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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  August 21, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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on our broadcast tonight, digging in and not dropping out. the congressman under attack for his words about rape, says he's in the senate race to win it and not even his party or mitt romney can talk him out of it. rough seas. 62-year-old diana nyad forced to end her marathon swim short of her goal. tonight what she's saying about her incredible sea quest. women's health. the women who don't think they're atisk of a heart attack, but they are. so was rosie o'donnell. tonight we'll go through what to watch for. and "making a difference" for kids who struggle on land by showing them the freedom of the water. also tonight, what if they threw a party in tampa, just as a major storm was perhaps getting ready to bear down on florida? "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
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good evening. in a moment, we'll talk about the potential hurricane that might be heading for florida just as the gop convention is scheduled to start up there next week. but first, let's talk about the storm that enveloped the gop today, days before their convention. it starts with that missouri congressman running for senate who made comments about rape, that the head of his own party calls biologically stupid, ridiculous and bizarre. well, today his party, even mitt romney, tried to get him to get out of the race, told him not to come to the convention. this is a very unwelcomed drama prior to the party's big show. because he says he's not budging. it's where we begin again tonight with nbc's andrea mitchell. >> reporter: todd akin trying to stay out of sight and trying to explain what he meant sunday, when he said, women rarely get pregnant in cases of legitimate rape. fighting back with a tv commercial. >> rape is an evil act. i used the wrong words in the wrong way, and for that i apologize.
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>> reporter: but today he raised another issue sure to offend many. telling conservative talk show host dana loesch that women lie about being raped to get an abortion. >> there's nothing legitimate about a rapist, but to rather -- i was putting that in in the wrong place, making the point that there were people who use false claims. >> reporter: republicans, starting with mitt romney, want this to be over. >> his comments with regard to rape are outrageous, they're offensive, they're inappropriate and they're wrong. >> reporter: romney, tea party groups and the entire republican establishment, senator roy blunt and four former senators, jim talent, kit bond, john danforth and john ashcroft all say he should step aside. john mccain called him an idiot. >> this guy should drop out. i mean, i -- very seldom does anything a politician say surprise me. he astounded me. >> reporter: akin seemed to be speed dialling conservative radio hosts. mike huckabee.
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>> i want to make things absolutely clear, and that is, we're going to continue with this race for the u.s. senate. >> reporter: sean hannity. >> i don't see any harm if i continue to take that message to the people of the state of missouri. >> reporter: but akin was a no show with piers morgan last night, so the host addressed an empty chair. >> you are what we would call in britain, a gutless little twerp. >> reporter: today at a coffee shot in chesterfield, missouri, akin had support. >> i think what he said was misguided. he admitted it was misguided. and i'm all right with it, i think he should stay in. >> i don't necessarily think he should drop out of the race, although it may hurt republican chances to win, because of his comments. >> reporter: and he's counting on the religious right, especially anti-abortion activists. >> i know that he is committed to the sanctity of human life, as well as the foundation of the family, and the well being of all americans. if he decides to stay in the race, my support remains with him.
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>> reporter: by the way, brian, the doctor who first espousd akin's controversial rape theory and used to head the right to life party, the romney campaign called an important surrogate for them. >> thank you. chuck todd here with us in the studio. i guess i need a damage assessment from you thus far, to the gop, the wider party? >> first of all, it's breathtaking the force and artillery of the republican party that has dropped upon todd akin's head and he hasn't gotten out of the race. this will cost them control of the senate, and more importantly, the tea party effect. when you go back to 2010, go up to 2012, will maybe cost mitch mcconnell a shot at controlling the united states senate. their own infighting has done this. >> you are ostensibly here to debut what is the first polling we've done since paul ryan was added to the romney ticket, and what will be the last polling to go now before we start the gop convention. >> it is.
