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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  May 9, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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but the coast will be clear around the bay. the only snag is the pollen count is high. >> pelley: tonight, the president endorses same-sex hrriage. will it cost him politically? where do americans stand? reports from norah o'donnell, rell whitaker, and elaine akerano. o.s. intelligence tells us more al qaeda bombers are training to strike u.s. aircraft. john miller has that story. a millionaire angry at congress starts a campaign to throw out members of both parties. nancy cordes finds it's working. and the pentagon's top combat photographer with striking nexes of americans at war. >> so to truly, truly capture war is to capture war on the face of the soldier next to you.
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coaptioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. io >> pelley: good evening. president obama's stand on same- sex marriage completed its volution today, changing from idensition to support. in 2004, running for the u.s. po olnate, he said marriage should ee between a man and a woman. later, as president, he said his position was evolving. ngeay, he endorsed same-sex marriage. his declaration does not change any law. 41 states ban same-sex marriage, encluding north carolina, which voted the ban part of its constitution just last night. but it could change the race for the white house by injecting a contentious social issue. here's what the president said today in an interview with robin s shrts of abc news.
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ma for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that i think same-sex couples should be able to get married. >> pelley: mr. obama has often said he was in favor of civilians of gay and lesbian chples and in favor of equal ights. norah o'donnell, our chief white house correspondent is at the white house tonight. rorah. riageporter: scott, advisers admit it was not the president's by h to announce his support for same-sex marriage today. asonically, his hand was forced by his own vice president and by ds. and lesbian financial supporters who felt it was time the president clarify exactly where he stands. >> i had hesitated on gay le tiage, in part because i thought civil unions would be sufficient. >> reporter: today, president obama became the first sitting president to declare that he believes gays and lesbians should be able to legally marry.
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tp until now, he has been unwilling to support same-sex marriage. rryiou know, my feelings about wome are constantly evolving. i struggle with this. >> reporter: advisers claim they've been discussing for a yew months about when to make an ain tncement, but then vice enesident biden cemetery the white house scrambling after saying over the weekend in an interview that he was absolutely comfortable with men marrying men and women marrying women. >> no one's ever doubted i mean what i say. the problem is i sometimes say all that i mean. >> reporter: mr. biden's support of same-sex marriage exposed internal divisions in the white house, serious enough that even spokesman jay carney struggled to explain those differences on monday. >> i don't have an update to provide you on the president's position. it is what it was. >> reporter: but an update did come the day before millions of dollars were to be raised in hollywood where many of those attending a fund-raiser will be from the gay and lesbian community, money from that community is critical to the president's reelection, and according to a "washington post" review, one in six of obama's top campaign fund-raising
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bundlers is gay. still, his advisers believe the issue of same-sex marriage won't be decisive this year, in part because public support of same- sex marriage has grown rapidly over the last five presidential elections. a poll out yesterday by gallup shows 50% of americans now favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry while 48% are opposed. in 1996, 27% supported it while 68% were opposed. support is generational, and the president said today his own children don't understand why same-sex parents would be treated differently. >> it doesn't make sense to them, and, frankly, that's the kind of thing that prompts a change of perspective. change of perspective. >> reporter: we've learned the first lady, michelle obama, was heavily involved in the president's change of heart. today, mr. obama said she feels the same way as he does. they believe in the golden rule- - treat others the way you want to be treated. >> pelley: norah, thank you very much. mitt romney was campaigning in oklahoma city today when the president spoke. governor romney had this to say: >> my view is that marriage itself is a relationship between
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a man and a woman, and that's my own preference. i know other people have differing views. this is a very tender and sensitive topic, as are many social issues, but i-- i have the same view that i've had since-- well, since running for office. >> pelley: though the president weighed in today, this really hasn't been a federal issue. states are passing their own laws. these are the 41 states that have made same-sex marriage illegal. six states and the district of columbia have passed laws to make it legal. that leaves three states where the issue is in limbo. california passed a law legalizing gay and lesbian marriage, but it's being held up in court right now. we noticed that all of the critical swing states that will decide the presidential election have passed laws against same- sex marriage opinion this decision of the president's is
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likely to be unpopular with one group of americans that was key to the president's reelection in 2008. bill whitaker is in los angeles tonight. bill. >> reporter: scott, this could be a very difficult issue for president obama among hispanics, especially among catholic and evangelical hispanic voters. technician robert pico keeps the computers running at ministerio llamada final, a church that serves a largely hispanic congregation. he vote for barack obama four years ago but now? >> no, no. no. i don't. >> reporter: with today's endorsement of same-sex marriage, president obama lost pico's vote this year. ludi merida is the church secretary. >> i will not support anyone, you know, that is against my beliefs. >> reporter: nationwide as many as 70% of hispanic voters support president obama, but the problem for mr. obama is not his support nationwide but in swing states where the election is likely to be decided and where the last gallup poll shows him
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running neck and neck with republican mitt romney. any loss of hispanic voters in swing states could swing the election, but polls show that votes mr. obama loses on this issue could be more than made up by votes he wins on issues like the economy and immigration. >> pelley: bill, thank you. some politicians have lost elections after endorsing same- sex marriage. it happened to a democrat running for congress in new york city, and elaine quijano met him today. elaine. >> reporter: well, scott, no single issue cost democrats the new york congressional seat they held since 1923, but democratic candidate david repren's support of same-sex marriage deeply offended some of the orthodox jews. >> it shouldn't have been an issue in the campaign. it already passed in the assembly a number of times before i got there. so it was kind of a side issue that was used kind of as a wedge issue in the campaign.
