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EDUCATION with Student News

Quick Guide & Transcript: Nagin and Clinton under fire, Inside Iraq's West Wing


• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide

(CNN Student News) -- January 18, 2006

Quick Guide

Watching Your Words - Listen to the controversial comments of a Louisiana mayor and a New York senator.

Iraq's West Wing - Gain insight into what it's like to lead a war-torn country.

All About the Benjamin - Explore the British home of an American inventor and Founding Father.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: CNN Student News is now in session! Hello everyone, I'm Carl Azuz. After speaking some strong words, a mayor and a senator hear some strong reactions from Americans. After getting exclusive access, a CNN reporter brings us a day in the life of an Iraqi president. And after seeing this map, some historians say Christopher Columbus's discovery, was 74 years too late!

First Up: Watching Your Words

AZUZ: No one knows better than you guys, how words get around: say something bad about someone; the next thing you know it's all over school. The same goes for folks in high places, in this case the mayor of New Orleans, and a senator from New York. On a day honoring Martin Luther King, who promoted unity between races, Ray Nagin and Hillary Clinton made comments that some people found divisive. Deanna Morawski has the story.


DEANNA MORAWSKI, CNN STUDENT NEWS REPORTER: In a speech at a Martin Luther King Day event Monday, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin spoke about the slain civil rights leader, god, and Nagin's own racial vision for the city. This is the comment that stood out.

MAYOR RAY NAGIN, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA: This city will be chocolate at the end of the day. This city will be a majority African-American city. It's the way God wants it to be.

MORAWSKI: His words stirred controversy, with blacks and whites alike saying he was out of line.

MAN ON THE STREET: White, black, indifferent, it doesn't matter. You can't reunite a city if your comments are going to divide a city.

MAN ON THE STREET: I think he was trying to play sides. His words should have been chosen more carefully.

MORAWSKI: Tuesday, Nagin offered an explanation...

NAGIN: How do you make chocolate? Take dark chocolate, mix it with white milk, and it become a delicious drink. That's the chocolate I'm talking about.

MORAWSKI: The mayor said he was simply trying to give displaced African Americans hope of returning to the city, which before Katrina was 67 percent black. He later apologized altogether, saying it was a bad analogy.

But Nagin isn't the only one under fire for racially-charged comments. So is Senator Hillary Clinton, after attacking the bush administration at another Martin Luther King Day event in Harlem.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON/(D) NEW YORK: When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation, and you know what I'm talking about.

MORAWSKI: She was referring to the Republican majority, which has controlled the House since 1994, in effect, making the Democratic minority politically powerless. Many Republicans were offended over being compared to slaveholders.

DENNIS HASTERT, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I'm not even sure what kind of association she's trying to make. If she's trying to be racist, I think that's unfortunate.

MORAWSKI:Some even called for Clinton to step down, or apologize to the American people. The White House had no comment. But a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee said, quote, 'on a day when Americans are focused on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Hillary Clinton is focused on the legacy of Hillary Clinton.' With Clinton considered a possible Democratic contender for the White House in 2008., many are saying the remarks could cost her. For CNN Student News, I'm Deanna Morawski.



AZUZ: So the question is... Did Mayor Nagin and Senator Clinton go to far, or do you agree with their views? Teachers, use the "contact us" button on our web site, to tell us what your students think. Your class's opinions may be featured on an upcoming show!

Word to the Wise


reconciliation (noun) the act of settling, resolving, or re-establishing a close relationship

source: www.dictionary.comexternal link

Iraq's West Wing

AZUZ: Those of you on student council know just how tricky reconciliation can be. But imagine applying that to a war-torn country! One of our reporters recently got to shadow Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. Michael Holmes brings us what could be described, as a middle eastern "West Wing."


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN REPORTER: Just another day at the office for Jalal Talabani, except his is no simple job...he's the President of Iraq. We were granted extraordinary access to the President at this, an extraordinary time for his country.

JALAL TALABANI, IRAQI PRESIDENT: I am optimistic. But of course in Iraq, nothing is easy.

HOLMES: Election results are due any day...and then begins the job of forming a government from the various, sometimes fractious groups who won seats. Jalal Talabani is a personable, even jovial man...many of his fellow Kurds call him "Uncle." He's had a lifetime at the sharp end of Iraq's often violent politics - now he faces yet another big challenge. As a Kurd, it will be his job to help bring Shia and Sunni together, and fashion a unity government from groups rarely unified.