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and i wanted to start off with a weight on mitt romney that we don't talk enough about. that is the image of the republican party, it has to do with todd akin. all of this is having an impact. look at these numbers, negative feelings for the republican party, 45%. just 36% have a positive feeling. the democratic party split, barely above water at 42/40. i think this weight that mitt romney drags around, the brand of the republican party is as heavy or almost as heavy as the weight of the economy that president obama has to drag around. the president has a lead 48/44. a little bit of a tick up for mitt romney from the ryan pick, it's more important for romney, where he did move up was in the swing state. he went from an eight point deficit to just a three point deficit, 49/46. so here, the romney campaign can say hey, you know what, maybe ryan did provide a bump. you have to ask yourself, why is the president ahead? he's ahead because of what i call the gut checks, one of them. who would care more about average people. and in our poll, look at this advantage for president obama,
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52/30, 22 point advantage. romney leads on the economy. but on these gut check values economy questions, the question leads by a lot. >> now for the gop into the convention, chuck todd as always, thanks. overseas tonight in afghanistan, a rocket attack has damaged the aircraft of the top u.s. military commander, army general martin dempsey, in afghanistan this week, in part to address the growing number of so-called friendly force attacks by afghans on u.s. forces. these aircraft, one of these, a c-17 heavy lift, short takeoff, was parked on a runway at bagram air base. dempsey was not on board the aircraft at the time, but the damage was enough to force dempsey to use a different one for today's flight home. a freight train accident last night took the lives of two college students in ellicott city, maryland, about 12 miles outside of baltimore. a csx train carrying 9,000 tons of coal derailed, with several cars falling off a bridge on to parked vehicles below. the two victims were crushed by spilled coal.
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investigators are trying to determine whether the girls' presence near the tracks might have somehow caused the accident. in northern california tonight, firefighters are pressing their battle against a voracious fire sparked by lightning over the weekend. in just three days, the so-called ponderosa fire has now burned 30 square miles of wooded terrain, including seven homes. 2,000 firefighters are now working to get control of it. ground zero of this firefight is near the town of manton, about 40 miles east of redding, california. nbc's miguel almaguer has been on the front lines with the firefighters. >> reporter: on the front lines in northern california, crews beat back flames. a race to protect three towns. >> the threat still does exist for more than 3,000 homes. >> reporter: feeding on dense dry forest land, the ponderosa fire has destroyed 20,000 acres. reaching the flames isn't always easy. with so much of this fire
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burning in rugged terrain that's inaccessible to ground crews, the air attack here is critical. just below the water drops, a valley of thick smoke has forced 2,000 people to evacuate. but not everyone has left. >> here we go. if he's not going, i'm not going. that's my dad. >> reporter: bill shoemaker and his daughter janet thomas have taken their memories off the walls and packed them in their cars. but the 69-year-old just can't drive away from his dream home. >> something i worked for all my life. >> reporter: the ponderosa fire has claimed seven homes, the latest loss in a fire season that's destroyed nearly 1,800 properties nationwide. tonight 35 fires are sweeping across ten western states, nearly seven million acres have been charred across the country. the cost to fight fires this season alone, more than a billion dollars. in idaho, the national guard has been called in to free up firefighters battling the
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trinity ridge fire, which has destroyed 141 square miles. crews so far have saved the town of featherville, but today the winds are working against them. >> they may be the turning point of where we may have to evacuate more than the pleasantville area. >> reporter: and tonight, across much of the west, the firefight continues. the big factor with fires all across this region is weather, in particular the wind. we're expecting strong, gusty winds, and a red flag warn ago cross so much of this region tomorrow. and we should note that the state of california stays in fire season year long. brian? >> miguel almaguer right alongside the fire line there in manton, california. miguel, thanks. tropical storm isaac formed today in the caribbean. and here's why it's news. as one prominent forecaster put it today, i hope the rnc has a plan. that's because hurricanes and political conventions in tampa don't mix well, especially the gop convention getting underway next week.
