tv NBC Nightly News NBC August 10, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
on our broadcast tonight, presidential politics. days away from his biggest decision of the campaign, who to run with. drama behind the scenes of the romney campaign as three new polls out suggest it may not be as close as it once was. more news tonight about the worst drought in half a century. and the devastation to a big american crop. plus, some extreme weather warnings tonight. in wisconsin, a sea of people after a tragedy. coming together in a show of peace and unity. here in london at the olympics, the curse of the baton. what that handoff has done to give team usa such trouble. luckily their successes roll on, so does "nbc nightly news" from london. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
and good evening. in a matter of days, when the olympic flame and the stadium behind us here is put out and the nonstop television coverage signs off, and the summer of 2012 continues and thoughts turn to politics, in a matter of days we will know mitt romney's choice for a running mate. some new polls just out show romney may face a bit more of an uphill race than he expected right now. the gop convention, their chance to show off their candidate, their ticket begins in 17 days. we start off with the state of the race tonight and our chief white house correspondent and political director chuck todd. >> trailing in the polls, the romney campaign hopes the announcement of a vice presidential running mate will give them a shot in the arm and a chance to relaunch. >> i certainly expect to have a person that has strength of
character, vision for the country that adds something to the political discourse about the direction of the country. i happen to believe this is a defining election for america. >> romney's promise of a visionary vp only increased the buzz surrounding paul ryan, who is a favorite of washington economic conservative. last night, ryan almost used the exact same language as romney to describe the stakes of this election. >> it's not a very good political climate right now, that's because we have enormously high stakes election. >> other members of the short list include rob portman and tim pawlenty want the suspense ended. >> are you ready for this decision to be made? are you tired of the questions? >> i'm ready for it to be made, i am. >> reporter: this week of the campaign has been marked by an ugly tone. >> and she passed away in 22 days. i do not think mitt romney realizes what he's done to anyone. >> reporter: what does it say
about a president's character when his campaign tries to use the tragedy of a woman's death for political gain. three new polls show the president leading by seven points or more, even romney seems to acknowledge the negative turn is hurting him. >> our campaign would be helped if we had an agreement between both campaigns that we were only going to talk about issues and attacks based upon business or family or taxes or things of that nature, that this is just -- this is -- >> the diversion? >> are you going to pledge or something? >> i would love to -- we only talk about issues, and we can talk about the differences between our positions. >> now, romney starts a four state bus tour that begins tomorrow in norfolk, virginia. every day, brian, it seems the romney campaign has something planned that is designed to make us think that that day will be the day they pick the vp. we're just trying to have a little fun, we think they're aiming for a rollout later next
week. brian? >> and the guessing game continues. chuck, thanks. there was a big, bad wave of unsettled weather over the eastern third of the country today. could make for a stormy and even dangerous night still in some places. we want to check in with mike seidel at headquarters in atlanta. mike, good evening. >> good evening, brian. we had a minor tornado touch down on long island, 85 mile an hour winds. show you what's going on right now, we have a tornado watch until 9:00 covering parts of southeast massachusetts and rhode island. big storms rolling through the area at about 35 to 40 miles an hour. one coming into brock ton and right over logan airport. we'll have the risk of wind damage and heavy rains, these storms have moved north, they have weakened, the threat of severe weather and lightning has decreased. the payoff comes, already in the midwest. we haven't seen weather like this in two months in the midwest where they've had triple
digit heat. brian, bloomfield, west virginia 76, the same as london on saturday. >> thanks. we've been reporting on the drought that's devastated the corn belt of the u.s., the worst in more than half a century. just today a dire new assessment from the u.s. department of agriculture. the nation is on track to have its worst corn crop in almost two decades. we get more from nbc's tom costello. from the government today, a sober assessment of the toll this year's drought is taking on the nation's food supply. average corn yields now forecast to be the lowest in 17 years, with corn prices expected to hit record highs. and soybean production down 12% from last year. in chase county, kansas. guy's 11,000 acre ranch hasn't had a drop of rain since mid june. >> we rely on pond water. to get pond water we rely on the
