Can somebody please explain to me what's going on here?

I can load an external .xml sheet no problem. I can trace the entire content of that .xml sheet no problem. I CAN'T seem to directly access the tags. When I try to trace them, I get nothing.

Here's the code (called from another script. I pass the URL location of the .xml file)
public function init(target:String)
			myLoader.load(new URLRequest(target));
			myLoader.dataFormat = URLLoaderDataFormat.TEXT;
			myLoader.addEventListener(Event.COMPLETE, processXML);
		public function processXML(e:Event):void 
			var xml:XMLList = XML(;
			trace(xml.responseDeclaration); //traces nothing
                        trace(xml) //traces all xml code
Here is the xml file

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?> 
<assessmentItem xmlns="" xmlns:xsi="" xsi:schemaLocation="" identifier="PDC_PM101_C1_FE1_Q1" title="Question" timeDependent="false" adaptive="false">
    <responseDeclaration identifier="Q1" cardinality="single">
        <mapping defaultValue="0">
            <mapEntry mapKey="A" mappedValue="10" /> 
            <mapEntry mapKey="B" mappedValue="0" />
            <mapEntry mapKey="C" mappedValue="0" />	
            <mapEntry mapKey="D" mappedValue="0" />	
        <p>Which statement is TRUE about the Statement of Work (SOW)?</p>
        <choiceInteraction responseIdentifier="Q1" maxChoices="1" shuffle="true">
            <simpleChoice identifier="A">When the customer and the project team belong to the same business, the SOW is the only project agreement required.</simpleChoice> 
            <simpleChoice identifier="B">When the customer and the project team belong to the same business, no SOW is required.</simpleChoice>
            <simpleChoice identifier="C">The SOW is a legal contract.</simpleChoice> 
            <simpleChoice identifier="D">A SOW is sufficient when the project team and the customer are different legal entities.</simpleChoice> 
    <!--<responseProcessing template="explanationTemplate.xml" />--> 
    <!--<modalFeedback outcomeIdentifier="EXPLANATION" identifier="completed" showHide="show">
        <p>The project charter authorizes a project and includes the initial project requirements.</p>
        <p>Reference: <i>A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)</i> Chapter 4, Section 4.1.</p>
    </modalFeedback> -->
The only thing I can get to work at this point is to access the tags via:

trace(xml.children()[0].localName()) //traces responseDeclaration
trace(xml.children().length() //traces 2

I do NOT want to have to resort to recursive functions as a "work around".