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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  August 12, 2012 6:00pm-6:30pm PDT

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on this sunday night, point of attack. the new republican ticket hits the ground running and hits the president hard. meantime, team obama unleashes an all-out assault on paul ryan's record. also tonight, thriller. a behind the scenes look at how a walk in the woods helped the romney campaign keep the biggest secret in politics. and here at the olympics, a spectacular sendoff after a history-making run for team usa. also, a look ahead to the winter games. can you believe it? just 18 months away. "nightly news" from london just 18 months away. "nightly news" from london begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening.
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from the international broadcast center here in london's olympic park, it's a huge night of celebration here where the summer games will draw to a soaring and high-spirited finish with the much-anticipated closing ceremony. but while things here are winding down, back home the race for president is winding up in earnest. as mitt romney and his newly appointed running mate congressman paul ryan on the road hoping to keep the momentum going from yesterday's surprise announcement. but as the new gop duo try to seize the debate and frame their attack on the president democrats and team obama framing their own critical narrative about the ryan pick. our political team is in place. nbc's ron mott is traveling with the romney ticket an joining us from wisconsin outside milwaukee. ron? >> reporter: hey there, lester. good evening to you. yesterday, of course, voters awoke to the news that mitt romney had selected wisconsin congressman paul ryan as his vp pick to much fanfare. today after a full day to relish, president obama jumped
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in to the fray. day two of the romney-ryan ticket. and the uproar surrounding the number two continues but excitement and enthusiasm from the right attacks from the left. >> and in this critical time, one of the few that stood up and fought for principle and said, i have ideas to get america back on track, is this person i've chosen to be my running mate. >> reporter: in chicago today, the president weighed in. >> my opponent chose his running mate, the ideological leader of the republicans in congress, mr. paul ryan. i want to congratulate -- no, no, no. look. i want to congratulate congressman ryan. i know him. he's an articulate spokesman for governor romney's vision, but it's a vision that i fundamentally disagree with. >> reporter: earlier, romney and ryan courted voters in another fall battleground, north carolina. >> are we going to win north carolina? that's right we are.
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>> reporter: but while history holds that voters ultimately pull for the name atop the ballot, ryan's selection is romney's vice presidential pick is driving a clear wedge how republicans and democrats hope to change the country's direction. >> we owe you a choice. a choice of two futures. we can either stay on the current path that we are on or we can change this thing and get this country back on the right track. >> reporter: though a member of congress 14 years, ryan was a virtual unknown until two years ago when republicans won back the house in a wave of tea party support and he took over as chair as the powerful budget committee. >> the hearing will come to order. >> reporter: ryan's so-called road map for america's future, a proposed federal budget of sweeping cuts appears to be a destined to be a lightning rod evidenced by this morning's head loons and sunday talk shows. florida congresswoman -- >> paul ryan embraces extremism, suggests to end medicare as we
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know it, shred the safety net for seniors. >> reporter: republican national committee chair priebus fired back on "meet the press." >> if any person in this entire debate has blood on their hands in regard to medicare it's barack obama. he's the one that's destroying medicare. >> reporter: tomorrow, the romney bus tour rolls in to florida where this whole debate of medicare likely to cause a few sparks. paul ryan will not be there. he's off to iowa to stump where president obama coincidentally will stump. lester? >> ron mott tonight, thanks. the romney campaign said mitt romney made up his mind of paul ryan ten days before the official announcement sunday morning and the word slipped out a little early, the campaign pulled quite a feat, keeping the biggest political secret under wraps for more than a week. some insights in to how they did it now from nbc's peter alexander. >> reporter: to ensure saturday's vice presidential announcement made a dramatic splash, the romney campaign went to extraordinary lengths to
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avoid any leaks. the four-month vp vetting process involved only a handful of top aides and supervised by romney's close confidant, beth myers. last night, myers described the painstaking process where several years of tax returns were locked in a safe inside romney's boston headquarters each night. myers says romney made the decision august 1st and wanted to offer paul ryan the job in person. but how to get them together? instead of flying directly in to boston sure to raise reporter's eyebrows, the campaign booked ryan to hartford two hours away where the wisconsin congressman was picked up at a rented suv by myers' 19-year-old son. dressed in a ball cap, sunglasses and jeans, ryan went undetected the entire way. why was it so important to keep this new republican ticket secret until the very last minute? the maximize fund raising and crowds. and the last two days with paul
