tv NBC Nightly News NBC December 6, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
on the broadcast tonight, game on. president obama becomes candidate obama. and tonight as this race heats up, we have a reality check on the new republican front-runner. it news about that mine disaster in west virginia that killed 29 men. one of the biggest settlements in history, but some are asking, why isn'tnyone going to jail? a new test that could provide much needed help for turn tens of thousands of women who get alarming news and aren't sure what to do next. a holiday mystery that nobody really wants to solve. who is leaving the gold coins in the christmas kettle? "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
good evening. exactly four weeks from today, the iowa caucuses will give us the first results of this election season. and tonight things are on the move. the latest polling shows newt gingrich out ahead in iowa by 2 to 1 over mitt romney who chose not to campaign there early on. and president obama invoked an old rule in politics, define yourself or wait to be defind by others. he gave a speech in the midwest today that was different in tone, tenor, volume than what he's been saying lately. today, four weeks from iowa, sure seemed like this campaign was on. it's where we begin tonight with chuck todd. chuck, good evening. >> good evening, brian, you got that right. as the republican campaign appears headed to a two-way contest, the man they ultimately have to beat threw out the cornerstone of his case for re-election.
the president rolled out the obama version of prairie po populism today in a small prairie town. >> 1910, teddy roosevelt came here and he laid out his vision for what he called a new nationalism, of an economic system under which each man shall be guaranteed the opportunity to show the best that there is in him. >> reporter: mr. obama again cast himself and the democratic party as the protecters of the middle class under republican assault. >> their philosophy is it simple. we are better off when everyone is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules. i am here to say they are wrong. >> the president used the phrase 20 times. >> this is a make or break moment for the middle class. >> reporter: using phrases like fair 1409 and fair share, he used the language of the occupy wall street movement. >> these aren't democratic
values, republican values, these aren't 1% values or 99% values. they're american values. >> reporter: in an odd coincidence, teddy roosevelt became an issue today for newt gingrich who had once called himself a teddy roosevelt republican. gingrich also took heat on the airwaves courtesy of ron paul. >> he's the very essence of the washington insider. >> reporter: mitt romney has abandoned his hands off the media strategy, but denies it's because he lost the lead. >> that's what happens toward the end of a campaign, it's time for our closing argument. >> reporter: the so-called donald trump candidate lost a key contestant. he personally called up trump to tell him no. >> chuck, thanks. with newt beginning rich now in the front-runner spot, we'll all be hearing about his tenure of speaker of the house in the
mid '90s. lisa myers tonight looks back at some of the hits, runs and errors. >> the speaker of the house, newt gingrich of georgia. >> reporter: because of newt gingrich in 1995, republicans recaptured the house for the first time in 40 years. >> i am a genuine revolutionary. >> reporter: working with president clinton, gingrich piled up ream achievements, a balanced budget, historic welfare reform. after four years, gingrich was forced out by his own troops. former congressman joe scarborough helped lead the mutiny. >> he accomplished a lot. but he burned so many bridges that it hurt the republican party and more importantly, to a lot of us, the conservative movement moving forward. >> reporter: a former press secretary says gingrich's brilliance was often outweighed by hubris and lack of discipline. >> he never made the transition
from being an entrepreneur to being a manager. twice gingrich shut down the government, he says this about that now. >> we did it very carefully. clinton and i understood how to fight in a way that would mature and confuse the washington press corps. >> reporter: at the time, he again rated this head line. after suggesting he shut down the government because the president made him sit in the back on air force one. two years in, some republicans were so upset with gingrich, he barely was re-elected speaker. >> to the degree i was too brash, too self-confident or too pushy, i apologize. >> reporter: he became the first speaker ever reprimanded by the house for ethics violations, and was fined $300,000 for misusing tax exempt funds. in his final months, gingrich led a bare knuckles battle to impeach president clinton. republicans lost seat notice '98
elections, under his leadership, the party's approval rating plummeted from 50% to 33%. later it was revealed that while leading a moralistic charge to impeach president clinton, gingrich himself was having an affair with a hill staffer, calista, now his third wife. so far only a handful of his former colleagues are supporting his presidential bid. >> having lived through newt in the '90s, there are some members who don't think he can win. >> reporter: based on his speakership, they question whether gingrich has the temperament and judgment to sit in this chair. lisa myers, nbc news, washington. >> the head of the federal aviation administration randy babbitt said today he'll resign. this comes after he was arrested saturday night on drunk driving charges. babbitt was an eastern airlines captain for 25 years, he's now 65. he was pulled over in suburban virginia, where police say he was driving on the wrong side of the road. today he said he would not allow
his own troubles to distract from the work of his colleagues. today the obama administration announced an unprecedented new policy. they will use foreign aide money to fight for gay rights around the world in areas like saudi arabia who outlawsexuality and kill someone for being homosexual. overseas today, afghanistan suffered its worst suicide bomb attacks ever. three apparently coordinated attacks killing more than 60 people in all. all of the attacks targeted members of a religious minority there, in the kind of sectarian violence that's been rare in afghanist afghanistan. atia, good evening. >> reporter: good evening,
brian. there were three separate attacks and they took place on one of the holiest days for shiite muslims. before the attacks, shiite muslims gathered to worship at a mosque here in kabul. but without warning, this day of remembrance turned tragic, a suicide bomber hiding in a crowd of men, women and children blew himself up. the blast killed at least 56 people, 150 injured. after the bomb detonated, there were wounded everywhere, in pieces, this witness said. and dead everywhere. few were spared. this woman cried for her only son. this man for his mother. outside the nearest hospital, family members gathered fearing the worst. soon after, another attack targeting a convoy of shiites in northern afghanistan. the bomb hidden in a bike. four were killed there, 21 injured.