man upstairs. >> reporter: already grain prices have soared for ranchers. >> it looks like to me, purchased feed expenses are going to triple relative to where we were a decade ago. >> with some states breaking all time heat records, the u.s. drought map is the reddest it's been all year, with 38% of the country experiencing severe drought conditions or worse. >> this drought is by far the worst and most extreme drought we've had since 1956. >> reporter: the good news? the agriculture department predicts food prices will rise only modestly this year. in line with previous years. but at this farmer's market in washington. sellers say they're already paying more. >> we've definitely noticed an increase in prices on fruit. but we've tried to keep our prices the same. >> a long, hot summer with no relief in sight. tom costello, nbc news, washington. >> now to america's decade long war in afghanistan where today three u.s. marines were killed when an afghan police officer
believed to be a taliban infiltrator opened fire on them. it was the third such attack on coalition forces in just the past week alone. our pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski with us for more tonight. jim, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. those marines working side by side with afghan security forces in southern afghanistan, walked straight into a deadly ambush. they had just wrapped up a security meeting with local police, when one police officer opened fire. three marines were killed instantly, a fourth seriously wounded. the gunman escaped. it's an alarming trend. so far this year, 34 americans have been killed in 35 attacks by afghan forces, way ahead of last year's phase. and for the first time, military officials tell us that u.s. forces there are edgy, really on edge, there's a growing fear the armed afghan soldier standing next to them, may very well be
the enemy. there's also concern that that loss of trust, where it counts the most on the battlefield could very well undermine the entire u.s. mission, brian? >> jim miklaszewski on duty at the pentagon for us, tonight. jim, thanks. we turn to syria, where the fierce battle for that nation's largest city continues. government forces creating a choke hold around aleppo, hoping to hold off the rebels, still holding out inside. richard engel reports for us again tonight from inside syria. >> reporter: it has now become a war after trigs in aleppo, at a few checkpoint notice city, the rebels are still fighting. just blocks away, government troops sweep house to house, shown on state tv, which called it a decisive operation against terrorists. today we travelled with a group of rebels to the outskirts of aleppo, they hoped to reinforce the fighters inside the city.
they passed refugees on their way out. even the rebels were surgeoned by what they saw when we reached the town a few miles from aleppo. entire rows of houses burned. shop gates twisted from bombs much even the town mosque was shelled. who did all this was clear from the fresh tank tracks in the pavement. it wasn't just this town that was attacked. the villages immediately around aleppo are now like this, lots of damage and empty. just one ghost town after another. there's now an abandoned zone radiating all over the city. >> reporter: a few rebels still remain. one commander says the town's residents fled after hundreds were killed in the last six weeks. >> everyone is gone. not a single person left. the only ones who stayed had no money to leave, and they were killed. we buried them, he says. the government seems to be
creating a no man's land around aleppo, so rebels can't resupply the fighters inside. exactly what the unit we were with wanted to do today. but could not. they could only watch from a distance. a war zone surrounded by emptiness. richard engel, nbc news, northern syria. in the milwaukee suburb of oak creek, there was a outpouring of support and unity today at a public memorial service for the victims of a shooting rampage in a sikh temple last weekend. thousands of people of all faiths came together today and nbc's john yang was there. >> reporter:ny came to a high school gymnasium to mourn. sikh's and non-sikh's. joined by hundreds and hundreds of total strangers. the children and grandchildren of the victims spoke on behalf of their families. the only woman killed in the
attack -- >> as i look around, i don't see sikhs or jus or christians, i see everybody. >> reporter: page was shot by police then took his own life. one girl recalled her grandfather. >> they died a painful death and in wrong conditions, but they died at a place where god could take them. >> reporter: eric holder represented president obama. >> you have inspired the very best in who we are. >> reporter: investigators have returned the temple to the congregation who tore out the bloody carpet and repaired damages. they're keeping a you single bullet hole in a door frame as a lasting memorial. a list of children's needs,
number five don't become prejudiced. >> one day he was going to give it to us. that day came far too early. still ahead tonight, as we continue along the way from london, the art of the handoff. the stick that may hold the key to who wins here on the track. and the big challenge for the americans here tonight. later, the shining star of some of the women who have busted through and busted out during these games for team usa. [ thunk ] sweet! [ male announcer ] the solid thunk of the door on the volkswagen jetta. thanks, mister! [ meow ] it's quality you can hear and feel. that's the power of german engineering.
