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CNN Student News Transcript: October 10, 2007

  • Story Highlights
  • Hear what Republican presidential candidates discussed in a recent debate
  • Examine what conditions may have led to a recent landslide in California
  • Check out a giant gourd that tipped the scales at a pumpkin weigh-off
  • Next Article in Living »
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(CNN Student News) -- October 10, 2007

Quick Guide

G.O.P. Debate - Hear what Republican presidential candidates discussed in a recent debate.

Unstable Ground - Examine what conditions may have led to a recent landslide in California.

Gordo Gourd - Check out a giant gourd that tipped the scales at a pumpkin weigh-off.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, I'm Carl Azuz. Welcome to CNN Student News on this Wednesday. One quick note before we get started: Due to technical difficulties, our program did not air in its entirety on Headline News yesterday. We're sorry about that. But remember, you can always check us out online at! Now for today, let's get things started with a quick Shoutout!


AZUZ: Time for the Shoutout! What animal is the symbol of the Republican Party? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it the: A) Eagle, B) Donkey, C) Hawk or D) Elephant? You've got three seconds -- GO! In the late 1800s, cartoonist Thomas Nast drew up an elephant to represent the Republican vote and it stuck. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

First Up: G.O.P. Debate

AZUZ: And with a presidential election a little more than a year away, nine candidates are hoping to get the nomination of that elephant's party. That's why they were in Michigan on Tuesday, taking part in a G.O.P., or Grand Old Party, debate. That's another name for the Republican party. Yesterday's forum on the economy gave the presidential hopefuls a chance to discuss their business plans for the country. Matt Cherry has more on the debate.


MATT CHERRY, CNN REPORTER: Welcome aboard, Fred Thompson. It was G.O.P. candidate's debate debut. And he got the first question. The topic: the economy. Maybe opening night jitters?

FRED THOMPSON, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I see no reason to believe we're headed for, uh, for economic downturn.

CHERRY: Mitt Romeny and Rudy Giuliani, who have been sparring over tax cuts, haggled over whether line-item veto is constitutional, and whose track record trumps.


MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's bologna. Mayor, you've gotta check your facts.

CHERRY: Giuliani also got into it with Ron Paul. All the candidates had been asked whether the president needs permission from Congress to attack strategic targets in Iran. During Paul's answer, he said there's never been an imminent attack on the U.S., prompting this from Giuliani:

GIULIANI: I don't know where he was on September 11th.

RON PAUL, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That was no country. That was 19 thugs. It had nothing to do with a country.

GIULIANI: I think it was kind of organized in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

CHERRY: As the debate moved into the home stretch, Mitt Romney summed things up.

ROMNEY: This is a lot like "Law and Order," Senator. It has a huge cast, the series seems to go on forever and Fred Thompson shows up at the end.

THOMPSON: And to think I was going to be the best actor on this stage.

CHERRY: For CNN Student News, I'm Matt Cherry.


Unstable Ground

AZUZ: All right, if you notice some cracks in your street, you might not think it's a big deal. And that's what a lot of residents thought about Mount Soledad Road in La Jolla, California. At least until last week. That's when a 50-yard stretch of the street sunk 20 feet into the ground! Now fortunately, no one was hurt in the landslide, but dozens of homes were damaged or destroyed. Dan Simon looks at what may have caused this collapse.


DAN SIMON, CNN REPORTER: Summer Girgis and her three-year-old daughter got out at the last moment, before their house slid down the mountain.

SUMMER GIRGIS, LA JOLLA RESIDENT: They hadn't yellow tagged us or red tagged us, and we assumed that we didn't need to get out till that had been done.

SIMON: No one here expected the land to crumble beneath them.

GIRGIS: The gas guys came in a few days earlier. It's solid, we were on solid ground.

SIMON: Or so they thought. Geologists say landslides like these happen all over the country where homes are built on mountain slopes.

PROFESSOR PAT ABBOT, SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY: The cause is 100% natural: It's the weak rock, steep slope, pull of gravity.

SIMON: The government doesn't keep statistics on landslides, but published reports show at least 20 in the last year alone, in Wisconsin, in Colorado and now here in southern California. Geology professor Pat Abbot says there will be more.

ABBOT: We're putting houses into more and more unlikely, undesirable places. And we're paying more and more prices as nature rejects some of those sites.

SIMON: Like La Jolla's Mount Soledad. Million dollar-plus homes with breathtaking views. The area still being developed. Concrete slabs dotting the landscape. People here say they were never told about the risks.

