October 19, 2004
JEFF FISCHEL, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Some voters take advantage of an opportunity, to get a head start on the presidential election. Some victims of the global war on terror have nothing to do with the fight. And some archeologists, think they've found the burial site of a ruthless Mongolian conqueror.
First Up: Voting Early
JEFF FISCHEL, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Happy to have you along for today's broadcast of CNN Student News. I'm Jeff Fischel. First up-- an early start. President George W. Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry may be smoking the campaign trail. But yesterday, some of those who'll help decide which one of them will win, actually began voting. Yes, it's perfectly legal. Folks who wanted to avoid an election day crowd crush, headed to the polls in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida and Texas. Those four states joined these others where the election is already under way. Wolf Blitzer checks in on how everything is going.
FORMER FIRST LADY BARBARA BUSH: Pretty exciting voting for your son.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN REPORTER: Former first lady Barbara Bush -- along with the former president bush -- casting their ballots in Houston today -- making no secret how they voted.
FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: Such an honor and privilege to be voting for him. We don't want to be campaigning in here so I'd better be careful. [Reporter: How's the campaign going?] I think it's great and I think we're gonna win big.
BLITZER: With interest in the election high and a large number of first time voters expected -- early balloting is one way to avoid long lines on election day. But in Florida, source of so much turmoil in the last presidential election, early voting revealed reform still has a way to go. There were reports of incomplete absentee ballots -- as well as computer glitches.
POLL WORKER: The problem here is that there is a problem with the connection to the mainframe computer.
POLL WORKER: The first day of early voting, we do have some technical things that need to be worked out. I think it's just the nature of the beast. We're on top of it and we'll get it taken care of in short order.
BLITZER: Overall, early voters said they were pleased with the process. But with memories of the 2000 Florida fiasco still fresh, some remain cautious.
FLORIDA VOTER: Well, I wanted to get it over with I guess. It feels good. I got it over with and it's done. I hope it makes a difference. I hope it's counted.
BLITZER: Wolf Blitzer, CNN Washington.
Word to the Wise
CARL AZUZ, CNN REPORTER: A Word to the Wise...
deficit (noun) a condition created when a person, government or business spends more money than it makes
Getting to Know: Tax Cuts
JEFF FISCHEL, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: If you watched the presidential debates, you're already familiar with that word. And you probably know that both Bush and Kerry say they'll reduce the government's deficit over the next four years. Of course, they have very different ideas on how to do it -- particularly while promising tax cuts, an issue explored now by Maggie Lake.
MAGGIE LAKE, CNN REPORTER: In this tight election race both President Bush and Democratic contender John Kerry are making big promises on taxes. The two men are following a long standing tradition in U.S. politics.
GREG VALLIERE, CHARLES SCHWAB WASHINGTON RESEARCH: In general the politicians that do the best are the ones who talk about lower taxes not higher taxes.
LAKE: Bush is hoping that is true. The President is campaigning to make the tax cuts passed during his first term, permanent. He is also proposing health and energy tax credits. Kerry has said he will extend tax cuts to the low and middle class, while rolling back cuts on the richest 2 percent. He is also pledging to increase spending on healthcare and education. Both claim they can deliver on their promises and still cut the deficit, but economist estimate both plans could actually increase the country's debt by 1-point-3 trillion dollars. And many Americans are not sure the tax cuts are worth it....
MAN ON THE STREET: But the reality is that in the end, we pay for it either today, or we pay for it down the road, so I think what we have to look at is government spending.
LAKE: Others question the wisdom of cutting taxes at a time of heightened security risks and war.
MAN ON THE STREET: I think taxes are a necessary evil, got to pay it to have the roads paved and everything else and protect the country and security and all the other things.
LAKE: The promise of tax cuts has wooed voters in the past, but analysts say the strategy may not work this time around. One poll showed 52 % of the public disapprove of Bush's handling of the economy despite the President pushing through some of the most aggressive tax cuts in history.