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let's get a reality check tonight from weather channel meteorologist jim cantore, who's with us from headquarters. jim, i know these things are notoriously hard to predict. >> they are, especially going six to seven days out. to put tampa in a slam dunk situation is beyond our technology. but confidence grows for florida impacts with each given day. let me show you this uncertainty. it's displayed every day when we have a tropical system in the cone. notice how thin this cone is. it's not very wide at all. we're very confident by overnight wednesday we'll have impacts to the tropical storm. then it becomes a hurricane on thursday, and potentially impacts the dominican on in toward cuba. and look at what happens, it starts to turn to the united states. but look at how much wider that cone is. you're pretty much all the way from the west of jamaica on up into the bahamas and turks & caicos. it's not out of the possibility that parts of florida could be in that cone and tampa by wednesday night or thursday
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night. >> and we thought the only news was going to be political. jim cantore in atlanta at headquarters, we'll be talking again. jim, thanks. and speaking of weather and florida, the almost super human marathon swimmer, diana nyad had to make an early end to her quest today to swim to florida from cuba. tonight she's disappointed but talking about it. our report from nbc's mark potter. >> reporter: hours after halting her attempted 103-mile crossing from cuba to key west, diana nyad still swam ashore in key west, although not the way she had originally planned. after suffering from exhaustion, hypothermia and swollen lips, she was brought to florida by boat. a major disappointment. but she was philosophical about why she had tried to concur the sea. >> all the mountains have been climbed. all the deserts have been crossed. but this piece of ocean has never been done by a swimmer. >> reporter: from the start, her trip was plagued by problems, and nyad said she was mostly in
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survival mode. it all came to a head last night when she had to be pulled from the water for her safety during a fierce thunderstorm, suffering from jellyfish stings. >> i'm not a quitter, but the sport and this particular ocean are different than they used to be. >> reporter: after the storm passed, she and her crew decided the prospect of 40 more hours in the ocean was too unsafe, and the voyage was called off. >> all of these factors together made it dangerous. >> reporter: despite her disappointment, nyad was treated as a conquering champion, and she went out of her way to praise the 60 members of her crew, which included doctors, divers, boat handlers and advisers. and they, in turn, sang happy birthday. tomorrow she will be 63 years old. mark potter, nbc news, key west. >> we wanted to let you know diana nyad will appear live tomorrow morning on "today," to answer the question she is already being asked. will she try that swim again?
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up next, as we continue tonight. rosie o'donnell didn't think she was having a heart attack, and a lot of women don't. so tonight we will go through the symptoms to watch for again. and later, what the first lady said today about having the talk with the first daughters.
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we told you last night about rosie o'donnell, who had a heart attack last week, but did not recognize the symptoms right away. it ended up being a close call for her, and now it's become something of a teaching moment for the heart symptoms women should look for. our report from our chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman. >> reporter: one morning four years ago, nancy was overcome with exhaustion, clammy sweat, nausea and unusual chest pain. >> i remember laying there thinking, it's a mistake, they made a mistake. this can't be me. i'm not the person that has a heart attack. >> reporter: 200,000 american women die from heart attacks every year.
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and an additional 42 million women live with heart disease, many unaware of the threat they face. >> the common myth is that heart disease and heart attacks occur only in men. and the truth is, in every year since 1984, more american women than men have died of heart disease. >> reporter: just like rosie o'donnell, nancy suffered a complete blockage of one of the main arteries in her heart, the type of heart attack, commonly called the widow maker. >> even that name implies this is a man's disease, a widow maker heart attack. >> reporter: but it isn't. and knowing how men's and women's symptoms can differ can save a woman's life. crushing chest pain is a well known symptom, as are sweating, anxiety and irregular heartbeat. but for women, it can be pain in the jaw or upper belly, nausea, vomiting shortness of breath, overwhelming fatigue or dizziness. because symptoms can go unrecognized, women pay a heavy price.
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42% die within the first year after a heart attack, compared with 24% of men. nancy was smart, she took aspirin right away, got to the hospital immediately, and had a stent put in the blocked artery. and now, four years later she feels great, is back to running, and has added a daily aspirin to her vitamin regiment. >> i feel stronger and better than ever. i'm very conscious of taking care of myself now. >> reporter: and that's exactly what she wants other women to know as well. while we often talk about the risk factors for heart disease. a simple and good indicator is waist circumference, so get out that tape measure. for women, 35 inches and higher. for men, 40 inches and higher. that's another cause for concern. >> we just can't air those symptoms often enough. >> no. >> thanks, nancy, for doing that. \s break/e up next here tonight, a big change coming to late night tv.
