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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  September 18, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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on our broadcast tonight, the romney tape. tonight, what he said at that private fund-raiser, and what he says he meant by it. including a fact check on the percentage of americans who don't pay income taxes. also, where the race for president stands as of tonight. kids and weight and a fascinating and troubling theory that an ingredient in plastics and cansould be a part of the problem. and longshot. a victory for buckingham palace and the case of those topless photos of kate. and how long lenses can see so much from so far away. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. it was a room full of
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supporters, and mitt romney thought that what he told them would stay in the room. but someone recorded it all. and the result could be a potential game changer in the presidential election. specifically, the way romney talked about president obama's supporters, about americans who benefit from government programs, hispanics and the situation in the middle east. the way he talked about citizens who see themselves as victims, pay no income taxes. he went on to say his job is not to worry about those people. politicians speak differently when they think they're speaking in private, as all of us do. as mitt romney did. today his remarks were called stupid and arrogant. that was from a fellow republican. romney stood by his words, while admitting they weren't elegant, they were, however, impactful. it's where we begin our reporting tonight with peter alexander, traveling with the romney campaign in salt lake. peter, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening to you. romney's only scheduled events
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today were fund-raisers. but here at a luncheon in salt lake city, he made no reference to the controversy that is now surrounding his campaign. top advisers insist that romney believes voters are more concerned about economic issues that affect their lives than any comments said at a private fund-raiser. this is the first campaign approved look inside a romney fund-raiser, earlier today here in salt lake city. it comes just one day after this secretly recorded video first surfaced, taken at a private fund-raiser in may. on that tape, romney declares 47% of americans pay no income tax. and paints them as victims and government dependents who will vote for president obama no matter what. >> my job is not to worry about those people -- they should first take responsibility and care for their lives. >> reporter: late monday romney said it was a poor choice of words. >> it's not eloquently stated, let me put it that way.
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i'm speaking off the cuff in response to a question. >> reporter: romney told reporters he believed in a two-state solution. the israeli palestinian conflict. behind closed doors, questioned the palestinians interest in peace. >> you recognize this will remain unsolved -- >> reporter: before the video was leaked monday, romney's advisers promised a renewed campaign, focused on detailing more policy specifics. hours after romney publicly courted latino voters in los angeles monday. >> and i'm convinced the republican party is the rightful home of hispanic americans. >> reporter: that secret recording showed romney privately joking about his father's background, born to american parents in mexico. >> had i been born to mexican parents, i would have a better shot of winning. my father was one of the americans living in mexico. they lived there for a number of years. i say that jokingly. >> reporter: and later added -- >> the hispanic voting block
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becomes as committed to the democrats as the african-american voting block has in the past. while we're in trouble as a party, and i think as a nation. >> reporter: romney's candid remarks ricochetted across the landscape. president obama's re-election chair jim messina blasted the comments as shocking. joe biden was for once almost speechless. >> i'll let his words speak for themselves. >> reporter: conservative commentator bill kristol called the remarks arrogant and stupid. and joe scarborough weighed in this morning on "today." >> mitt romney is blowing this race. it is too much for many republicans to handle. >> reporter: still many conservatives rushed to romney's defense. one calling this his gettysburg moment. urging romney to rise to the occasion and fight. romney didn't back down from the substance of his comments. instead, brian, in a televised interview, he tried to turn the tables on the president, accusing him of running a government centered society and favoring redistribution of
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wealth. incidentally, the person who leaked that video is former president jimmy carter's grandson, who told nbc's michael isikoff he was angry that romney had attacked the former president. >> peter alexander, traveling with the romney campaign salt lake city, utah starting off our reporting tonight. peter, thanks. romney's remarks about that 47% who pay no income tax set off an immediate flurry of fact checking. and tonight, nbc's andrea mitchell has our reality check. >> reporter: it started a year ago as a conservative reaction to occupy wall street's battle cry that they were the 99%. conservative blogger erick erickson declared he was the 53%. taxpayers subsidizing people in his words so they can hang out on wall street and complain. others chimed in. it quickly became a tea party mantra. >> today only 53% of americans pay federal income tax. 47% of americans pay nothing.
