tv CBS Evening News With Katie Couric CBS January 5, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm PDT
coming up at 6:00, new muni kiosks. are they worth the cost? that's coming up in 30 minutes. "cbs evening news with katie couric" is next. >> couric: tonight, change at the top. power shifts to a new republican house speaker, and a shakeup is in the works at the white house. i'm katie couric. also tonight, winning was the easy part. the newest members of congress tell us about the tough challenges they now face, starting with the deficit. forget about their age, a whole new approach to treating cancer in the elderly. plus, the voice. >> when you're listening to nothing but the best of oldies you're listening to magic 98.9. >> couric: and the incredible story behind it. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> couric: good evening everyone. the political power shift
dictated by the november elections went into full effect today. the new 112th congress convened. the republicans took charge of the house for the first time in four years, and they officially chose john boehner as the new speaker. congressional correspondent nancy cordes is on capitol hill tonight. nancy, that gavel by the way looked more like a croquet mallet and republicans may need a knife almost as big as that. >> reporter: a big knife because republicans are vowing to slash spending to the bone, starting right away. and the new speaker is promising to be more open with democrats than they were with him. >> the honorable john a. boehner is dually elected speaker of the house of representatives. >> reporter: with ten of his 11 siblings watching, john boehner of ohio took control of the house along with his party. the famously emotional one-time janitor kept a handkerchief handy, misting up more than once as he prepared to take the oath. >> i do.
>> congratulations, mr. speaker. >> reporter: boehner in turn swore in the rest of the house. >> if all members could raise their right hands. >> reporter: all but nine of the 96 new members are republicans. >> the people voted to end business as usual, and today we begin to carry out their instructions. >> reporter: the first female speaker of the house, democrat nancy pelosi, handed the gavel to boehner, as her four-year tenure came to an end. >> however we may differ, let us never lose sight of our common love for this exceptional nation and our shared obligation to the way forward. >> reporter: but the friendly overtures by both leaders quickly gave way to partisan jabs, as the house got down to business. >> our mission is not to redistribute wealth, or tell people how to live their lives. >> my head is somewhat spinning because not 20 minutes ago the new speaker of the house of
representatives stood where you are and said he was going to be listening to people. >> reporter: on the other side of the capitol, 13 new senators were sworn in by the vice president. >> congratulations. >> reporter: including three who are part of the tea party. rand paul of kentucky, marco rubio of florida, and mike lee of utah. then democrats who still narrowly control the senate immediately set out to try to overturn the long standing filibuster rule, which senate republicans used again and again last congress to block bills they didn't like. >> we know both sides have abused the rules. now it's time for us to work together to fix them. >> reporter: currently it takes 60 votes to break a filibuster, not a simple majority. but not all democrats are in favor of changing the rule, they say that could come back to haunt them if they find themselves in the minority. katie? >> couric: nancy cordes, nancy thanks very much. with the power shift on capitol hill and a presidential election
next year, changes are coming at the white house as well. they started today when press secretary robert gibbs confirmed he is stepping down. so let's go to chip reid. chip, gibbs has been with the president since he began his run for the white house so why now and where is he going? >> reporter: gibbs says after two years of working 24/7 he needs a break. where is he going? not far. aside from spending some time with his family... >> there's a little boy who probably needs a ride to school every now and then. >> reporter: ...robert gibbs will hit the lucrative speaking circuits, but won't be gone for long. the president has asked him to stay on as a top advisor to his re-election campaign. gibbs is one of more than a half dozen senior white house officials expected to leave soon in what he described as a major retooling. >> i think the president believes that's important, that having additional voices, having different and fresh perspectives.