police reportedly found and diffused a second bomb nearby. a third attack in khandahar left one person dead. sectarian violence like this, is rare among muslims in afghanistan, unlike pakistan and iraq, despite 30 years of conflict and war. even the taliban denied involvement, saying in an e-mail, the islam rick emirates will not permit anyone to kill people on behalf of religion or tribal affiliation. president karzai in germany for a conference on the future of afghanistan spoke about the incidents. >> it's unfortunate that terrorism of that horrible nature is taking place. >> reporter: later, a group claimed responsibility for the attacks. and afghanistan counted its dead. one top shiite cleric said, we will never forget. today's bombings dealt a heavy blow in an already war-torn
country. some fear this attack will lead to a new waive of violence and retaliation. >> atia abawi, thanks. nbc news has learned more about the story we first reported here lasts night about the unmanned drone that crashed in iran. u.s. officials tell our own jim miklaszewski at the pentagon that the cia had used this sophisticated stealth zroen dro the past to spy on hezbollah training camps in iran. they would not describe the mission it was flying when it crashed last thursday. in april of last year, 29 men died in the explosion of the upper big branch mine in west virginia. it was a huge story and a genuine national tragedy. today the mines owner agreed to pay more than $200 million in penalties and restitution of the families of the victims.
tom costello covered the disaster, and tonight he has more on the settlement. >> reporter: it's a tragedy that still haunts west virginia coal country. 29 men, husbands, fathers, brothers, sons and uncles died when a huge explosion ripped through the upper big branch mine in 2010. soon after we talked to tommy davis, who lost his own son as well as a brother and a nephew. >> why? why did it happen? somebody tell me. why am i not coming home, seeing my son on my couch. >> reporter: federal and state investigators quickly focused on the mine operator, massey energy and what they called a pattern for reckless disregard for safety. >> fundamental safety practices and conditions were neglected. >> reporter: the new owner of the mine, alpha resources will pay $209 million. $46 million of it in restitution to be split among the miner's
families. 11 million to settle hundreds of safety violations racked up before the explosion. the rest will go to mine safety improvements and research. alpha believes the settlements announced today froy the best path forward for everyone. we talked via skype with a representative of the company. >> this will hopefully send a signal to industry that we have to operate in a safeway. >> reporter: of the 29 miners families, eight have settled private claims with the company, the rest are in court-ordered mediation. meanwhile, the criminal investigation continues, 18 former massey executives still refuse to talk to investigators. tom costello, nbc news, washington. billy graham was released from a hospital in ashville, north carolina today after being admitted for pneumonia. graham who is now 93, responded well to treatment and should be
able to resume his normal activities soon. we'll take a break. news tonight about a test that could help women and their doctors decide what to do after worrisome mammogram results. later, who is leaving gold coins in the red kettle. it's a kind of happy holiday mystery. swollen joints, painful, i've been in your shoes. one day i'm on top of the world... the next i'm saying... i have this thing called psoriatic arthritis. i had some intense pain. it progressively got worse. my rheumatologist told me about enbrel. i'm surprised how quickly my symptoms have been managed. [ male announcer ] because enbrel suppresses your immune system, it may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal events including infections, tuberculis, lymphoma, other cancers, and nervous system and blood disorders have occurred. before starting enbrel, your doctor should test you for tuberculosis and discuss whether you've been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. don't start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. tell your doctor if you're prone to infections, have cuts or sores, have had hepatitis b,
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over 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in this country alone. as you and your family may know all too well. another 50,000 get a diagnosis that is less clear, when they're told they have a precancerous condition. there are new findings tonight that could help clear up some of the confusion and help people make more informed decisions about their health care.
