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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  May 1, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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on our broadcast tonight, on the ground tonight in afghanistan. tonight the president's unannounced visit there landing in the dark and much secrecy a year after bin ladin was killed. plus our nbc news exclusive inside the situation room with the president, his reaction that night to the first evidence of bin ladin's death. and what it was like to place that call to president bush. the scandal, a devastating charge that rupert murdoch, perhaps the biggest media mogul on the planet, is unfit for his job. family drama at the john edwards trial, the wife of the star witness is cross examined and it gets personal. plus tonight, a terrific "making a difference" report. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
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and a special good evening to our viewers in the west tonight, as you probably heard, air force one touched down in the dark, without any visible running lights in kabul, afghanistan. an unannounced trip by president obama to the war zone that became a war zone following 9/11. tonight the president asked the television networks for air time and addressed the nation briefly from bagram air field outside kabul. there was work to be done on the ground there, and there is a lot of politics in the air surrounding this anniversary, in the context of an election year. we want to begin tonight's broadcast with our political director, chief white house correspondent chuck todd. chuck, good evening. >> reporter: the president took a 13-hour plane ride to
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afghanistan. they didn't go public until the president was in afghanistan for an hour and a half. after he got into the palace with president karzai, the two signed an agreement, the united states will be contributing money and troops and security measures to afghanistan over the next 12 years. now, in addition the president went and visited with troops in afghanistan. both thanking them, but also sending the message this war is not yet over. and then finally, he moved over to another airplane hangar in bagram air force base and explained exactly what he signed and what he's agreed to do, to the american people. >> in2er national troops will continue to train, advise and assist the afghans when needed. we will shift into a support role as afghans step forward. as we do, our troops will be coming home. last year we removed 10,000 u.s. troops from afghanistan.
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another 23,000 will leave by the end of the summer. after that, reductions will continue at a steady pace with more and more of our troops coming home. as our coalition agreed, by the end of 2014, the afghans will be fully responsible for the security of their country. as we move forward, some people will ask, why we need a firm time line. the answer is clear. our goal is not to build a country in america's image or to eradicate every vestige of the taliban. this will require many more years, more dollars and most importantly, many more american lives. our goal is to destroy al indicate qaeda and we are on a path to do just that. afghans want to build a lasting peace, that requires a clear time line to wind down the war. others will ask, why don't we
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leave immediately? that answer is also clear. we must give afghanistan the opportunity to stabilize, otherwise our gains could be lost. and al qaeda could establish itself once more. as commander in chief, i refuse to let that happen. as we emerge from a decade of conflict abroad and economic crisis at home, it's time to renew america, an america where our children live free from fear and have the skills to claim their dreams. a united america of grit and resilience. where sunlight glistens off soaring towers in downtown manhattan, and we build our future as one people, as one nation. >> reporter: as you heard, the president didn't declare the end of the war in afghanistan. the best way to put it, he declared the end of the war as we know it. >> one with question about politics, presidents get to use
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the machinery of office to mark occasions. nine years ago tonight it was george w. bush landing on the carrier, mission accomplished. and now the white house is under such scrutiny for how they are trying to frame this anniversary, i know the republicans have been reacting all day. >> reporter: they had, and yesterday they were very tough, you heard mitt romney say some tough things, even jimmy carter would have made the same decision. very derogatory. today a much different tone. the white house admits they chose this day to do this, because they believe it is an important marker, both when it comes to the war in afghanistan here in the united states, and also to the afghan people. and it was an attempt to use this political capital of bin ladin to sell what is not going to be easy to swallow for the american people, the idea that u.s. troops could be in harm's way until 2024. >> chuck todd at the white house, thanks. back here in the studio, michael looeter served as national terrorism commander, was in the situation room with the president and the national
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security team monitoring the bin ladin operation that night a year ago in realtime. michael, we woke up this mourning to this kind of vague warning about possible body bombers among us, perhaps. are we better off since the night you witnessed in the situation room? >> we are undoubtedly better off. al qaeda was already weaker than it's ever been post 9/11. with the death of bin ladin, al qaeda really lost its inspirational leader. but as we also found out in the raid, it lost its operational driver for pushing al qaeda to attack the u.s. and the homeland. and with his death, the pressure on those affiliates to turn back toward their near enemy rather than the united states. i think we're much better off.
