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Quick Guide & Transcript: Midterm elections outlook, Gallaudet's incoming president ousted

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(CNN Student News) -- October 31, 2006

Quick Guide

America Votes 2006 - Examine some issues that could influence voters in the upcoming midterm elections.

The Fight For Iraq - Get an update from Iraq that includes the latest headlines concerning its former dictator.

Gallaudet President Resigns - See the reaction from Gallaudet University following the removal of its incoming president.



MONICA LLOYD, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: It's time for another CNN Student News. So glad you could join us. I'm Monica Lloyd. It's a duel for the dome. In Washington, which issues could define the fight for congressional control. Jubilation at Gallaudet, how protests made the deaf school's board back down on its choice for president. And in Japan, something spooky swims underwater. How an aquarium fishes up interest in a U.S. holiday.

First Up: America Votes 2006

LLOYD: First up today, the pitched battle both parties are waging for control of congress. The congressional mid-term elections are just a week away. And voters in 36 states are picking governors. Also, every U.S. House seat is up for grabs, and one third of the Senate. President Bush might be glad he's not running. A new CNN opinion poll puts his approval rating at 37 percent. Bill Schneider looks at how things are stacking up for Democrats and Republicans.


BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN REPORTER: This year's U.S. congressional election looks like a parliamentary election -- a referendum on national issues. One big national question hangs over the vote: Who will control Congress? National conditions favor the Democrats. Americans are deeply unhappy over illegal immigration and government spending and threats from Iran and North Korea, and congressional scandals. Three members of Congress have resigned in disgrace. Another has pleaded guilty to corruption charges. Above all, Americans are disillusioned about the war in Iraq. The public now opposes that war by nearly two to one. For Democratic candidates this year, all politics is national. For Republicans, all politics is local, and often intensely personal.

FROM REPUBLICAN ATTACK AD: Canada can take care of North Korea - they're not busy.

SCHNEIDER: Do the Republicans have any issues?

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I think the elections will be decided by security and the economy.

SCHNEIDER: The Republican party is trying to focus voters' attention on the terrorist threat -- the issue that Republicans won on in 2002 and 2004.

FROM RNC `'OSAMA'' AD: But polls show Iraq has damaged the Republican Party's standing on national security. Americans have decidedly mixed views about the economy. On the one hand, the stock market is up and fuel prices are down. On the other hand, wages are stagnant and home values are declining. What's the outlook?

Of 435 seats in the House of Representatives, CNN counts only 29 that are at risk of changing parties. All of them are held by Republicans. Democrats need a net gain of 15 seats to win a majority in the House. The Senate looks tougher for Democrats. A total of 33 Senate seats are up in this election.

Seven seats now held by Republicans are at risk of going Democratic. Democrats would have to win six of them to gain a majority. And not lose the one Democratic seat that could be at risk.

Democrats' biggest problem is rising expectations. Most Americans say they expect Democrats in win control of Congress. If the Democrats make gains but fail to win a majority, it could look like a crushing defeat. Bill Schneider, CNN New York.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! What's the purpose of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution? If you think you know it, shout it out! Does it: A) Establish voting age as 18, B) Establish presidential term limits, C) Ban the poll tax or D) Limit congressional pay raises? You've got three seconds--GO! The 28th Amendment established 18 as the voting age! And now you know an answer to our interactive election quiz, which you can find on our Web site. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!


LLOYD: Teachers, our Interactive Quiz will help you make sense of the midterm elections and the right to vote. You can find it right in the middle of the page. And if you'd like to print out that quiz for class, we've made that easy for you. Just sign up for our daily newsletter and you'll receive our email containing links to a printable PDF version. To easily do all that. Just go to

Spoken Word

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this - the terrorists win and America loses. That's what's at stake in this race. The Democrat goal is to get out of Iraq. The Republican goal is to win in Iraq.

The Fight For Iraq

LLOYD: President Bush speaking on the war in Iraq. Events there figure to weigh on the minds of American voters. A sniper shot and killed a U.S. solider yesterday, putting the U.S. death toll over the century mark for October. Also yesterday, Baghdad was hit with more violence as a blast near a market killed 26 people and wounded dozens of others. Meantime, Saddam Hussein's trial continues and he is awaiting the verdict of his first trial. But as Arwa Damon explains, violence has turned Iraq's "trials of the century" into a mere afterthought for many.