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ryan by his side, mitt romney's had the most enthusiastic crowds in his entire campaign. the campaign said it raised roughly $3.5 million online, about the same amount it reported on an average day last month. just one day before the announcement, ryan snuck out the back door of his home marching through these woods where he played as an a child to a nearby street and picked up by an aide and whisked off on a private jet to north carolina. in the final hours, ryan family hid out in a nondescript hotel eating take-out. but that night ryan did let one other person in on his secret, calling his mom, just hours before stepping out on to the national stage. peter alexander, nbc news, wisconsin. we want to bring in the guy now who broke the news about the vp pick, our political director and chief white house correspondent chuck todd. chuck, the dems obviously think there's traction to be had in going after ryan's proposals to overhaul medicare. hard to see romney didn't see that coming. could it hurt him and where?
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>> reporter: well, it could hurt him and we have actually put together some head leans just in the state of florida alone when you see the headlines overnight there. you can see that that is where there are more medicare sensitive voters, perhaps, than anywhere else in this presidential battleground. interestingly enough, on this bus tour, initially, romney was supposed to go to florida and the assumption was that ryan would go with him. they're having the wisconsin rally tonight and ryan in iowa. but how they present this medicare plan that ryan pushed in to the state of florida and how they push back on what are going to be relentless attacks on medicare is going to be interesting. you heard a little bit of a preview. they're trying to say, hey, president obama cut medicare, too. but paul ryan wants to keep the cuts in and do more cuts and more changes. and so far, those have been very unpopular when they have been tested with voters, lester. >> the president's about to head out on his own bus tour. how does the ryan pick change the whole conversation?
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does it redefine this race? >> reporter: well, it does. in lot a lot of ways. if you just look at the last 48 hours, medicare, a word that he hasn't uttered that much in the last six months in the presidential race is front and center. you will see the democrats and obama campaign try very hard to make it about taxes, wealthy tax cuts and medicare. you will see the romney campaign try to deflect the medicare attacks, do their best not to talk about the medicare cuts as much and instead focus on the economy and have a tax conversation. they both want to have the tax conversation. the question is, how much is medicare a part of this conversation? i think it's going to be a big part and when you look at the older populations, this is a big, big problem for romney that he's going to have to figure out how to deal with. >> all right. chuck todd in the washington newsroom tonight, thanks. there is word tonight that evangelist billy graham is hospitalized in north carolina. doctors say the 93-year-old graham is being treated for a lung infection. his health had been in decline in recent years. you may recall graham was
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previously hospitalized for pneumonia last november. doctors say he's stable and resting comfortably. overseas a rare accident at sea today involving the u.s. navy. the guided missile destroyer "uss porter" was left with a large hole in its hull after it collided with a japanese-owned oil tanker in the persian gulf just outside the strait of hormuz near iran. the navy said no one was injured on either ship and the cause is being investigated. and in iran, rescuers have called off the search for survivors after two strong earthquakes hit the northwestern part of the country yesterday. at least 300 people were killed and 2,600 injured. iranian news reports say at least 20 villages were leveled and 16,000 people are homeless. today the white house sent condolences to the iranian people and said the u.s. stands ready to offer assistance. in syria, intense, new fighting was reporting in aleppo
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and damascus. also today, the main opposition group renewed its call for a no-fly zone over border areas to protect civilians trying to escape. in turkey yesterday, secretary of state clinton left open that possibility as she and the turkish counterpart announced closer cooperation to prepare for the end of the assad regime which mrs. clinton calls inevitable. here in london, we have reached the end of the road after an incredible 17 days. the united states tops the final medal count, 104 medals. 46 of them gold. china is second followed by russia and had about the home team, team gb picking up the third most gold. nbc's chris jansing joins us now. chris, what an incredible run it's been for team usa. >> reporter: absolutely, lester. this has been a sensational olympics for the americans and for london, too, because for all those dire predictions, traffic nightmares were avoided. the weather was generally great and from our prime perch here,