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>> as we said, you were there a year ago. we spent days compiling a special "rock center" for tomorrow evening. we interviewed everyone in the room, from the president on down. we have a portion of it to air tonight, when i asked the president about the moment when the photographs arrived in the situation room, showing the deceased bin ladin. how did that feel to look at that image? >> you know, it -- i think it's wrong to say that i did a high five, because you have a picture of a dead body. and, you know, there's -- i think regardless of who it is, you always have to be sober about death. but understanding the satisfaction for the american people, what it would mean for
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9/11 families, what it would mean for the children of folks who died in the twin towers who never got to know their parents. i think there was a deep seeded satisfaction for the country at that moment. >> and then you place a call to george w. bush 43 on whose watch the attack happened. >> yes. >> and what was that like? >> well, i think that it was an important symbol of who we are as a people. we get into these partisan fights. administrations come and go, but there's a certain come continuity about who we are and what we care about, and what our values are. and for me to be able to call my predecessor and say, a lot of the work that you did under your administration was continued in my administration, and there's
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that constant threat that ultimately leads to justice being done. i think it was symbolic of how our government should work. >> as you know, michael, that fish eye lens we show of that tiny room, does the room justice. we asked the president to stand in front of the small folding chair where he had been seated. when you look at the photo, think about what you were doing right now a year ago, what does it conjure in you? >> it is such a mix of emotions, i remember the anticipation as the s.e.a.l.s took off from afghanistan to pakistan. and the first helicopter had problems and crash lands. to the release of skill yags, when we hear the geronimo call and know that bin ladin's dead. and then the reflection on the families, and the reflection on
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the fact that thousands of men and women in the intelligence community and the military had worked so hard on this, to give something small back to those families who lost loved ones to terrorism. and ultimately to leave the white house and hear americans spontaneously in song saying, god bless america. it was an unbelievable experience. >> you've done a lot in your life from the navy to harvard law school, to the white house. we are happy and proud to have you at all affiliated with our team now, michael leiter, thank you. >> a deconstruction of the entire mission with the president and his national security team, the people you see in the picture. it airs tomorrow night at 9:00, 8:00 central here on nbc. the fbi arrested five self-described anarchists in cleveland, ohio today. the men are between 20 and 37 years of age and are accused of plotting to build up a bridge
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over a cleveland park. the plot was uncovered by an fbi sting operation which provided the men with what they thought was bomb making materials. the fbi says, as is the case with so many of these, there was never any real danger associated with the plan. on this may day around the world, across the country there were marches and protests focused on the rights of workers. occupy wall street reemerged on the scene in new york after being dormant for much of the winter season. one of their targets banks. they staged protests targeting the big names including bank of america, chase, citibank. in oakland, california, where the occupy protests, you may recall, clashed violently with police just last fall, there were some skirmishes today. and there were several arrests in the end. a media empire may be hanging in the balance tonight after blistering criticism of the man in charge, rupert murdoch. he is the power as you know behind some of the biggest names behind british and american media, including all of the fox
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brands. and tonight he's being called unfit for the job. nbc's jim maceda has our report from london. >> reporter: today a panel of british lawmakers dropped a bomb in rupert murdoch's lap. after months of seeking answers, who knew what, their report was scathing. murdoch, his son james and three key executives all in the crosshairs. >> we find the directors responsible for willful blindness. we find executives guilty of misleading parliament, rupert murdoch himself not fit to run the company. >> reporter: if british regulators now agree with that report, itself split along party lines, newscorp could be forced to sell down its controlling stake in a lucrative british satellite channel, or even see its broadcast license revoked. today's move, a body blow to the once bulletproof media mogul.
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and an empire with global reach. hundreds of properties, including 20th century fox, the wall street journal and fox news. tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue. >> arrest rupert murdoch! >> reporter: now increasingly under siege, especially at its u.s. corporate headquarters. >> newscorp was already facing justice department investigations into alleged bribes paid to officials overseas. today's report has no direct impact on those probes, does provide powerful ammunition for shareholders suing the company and for investors demanding changes in its management. some of them say now for the first time, murdoch's control could be in jeopardy. >> could it be a blot on my reputation for the rest of my life? >> reporter: already, murdoch has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in legal claims and fees in britain, from a phone hacking scandal with no end in sight. tonight newscorp issued a contrite statement, admitting to wrongdoing. it said it's put sweeping changes into place to make its shareholders proud. it may be too late for that.
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jim maceda, nbc news, london. on wall street today, the dow rose to its highest closing number in more than four years. blue chips were up more than 65 points to 13279, the best close since december of '07. nasdaq, s&p 500 also up on the day. as we continue along the way tonight, the john edwards trial, the wife of the star witness holds her ground under some tough cross-examination that gets personal. and later, making a difference. a gift for kids that's got their parents cheering as well.
