tv NBC Nightly News NBC August 20, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
es by up to two thousand dollars a year. mitt romney's middle class tax increase. he pays less. you pay more. test. test. on our broadcast tonight firestorm. a congressman's words about rape rocket across the country and while fellow republicans spen the day urging him to quit his senate race, women's issues are front and center again. changing course. an all male institution finally lets a few women in including a former secretary of state. fighting parkinsons. our cameras are there as a young mother makes a risky decision to get her life back. tonight the dramatic before and after. and a comedy legend who blazed the trail for all those who came after her. tonight we'll rememb phyllis diller. tonight we'll rememb phyllis diller. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
good evening. it was an intervi with a candidate on television, the kind of thing that happens every day during this campaign season but when the questioning turned to abortion in the case of rape the republican candidate for u.s. senate in missouri answered in a way he came to regret. suddenly it exploded well beyond the borders of missouri in this campaign season where every word counts. it's where we begin tonight with nbc's andrea mitchell. >> reporter: republicans fear their hopes for the white house and control of the senate could turn on what happened at a st. louis tv station when the host asked missouri republican senate front-runner todd akin, a sitting congressman, about abortion. >> what about in the case of rape? should it be legal or not? >> it seems to me first of all from what i understand from doctors that is really rare. if it's a legitimate rape the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. but let's assume maybe that didn't work or something. you know, i think there should
be some punishment but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child. >> reporter: mitt romney quickly called "the national review online" and said akin's comments were insulting, inexcusable, frankly wrong and offensive. nbc news has learned paul ryan who cosponsored a law with akin that critics say would outlaw all abortions even in cases of rape called akin today trying to deliver the same message. later in a coordinated republican effort to force akin out romney increased the pressure on wmur. >> the thing he should consider is what is in the best interests of the things he believes most deeply, what will help the country at this critical time. >> reporter: republican senate campaign chairman senator john cornyn told akin he'll pull the plug on millions of dollars of campaign funds if he stays in. but akin later told sean hannity's radio show he won't quit all though he did back track on rape. >> i had heard from medical reports that rape is such a traumatic type of thing that
it -- that there is a reaction. you know, though, that's wrong. >> reporter: democrats led by the president sought to take advantage. >> rape is rape. and the idea that we should be parcing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we're talking about doesn't make sense to the american people. and it certainly doesn't make sense to me. >> reporter: the biggest beneficiary akin's opponent democratic senator claire mccaskill. >> i don't think this is somebody that most of the moderate republicans in this state can support. >> reporter: the biology is not in doubt. girls and women raped have about a 5% chance of getting pregnant no different from unprotected consensual sex. the politics are also clear. in a race where the president had a 15-point advantage with women voters in the last nbc
news/"wall street journal" poll republicans were reeling. tonight conservative republicans are increasing the pressure. everyone from sean hannity to the party chairman rice priebus publicly say akin should go before he does permanent damage to the republican campaign. >> andrea mitchell from our d.c. newsroom starting us off. thanks. that brings us to our political director chief white house correspondent chuck todd. chuck, just to repeat here, why did this get so much bigger so quickly than just a senate race in missouri? >> well, two quick reasons. sense of urgency, 5:00 deadline tomorrow afternoon that if congressman akin gets out on his own republicans can replace the candate but this has to do with that last poll question andrea put in her spot and that is this gender gap particularly in battleground states in virginia and colorado. brian, president obama has been running ads attacking romney on issues of access to contraception, the funding of planned parenthood. there is already a wide gender gap.