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>> reporter: what are the facts? it's true that approximately 47% of americans do not pay federal income taxes, as mitt romney said. but not because they are living off of the 53%. >> in fact, about 60% of people who don't pay federal income taxes have jobs. and nearly half the rest are elderly who are retired. they had jobs and they're now no longer working. these are hardly people who are sitting around living off the government gold. >> reporter: they say 44% who don't pay federal income taxes are elderly, retirees living on social security. another 30% get child tax credits and other tax benefits favored by republicans. a smaller percentage are the very rich. benefiting from special tax breaks for investment income. responding to romney today, "new york times" columnist david brooks wrote, who are these freeloaders? is it the iraq war veteran that goes to the va? is it the student getting a loan to go to college? brooks concluded that the people who receive most of the
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government spending are not big government lovers, but republicans, senior citizens. mostly white men with high school degrees. in other words, they are romney supporters. andrea mitchell, nbc news, washington. and just tonight we got the first official reaction from the president to the words of mitt romney. here is a short bit of what president obama said in an appearance for tonight taped on david letterman. >> when i meet republicans, as i'm traveling around the country, they are hardworking family people who care deeply about this country. and my expectation is, that if you want to be president, you have to work for everybody, not just for some. >> the president unveiling an outreach to republicans tonight on david letterman. and we are debuting new numbers this evening on this presidential race. our nbc news political director chuck todd in our washington bureau with the results of our
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newest wave in the nbc news wall street journal pole just out tonight. chuck, good evening. >> good evening, brian. well, remember what this poll is, it's our first national poll after both national conventions and both candidates had goals they wanted to accomplish. the president to try to make the case that the economy was on the right track, and he had the right policies. and mitt romney trying to improve his personal likability. so let's go to the numbers. on the head-to-head, the president has a five point lead. it's a small, but significant lead. first time he's hit 50% in over six months. look at the perceptions of the economy. 42% say it's getting better. highest we've recorded on this poll question in two and a half years, brian. also has an impact on people's perception of which candidate would better deal with the economy. on this, president obama, mitt romney are tied. why is this significant? it's the first time mitt romney has not led on the question of the economy since we began testing this. as for mitt romney, did he accomplish his goal of his convention?
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look at these likability numbers. he's still upside down. more people view him negatively 43%, than positively, 38%. thirteen straight polls where mitt romney's personal rating has been upside down. now, there's a yellow flag here for the president. on foreign policy, we conducted this poll right after the middle east crisis sort of popped up, and you can see it's taken a toll on the president's approval rating. 49/46% approve/disapprove. it's a big drop from last month when 54% approved. now, one piece of silver lining for mitt romney, brian, his supporters much more enthusiastic about this election than barack obama's. we'll see if that will have an impact. >> and, of course, these numbers predated the surreptitious recording of his remarks. so it will be interesting to see the next wave of national numbers. chuck todd, thanks for that from our washington bureau. overseas tonight, new and deadly retribution from that amateur internet film that's enraged much of the muslim world.
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there were more anti-american protests today in kashmir, indonesia and karachi. but it was in afghanistan that today's lethal attack happened. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel is with u.s. marines in southern afghanistan tonight. >> reporter: near kabul's airport this morning, a car bomb smashed into a small bus killing, afghan police say, at least 12 people. most of them south african contractors. according to the american embassy in kabul, many of the victims were providing services to u.s. aides and other organizations. a radical group claims the foreigners were targeted, revenge for an anti-islam video. the group identified the bomber as a young woman. but it's not these overt attacks that are forcing the u.s. military to change policy. but a growing trend of afghan security personnel turning their guns on nato troops. 20% of americans killed in afghanistan in combat this year were shocked by their own allies. so overnight, commanders said u.s. troops will no longer patrol with afghans, except on
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big missions, with 800 nato troops or more, where there's safety in numbers. those major operations are rare. >> as soon as i come across. >> reporter: u.s. troops are here to fight with and train afghans until americans leave in 2014. >> it's been tough enough to train the afghans under the best of circumstances. now that we're not going to be training them at the small unit level, it's impossible to see how we're going to accomplish our mission. >> analysts warn a smooth drawdown from afghanistan is looking increasingly unlikely. richard engel, nbc news, camp leatherneck, southern afghanistan. big story in this country tonight, now we go to chicago, where there is a deal this evening to end the teacher's strike that's stretched into its second week. our chief education correspondent rehema ellis is outside the meeting place tonight. rehema, what can you tell us? >> reporter: after seven days on
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strike, teachers delegates have met and they overwhelmingly voted 98% to # to suspend this walkout and go back to work in the nation's third largest school district. some of the major issues in this new contract now include a 7% salary increase over three years. 30% of teachers evaluation will be based on student's standardized test scores. principals retain hiring power. but half of all new hires must be laid off teachers. about 800 teachers delegates again voted this afternoon to overwhelmingly suspend the strike. now it will be voted on by the rank and file, some 30,000 members we're told in two to three weeks. we're told that is just a formality. essentially the strike has been suspended and teachers say they will be back in the classrooms tomorrow. brian? >> rehema ellis with the breaking news tonight from chicago. rehema, thanks. same topic. an early note for our viewers, for the third year in a row, nbc news is hosting our education
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nation summit here in new york city. it begins this coming sunday, you'll be able to see special programming across all nbc news platforms, and, of course, on the web. that's all next week. washington, d.c., was under a rare tornado warning earlier today. part of a huge weather system running all along the eastern seaboard. as the front moves through, it's made a mess of air travel. it's dropping a ton of rain in a short time, in addition to some localized outbreaks of severe weather tonight. still ahead as we continue, news about a growing health problem for america's kids. could a common chemical in our daily environment turn out to be part of the problem? and later, how did a photographer get those controversial photos of a future queen of england? tonight how they can peer into someone's private life from a long distance away.