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the criminal trial of john edwards continued today, and the testimony was another reminder that this real-life soap opera was also at its heart a family tragedy that went well beyond edwards' own loved ones. our report from nbc's lisa myers. >> reporter: cheri young arrived today showing no signs of the migraine headache that cut short yesterday's testimony. cheri, how are you feeling? the wife of the government's star witness, andrew young sparred with john edwards' lawyer about whether she hates edwards and blames him for trouble in her marriage. defense lawyer alan duncan. mr. edwards was like a third person in your marriage, and you had a great deal of anger.
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not about mr. edwards, while acknowledging she had to swallow a lot because of her husband's job. isn't if true you were trying to get john edwards, duncan asked? sir, that is a completely false statement, she shot back. i'm here to tell the truth about my experiences. there's no hatred. i can't live like that, sir. >> cheri young has been a steel magnolia, southern, slender physically, but unyielding in putting the blame for this entire episode squarely on the shoulders of john edwards. >> reporter: young's demeanor was in sharp contrast to yesterday's sometimes tearful testimony. then she recounted an important direct conversation with edwards about how to handle hundreds of thousands of dollars to take care of his mistress, rielle hunter, money prosecutors allege amounted to illegal campaign contributions. a charge edwards denies. has cheri young been a stronger witness than her husband? >> cheri young has taken the government's case, which in many ways may have gone into the ditch during the cross-examination of andrew
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young, and put it back on track. >> reporter: the defense did get young to admit that her husband drank heavily when working for edwards, and often took the sleep aide ambien, which she acknowledged sometimes made him loopy, and affected his memory. lisa myers, nbc news, greensboro, north carolina. up next here, tonight. the news out today about weight gain. and bringing a plane down intentionally while cameras rolled. the story behind this crash in the desert. zé
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this is what it looked like when the discovery channel set out to see what really happens when a jet goes down. in this cases an aging 727, which, needless to say, had no humans on board. a controlled crash in an uninhabited section of the mexican desert. pictures show the front half of the plane torn off. the rear half survives almost completely intact. notably, no fire or explosion as
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unlike so many in real life. new research out tonight shows that getting a lot of sleep like nine hours a night could help overweight people slim down. sleeping fewer than seven hours a night was associated with higher weight. in this study which was conducted by putting sets of twins through different sleep conditions. researchers think extra rest can work to suppress a gene that is connected to obesity. speaking of food, a big tonight. fig newtons are now just newtons. few people know they are named after newton, mass. near where they were first produced in the late 1890s. the name change makes more sense because they have more fillings besides just figs. now we've explained all there is to know about a name change enroute to a store near you. up next, a broadway show, the likes of which never really seen.
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here in new york this past weekend it was not just another broadway matinee. sunday's performance of "mary poppins" was specially staged for the benefit of young people with autism and their families. part of an effort by a nonprofit group making a difference. our report from nbc's anne thompson.
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>> reporter: it's curtain time at show 2,273 of "mary poppins." >> i guarantee you in 2:45 time you will without question have changed the lives of a whole group of people who are out there this afternoon. ♪ >> reporter: this is a performance for children with autism and their families. ♪ >> reporter: to make this event possible, the associate director changed the show. >> how many times in your show are you having to adjust the set? >> a lot. majorly. i would say in every scene. >> reporter: more than 40 audio and 200 visual cues were altered to tone down the lights which can disturb people with autism. >> it's a matter of level. >> reporter: working with specialists, the musical director went through every song. >> we spent time identifying where pitches of voices may simply get too high. >> reporter: they cut one
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musical number giving burt just seconds instead of five minutes to travel four stories from the stage to the ceiling. >> while the kids are watching the show go on, i'm in the elevator undressing and putting new clothes on in under a minute. >> reporter: the challenge is to make all these changes and still preserve the magic of the performance, to find that element of fun. ♪ >> reporter: this is a boisterous audience. moving, shouting, just being themselves. exactly what families need say autism speaks founders bob and suzanne wright. >> all the judgment's gone, there's nobody judging them. the other people are in the same boat. >> to have these families have a day of total normalness is a wonderful thing. >> an idea theater groups across the country may soon try out. >> we put this on just one night. guess what, guys, there's an audience here, there's a market here. >> reporter: one look at these faces tells you, the magic is here too.
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anne thompson, nbc news, new york. that is our tuesday night broadcast. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams, and we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- good evening, everyone. i'm jessica aguirre. >> and i'm raj mathai. we begin tonight with some developing news. we have a live look at san francisco at the intersection of turk and gott streets where you can see a heavy police presence, a few blocks away from city hall. earlier today, just a few hours ago, several protesters took over a building run by the archdiocese of san francisco. when police tried to set up a barricade, one protesters got on the roof of the


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