CINDY GOODMAN, LA JOLLA RESIDENT: When we bought it, we were told it was on bedrock, never a problem. You may lose street someday, but your house will be fine.

SIMON: Professor Abbot showed us why no one should have been told that.

ABBOT: And if we hit it with the hammer, it's hard, dry stuff.

SIMON: This is the dirt that makes up Mount Soledad; a durable clay when dry, but when wet in some areas...

ABBOT: Now it becomes a gooey kind of mud that's quite slippery, and this is the underlying weak rock. You take this kind of gooey stuff that turns to slippery mud, put that on the hillside as a slope for the whole rock layer with gravity pulling on it, this is going downhill. And any house built on top of it is going along for the ride.

SIMON: La Jolla hasn't had any rain. So, why a sudden collapse?

ABBOT: We're living in coastal desert, yet thanks to homeowners, you're actually turning into subtropics. You put tons and tons of artificial rainfall per year on those properties. You don't need the rain, because homeowners add to the instability of their own sites.

SIMON: Combine that with 1960s engineering that wouldn't be approved today; a recipe for disaster. Mount Soledad still appears shaky. Check out this hole opening up in another street. Dan Simon, CNN, La Jolla, California.


Is this legit?

AZUZ: Is This Legit? A pumpkin is a vegetable. This was a tricky one, but a pumpkin is actually a fruit. So the answer: not legit!

Gordo Gourd

AZUZ: The California town of Half Moon Bay calls itself the "World Pumpkin Capital" and every year, it pays tribute to the fruit with its Art and Pumpkin Festival. There's a fun run, a parade - there's even a pumpkin carving contest. But the biggest draw might be the pumpkin weigh-off. Christine Conley tells us what tipped the scales in favor of this year's winner.


CHRISTINE CONLEY, KRON 4 NEWS: You're looking at the winning pumpkin, weighing in at 1,524 pounds. It weighs as much as a bull moose. And 54 of these little pumpkins, well, they could fit inside this big one. That's the grower and record breaker, Thad Starr from Pleasantville, Oregon. That's right. He drove this big pumpkin all the way to Half Moon Bay, praying the whole time it wouldn't turn into pumpkin pie.

THAD STARR, WINNER: Believe me, California roads need some improvement. It was a bouncy, scary, tense ride up here. I lost at least a year off my life with the bouncing.

CONLEY: Any crack in the pumpkin, and they can't compete. This competition is serious, bringing in more than 80 growers from around the nation. The winner takes home six dollars per pound. It's Thad's first official competition, and as he watched the other pumpkins hit the scale, he got worried.

STARR: It was terrifying. I'm a rookie. They're telling me how this works and they're almost 100% sure that the last pumpkin that weighs is the biggest pumpkin, and I'm second out.

CONLEY: Are you surprised?

STARR: Yes. Very.

CONLEY: Still, Thad walked away with the winning prize: over $9,000. But he says that this baby wasn't cheap to grow. It took 94 days and yards of chicken manure, mint compost and several hundred pounds of coffee. Yup, you heard right.

CONLEY: I'm wondering, does the caffeine sort of ...

STARR: You know no there's no caffeine. Well, maybe. Maybe that's why she got so big. She's all souped up on Starbucks.

CONLEY: So, what happens next? Well, it turns out that giant pumpkins don't taste very good. I guess Thad will just have the best jack-o-lantern in his neighborhood. In Half Moon Bay, I'm Christine Conley, KRON 4 News.



AZUZ: Our daily e-mail tells you what's featured on our show. And if you sign up for it, we'll send you a free Planet in Peril world map. If you already get the e-mail, you can subscribe again to receive the map. Sign up at!

Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, check out this truly twisted tale. Right hand red. Left foot green. Set world record? This group of North Dakota students hopes so. They put together what might be the world's biggest Twister board using 180 mats. That's almost 4,700 square feet! After the players uncoiled themselves, they sent a video of their tremendous game of Twister to the Guinness Book of Records. Now they're just waiting for the official call.



AZUZ: They could always play another game while they wait. Now, we're in the middle of the National PTA's "Start the Art Week." It's designed to inspire students and families to participate in the arts. So, to celebrate, we're giving our writer, Jordan Bienstock, and our Web producer, Jeff DeHayes, a chance to show off their artistic talents. So as we say goodbye for today, enjoy this taste of CNN Student Blues! E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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