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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  October 11, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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>> pelley: tonight, breaking news on the government shutdown crisis. nancy cordes and major garrett have the latest in washington. john blackstone finds there's no money for federal loans that create jobs. >> it just makes no sense to me. >> pelley: and in a bizarre twist, the shutdown means prison inmates are being paid but guards are not. millions visited the web site for obamacare but how many are signing up? anna werner reports insurance companies are worried. leslie stahl introduces us to a man who saved more than 100 desperate refugees by telling the government they were all his children. >> reporter: is your heart pounding? palms sweating? >> i certainly was nervous, yes. >> pelley: and "on the road." steve hartman with a man who lost his sight but found his calling as a home builder.
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captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening. we could be just six days away from a perfect storm: when the government shutdown runs smack into the first-ever government default. pressure is building on house republicans to end their standoff with the president and here's why. a new gallup poll finds public opinion of the g.o.p. is dropping. in september, 38% of americans had a favorable view of republicans. but now it's just 28%. a 10-point drop in just one month. senate republicans brought the president a new proposal today for ending the shutdown, now in its 11th day, and they brought him a plan for raising the government's borrowing limit to avert that default. the president spoke by phone with speaker john boehner about a proposal for house republicans.
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nancy cordes is on capitol hill for us tonight. major garrett at the white house. first we'll get to nancy. nancy, what's on the table? >> reporter: scott, it's very unusual to see house and senate republicans competing for the president's attention. but senate republicans-- many of them-- didn't want this shutdown and they don't like the house plan which still demands concessions in exchange for reopening the government. on a gloomy washington morning, 41 senate republicans boarded buses at the capitol and headed to the white house to lay out their plan: the brain child of moderate maine republican susan collins. she proposes reopening the government immediately and increasing the debt ceiling for about four months in exchange for a couple of changes to obamacare that have bipartisan support, including a repeal or delay of an unpopular tax on medical devices. >> the president listened carefully. he said that some of the elements were issues we could
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work on but he certainly did not endorse it. >> reporter: the plan gained momentum after the white house said it could not accept a proposal from house republicans to raise the debt ceiling for just six weeks because it might lead to another debt standoff right before thanksgiving. both the house and senate will be in session for at least part of this weekend as leaders continue to try to work through this with the white house. and things are in such a state of flux this evening, scott, that one republican leader just told us if anyone tells you they know what's happening they're probably not being straight with you. >> pelley: but at least they're talking. nancy, thanks very much. major garrett is following all of this at the white house. major, what does the president consider nonnegotiable now? >> reporter: two bills, scott, one that unconditionally raises the government's borrowing authority to avoid default the other that unconditionally reopens the government. what is negotiable is the duration of both of these bills. the white house wants the threat of default removed at least through the end of this calendar
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year. we are told, scott, the white house would reluctantly if it had to accept reopening the government for just a few weeks. >> pelley: why does the president think he can win on the positions he considers non- negotiable? >> reporter: because republicans are divided and their demands, scott-- such as repealing or defunding obamacare, at least in part-- are disappearing. the white house sees public polls showing republicans suffering for than the president and, of course, all of this leads the president's democratic base to lean on the white house to drive the hardest bargain possible. there is one catch, though, scott: the white house does fear a bipartisan backlash against everyone in washington, including the president, if the government standoff drags on or default occurs. >> pelley: more talks through the weekend and probably into next week. major, thank you very much. wall street was betting again today that washington would strike a deal. the dow gained 111 points today. it's now picked up 434 points in two days. as this shutdown continues, we're looking at the trouble that it's causing all across the country.