>> reporter: in fact, though, in an administration often criticized as too insular, the jobs of nearly all of those departing are being filled by other insiders. senior advisor david axelrod leaving the head of the campaign will be replaced by david plouffe, the architect of the 2008 campaign. and gibbs is expected to be replaced by one of three white house advisors. the closest thing to an outsider is bill daily who the president is considering for chief of staff, but he too is no stranger to democratic politics, as commerce secretary under president clinton and brother of the mayor of chicago. >> as an investment banker though he could bring fresh perspective to the president's top priority. >> the president knows that the key to his re-election is economic growth which means jobs. and that he has to establish better ties with the business community. >> reporter: bill daily was here at the white house a short time ago to meet with the president,
but we're told that no job was offered, though he is still very much in the running for that chief of staff job. >> couric: we'll stay tuned to that, chip reid, chip thank you. some reinforcement meanwhile are coming to the political wars in washington. tonight we listen to some of the newest congressional voices. a retired army lieutenant colonel, a harvard educated lawyer, and the owner of a pest control business walk into the halls of congress. but there's no punch line to this story. just a big punch list of problems. >> get our debt under control. >> the health care reform. >> jobs and the economy. >> couric: for the new republican majority and its 87 freshmen, the pressure is on. you two republicans may be dealing with overly high expectations. are you concerned about that? >> there are expectations out there, but i think the people will be looking for those positive indicators and trends in those first 90 to 120 days that we're going in the right direction. but no one is expecting you to
come in and turn the aircraft carrier around, right in the first month or the first two months. >> couric: at times calling government tyrannical and despicable, florida's allen west rode the tea party wave to washington and he says the movement is not done yet. >> if we don't go in the right way as far as the fiscal responsibility, you will see a third party grow up in the united states of america. >> reporter: but robert dole, who hales from a moderate district in the chicago suburbs, was noncommittal when he was asked about the tea party. >> the problem i think with some of the tea parties is that you talk to a tea party group here and you talk to a tea party group there and they may have different goals, specific individual to their groups. >> couric: outnumbered almost ten to one, freshman democrats like alabama's terri sewell face their own challenges. is it daunting to come into office at a time when republicans are so ascendant?
>> it doesn't really change our mission and our job. i think that the folks that elected us sent us here to do their bidding. irrespective of who is in the majority, they really want us to focus on their issues. >> couric: republicans say high on their priority list is deficit reduction. starting with major cuts in domestic spending this year. fiscally conservative freshmen say everything is fair game. >> let's take a look at the department of defense so we send a signal to those on the other side of the aisle that everything has to be at table. >> couric: but is there danger in your view that the ax will be too sharp, that the cuts will be too deep? >> i think if there's an opportunity for us to finally have that honest conversation with the american people and make the hard choices. it's right now. because the people understand the dire economic situation that we're in. >> couric: but the republican effort to repeal health care reform has grabbed the most headlines. >> what this law does is it addresses access to insurance. it does not address cost or quality, which is what the american public had been crying out for. >> couric: congresswoman sewell,
something tells me you beg to differ. >> i do beg to differ, respectfully. ( laughter ) >> i appreciate that. >> i really believe that we benefited greatly day one in my district. was it a perfect bill, no, it was not a perfect bill. but it was a very good start. >> couric: their ideologies are as diverse as their backgrounds. but this group is still hopeful they can work together. more or less. >> i can tell you that the democratic party stands ready to help, to the extent, and work... >> don't help like you have the past couple years though. >> couric: all kidding aside, the word compromise is in their vocabulary, at least for now. >> we might disagree on 50, 60% of stuff. what's the 40% that we can agree on? >> couric: that was 100% agreement in the senate today on its first order of business, approving a resolution on honoring barbara mikulski, who just set a record for longevity. >> i'm senator barb mikulski from the great state of maryland. >> couric: they call her senator barb.
at just 4'11" she sometimes gets lost in photos, but on the t nate floor there's no way to miss her. >> the planet earth that i'm on tells me to pass health insurance. >> couric: with her victory in 1986 she became the first female democrat elected to the senate in her own right. >> there are as many women serving today as had served in all of american history when i arrived. >> couric: she broke boundaries and today entering her fifth term. >> senator would you raise your right hand please? >> couric: she broke a record. republican margaret chase smith was the longest serving woman in the senate at 24 years. but a lot has changed since 1973. >> what would i say to margaret chase smith today? i don't blog, but i tweet. >> reporter: but mikulski says
her most important social network is still the women of both parties with whom she serves. >> now we're 17%. we're no longer a novelty, but we're here to stay, and there's more of us to come. >> couric: and there's more to come also on the "cbs evening news." huckleberry finn is an american classic, so why is someone rewriting mark twain's words? but up next, a new approach to treating older patients with cancer.
