(CNN Student News) -- April 29, 2009
The First 100 Days - Analyze President Obama's economic report card for his first 100 days.
Flu Screening Technology - Check out how technology is helping to fight the spread of swine flu.
Smart Shopping - Find out how one savvy shopper gets massive savings by clipping coupons.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, I'm Carl Azuz. A significant switch is sending shockwaves through the Senate. We'll tell you what that means in today's edition of CNN Student news.
AZUZ: For more than 70 years, a president's first 100 days in office has been considered a major milestone, one that Barack Obama reaches today. A presidential news conference marks the occasion. You can watch CNN's coverage tonight beginning at 7 p.m. eastern time. During his first 100 days, President Obama has addressed issues from education to health care to military conflicts. Maggie Lake examines how he's fared on what many considered the top priority when he took office: the economy.
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MAGGIE LAKE, CNN WORLD BUSINESS TODAY ANCHOR: Few U.S. presidents have had to deal with the multitude of economic problems facing Barack Obama and his economic team. From teetering banks to rising unemployment, automakers on the brink and now, uncertainty over swine flu's financial impact. Throughout his first 100 days, fixing the economy and steadying the markets has been job number one for President Obama. He says his team is handling things well.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: In just under three months, we've responded to an extraordinary set of economic challenges with extraordinary action; action that's been unprecedented both in terms of its scale and its speed
LAKE: But many on Wall Street are alarmed by the scope of his massive economic stimulus plan, his costly budgetary proposals, and his hands-on oversight of banks. Money managers polled in the financial magazine Barron's give Mister Obama a lukewarm grade of "B to C." His treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, fares even worse. Traders say it's clear that Wall Street has not warmed up to President Obama just yet.
ALAN KNUCKMAN, AGORA FINANCIAL: He's attacked in a lot of different directions; he's been aggressive. I think you'll be very hard pressed to change people's opinions here of him. But again, it comes back to money, and if people are making money and the markets are more stable, then I think they can put away some of this socialist rhetoric.
LAKE: After plunging to 12-year lows in early March, just seven weeks into President Obama's term, the stock market does feel more stable now. The Dow has risen almost 25% since hitting bottom, with financial stocks leading the way. Economists say it's easy for critics to forget how dire things looked back when Mister Obama took office. By that standard, they say, the administration has done well in restoring confidence.
LACHMAN ACHUTHAN, ECONOMIC CYCLE RESEARCH INSTITUTE: We didn't fall into the abyss! The fact that we're still here gives the administration and President Obama a good grade for the first 100 days, because there was a question as to were we going to have another plunge down, in which case it could have been quite devastating.
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AZUZ: On our blog, "From A to Z," we asked you to grade the president from A to F. Cory would give him a "C-D," or 50-50, saying "like all presidents, Obama hasn't made some good choices." Dani believes the president's doing the best he can, and that deserves a "B." "It gives him room to improve or get worse." Charlotte picked "A," writing that "the president sounds like he knows what he's doing." Vanessa also scored him an "A," adding that "she believes he can and will do his best for the economy; he really cares." But Shane wrote that "with all these bailouts, it's hard to know if I'll get into college... Obama's putting me in debt." And Emily gave an "F," saying that "as we're in the middle of an economic crisis, Obama's spending more money." Like many of you, Lee believes it's too early to grade! "He's just trying to do his plans, and we don't know the result of that." From this chart, you can see how the grading looked on our Quick Poll when we recorded today's show.
Specter Senate Switch
AZUZ: Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, who has been part of the Republican party for 44 years, is now a Democrat! He announced the switch yesterday, saying he's found his political views more in line with the Democratic party. The five-term senator is up for re-election next year and was expected to face a tough challenge in the Pennsylvania Republican primary. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says Specter would have lost that primary battle because of his liberal voting record. Steele believes that is the real reason why Specter switched parties. This move gives Democrats a 59-40 seat advantage in the Senate, which puts a spotlight on a disputed contest from Minnesota. If Democrat Al Franken, whom you see here, can hold onto his current lead in that race, the Democrats would get a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
Word to the Wise
ERIK NIVISON, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise..
filibuster (noun) a method of delaying or blocking political legislation, often by making long speeches
AZUZ: Catching you up with the latest on the swine flu outbreak. As of yesterday, at least 113 cases were confirmed worldwide. Mexico, where this outbreak began, shut down about 35,000 public venues in an attempt to contain the virus, and governments around the world are working to prevent the outbreak from spreading. Arwa Damon shows us how Indonesia is using technology to achieve that goal.
