-in until then.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hi, this is Michele Bachmann calling --

YELLIN (voice-over): What the Iowa caucuses are good at is winnowing down the field. The old saying is there are only three tickets out of Iowa.

IOWA GOV. TERRY BRANSTAD: This is who comes in second and who comes in third as well as who comes in first. And if somebody else does surprisingly well, it could well launch their campaign. It`s happened before.

YELLIN (voice-over): Political upstarts have a chance here because caucusgoers really do, as they say, kick the tires.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I want to know is if you get a Republican House and a Republican Senate, in two years, will you fulfill all those promises?

FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The answer -- the answer is yes.

YELLIN (voice-over): And Iowans take this work seriously, which is why the media and the country follows what happens here so closely.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See if you can ID me. I`m an Asian country that got its independence from Japan. I have a communist government. I take up half of a peninsula and I fought a war against the nation that takes up the other half.

I`m North Korea and my capital city is Pyongyang.

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AZUZ: The president of South Korea says he`s willing to work with officials in North Korea to start what he calls a new era for the two countries. President Lee Myung-bak said South Korea could offer economic help to North Korea, but only if the north gives up its controversial nuclear program.

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AZUZ (voice-over): This is a sensitive time for North Korea, because that country and its more than 20 million citizens are about to start their own new era. It`s one when Kim Jong-Il is no longer their leader. The dictator died last month, reportedly from a heart attack. He ran North Korea`s secretive communist government for 17 years.

Under his control, the nation suffered a devastating famine while it built up a massive army and developed its nuclear program. Thousands of North Koreans gathered for memorials to Kim Jong-Il. Officials in Pyongyang said his, quote, "great achievements will shine forever."

The ceremonies in North Korea also focused on the country`s new leader. You`re about to see Kim Jong-Un. There he is. He`s the youngest son of Kim Jong-Il. Some experts wondered how much support this new leader might get, since he`s fairly young and relatively inexperienced.

The North Korean officials have promised to defend Kim Jong-Un. The change in leadership hasn`t brought any signs of change in the tension between North and South Korea. So that offer to start a new era between the countries may not get anywhere.

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AZUZ: Well, NASA`s got a mission up and running: two research probes that launched back in September moved into orbit around the moon over the weekend. It took three days for the first astronauts to get to the moon.

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AZUZ (voice-over): It took these probes more than three months. That`s because they had to get into best position they could to study the moon. They`re going to help scientists examine the moon`s gravitational field.

The program is not cheap. It costs hundreds of millions of dollars, but NASA`s experts think it could provide some clues about what goes on under the moon`s surface and maybe even about how the Earth formed.

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AZUZ: Authorities in California are investigating a string of fires that have hit around the Los Angeles area. More than 50 fires have occurred since Friday, and L.A.`s mayor says there`s reason to believe that most of them were set by the same person or group of people.

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AZUZ (voice-over): The suspected arson has caused more than $2 million in damage. So far, no one has been killed or seriously injured. Police say that in a lot of these situations, the fires are started in cars, and then they spread to nearby homes and buildings.

Officials arrested a man in connection with the fires early yesterday. The suspect was changed with arson later on in the day.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the first Shoutout of 2012. Which of these cities rang in the new year first? If you think you know it, shout it out. Was it Sydney, Australia; Beijing, China; London, United Kingdom ; or Rio de Janeiro, Brazil? Start the countdown at three seconds and go.

We gave it to you in order. Sydney was the first city on this list to say hello to 2012. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.

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AZUZ: Now a few people sleep through it. Many others throw parties. They go to events. There are fireworks. There is a common thread, and that`s that people welcome the new year in festive fashion worldwide. Cities from Sydney to Beijing, London, Rio, other major cities all around the world, there were huge crowds that came out to see some spectacular pyrotechnic displays.

So we`re going to say goodbye today with a look at how the world said hello to 2012. We hope you enjoy these fireworks. If you didn`t see them live, you can see them right now, and we will see you right back here for more CNN Student News tomorrow.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

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