(CNN Student News) -- September 4, 2008
Republican National Convention - Listen in as the Republican Convention officially nominates John McCain.
Why Palin - Examine the buzz surrounding the GOP's first female, vice presidential candidate.
Gustav - The Aftermath - Learn what action President Bush is taking to aid Hurricane Gustav victims.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: We're rolling through the week here at CNN Student News, and we're glad to have you along for the ride. Hi, everyone. I'm Carl Azuz.
AZUZ: First up, we're checking out some of the highlights from day three at the Republican National Convention. We spent last week with the Democratic Convention in Denver. But right now, the political spotlight is on St. Paul, Minnesota, as the RNC officially names its nominee. Republicans gathered at the Xcel Energy Center and heard from a pair of former governors on Wednesday: Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. Both of those men made a run for the White House this year. Rudy Giuliani, another former presidential candidate, gave one of yesterday's keynote speeches. The former mayor of New York talked about the choice facing American voters in the upcoming election.
RUDY GIULIANI, (R) FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: The choice in this election comes down to substance over style. John McCain has been tested; Barack Obama has not. Tough times require strong leadership, and this is no time for on-the-job training.
AZUZ: The most anticipated address on Wednesday night's agenda was delivered by Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. John McCain named her as his running mate last week. Last night, Governor Palin accepted her party's nomination for vice president. That makes her the first Republican woman ever to do it.
GOV. SARAH PALIN, (R) VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I accept the call to help our nominee for president to serve and defend America, and I accept the challenge of a tough fight in this election against confident opponents. Politics isn't just a game of clashing parties and competing interests. The right reason is to challenge the status quo, to serve the common good, and to leave this nation better than we found it.
AZUZ: The top of the ticket topped off the night, when the state-by-state roll call officially declared John McCain as the Republican Party's presidential nominee.
OFFICIAL NOMINATION: Arizona, 53 votes, John McCain.
GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Governor Sarah Palin is the second woman to be a vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket. Who was the first? If you think you know it, shout it out! Was it: A) Susan B. Anthony, B) Sandra Day O'Connor, C) Geraldine Ferraro or D) Elizabeth Dole? You've got three seconds -- GO! Geraldine Ferraro was the first woman to blaze this trail as the Democrats' vice presidential nominee in 1984. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Unless you live in Alaska, you probably didn't know much about Sarah Palin before last Friday. But after John McCain picked her as his running mate, there's been a huge buzz, including some on our own blog, about the Alaskan governor. Jill Dougherty looks at the support and scrutiny surrounding a woman who could make political history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN REPORTER: Americans traditionally don't choose a president based on that candidate's choice of a vice presidential running mate.
JOHN MCCAIN, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The next vice president of the United States, the governor Sarah Palin of the great state of Alaska.
DOUGHERTY: So, what's the big deal about John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin? Log onto the Internet and you'll find out. Take the same biography, the same facts about Sarah Palin, and each side has diametrically different views as to whether she should be, as Americans put it, "a heartbeat from the presidency."
First off, Republicans say this is historic, the first woman ever on a Republican ticket. Democrats had Geraldine Ferraro back in 1984.
PALIN: It was rightly noted in Denver this week that Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America. But, it turns out the women of America aren't finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.
DOUGHERTY: Critics claim the choice of Palin was a cynical attempt to attract supporters of Democrat Hillary Clinton, still angry that she wasn't chosen as Barack Obama's running mate. Next, experience. For most Americans, Palin is a complete unknown, a first-term governor of Alaska, a state with a population of just 670,000. Before that, mayor of a small town near Anchorage. Supporters say she has "executive" experience and understands "average" Americans. As this blogger puts it: "I am 100% behind Gov. Palin. She has what it takes." But critics question how a woman who didn't have a passport until a year ago, according to the New York Times, could be vice president.
Palin is a true-blue conservative: pro-guns, supports teaching creationism, anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage. Shortly before being named McCain's running mate, she told a conservative magazine she doesn't believe global warming is caused by human beings.
S.E. CUPP, AUTHOR, "WHY YOU'RE WRONG ABOUT THE RIGHT": She's a great candidate for vice president because she's conservative and a committed conservative. She's got really strong conservative credentials; unimpeachable in fact.
DOUGHERTY: That's just the point: McCain is using Palin, critics say, to shore up his own weak support among conservatives. And how are conservative Christians reacting to news that Sarah Palin's 17-year-old unmarried daughter is pregnant? So far, they seem unfazed, and they're fully backing her politically and financially. Contributions to the McCain campaign increased significantly after Palin was introduced as McCain's pick. Why so much heated debate over a vice presidential candidate? One political scientist says there are big issues at stake.
PROF. LEONARD STEINHORN, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: It reinforces the fact that John McCain is the oldest person ever to run for a first term for the White House. He is 72 years old and that she could possibly be the president of the United States. So, I think that is going to force this issue, both his age and her qualifications, into the public debate.
DOUGHERTY: Jill Dougherty, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ: Just like we saw in Denver last week with the Democrats, protests have marked the Republican Convention as demonstrators march through the streets of St. Paul. Tuesday night, things got tense as police used gas and pepper spray on the crowd. Authorities said they were attempting to scatter protesters who were trying to get past security fences. Witnesses said the demonstrators marched from the state capitol to the GOP convention, where police ordered them to disperse.
AZUZ: Down in Louisiana, President Bush is praising the government's reaction to Hurricane Gustav. He says phase one of the response went well, but there's more work to be done. The president traveled to the region yesterday to survey some of the damage caused by the storm when it plowed through on Monday. Earlier this week, President Bush declared more than half of Louisiana's parishes a federal disaster area, making residents there eligible to receive federal aid.
Out in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Hanna is making its way toward the U.S. coastline. Residents from Florida all the way up to North Carolina are battening down the hatches as forecasters predict the storm could strengthen into a hurricane before it makes landfall later this week. It already slammed into Haiti. Officials say Hanna killed more than a dozen people there and dumped more than thirteen feet of water in some spots, leaving many stranded by heavy flooding.
RAMSAY: Time for some Fast Facts! When the impact of severe weather, like a hurricane, earthquake or flood, is more than state and local governments can handle alone, the situation can be declared a major disaster. This allows federal programs to take part in the recovery process. After governors survey the damage caused by these types of events, they request a major disaster declaration from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA recommends action to the White House, and the president either approves or denies the request. Depending on the nature of the disaster, this process could take a few hours or several weeks.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, a lot of you probably had a treehouse when you were younger, or like me, you just fell out of your friends. But we're betting none of them looked like this. On paper, this was supposed to be a simple place for kids to play. In reality: a spiral staircase, a trap door, a swing bridge, even a skylight! It took three years, hundreds of hours to build. But the big question: How much did it cost? The owner swears he doesn't know. He decided not to keep track while he was putting it together.
AZUZ: Here's one guess: a lot! That's where we leave things up in the air for today. Have a great day. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.