ARWA DAMON, CNN REPORTER: The familiar sound of grief carried through Sadr City Monday morning as more Iraqis buried their loved ones. A bomb hidden in a plastic bag exploded on a crowd of day laborers. They had left their homes looking for over two dozen of them are in body bags. Poorly equipped and understaffed hositals were crammed with scores of the wounded.

The explosion bore all the hallmarks of a sectarian attack - this Shia district has a history of attacks for which Sunni extremist groups have taken credit. This one too - seemingly intended to deliberately provoke Iraq's majority Shi'a population.

Sadr City is a Mehdi militia stronghold - loyal to radical Shi'a cleric Moqtada al Sadr. Many residents say it is the militia that keeps them safe.

But for nearly a week now the militia has been less visible as U.S. forces search the area for one of their soldiers believed to have been kidnapped on Monday. Residents here blame the American presence - for this latest attack.

'The Americans did it,' this resident says. 'It is an ugly act, they did it when they came in here with their vehicles.'

Violence here is so all-consuming that few Iraqis are paying attention to the trial of their former president. Saddam Hussein back in court facing charges of genocide in the Anfal trial. His chief attorney, Khalil Dulaimi interrupted his boycott of the proceedings to read a list of twelve demands to the chief judge;

among them, a call for an investigation into allegations that one of the defendants, Hussein Rashid, was beaten after being physically removed from court three weeks ago.

And as verdict day for the first trial, the Dujail case, approaches, Saddam and his chief defense attorney made public letters accusing the U.S. administration of manipulating the verdict so that it is delivered on November 5th -- just two days before the U.S midterm elections. The U.S. says the court is under Iraqi control and denies any effort to manipulate the timetable. Saddam Hussein could face the death penalty if found guilty. Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.


Gallaudet President Resigns

LLOYD: At Gallaudet University, the nation's only liberal arts university for the deaf, the wishes of its students have been heard. The Gallaudet Board withdrew provost Jane Fernandes's name on Sunday. She was slated to take over as school president in January. Students have protested against her selection soon after it was announced. The board said it made its decision "with much regret and pain." Soledad O'Brien reports on the resolution of months of protest in Washington.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN REPORTER: Jubilation on the campus of Gallaudet University in Washington --after the school's board of trustees voted to terminate the appointment of its incoming president. Jane Fernandes had been the target of fierce protests from many students, faculty and alumni since May, when she was tapped for the school's top job. The protests grew this month,.prompting hunger strikes, mass arrests and campus lockdowns.

GALLAUDET STUDENTS CELEBRATING: I knew we would win. But the question was when, today, I'm absolutely elated today.

O'BRIEN: At issue, students say, her inability to lead, an unfair selection process and long-standing problems at the school that have been ignored. Fernanades says she was the victim of a culture debate over whether she was 'deaf enough.' She born deaf, but Fernandes didn't learn sign language until she was an adult.

Fernandes -- the school's provost -- said in a statement: 'I love Gallaudet University and I believe I could have made a significant contribution to its future. I hope that the Gallaudet community can heal the wounds that have been created.'

BARBARA WHITE, GALLAUDET FACULTY MEMBER (THRU INTERPRETER): I want to give a message to the board of trustees... that they made a very very brave decision this afternoon. The community I think can now start the healing process.

NIXO LANNING, GALLAUDET SENIOR THRU INTERPRETER: We are so excited, I don't think I've ever felt this good before. I feel like there should be fireworks going off right now. We so thrilled to see this decision.

O'BRIEN: Gallaudet's current president hopes the school can now move forward, and students say their work is not done.

JEANINE WEISBLAT, GALLAUDET JUNIOR THRU INTERPRETER: We're going to keep an eagle eye to make sure the board of trustees, the new presidential search process, is one that's fair and equitable.

O'BRIEN: Soledad O'Brien, CNN, New York.


Before We Go

LLOYD: Before we go, we go to Japan where there's something fishy about Halloween. An aquarium in Yokohama, Japan, is mesmerizing visitors with this scary synchronized swimming. But it's no trick that makes this underwater jack-O-lantern. It's actually a school of about 5,000 yellow-striped butterfish. A frogman is handing out fish treats to create the eerie visual. Halloween is relatively new to the Japanese and the aquarium wanted to capitalize on growing interest.


LLOYD: Its time for us to swim out of here. Thanks for watching CNN Student News. Signing out until tomorrow, I'm Monica Lloyd.



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