they didn't want it to get worse. >> back to your day job covering that building behind you you were in the briefing room today. the president walked in. a surprise appearance. takes some questions. we heard a little bit earlier but in another portion he took on his opponent directly. let's listen. >> i'm not asking to, you know, disclose every detail of, you know, his medical records. i mean, this is -- this isn't sort of overly personal here, guys. the one year's of tax returns that he disclosed indicated he used swiss bank accounts, for example. well, that may be perfectly legal, but i suspect if you ask the average american do you have one, and is that how you manage your tax obligations, they would say no. >> so, chuck todd, from swiss bank accounts to even something like health records, what's
required of presidents, those running for the job, the president went there. >> reporter: he did. he was trying to defend. he was peppered with questions from a bunch of us on the tone and tenor of his campaign saying is it really necessary that you -- why are you so focused simply on governor romney's tax returns? that's what he was defending saying, hey, his tax returns are essentially a values question about how he would govern. that's the point he was trying to make today, brian. i'm sure we'll hear it more on the campaign trail. >> chuck todd from the north lawn of the white house tonight. thanks. another member of congress is apologizing tonight for an incident that happened a year ago but just came to light. some unusual behavior on a congressional junket, an overseas trip to israel. our report from nbc's kelly o'donnell. >> reporter: a biblical holy sight, the sea of galilee, now a place where there was an embarrassing display by a young republican congressman from
kansas who admits he jumped in for a swim naked. in a radio interview today yoder said he was sorry. >> i decided to join them and made the real mistake of going in without clothing and it's a regrettable incident. >> reporter: this happened a year ago but was reported by politico today. 36-year-old yoder was part of a congressional delegation of two dozen members plus some spouses and staff that visited israel last summer. not on the taxpayers' dime but invited by a charity group linked to the powerful israeli lobby aipac. after a day of meetings both men and women from the congressional group went for a swim. that is permitted but public nudity is not. yoder was the only one to skinny dip. >> the sea of galilee which is obviously a special place and wanted to be part of that and clearly it was a mistake and, you know, i've never done that before and i can tell you i won't do it again. >> so you weren't drunk to be clear. >> no. >> house majority leader eric
canter was on the trip but not present and not pleased by the adult swim. >> i think we started realizing it may not be behavior appropriate of a congressman and certainly his comments drove that home even further. >> reporter: today in washington reaction was tinged with humor. >> i think i'm not going to wade into that one at all. >> reporter: and white house press secretary jay carney. >> i'm at a loss as i was when i read the story. >> reporter: for some context this trip happened last summer just about two weeks after the debt crisis. and when the country's own credit rating took a dip. congressman yoder says he gets it. he knows voters expect elected officials to live up to a higher standard. >> kelly o'donnell in washington tonight, thanks. there is news this evening about a course correction at one of the oldest and most famous private clubs in this country. despite increasing pressure, augusta national, home of the masters golf tournament and the famous green jacket, has
insisted on staying all male until today. nbc's lisa myers has more on the first two women invited in. >> reporter: it is among the most iconic venues in sports and the site of many of golf's most memorable moments. augusta national golf club. for 80 years only men have been allowed to become members. but today that barrier finally came crashing down. augusta chairman billy payne called it a joyous occasion announcing that two women had been invited to join and had accepted -- former secretary of state condoleezza rice and financier darla moore once described in a magaze cover as the toughest babe in business. >> this is a momentous day for the game of golf and for sports in general. it's like the berlin wall of discrimination finally coming down in golf. >> reporter: augusta members traditionally include captains of industry including brian
roberts, ceo of comcast, owner of nbc universal. augusta's decision to stop excluding half the population came 40 years after a woman first became ceo of a fortune 500 company. a club insider said rice and moore have been under consideration for a number of years but that the club was determined to admit women on its own terms and timetable. why choose these two women? >> gender aside, they fit the profile. they're very successful in their respective fields. they have a great passion for the game of golf. they're civic minded. >> the woman who led protests against augusta nine years ago today applauded the choice of rice and moore and said this victory is about a lot more than golf. >> this is a victory for working women. this is about access to power and access to the halls of power where decisions are made. >> reporter: rice and moore praised augusta for its traditions and history.
this fall they'll don the iconic green jacket reserved for members and past champions. a dream once reserved only for boys. lisa myers, nbc news, washington. we have an update tonight on the wildfires in the west. a new fire in northern california started by a lightning strike over the weekend brought a state of emergency declaration in shasta county today. several homes and buildings have been burned as this fire has moved through 23 square miles of heavily wooded land near redding about 170 miles south of sacramento. overseas in afghanistan the u.s. top generals including the chairman of the joint chiefs general dempsey met today on the issue of so-called green on blue attacks. afghan security forces supposedly friendly forces turning on americans as they have in the past few weeks. ten american service members have been killed recently in these so-called insider attacks. still ahead on "nbc nightly news" new hope for a woman who wanted to put life back to the
way it was before she had parkinson's. we'll show you her brave decision and the results. rosie o'donnell announces she has survived a near fatal health scare, something doctors worry about with women across the country in fact. health scare, something doctors worry about with women across the country in fact. the pressurs on my feet and exactly where i needed more support. then, i got my number. my tired, achy feet affected my whole life. until i found my number. i tried the free dr. scholl's foot mapping center. in two minutes, i got my foot map and custom number. i'm a 440. that matched up to the dr. scholl's custom fit orthotic inserts with the right support and cushioning i need. i am a believer. i'm a believer! i'm a believer. go to drscholls.com to find your closest walmart with a foot mapping center. my name is sunshine and i have three beautiful girls. i like taking advil® for a headache. it nips it in the bud. and i can be that mommy that i want to be. ♪ [ male announcer ] take action. take advil®.