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the late night comedy talk show wars are suddenly becoming a crowded time slot. abc announced today jimmy kimmel is going head-to-head with the talk show ratings leader "the tonight show with jay leno" and dave letterman over at cbs. kimmel's show and "nightline" are switching places, pushing "nightline" later at night. every year the thoughtful folks at beloit college in beloit, wisconsin put together the mind-set list, meaning, the mind-set of the incoming college freshman class. remember, this year's arriving college students were born in 1994. and so among the list of their 30 attributes, they can't picture people actually carrying luggage through airports, rather than rolling it. in their lifetime, exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction to be corrected quietly by well-meaning friends. and women have always piloted warplanes and space shuttles. we put the entire list on our website for you tonight. in a candid talk with a
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journalist, the first lady on the couch spoke about having the talk with her daughters, malia and sasha. this week, michelle obama is guest editor of our ivillage website. she sat down with kelly wallace to talk about topics like, the president's former smoking habit around inquisitive daughters. >> i have to say that i know that his ability to ultimately kick the habit was because of the girls. because they're at the age now where you can't hide. it's clear. and he would have to start having those conversations. because we discuss all the time, we talk about drugs, we talk about sex, we talk about smoking. we talk about it all. our motto is -- >> you've had the talk? >> we've had all the talks there are to have. i mean, malia is very inquisitive and open. and our view is, you have to approach kids where they are, and when they ask a question, our reaction and how open and
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comfortable we are with the topic really affects their willingness to share. >> michelle obama with kelly wallace. and up next for us tonight, opening up a whole new world under the sea. and "making a difference" for some remarkable kids.
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and time now for our "making a difference" report. helping those who often have trouble navigating the every day world. well, of all things, scuba diving may not seem like the easiest thing for those with disabilities to master. it turns out to be a rather perfect fit, with the help of one man who is dedicated to making a difference in this way. his story from nbc's kerry sanders. >> here you go. >> reporter: seven miles off the florida keys, five chicago area kids, told for so long what they could not do are about to prove everyone wrong. 14-year-old evelyn phillipe is partially paralyzed, born with spina bifida. 12-year-old sam daily has cerebral palsy and aspergers. alex ding, his left leg eight
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inches shorter than his right. 17-year-old elise oak and zan bondo both born with cerebral palsy. a most unlikely group of divers because scuba can be scary for first timers. but jim elliott, the father of a blind daughter, knew that was no excuse. >> the last thing impacted is self-esteem, confidence, going-forward instead of going backwards. having people look at you differently is important. >> reporter: for more than a decade, jim and his group have made the impossible routine. volunteer stephanie domenici remembers her first plunge seven years ago. as an infant, she contracted polio from a bad vaccine. that dive was her first pain free iher life. >> i have pain in my foot every single day.
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and those 25 minutes i do get to go down or -- even the hour i do get to go down, my mind is free. >> you don't feel it? >> don't feel a thing. >> beyond therapeutic, the gravity free world can be magical. among the fishing corals, with the wheelchairs left behind, paralysis is not limiting, physical disabilities no longer a challenge. >> it felt great. it was awesome. >> how about the sharks, did you see any? >> no. kind of glad about that. >> i never felt free in my life, up until scuba diving. free to do anything. >> free now to do anything. kerry sanders, nbc news, off the florida keys. and that is our broadcast on a tuesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams, and, of course, we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac --
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right now at 6:00, does it all add up? a critical new report on san jose's pension estimate. tonight, what the mayor is telling nbc bay area. a surprise search for parolees. plus, boxer hits back. her scathing comments about the akin controversy and women's rights. good evening. thanks for joining us. i'm raj mathai. >> unsupported and likely overstated. that's what the state auditor
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