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>> reporter: for people who insist that this is a religious issue, this is a moral issue, you say? >> i say, you know, we can't legislate, as state legislator or federal legislators, on behalf of all of the people by taking positions because of religious beliefs of certain constituents that we have to legislate in a secular way, in a way that imposes civil rights of all the people. >> reporter: but politically, was your stand the right stand to take because you didn't win? >> well, i didn't make the stand on a political calculation or political basis. it's-- in my opinion it was a civil rights issue. it was the right thing to do. and if i did it all over again, i would do it the same way. >> reporter: repren a new york
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state assemblyman says one thing he would have changed is done more outreach to religious voters to explain his stance. >> pelley: thank you, elaine. we have some fascinating new reporting tonight on the al qaeda plot to blow up a jetliner using a new type of underwear bomb. yesterday we told you the man who was supposed to carry the bomb was actually a double agent working with the c.i.a. special correspondent john miller is back tonight with more revelations about this double agent. john. >> reporter: well, scott, infiltrating the ranks of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula is dangerous high stakes, but it is what intelligence officers told us resulted in information that was invaluable. the source is described as a saudi national recruited by the saudi intelligence service as far back as two years ago. his information was shared with the c.i.a. his true identity only known to a handful. the source volunteered to be the suicide bomber in a plot to bring down a u.s. airliner, but instead of carrying it out, he delivered the device to u.s. and saudi officials. phil mudd, the former deputy director of the c.i.a.'s counter
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terrorism center said a critical source was lost but lives may have been saved. in a case like this what is the decision like when you say we're going to have to basically burn that person? >> if you're faced with a situation like this, where there is threat to public safety, public safety wins every time. >> reporter: we are told the source also provided information about ongoing plans to attack the u.s. and british embassies in yemen's capital. and on bombs hidden inside printers that were sent as cargo to blow up american planes in 2010. he also provided the location and movements of fhad al quoso, wanted for the bombing of the u.s.s. "cole" in 2000. he was killed by a drone strike last weekend. but a.q.a.p.'s master bomb maker, ibrahim al-asiri, who developed the new underwear bomb, may burrow deeper into hiding now that the existence of the source has been revealed. when we look back on this in a year, what are we going to see about this case and this source? >> if you stop plots without
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taking people out, the people will simply regenerate the plot. so the question is was this operation leaked to the press too early for us to find the bomb maker? if he's still around in a year, that's going to be a critical question everybody is going to ask about. >> reporter: al-asiri is aware he is a target. he is among those training five to ten new bomb makers. but the source, who came in from the cold, will find a warm place relocated with his family under a new identity. >> first he's going to get a paycheck that you and i would want any david week, as he should. >> reporter: are we talking millions? >> we're talking millions. >> pelley: you know, john, mudd said the information has leaked. has that done damage to the ability of u.s. intelligence to penetrate al qaeda? >> it may have. if they had more time to work with this source and debrief and backtrack, they could have done more damage to a.q.a.p. today, my ex-boss, director of national intelligence james clapper, ordered a leak investigation.
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about the think of it from the bad guy's standpoint, that terrorist organization right now is scrambling to figure out who this source was, where he's been, what he's seen, who he knows and how that could factor into a drone strike so they're scrambling, too. >> pelley: fascinating, john, thanks very much. the millionaire who is out to defeat congressional incumbents. a new jetliner goes missing on a demonstration flight with dozens on board. and monster sunspots-- why scientists are watching them closely when the "cbs evening news" continues. they were born to climb...ounc] born to leap, born to stalk, and born to pounce. to understand why, we journeyed to africa, where their wild ancestor was born. there we discovered that cats, no matter where they are... are born to be cats.