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>> couric: cancer is frightening at any age, but the risk of getting it increases as we grow older. people over 65 account for 70% of all cancer deaths in this country, a percentage that is likely to grow as baby boomers become seniors. and now some doctors are taking a new approach to the treatment of older cancer patients. cnn's dr. sanjay gupta is a cbs news contributor, sanjay, tell us about this new approach. >> it's interesting. what i can tell you that often times doctors are less aggressive, katie, about treating cancer in the elderly thinking they are either too old or too sick. but we found that that attitude is starting to change. watching 85-year-old alfred mezzei take his daily walk, it's hard to believe that he was diagnosed in may with esophageal cancer that had already spread. >> i won't get depressed, i never get depressed. >> with that attitude and his overall good health... >> very good. >> when deciding on treatment
the first thing dr. lodovici balducci did was forget about his age. >> he may be 85 years old in terms of chronological age, but he's 65 terms of physiologic age. so he really us a young person. >> reporter: while in the past an 85-year-old man may have been considered too old to treat, new studies have shown that older patients can do just as well as younger people with aggressive cancer therapy. >> it's only a four-hour deal. >> reporter: for mr. mezzei that has meant a rigorous course of chemotherapy. >> first time i went up there was a piece of cake. it's been that way ever since. >> reporter: chemo is a piece of cake, and a chance for a quiet lunch-- and it's working. alfred's cancer seems to are gone into remission. >> we have to think about the possibility of lymphoma.
>> reporter: at the cancer center he believes that doctors need to learn how to treat cancer while at the same time handle the multiple chronic conditions of aging. and he's angry that the elderly are not included in clinical trials of new cancer drugs. even though they make up the majority of the patients. >> bias medicine. >> reporter: wow, you think it's biased against seniors? >> yes, that's exactly right. >> reporter: dr. balducci's clinic is filled with warmth and caring, but there is also honesty, even with the worst news. >> you may be feeling more shortness of breath. >> reporter: the lung cancer that this 87-year-old retired judge john lockman has been fighting for eight years is spreading again, and the outlook is grim. >> at that point would be the time to have hospice, and they will make sure that you don't die in any discomfort. >> reporter: the doctor's honesty is appreciated. judge lockman is still philosophical. >> at my age i have no kick. how many people live to my age?
>> reporter: dr. balducci is trusted at the end of life, because his patients know he helps them live their best life with cancer. no matter what their age. >> i told dr. balducci i'm not going to die of cancer, i'm going to die with cancer, i'm going to die from tests. >> reporter: there's something else important as well, the survey showed the majority of the elderly do want to be treated aggressively for cancer. >> couric: and good for the doctor for speaking out on behalf of them. but why aren't more seniors included in clinical trials if they do make up the majority of cancer patients? >> you know about cancer, these researchers simply want what they call clean trials, patients who are otherwise healthy, they don't have heart disease or diabetes, they can figure out if the medicine is treating the cancer only. but to your point, dr. balducci thinks every cancer trial should have an elderly population of patients in the trial as well. >> couric: interesting story, sanjay, thanks so much. and when we come back, tweaking
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now as mark strassman reports, a new sanitized version is coming out. >> there ain't no home like a raft. >> reporter: like this movie about huckleberry finn, mark twain's classic book still navigates america's river of race relations. twain's classic used racial slurs, words customary for twain's time, but today radioactive. on one page of huck finn, twain wrote the "n" word six times. should each one be edited out and replaced with the word slave? allen gribben says yes. he's a twain scholar at auburn universities at montgomery and will publish a new edition of the classic without the "n" word. >> seems to me that i'm doing something constructive by eliminating a word that's a clear barrier for many people. >> reporter: in the entire book mark twain used the "n" word 219 times. deliberately. to spotlight 19th century racism. >> that word meant something,
that word means something. >> reporter: at atlanta's morehouse university, david wall rice, says twain's slurs actually help americans face the issue of racism today. >> we have to have a discussion about it. we can't skate over it. >> reporter: as a book huckleberry finn was controversial right from its first publication in 1885. too coarse, critics said. but his racist stereo types and language are what eat at some critics today, with recent repeated attempts to ban the book. on twitter today reaction to editing twain's text was overwhelmingly negative. take out the "n" word, one person wrote, and you have to take the holocaust out of anne frank and the adultery out of the scarlet letter. he says the "n" word makes people uncomfortable, which helps teach. >> there's going to be some agitation. you're going to make sure that you disturb the equilibrium at least a little bit or there won't be growth. >> i don't give a damn what the whole world says.