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from jim maceda. >> reporter: it's a relay sprinter's nightmare. >> the stick is on the ground and the u.s. is out. >> reporter: dropping the baton spells disaster on the track. since the athens games in 2004, no one suffered more from butter fingers than the u.s. men and women's runners. >> it's amazing that they struggled to get a 20 ounce baton through the exchange zone. >> reporter: both the men and women were disqualified in beijing. only one finish since 2007 in world championships. leaving some veteran sprinters like lauren williams mystified. >> somebody somewhere has a voodoo doll on the united states. >> reporter: but bolden says
u.s. relay woes are partly super natural. >> there are some mistakes that have been made in the past couple years. >> reporter: at this track outside london. alfredo who ran for portugal and angola teaches stick passing 101 to high schoolkids. it needs to be done very quick and very steady. >> in three simple steps the receiver runs when the passer approaches the exchange zone. even a middle aged reporter can do it. piece of cake, what's the problem. try it at 25 miles an hour as in an olympic relay with less than two seconds to make it happen. >> practice with the guy who's delivering time after time after time after time. it's second nature for you. >> reporter: instead the very best relay teams got complacent. >> got by with having the fastest men and women on the
track. and, therefore, it didn't matter how well they passed the stick. >> reporter: it does matter now. the whole u.s. relay team travelled to monda monaco and fs practiced their baton passing abilities. jim maceda, nbc news, london. up next here tonight, the latest mishap at a busy american airport tonight 37 the blissful pause just before that rich sweetness touches your lips. the delightful discovery, the mid-sweetening realization that you have the house all to yourself. well, almost. the sweet reward, making a delicious choice that's also a smart choice. splenda no-calorie sweetener. with the original sugar-like taste you love and trust. splenda makes the moment yours. [ femala $100 cream. we were tflattered when regenerist beat
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it's an army air ship made by northrup grumman. it's in the testing phase prior to deployment. it was designed as a high altitude intelligence gathering platform. the armed forces have used a number of smaller ones over iraq and afghanistan. it was seen sao. and what's meant to be amateur video was visible in the skies over new jersey this week. neil diamond gets his star on the walk of fame. saluting a career that includes 37 top ten singles, dates back to his days as a struggling songwriter just blocks from 30 rock. the answer to some of the things you may have wondered about watching the olympics for the past two weeks. for example. why do they always bite their metals. people have doubts about taking aspirin for pain.
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let's talk about all the action we have witnessed. so many events, so many sports, so many details that went flying by that we hope to address here tonight. first of all, let's get some frequently asked questions out of the way. for starters, why doesn't the sand seem to stick to the beach volleyball players. goodness knows we watched them closely enough, it doesn't. it's designed not to. it's a special type selected for its large even granules. next, why do the medal winners kiss them and bite them? because the still photographers yell out give it a kiss, give it a bite, so these pictures will result. 16% of gold medal winners cry during the ceremony. though that number seems low. and yes more women than men. though some men look like they just came out of a screening of "terms of endearment." 44% of gold medalists sing along with their anthem. for those who don't win gold, of
course, there's silver and bronze. and npr recently reported on a study that seems to conclude for your own mental health, you may be better off with bronze. they seem happy to have won a medal and reached the medal stand when the alternative is going home. the problem with silver or so the argument goes is that however unfairly, means not winning, but coming in second. back to those gold medals, ireland has a new national hero and her name is katie taylor, gold medalist lightweight boxer. her dad, who's her coach gave her boxing gloves when she was 11. since she couldn't find another girl willing to fight, she boxed with boys growing up. all of ireland stopped yesterday to watch the fight. and it seemed like they were all
there in the arena. all the women boxing champions were brilliant as the brits like to say. including their own nikala adams. with a smile as sweet as her demeanor. and our own clarissa shields. a life's dream accomplished at just 17. they all made history because it's the first year for their support in the olympics. the games aren't just for the young, however. at 52, canadian rower and silver medalist leslie thompson willie is like an ad for centrum silver. then the driver of the pace bike at the velodrome who looks like an old timy mailman, he's 65. when he exits the track, the velodrome earns its reputation. it's fast and loud. 140 decibels inside. roughly the equivalent of
standing near a jet engine. there were a slew of sad and hard stories. the face plant in bmx. the pole vaulter's pole that burst into three pieces. the weightlifter who dropped his weights on his neck. the turkish runner who finished while dissolving in tears. and remember aly raisman's parents who insist on acting out their daughter's gymnastics routine, what about the man sitting behind them? gabby douglas is tiny in person, but big enough to leave us all mighty starstruck. that is our broadcast on a friday night and for this week.