TALABANI: The Kurdish people can play the role of reconciliation, the role of mediation, the role of bringing them together, of balancing.

HOLMES: This day, like many others...meetings with Ambassadors - first, from the United Nations, later from Iran. Oh, and a letter from another president - of the United States - sending him good wishes. What goes on in these offices and corridors is nothing short of the nurturing of an infant democracy. This is the Iraq West Wing, if you like and we're about to walk into the Oval Office. Now, this is not as grand perhaps as the Washington version, but make no mistake, this is very much a seat of power. A key point of debate lately, whether Jalal Talabani would stay on as president. He tells us the answer is yes, but not as a figurehead.

TALABANI: I must share in ruling the country - I don't want to be a puppet president.

HOLMES: Whether the Shia majority or the Sunnis will tolerate a powerful presidency in Kurdish hands is another matter. We covered a lot of ground...the fears of Iranian influence in Iraq, which he says are exaggerated, to the insurgency....which he says can be defused.

TALABANI: Sunni participation in the process will end all kind of pretext to fight.

HOLMES: As for his fellow Kurds and their long time ambition of independence...

TALABANI: There is a difference between realities and desires. Wishful thinking is something, and what is going on on the ground is something else.

HOLMES: At the end of Jalal Talabani's day...

TALABANI: Now I'm going to a press conference. You can come...

HOLMES: And with that a man apparently comfortable with the weight of historical responsibility moves on to his next engagement. Michael Holmes, CNN, Baghdad.



RICHARDSON: Time for the Shoutout! On which U.S. note does Benjamin Franklin appear? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it:

A) $1 bill

B) $10 bill

C) $50 bill

D) $100 bill

You've got three seconds--GO!

The image of Benjamin Franklin appears on the front of the hundred-dollar bill; Independence Hall appears on the back.

That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

All About the Benjamin

AZUZ: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Number 10 Downing Street: both pretty famous addresses, of the U.S. and British leaders. But "36 Craven Street"? That's another British address, of a man you know as an American founding father. Three hundred years after Benjamin Franklin's birthday, Jim Boulden visited an English house where the inventor did some of his best work.


JIM BOULDEN, CNN REPORTER: Boston can claim his birthplace 300 years ago and Philadelphia his residence as a Founding Father, but those original houses are long gone.

You have to come to London to see a house where Franklin wrote and thought and created for 16 years. In these rooms he researched the gulf stream, experimented with the lightning rod and perfected a number of his inventions.

MARCIA BALISCIANO, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN HOUSE: He started his Franklin Stove in Pennsylvania, but carried forward in this house. In fact, in one of the rooms we've got the remnants of the Franklin Stove that we was working on that matches his description in letters.

BOULDEN: Benjamin Franklin wanted to improve everything he saw, including this, an instrument known as musical glasses. He thought the sound was ok, but maybe there was a way to make the glasses rotate and not your fingers. So in this very house he invented this. The glass harmonica...though I couldn't get much of a musical note out of it. He also saw his first pair of bifocals in London and set about improving them.


And Franklin wrote that he often used this staircase for exercise. He sort of had his own Stairmaster.

After laying derelict for decades, millions of dollars have transformed number 36 Craven Street into a museum. The owners are sure he would approve of the show put on for tourists. Franklin came to his London residence a British subject, in 1775 he left a reluctant American patriot.

BALISCIANO:This house does serve as the first de-facto American Embassy because its people like William Pitt that come to negotiate with Franklin, even if he has fallen out of favor with George III, it was still thought that if anyone can pull together a 11th hour reconciliation, it's Benjamin Franklin.

BOULDEN: In that endeavor of course he failed. Jim Boulden, CNN, London.


Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go... Christopher Columbus gets the credit, but was he the first who really did it? This map may prove otherwise. It's said to be a copy of a Chinese explorer's chart, dating back to 1418. Because it shows North and South America, it suggests the Chinese sailor actually beat Columbus to the discovery by 74 years! Then again, some say the Viking explorer Leif Ericsson found America around AD 1000, which would make him numero uno!


AZUZ: Well that maps out all our stories for the day. But we hope you'll set sail with us tomorrow, right here on Headline News. I'm Carl Azuz.

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