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it all went by so fast. it seems like just yesterday that the queen was parachuting in to the opening ceremony at olympic park. tonight, a closing ceremony billed as the best aftershow party that's ever been. an homage to the host city, big ben, the london eye, the great music of british generations. a foot stomping acrobatic visual extravaganza. 10,800 athletes marched in to olympic stadium, double amputee oscar pistorius carrying south africa's flag and a jubilant team usa, medal winners of the medal's race. a fitting end to the day which kicked off with the men's marathon which began and ended at the quaen's door. crowds here outside buckingham palace are five, six, seven deep. nobody seems to care. they're straining to get a view of the marathoners. and in between, three loops past big ben along the thames, racing
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to the sounds of st. paul's cathedral. >> london. >> go, london. >> city's electric right now. >> and a new world record. >> it's been a game for the history books. 44 world records, 117 olympic records. this was also a cleagames. 4,000 drug tests and just 1 positive. >> i think that's the sign that the system worked. >> reporter: and safe games. not a single security headline. >> we wanted the focus on the sport. we wanted the focus to be on the best athletes from across the world and that's what it's been. >> reporter: but mostly the fans say the games have been fun. >> i think they've been superb. >> reporter: it's unexpectedly unbritish. why do you think people have been so happy? everyone's so happy. >> i think it's just been such a great atmosphere. it's been so well organized, and we have won loads of medals. >> reporter: not a bad thing. >> not a bad thing. >> reporter: a lot of countries won medals, 54 to be exact. uganda's gold was in the marathon is the country's first ever and national pride so
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overwhelming it made you want to bust out singing. ♪ the caldron will be extinguished and with the closing the torch is passed. rio hosts the summer games 2016. you'd think after all the fuss, brits would be ready for a little peace and quiet. apparently not. >> come by next year when we get the world cup. >> reporter: you can watch the closing ceremony tonight on nbc. the musical lineup is incredible. it includes annie lennox, the who, george michael. basically, a concert for the athletes. and after the pressure they've been under, lester, they're ready to rock. >> all right. chris jansing, thank you. still ahead, as london passes the baton, the race is on in a russian resort town 60,000 strong, working around the clock. the winter games is 18 months away. and later, phelps and franklin, the fierce five, the blade runner and bolt and the queen and james bond.
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what's the most memorable moment of these games?
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we're back from london where the summer olympics will officially come to a close tonight. but can you believe it, the next olympics, winter games in russia, are set to begin in less than 18 months. now the race is on there to make sure they're ready in sochi. we get more now from nbc's jim maceda. >> reporter: sochi, the russians call it their black sea pearl. where josef stalin kept a summer home. a soviet style resort and only
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30 miles from high mountain slopes and deep winter snow. >> sochi. >> reporter: winning the bid to host the 2014 winter olympics was a personal victory of russian president vladimir putin. he's betting the farm, some $50 billion to showcase sochi as a symbol of his vision of a new russia, modern and open. but as the mayor recalls, in 2007 when sochi won the bid, there was no supermarket in sochi much less olympic venues. no ski resorts, no ice rinks, no roads to connect these places. we started everything from scratch, he said. today, there are five-star hotels, a new international airport, power station, all designed to turn sochi in to a year around mecca of business and tourism. some 60,000 are working around the clock on this europe's largest construction site. and no one believes that sochi won't be ready to offer the world a knockout winter games. as one olympic official put it,
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it's a no-fail mission. but there are real concerns. sochi is just 300 miles from chechnya and it's unstable pockets of islamist militants. the brains behind deadly suicide attacks on moscow subway and international airport is still on the loose and has promised more attacks. >> russian security services, of course, that will be their absolute priority, to watch chechnya before olympics, during olympics. >> reporter: still, a world class ski resort is on track. venues have passed international test runs. u.s. olympic champion lindsay vonn gave the downhill a perfect grade. >> the track is amazing and i really like it so should be a fun olympics. >> reporter: as sochi and russia race towards their winter olympics debut on the world stage. jim maceda, nbc news, sochi. we're back in a moment with some of the day's other news,
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including a couple of pictures that are out of this world.