>> reporter: mark strassman, cbs news atlanta. >> couric: in other news one month after elizabeth edwards died her will has become public, written just six days before her death, it was obtained by "inside edition." edwards left all her possessions to her three surviving children and nothing to her estranged husband john, he's not even mentioned. the subject of our final story tonight wants you to know. >> we'll be back with more right after these words. oh just return it. returning gifts is easier than ever with priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service. if it fits, it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. plus i can pick it up for free. perfect because we have to get that outta this house. c'mon, it's not that... gahh, oh yeah that's gotta go... priority mail flat rate shipping only from the postal service. a simpler way to ship and return.
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school bus. live coverage on her cbs 5 we are following a developing story in the south bay. a young girl hit by a school bus. we will have live coverage on her condition next on cbs5. >> couric: we end tonight with a man who has a wonderful voice and a story to match. you'll hear both in this report from seth doane. >> at&t, rethink possible. >> reporter: ted williams always knew he had a voice for radio but could never have imagined an opportunity like this. on a radio show this morning, at wnci in columbus. >> i'm going to come in here and put my best foot forward and use the voice and hopefully somebody will hear me from this show. hello there, tracy. >> reporter: because while he's at home behind the microphone, home is really here. you were sleeping in here? >> yeah, i sleep right over here. >> reporter: obscured by brush by the side of the freeway, panhandling just to get by. >> people ride by, "get a job!" >> reporter: for the better part of 20 years ted williams was on and off the streets, friends say
sometimes mixed up with drugs, alcohol or even the law. most recently he stood on this street corner holding out a sign and holding out hope, that someone would stop and listen. >> i would always have spirit enough to say don't forget tomorrow morning is your chance to win tickets to see gladys and the pips live in concert. >> reporter: about five weeks ago one driver slowed down and shot this video of williams. >> and we'll be back with more right after these words. >> reporter: holding a sign saying: i'm an ex radio announcer who has fallen on hard times." the photographer was from the columbus dispatch. he kept the film and waited for a slow news day. >> i didn't have anything, i thought hey i got that homeless guy with the great voice, i'll throw that up. it almost didn't get on the internet. >> you're listening to the nothing but the best of oldies. >> reporter: by wednesday afternoon the clip of williams had drawn more than 5 million views, even his 90-year-old mother in brooklyn, new york heard about the video. of a son she's worried so much about.
>> i've been hurt, my heart is hurt. i prayed and prayed and prayed, and i used to think, well, maybe god just don't want to listen to me. >> i'm an ex radio announcer who has fallen on hard times. >> reporter: why does this story resonate? >> redemption. everyone would love a second chance. >> reporter: since this morning the offers are pouring in. the cleveland cavaliers, nfl films, and mtv to name a few. >> would you like to come to hollywood? >> reporter: but the most meaningful opportunity is a trip to new york tonight, to be reunited with his mother after more than ten years. >> out of all of this is that i get to see my mom. >> reporter: williams always knew he had a voice. finally people are listening. seth doane, cbs news, columbus, ohio. >> couric: what a great story. and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric.
thank you for watching. i'll see you back here tomorrow. good night. you're watching cbs5 eyewitness news. "this broadcast realtime captioned by becky lyon." it is the kind of instance dent made for the internet. officers shooting a man in a wheel chair. the story behind the now infamous cell phone video. six people shot in a matter of minutes. what made the oakland shooting rampage particularly dangerous. in san jose, long awaited relief at a notorious bay area intersection. good evening i'm dana king. >> i'm allen martin. it could have been avoided. that's what san francisco's police chief says about yesterday's police shooting of a man they say stabbed a cop. but he says his officers lack a tool to prevents these incidents. phil matier on what he wants to give his cops. phil. >> reporter: what he wants to give them allen is still very controversial in the city of san frano.
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