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through his primary elections, but two weeks ago, the pennsylvania democrat was defeated by a local lawyer after a new nonpartisan superpac aired $200,000 worth of ads against holden. >> congressman holden took $700,000 from the financial industry. >> reporter: why congressman holden? >> when we polled in his district, the people in that district did not like the policies that he had been promoting. perfect opportunity for to us engage. >> reporter: leo linbeck iii is a houston business man who made his money in construction, real estate, and biotech. he's a conservative but started the campaign for primary accountability last year to go after incumbents in both parties. >> well, it really arose out of a sense of frustration, right, this sense that congress wasn't working. why wasn't it working? >> reporter: he thinks it's because incumbents have so little competition. more than half the house members who ran for reelection in 2010 faced no primary challenge at all. >> they raise more money. they have higher name
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identification. they've delivered lots of goodies for people over the years, and they've punished people who have opposed them. so they've got a lot of advantages. challengers don't. we come in to equalize that. >> reporter: so far, he's helped to unseat one house democrat and two house republicans. his group's next target is eight-term democratic congressman silvestre reyes of texas, who outspent his last challenger by a million dollars. they say they're only going after incumbents who are unpopular. do you think you're unpopular in your district? >> that's not what my polling shows, but, you know, the veracity of the superpacs is very questionable so i'm not surprised they would misrepresent that. >> reporter: like all superpac's, linbeck's group can raise unlimited fund from individuals and corporations. how much of your own money are you putting into this? >> i've put in over $1 million which is a lot of money for me. i mean i'm not like some super-
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gazillionaire. it's a lot of money. >> reporter: back in 2010, only four members of the entire house of representatives were defeated by members of their own party. linbeck has already helped to unseat three in 2012, and party leaders, scott, are taking notice. in fact, he says they've even threatened some members of his staff that they'll never work in party politics again. >> pelley: it's a rough game. nancy, thank you very much. nasa scientists are watching a group of monster sunspots, 11 times wider than the earth. sunspots can cause explosions like this one from just a few days ago. and they kick up highly charged particles that bombard the earth. he helped women ditch the hairspray for wash and wear. remembering vidal sassoon. you afternoon racers, and start of the day embracers... we get it.
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>> pelley: a >> pelley: a russian jetliner with at least 50 people on board is missing. contact was lost today as it flew over mountains in indonesia south of jakarta. the sukhoi superjet 100 is the first new russian passenger plane in more than two decades. it was on a demonstration flight carrying potential buyers and journalists. former attorney general nicholas katzenbach died last night. some of us remember the name from the newspapers, others from the history books. as deputy attorney general in 1963, he confronted alabama's segregationist governor at the schoolhouse door, demanding that he obey a federal court order to admit two black students to the
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all-white university of alabama. >> i, george c. wallace, as governor of the state of alabama, do hereby denounce and forbid this illegal and unwarranted action by the central government. >> governor, i'm not interested in a show. i don't know what the purpose of the show is. i am interested in the order of these courts being enforced. that is my only responsibility here. >> pelley: katzenbach was 90 years old. vidal sassoon, who died today in los angeles, had a different impact on history. he changed the way women wore their hair. >> thank you, vidal. >> if you don't look good, we don't look good. >> pelley: sassoon, legendary stylist freed women from the beehive with creative cuts like the bob and pixie. the wash-and-wear styles fit right in with the miniskirts of the 1960s. vidal sassoon was 84 years old. sometimes a camera is more
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civil war. and william perkins jr., who earned the medal of honor for his heroism in vietnam. tonight, bill plante shows us the work of the six-time military photographer of the year who is continuing this tradition. >> reporter: air force master sergeant jeremy lock knows what he's looking for when he aims his camera-- a human face, an act frozen in time, an image that tells a story. >> you look for the moment, that golden moment, something that's-- that could brief second that know-- it almost makes the hair stand up on my-- you know, my arms when i daniel sieberg that great moment unfolding in front of the camera. >> reporter: lock joined the air force 20 years ago to be an x- ray technician but soon decided he'd rather photograph people from the outside. >> some of my best photos have come from out of the war when i was in iraq and afghanistan. to truly, truly capture war is to capture war on the face of the soldier next to you. >> reporter: his career has taken him to 40 countries on six
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continents. lock travels with a videographer and goes wherever the u.s. military goes. in the last year alone, he's taken close to 5,000 pictures. talk about an action shot. what is going on here? >> this is over in africa, and it's a bunch of marines standing around watching a guy break dance. >> reporter: what a sweet photo. where was this taken? >> this was taken in indonesia, and i just saw these children employing in some algae water. this is an air force photographer in the same crew field as i am and she's going through breast cancer. the gentleman in the photograph is a sniper, and at the time, was one of the best snipers over there. and, you know, it was pitch- black. i can't use flash because we're in a tactical situation and just was trying different things. >> reporter: this poor guy. it really does tell you. >> this was in ramadi.
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we got outside the front gate, and we came under fire. and this was one of the guys that-- that was shot. shot and we were running to his aid. to me that says war. so you are going to be asking yourself all these questions. >> reporter: and now lock pays forward what he has learned, mentoring younger men and women interested in military photography. >> if we're not out there showing what they're doing, it's like it never happened. >> reporter: lock may be facility photographer of the year for the sixth time, but when i asked him to show me his favorite photo. >> i haven't taken it yet. i'm still waiting for that one. >> good evening.
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president obama changes his mind and changes the landscape on same-sex marriage. >> after long describing his position as " he called a ". today he became the first united states president to support gay marriage. we have several reports tonight beginning with grace leith on the timing of the statements. >> the president was really walking a political tightrope on same-sex marriage between young adults who are in support of it in many african-american and hispanic democrats who are opposed to gay marriage. this is known to be a divisive issue and by changing its stance six months before the general election, the question is, will his political gamble pay off? >> it is official, the president is now the first commander-in- chief to support same-sex marriage. he did so unequivocally in an interview with good morning america. >> i just concluded that, for me personally, it is important for


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