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tonight john blackstone in central california tells us about the effect on small business. >> reporter: right across from the beach volleyball courts in santa cruz, california, zach davis is coowner of the picnic basket, a small cafe. business is pretty good here? >> business is good. >> reporter: so davis decided to open another larger restaurant and leased 6,000 square feet in the center of town. you've got some big plans for this space! >> yeah, this will be one of the bigger spots in santa cruz. >> reporter: he hoped to be open by the end of the year, now do that he was counting on a $500,000 loan from the small business administration. >> we got all the paperwork in and now we wait. >> reporter: the government closed down. >> the government's closed down. >> reporter: so what's at risk for you with every day this closure stretches on? >> well, there's a lot of risks. right now we're paying rent, like i said. there's costs that we're
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incurring on a day to day basis that we can't turn off. >> reporter: under normal circumstances, the s.b.a. approves about 250 loans a day totaling more than $90 million. without his loan, davis can't sign contractors to build the restaurant or recruit staff to run it. >> we would like to hire an executive chef and a general manager to help us with this project but we have to keep that on hold until we know where we stand financially. >> reporter: so this is costing jobs for other people? >> it is. it is. i have a business partner. we have disagreements but there is no disagreement that would be so serious that we would close the doors of our business to try and figure it out. that would be the death of our business. it makes no sense to me. >> reporter: as laid back as it is here on the beach in santa cruz, zach davis is in no mood to relax. he's anxious to get back to work in his new restaurant and he can't do that, scott, until the government gets back to work. >> pelley: john blackstone on the beach for us tonight. john, thanks very much. we started this week telling you
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that the government shutdown had stopped death benefits to the families of fallen troops. well, today we found another situation that is beyond belief. it centers on a prison complex in colorado where the government keeps the most notorious terrorists and other prisoners. we learned today that the corrections officers are not being paid but the prisoners are. prisoners who have jobs there get small sums between $5 and $200 a month. the fund that pays them is not covered by the shutdown, but paychecks for more than 600 officers have been suspended. the international group that inspects and destroys chemical weapons was awarded the nobel peace prize today. the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons burst into the spotlight just recently for its work in one of the world's most dangerous places. with more on that, here's
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elizabeth palmer. >> reporter: even as the prize was announced in oslo, some of the prize winners were hard at work thousands of miles away starting the job of cataloging and destroying syria's chemical stocks. on august 21, warheads filled with poison gas landed in two damascus suburbs killing hundreds of innocents. to head off an american retaliatory attack, president bashar al-assad hastily agreed to get rid of his chemical weapons and the o.p.c.w. took on the job. but today's award, said the head of the nobel committee, was for the organization's work beyond syria. >> it is because of its long- standing efforts to eliminate chemical weapons and that we are now bound to reach the goal. >> reporter: since 1997, the o.p.c.w. has overseen the destruction of more than 80% of the world's declared chemical agents and shut down or converted 65 chemical weapons
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factories from russia and the united states to china and india. now the group's experts face one of their biggest challenges ever in syria. to destroy one of the largest chemical arsenals in the world while civil war rages on all sides. elizabeth palmer, cbs news, london. >> pelley: in that civil war, the assad regime stands accused of atrocities for attacking civilians. now rebels trying to overthrow assad are accused of war crimes of their own. today, the independent group human rights watch said that in august rebels attacked civilians in the province of latakia, killing at least 190. witnesses say the attackers went door to door killing entire families in some cases. clarissa ward has reported extensively from inside syria and she has met with many of these rebels. clarissa, what can you tell us
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about this group that's accused of the war crime we just heard about? >> well, scott, the report cites five rebel groups as the main perpetrators of this attack-- which it describes as the first documented case of rebel forces deliberately targeting civilians. but it does highlight the role of one relatively new but increasingly important group called the islamic state of iraq and syria. it's known as isis. it is strongly allied with al qaeda and it is hated and feared by many ordinary syrians, partly because of its radical and violent tactics. now, it's also important to note that there were moderate groups involved in this attack as well, including some of those backed by the u.s. >> pelley: well, as you've reported, there are a lot of different rebel groups, some of them fighting each other. where does all of this leave those moderate groups that the united states backs? >> well, scott, it leaves them in a precarious position because
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it's so difficult now to know which groups to support when the moderate groups that the u.s. have been backing have at best failed to stop this from happening and at worst participated in it. >> pelley: clarissa ward reporting to us tonight from london. clarissa, thank you. for the second time this week a senior commander of u.s. nuclear forces has been fired for personal misconduct. this time the pentagon wouldn't say exactly what the conduct was but major general michael carey was removed today from command of all of the air forces' nuclear missile. on wednesday, the number two at u.s. strategic command, vice admiral tim giardina was relieved after an investigation into his gambling activities. we'll have a checkup on the signup for obamacare. and millions are caught in the path of a ferocious storm when the "cbs evening news" continues.