our report tonight from our chief science correspondent robert bazell. >> reporter: after a mammogram dorothy learned she had something called dcis. >> you're going to tell me i have cancer and i have stage zero? and it's not real invasive cancer? i was not only fearful, i was confused. >> what some people call a precursor to cancer. >> reporter: a breast radiologist says dcis consists of cancer cells that are inside the milk ducts. >> we take out a little bit of that tissue. >> reporter: doctors cannot be sure if it will spread or can be treated with radiation or mastectomy. >> there's a percentage that will never go on to develop invasive be cancer. but a certain percentage will go on to develop invasive cancer. >> reporter: today's study finds that a genetic test can help with the decisions about how to
treat these cases. it gives a indicating how high the risk is. >> good news for women? >> it's really huge news for women. it allows us to begin to make individualized treatment decisions. >> reporter: the results are part of a big movement to use genetic markers to taylor treatment so every cancer patient gets the best possible care. >> only one quarter of the patients need radiation. >> now we can look and say, what is your specific risk? are you in the three quarters that have a very low risk? >> sometimes this will just stay in a woman's ducts for the rest of her life, and she'll never have a life threatening disease? >> that's correct. >> reporter: robert bazell, nbc news, san antonio. when we come back here tonight, would you buy stock in an outfit that really only plays to win one day a week? a whole lot of people are lining up to do just that. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 let's talk about fees.
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last night here on the broadcast, we told you about an elderly new york woman who said she was subjected to a humiliating strip search by tsa agents at jfk airport. now there are three women who have the same complaint. tsa says it's reviewing all these complaints, and for their part they continue to say, we do not chon duct strip searches as part of passenger screening. as we reported here last week, hearings are going on now in washington over whether or not john hinckley, who tried to assassinate president ronald reagan should be allowed more time away from the mental hospital where he spent the last 30 years. today his sister from dallas testified she sees no reason why he shouldn't be allowed out of the hospital for more days per year. her brother doesn't bother
anybody, and doesn't pose a risk to anyone. then she was asked if it would be okay if her brother live close closer to her in dallas. then she pointed out she lives about ten minutes away from former president george bush, and maybe that wouldn't be such a great idea after all. the congress has passed the fewest bills of any congress in the last ten nonelection years. we couldn't help but feel sad tonight when congress did something. they little the capitol hill christmas tree, but then it went out a few minutes later. it was later repaired. well, we've said it, we watch our presidents when they enter office, and we watch what happens to them while they're in office. they seem to age before our eyes.
some of them go into office looking like robust young men and come away looking much grayer for the experience. for example, bill clinton and george w. bush. barack obama from three years ago, and the president today. but a new study actually says they live longer than most of us. it says compared to most folks our former presidents are healthy, wealthy and wise, and they may get gray hair before our very eyes, but most of them are build to last. just in time for christmas, if you have a packer backer on your gift list, you could make him or her a part owner of the super bowl champion green bay packers. the undefeated packers put 250,000 shares of their team's stock on sale today. it's the first stock sale since 1997. the packers, as you may know are the only publicly owned team in the nfl, and this sale at $250 a
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you could call this a "making a difference" report tonight. we just don't know who to nominate. somebody is dropping very valuable coins in those salvation army red kettles this time of year and helping a charity. >> reporter: the sounds of the holidays, in southwest florida, it's also the soundtrack too a mystery about for the seventh year running, someone has quietly slipped this into the collection pot. a $20 gold coin, value today, $1800. vernon robinson was on duty when someone dropped the coin into his kettle. >> i never seen nothing like that in my life.
it made me feel real good. >> reporter: as in years past the coin came with a handwritten note, in loving memory of mimi. volunteers are on the lookout for another gold coin. >> i'll definitely have my eyes peeled. >> reporter: could be another? >> we don't know, it could be somebody else wanting to donate. >> reporter: the salvation army was founded in the 1850s. in the last three decades, gold and silver coins have turned up during the holidays in at least ten states, including texas, illinois, colorado and here in florida. >> we live in a fast food world today, where everything seems to be instant. let me make my donation online, do you take credit cards. this person has taken the time to find this coin every year. >> reporter: the salvation army, a christian organization says there are two messages that resonate.
that note and what's inscribed on the coin. in god we trust. kerry sanders, nbc news, ft. myers, florida. >> that's our tuesday night broadcast, thank you for being here with us, i'm brian williams, we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com