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just when you think this nation's obesity problem can't get much worse. new numbers are out tonight showing it is sadly. according to a new analysis of cdc numbers by the trust for america's health. more than half the people in 39 states will be obese by the year 2030. two thirds of americans are already overweight or obese. and the analysis shows that unless something changes, every state in this nation will have an obesity rate above 44% in less than 20 years. our chief medical editor dr.
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nancy snyderman reports on what could be a contributing factor to all this. >> reporter: new research now underscores that a healthy diet and daily exercise may not be enough to avoid childhood obesity. an important factor that may contribute is also one of the most controversial chemicals found in the american diet, bisphenol-a or bpa is used to prevent corrosion in the lining of cans and bottles. it's found in items like soda cans, canned soups, fruits and vegetables and canned tuna fish. the fda recently banned bpa from sippy cups and baby bottles because of evidence that it disrupts hormonal cycles in children, but decided to await further testing before banning it in other products. >> laboratory studies increasingly suggest that bpa, or bisphenol-a, can produce all the molecular hallmarks of obesity. it appears to make fat cells bigger. and it appears to disrupt the
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balance of estrogen and testosterone in our bodies, which is really critical for maintaining caloric balance. >> reporter: a balance that seems every day more difficult to attain because of the environment in which we leave. it's almost like we're in the middle of a perfect storm. we have an abundance of cheap but not always nutritious food, not enough exercise in our schools, and, of course, we also have environmental factors now that we have to increasingly consider that is going to play a role for future generations. and brian, i know you heard me say this before. i'm more optimistic we're going to find the cures for some cancer before we unravel this one. >> this was an incredible story when it came out today. nancy snyderman, as always, thanks. we'll take a break here. up next, remembering the man who changed the way we all watch sports on television.
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to more than one generation of us, that music can only mean one thing, the man who gave us that changed the way we all experience profootball has died. steve sabol ran nfl films, he did every job in the company, and his 40 emmys for cinematography, writing and producing helped make that point. his dad founded the company in 1962. watching football was never the same way again. the iconic shots of the tight spiral, the slomo, great music, announcers. nfl films invented all of that including putting mikes on players and coaches. sabol loved playing the game, but mostly just loved the game and the family business, headquartered in a warehouse in south jersey. steve sabol dead after an 18-month fight with brain cancer. he was 69 years old. russell train has died. he was commonly known as the father of the epa. his story would be impossible today because in today's
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political environment he likely would have been eaten alive in washington. he was a lifelong republican who, with the blessing of richard nixon and gerald ford, helped start the council on environmental quality in the white house and then the environmental protection agency. he later helped turn the world wildlife fund into a global force. he was a navy admiral's son, who was born in rhode island, lived in montana. russell train was 92. speaking of conservation. final green light has been given for the removal of nearly 400 trees from the streets of l.a. to accommodate the movement of the retired space shuttle "endeavour" on local streets to a new home at a museum. they're cutting down the trees because they say cutting the wings off the shuttle and reattaching them is not an option. local protests have been overruled by the city just this week. we'll stay with this story. up next here tonight, the long lens that shattered the royal privacy.
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finally tonight, there's been a legal victory to report for the british royal family. that french magazine that published the topless photos of kate middleton has to turn them over, and there's a criminal case coming against both the
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magazine and the photographer. but, of course, the harm's been done to kate, her family and her privacy. tonight nbc's stephanie gosk shows us just how easy that can be. >> reporter: these days, more clothes are better than less if you're a member of the royal family. although, william doesn't look entirely comfortable in that grass skirt. as the prince and princess swayed their hips on the tiny polynesian island of tuvalu today, the unnamed female photographer behind those risque snaps faces a possible criminal trial. so how did she do it, standing over a half mile away from the french chateau? this morning on "today," photographer and former paparazzo james ambler showed us it isn't actually that difficult. >> he's at a promenade in brooklyn heights overlooking lower manhattan. his subject, stephanie gosk, more than half a mile away. >> reporter: ambler used a 600 millimeter lens, something called a dub letter and a pretty
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fancy camera. even on a muggy, rainy day, this is what he could see. thankfully i was modestly dressed. >> if you do anything out in the public eye, you always have to imagine there's a camera on you. because unfortunately, that's the state that we now live in. >> reporter: royal private moments caught on the sly have always gone for a premium. paparazzi swarmed princess diana on vacation too. in fact, in 1994, she was also snapped sunbathing topless. even with the legal risk, it may be impossible to stop. >> i would guarantee my last dollar that any photographer in that scenario would have photographed it. you always shoot and ask questions later. >> reporter: which means even for a prince and princess who will one day wear the royal crowns, privacy may always be their most valued possession. stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york. that's our broadcast on a tuesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. and we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening.
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good night. -- captions by vitac -- right now at 6:00 the secret video is ought. a bay area magazine at the center of the controversy about mitt romney. out with the toll takers. when a major change will come to a bay area bridge. the close call for a 49ers player. "nbc bay area news" starts now. good evening, and thanks for joining us. tonight in san jose there will be a lot of talk about crime and public safety, but beneath the surface the discussion will be political. departing san jose police chief chris mo


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