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but how many are actually buying policies? anna werner is looking into that. >> reporter: more than eight million people have visited the. web site designed for consumers in 36 states to buy health insurance, but the white house is not ready to say how many have successfully chosen a health plan. david seamus is white house senior advisor. >> we'll have a monthly release of numbers. at some point in november wow eel be able to see and go through the data how many people enrolled and break it out however you'd like. >> reporter: health care consultant bob laszewski says plan insurers he has heard from report enrollment is low. the administration hoped seven million would choose a policy by the end of the year. but he says some major companies have told him their enrollment numbers are in the hundreds. >> what that says to me is obamacare hasn't been launched. people are talking about glitches with system problems and that sort of thing. that's as far from reality as it could be.
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this program has not even gotten off the ground yet. >> reporter: several major insurance carriers contacted by cbs news either declined to provide statistics or did not return calls. the white house referred us to an executive from blue cross/blue shield of florida. the chairman and c.e.o. said his company has seen tremendous interest but it does need to see improvement in the numbers to reach its enroll. goal of 75,000 people. his expectation is the process gets better everyday. however, e-mails we have seen written by insurance executives describe enrollment numbers as "ugly." one said politicians and others have "their heads in the sand." >> this program doesn't work if we don't get the healthy people to sign up to get enough premium into the program to work. it's not going to work for insurance companies and it's certainly not going to work for the obama administration. >> reporter: well, for many of these plans, consumers don't need to pay premiums until the end of the year. the administration says that allows people to switch plans
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and that could skew the numbers. scott, most of the people we spoke to say it's still early in this process. >> pelley: anna werner, thanks very much. as saigon was falling, an american businessman risked his life to rescue his vietnamese colleagues. lesley stahl's extraordinary story is next. next. ♪
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but just in case -- let's be ready. >> pelley: leslie stahl has brought us a "60 minutes" story that has gone untold for 40
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years. as the war in vietnam was ending and saigon was falling, john riordan, an american banker there, fled the country. but his conscience soon sent him back. he wanted to rescue more than 100 of his vietnamese employees- - but he still needed a plan. >> reporter: nothing was working until a c.i.a. agent told him the only way out now is on u.s. military cargo planes that are evacuating americans and their dependents. >> he says, the evacuation has begun. take your family and go out to the airport and process them through. and i said "well, i don't have a family." and he said "just create a wife and children no matter who they are and go out there and sign the documents." >> reporter: and this is the first time you've heard this idea? >> yes, yes. >> reporter: try and pass off his vietnamese colleagues, their spouses and children as his family?
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there were 105 of them! do you say to him "are you kidding me?" you don't say -- >> no, no. because there had been so much mania before that, this was the time to jump on anything that looked like it was going to float. >> reporter: you were at the end of your rope. >> absolutely. >> reporter: it was worth a try but not for all of them at once. he took the bank van and went out to the airfield to see if it would work. >> i walked into that processing area and somebody gave me a piece of paper and said "list your dependents on here." and i was fumbling for what piece of paper and they said "just attach that to this piece of paper and keep going." >> you had a wife and 14 names. daughter, son, daughter, son. this is the paper. wife, daughter, daughter, son. 14 kids, some older than he was. he was certifying on a u.s. government document that these were his children.