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ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, where authorities have set up thermal cameras to screen passengers. We're going to be speaking with Mario now, whose company provided this equipment. Mario, if you could just briefly explain to us how this all works.
MARIO GANDHA, TECHNICIAN: OK, it's a very simple, dual-monitor system. One is the CCTV camera, and the other is the infrared camera. The simple system actually detects temperature all around, but it doesn't sound any alarm, or it doesn't capture any picture until there's an object such as this water bottle within its alarm range, which is 38.5 - 40 degrees [Celsius].
DAMON: If the alarm does sound, the passengers are then asked to step through this body cleaning machine. It sprays a 70% alcohol solution on their hands, feet and body, meant to disinfect them of any sort of virus or bacteria they might be carrying into the country. This equipment isn't intended to, nor does it detect, any specific sort of virus; it's more of an early warning system. Authorities at this stage aren't quarantining any sick passengers, just giving them this yellow health card, asking them to report to the nearest health clinic within three to five days.
Here's what's interesting. Authorities are saying that this equipment wasn't recently set up because of swine flu. It's actually been in place for around two months now, part of an overall effort to keep deadly viruses from entering Indonesia. Indonesia, like other Asian countries, does have extensive experience in dealing with deadly viruses, SARS and bird flu, for example. So, authorities have been very quick to reassure the public that they are fully capable of handling any sort of threat posed by swine flu. Arwa Damon, CNN, Jakarta.
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AZUZ: Shifting gears now, with many Americans looking for cost-saving solutions, one Virginia woman offers a clipped answer: coupons! Given that she buys a week's worth of groceries on the allowance that many of you might have had when you were kids, she may just know what she's talking about. Kris Van Cleave of affiliate WJLA in Alexandria checks out this savvy shopper's super savings.
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SUSAN SAMTUR, SMART SHOPPER : I'm starting out with the coupon flier, which I always take a look at first, because in this I'm going to find the items that are on sale.
KRIS VAN CLEAVE, WJLA REPORTER: Susan Samtur takes her grocery shopping very seriously. Known as the coupon queen, when she looks down an aisle, she sees huge savings just waiting to be found.
SAMTUR: My husband and I were both teachers in New York City, but we didn't make enough to make ends meet, and so I began couponing and refunding.
VAN CLEAVE: Thirty-seven years later, she's a pro. Susan says she gets about $2,000 a year in cash from refunds she sends away for. And her weekly grocery bill, you'll have to see to believe.
SAMTUR: They are a dollar off each item, and right over there are the items on sale for a dollar each, so my cost is zero.
VAN CLEAVE: With her coupons filed by category and a list broken down by section of the grocery store, she's off.
Of the items on the list, how many of these do you have coupons for?
SAMTUR: Every single one, practically. Almost every one.
VAN CLEAVE: From the paper aisle to the meat section to fresh vegetables....
SAMTUR: There are items that often times will have their own coupon.
VAN CLEAVE: ...Susan finds deals on things you'd actually want in your kitchen.
SAMTUR: Wheaties is on sale also.
VAN CLEAVE: Her strategy?
SAMTUR: Cut out all the coupons, save them, put them into some kind of a category system, plan your shopping before you walk into the store.
VAN CLEAVE: With her cart full and her list checked off, we head to check out. The total?
CINDY DELCID, CASHIER: $152.86
VAN CLEAVE: Now, it's coupon time.
SAMTUR: Some of these are from newspapers, but the bulk of them, the majority of them, are from refund offers that I've previously sent away and gotten back a coupon to get my next item free.
VAN CLEAVE: The process takes several minutes, but the price keeps dropping.
DELCID: I've never seen nothing like it. First time, and I want to see it again.
VAN CLEAVE: You will, too. Our final total, including tax: $9.43. Look at the receipt: $144 in coupons, a saving of 97%.
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Before We Go
AZUZ: Unbelievable. Well, before we go, a competitive sport that might be a real snooze. On your mark, get set, sleep! The goal of a bed race isn't to catch some z's. In truth, this annual, under-covers event seems to awaken racers' competitive spirit. Of course, if the idea of flying around a track gives you nightmares, too bad! Once you've made your bed, you have to race in it. It looks like everyone's having fun.
AZUZ: But we wouldn't want to make any blanket statements. That will be all we cover in today's show. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.