KEETER PEW INSTITUTE: This is a complicated issue, and not one simplistically cutting taxes means more votes. That the that the polls indicate the public is balancing what they're gonna get for their taxes.
LAKE: With Bush and Kerry in a very close race, neither candidate may have done a good job of selling their tax cut packages to undecided voters. Maggie Lake, CNN, New York
JEFF FISCHEL, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: We've posted a student news "Extra" on our Web site, looking at all the basics of tax cuts. Improve your expertise on the issue today! And while you're online, drop us a line to let us know what you think of the show!
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: Attacks by international terrorists in Iraq nowadays, are targeted not only and not so much against the international coalition but at against President Bush, personally. The goal of international terrorism is prevent President Bush from being elected to a second term.
Behind the Veil
JEFF FISCHEL, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Russian President Vladimir Putin, voicing his opinion yesterday about the politics of terrorism. Mister Putin has had his own struggles with terrorists from Chechnya -- a Russian republic that wants its independence. Early last month, a hostage standoff between government troops and Chechen rebels at a Russian school, left more than three hundred people dead. but terrorists, the troops who fight them, and those attacked aren't the only ones threatened in the war on terror. Jill Dougherty takes us to the Russian capital for insight on the victims of discrimination.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN REPORTER: For Alsu Sitdikova, a law student born and raised in Moscow, wearing the "hijab" - a head scarf and long skirt -- modesty as her religion, Islam, dictates --was protection from unwanted attention. But that was before a series of terror attacks in Russia carried out by female suicide bombers dressed in clothes resembling the "hijab". Now, for Alsu and many Muslim women in Russia, just taking a walk or riding a tram can feel threatening.
ALSU SITDIKOVA, STUDENT: Everyone stares at you. They move to another car. You can see it in their eyes. One person asked me, "Why do you kill children? Why do you kill women? Why?"
DOUGHERTY: Dinara Sadretdinova hosts Russia's only national television program for Muslims. With reports on culture, sports and other issues, it has a million and a half viewers. She wears the hijab and is proud of it, but on the streets of Moscow, she says, strangers sometimes insult her by calling her "shahidka," a suicide bomber.
DINARA SADRETDINOVA, RUSSIAN MUSLIM TV HOST: People are in fear and horror because of the situation in the country and I know it's confusing. In the media they're constantly hearing that Islam equals terrorism.
DOUGHERTY: Nearly 15% of Russia's citizens are Muslim, some 20 million people. Muslims in Russia have co-existed -- even intermarried -- with Christians for centuries. But terrorism, much of it tied to regions like Chechnya -- with a predominantly Muslim population --is unraveling those relations.
RAVIL GAINUTDIN, RUSSIA MUFTI COUNCIL: Evil begets evil. With their attacks, with their crimes, the terrorists are harming Islam and the Muslim people. I can tell you definitely, every attack will be used against Muslims.
DOUGHERTY: A class in Arabic at Moscow's Islamic University after years of repression under communist rule Muslims can study their religion freely and dress according to their faith. Like their fellow Russians, these women say they, too, fear terrorist attacks.
GILYA BULATOVA, STUDENT: Terrorists have no faith, no country. They're inhuman.
DOUGHERTY: But they know, the clothes that once made them feel protected now make them feel more vulnerable. Jill Dougherty, CNN, Moscow.
Before We Go
JEFF FISCHEL, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Before we go... you might find it hard to write a report about him without using the word "pillage," but historians agree that Genghis Kahn was a brilliant military leader. And a team of archaeologists in Mongolia, think they might have made a brilliant discovery. The remains of horses, steel instruments and shards of porcelain may indicate that this is where Khan was laid to rest more than seven-hundred years ago.
JEFF FISCHEL, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: And that unearths another edition of CNN Student News! I'm Jeff Fischel. More is headed your way next, on Headline News.