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is your heart pounding? >> yes, a little bit. >> reporter: palms sweating? >> i was certainly nervous. yes. >> pelley: a story that began as "schindler's list" was about to turn into "argo." would the ruse work? leslie stahl continue this is remarkable story this sunday on "60 minutes." a colossal storm is bearing down on india. the cyclone phailin, a thousand miles across, bigger than superstorm sandy. phailin has winds of 160 miles an hour near its center, a category 5. millions will be in its path when it hits land in india tomorrow. the man building this house is no ordinary carpenter. "on the road" with steve hartman is next. [ paper rustles, outdoor sounds ] ♪ [ male announcer ] laura's heart attack
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didn't come with a warning. today her doctor has her on a bayer aspirin regimen to help reduce the risk of another one. if you've had a heart attack, be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. if you've had a heart attack, be sure to talk to your doctor and i had like this whenfour inch band of bumps it started on my back. that came around to the front of my body. and the pain from it was- it was excruciating. it made me curtail my activities cause i'm really an outgoing kind of a guy. and, uh, i like to play sports, i play basketball, i play pool. i did not want anyone to brush into me to cause me more pain than i was already enduring. i went to my doctor; he said well you actually have shingles. this is a result of you having chickenpox as a kid. it totally caught me off guard. i put the pool cue in the corner. i couldn't do those things anymore. the basketball- it caught dust. i wanted to just crawl up in a ball
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tougher. but, there's one bl the governor said went too next at 6. weather talent appears at wx center with generic >> pelley: finally tonight, steve hartman heard about an unusual construction project "on the road" in east texas so he stopped by to check it out. >> reporter: just outside tyler, texas, there's a single-story house with a story and a half. 48-year-old thomas graham is building this house pretty much by himself.
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and although that alone is not remarkable, just imagine trying to put up a three bedroom two bath ranch without any blueprints-- and doing it in total darkness. >> looks good! >> reporter: thomas says he started dreaming of this shortly after he went blind with the age of 18. he had friends help him with the roof and wiring but the rest has been him. >> this is my braille yardstick. >> reporter: all this in five months. all this and still ten fingers. an accomplishment so unbelievable a lot of his neighbors don't believe him. people really doubt you're blind? >> they do, and i tell them "well, let me drive your car then." >> reporter: (laughs) >> then they usually back off. >> pelley: for the record, he is totally blind and on occasion he even unwittingly hammers home the point. >> before i had these walls up i fell right off the front of the house here. it's hard to make it look like you meant to do that. >> reporter: as i'm sure you
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noticed by now, thomas has a great sense of humor. >> i just bounced back up. >> reporter: but there's also a dark corner to this house. the building is a replica of the house he grew up in and his wife suspect there is' a reason for that. away from thomas in the camper they're living in for now yvonne told me she thinks part of this is thomas reclaiming his childhood. >> i think that's a lot of it. >> reporter: there's some kind of healing going on there. >> and i hope this does it. >> as a teenager at the age of 18 i made some bad choices. >> reporter: the worst choice by far was agreeing to go with his dad on a burglary attempt. things went bad. his dad shot and killed a cop and then got shot and killed himself. thomas got a face full of shotgun pellets. he lost his vision, his father, and his freedom all in one fell swoop. and it was after serving his six years in prison that thomas decided he would one day build his childhood home.
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for his part, thomas doesn't care about the reasons behind the project, all he cares about it getting it done before winter. and if he can inspire others along the way, all the better. >> i truly hope that there are people who think that they can't will find something within themselves and say that i can. >> reporter: steve hartman, "on the road" in tyler, texas. >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, i'm scott pelley. i'll see you sunday on "60 minutes." good night. good captioning sponsored by cbs ca captioned by media access group at wgbh
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your realtime captioner is mrs. linda m. macdonald tonight, new rules for gun owners. good evening, i'm ken bastida. >> i'm elizabeth cook. governor brown had a stack of gun control bills to sort through. he vetoed one that would have given the state the toughest gun laws in the nation. mark kelly reports. >> reporter: the governor signed more gun control bills than he vetoed. and for supporters of gun control legislation they say this is a good step forward. out of the 18 bills, 11 the governor signed. assembly member nancy skinner sponsored two of them. >> the purpose of both these bills is to increase safety in
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our communities, prevent gun violence, and to give our public safety officials and others more tools. >> reporter: ab-48 closes a loophole making it illegal to buy or possess conversion kits. conversion kits allow gun owners to shoot more than 10 rounds of bullets with one pull of the trigger. >> the fact you could convert a magazine to be a high capacity magazine goes counter to what state law wants and it provides the ability to turna weapon into a mass shooting machine. >> reporter: ab-1131 addresses the mentally ill, they can't buy a gun for five years if a gun holder makes a serious physical threat against a victim. >> 1131 goes a long way to helping make sure that mental health individuals, individuals that should not have a gun, are prohibited from having a gun. >> clearly these two bill


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