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we're back with a view from the surface of mars where as promised the images from the curiosity rover just keep getting better and better. these latest pictures are the first high resolution photos sent back since curiosity landed. the shots show the landscape around the rover which nasa describes as closely resembling parts of the southwestern united states. back here on earth, millions were treated to a spectacular show in the sky last night as the annual perseid meteor show reached its peak. shooting stars putting on a light show around the world. the next big show on october 21st when dust of halley's comet lights up the sky.
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>> and take a look at this scene. a massive dust storm in phoenix this weekend. it's becoming an increasingly common sight in the phoenix area this summer when thunderstorms blow huge gusts of wind and particles across the desert. when we come back here tonight, the moments we'll most remember as london 2012 comes to a close.
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over these last 17 days we have screamed, groaned, even shed tears over this amazing spectacle of competition called the summer olympics. soon, fireworks will explode above the london olympic park here signaling the end of the 2012 games and a lot of us go in to a state of olympics withdrawal, and so, we can't end without just one more look at the moments and the athletes who inspired us. >> united states of america! >> the great thing about an olympic sport is it's actually a metaphor of life. it is not about patronage or chance or circumstance. it is about hard work. it is about diligence. it is about great coaching. it is about friendship and respect. >> usa! >> and here comes -- >> i don't think there's any better feeling than seeing a smile on my parent's face and knowing that i put it there. >> just a half. >> stick it, please. stick it.
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>> stick it! stick it! >> yeah! >> and it is the end of an era. the most dominant in olympic history and it's pure gold! >> the final tally is absolutely mind boggling. 18 gold medals. >> i could feel the tears start coming, and i tried to fight it but then i just decided just to let it go, and it's been a great career. it's been a great journey. >> a gold medalist. >> the future of usa swimming. >> michael gave me a high five and wished me good luck and that meant a lot to me. >> here's the starting. away well. usain bolt explodes and he's still the king of the 100! >> get the gold medal! >> to go down in history and be the first african-american to win the individual all-around is definitely a great feeling and i feel so honored.
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>> and the winner and new olympic champion. >> i think it is the happiest i'll ever feel in my life. i'm walking on clouds right now. my feet haven't touched the ground yet. >> he said all i see is gold. now the world will see gold around his neck. jordan burrows, an olympic champion. >> and it's in! tips it near the back post and there's the goal. wonderfully crafted by the united states. >> it is over here in london. >> if you're looking for a storybook ending. you just got it. >> how do you say good-bye to her? >> i don't have to. i never, ever will. not ever. this sealed the deal but i can't talk about it. >> outstanding match. >> every man has his moment. andy murray has finally found his. >> absolutely fantastic. >> allyson felix gets her gold. >> the culmination of seeing so much hard work and sacrifice
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just come together, to see it, it was just amazing. >> what a show it's been. to be continued in rio in 2016. that's "nbc nightly news" for this sunday. don't forget olympic coverage including the closing ceremony. begins at 7:00/6:00 central. brian williams is back in new york tomorrow. i'm lester holt reporting from london. and for all of us here at nbc london. and for all of us here at nbc news, good night. -- captions by vitac --
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