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other side effects include dry mouth and constipation. nothing can reverse copd. spiriva helps me breathe better. does breathing with copd weigh you down? ask your doctor if spiriva can help. in health news tonight we're going to talk about the 40,000 people diagnosed with parkinson's disease every year in this country. a growing number of them are young, under age 50. more these days are turning to surgery to help keep their disease and symptoms at bay. tonight our chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman has one remarkable success story. >> reporter: angela is a mother of four and a life-long runner.
she used to start her days with a five-mile run, but lately her parkinson's disease has made that and so much more impossible. >> i have little kids and they like to run around the yard. i would like to be able to keep up with them. >> reporter: angela is one of the estimated million americans living with parkinson's disease a growing number under the age of 50. it is a degenerative disease which means it gets worse with time. >> that's me seven years ago just with one side. now it's switching over to both. >> reporter: she is off her medications because she has decided to try brain surgery to help her manage her disease and the surgery must be performed when her symptoms are at their worst. >> i love you. >> you ready? >> no. >> reporter: her husband, matt, shaves her head in preparation for the surgery. but as much as she tries to take it all in stride, it is sometimes overwhelming.
angela was only 32 when she was diagnosed. >> i was kind of shuffling. >> reporter: it's okay. it's okay. what is the painful part? >> i think just that was the point where i started losing who i was. >> reporter: it's the morning of angela's surgery. she'll be awake during the procedure called deep brain stimulation or dbs. >> doing all right? >> okay. >> reporter: dr. whiting tests the effect of electrical currents on the nerve centers in her brain so they can implant a device that will send shocks to control her symptoms, like a pace maker for the brain. >> i think it went very well. i could see that her tremor got better and we're real hopeful this will be a life changing experience for her. >> reporter: two months later we meet up with her on vacation in north carolina. angela, lift your arms for me.
the surgery has worked. she is off her meds completely. how do you feel when you can do that? >> awesome. >> reporter: angela is even running again. she signed up for a local 5-k charity run. what makes you want to do that? >> because i can. >> reporter: her first race since the dbs. >> good, baby. >> reporter: just part of the life she says she has been given back by her surgery. this procedure is meant for those people who don't respond to medication and if it works it has permanent effects. and for those who do qualify for the surgery, it's covered by insurance, brian. >> what else to say? it is absolutely remarkable. >> pretty cool. >> nancy, there is another story of medical interest in the news today. rosie o'donnell is recovering from a heart attack and a big one. doctors found her coronary artery 99% blocked and inserted a stent. she was at home when it hit. she didn't know at first what it was.
she felt pain throughout the day. she didn't call 911. she googled it. she says she finally took a bayer aspirin the way she learned in the tv commercial. she said today it was a miracle she didn't die. rosie o'donnl is 50 years old and, nancy, we have talked about this. >> we have. >> especially where women and heart disease are concerned. >> 200,000 women die every year. the symptoms are not always typical of men who complain of crushing chest pain. it can be like rosie, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, just feeling downright lousy and exhausted. she took aspirin. not too intelligently she waited 24 hours. anybody listening, take your aspirin, call 911. that's how you save a life. we are thrilled for her. >> we're happy to have her around. >> we sure are. >> as always, thank you. up next, hollywood rocked by the suicide of a big name director. tonight friends say they may know why he chose to take his own life. [ male announcer ] research suggests the health of our cells plays a key role
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♪ if you're going to san francisco ♪ >> be sure to wear flowers in your hair. it was among the most beautiful and gentle of the protest era songs. scott mckenzie has died. that was his voice on "san francisco" back in 1967. while he went on to write "kokomo" for the beach boys he will always be associated with the anthem of flower power. he was 73. the hollywood director tony scott has taken his own life. friends suspect it was the recent diagnosis of inoperable brain cancer that made him jump from a bridge in l.a. he directed "top gun" and the great "crimson tide" among other films. he is survived by his family including the film director ridley scott. tony scott was 68. william windom has died.
he made a living and won an emmy playing every man including the ground breaking tv show "my world and welcome to it." he put in memorable turns in "star trek" and "murder she wrote." he was a stage and film veteran and a paratrooper veteran of world war ii. william windom was 88 years old. the white house today threw a lunch time state dinner designed for kids from all 50 states. the kids who got to attend hosted by the first lady with a drop by from the president were the grand prize winners in a nationwide contest to submit healthy recipes. when we come back, remembering the woman who boldly went where no one else was willing and it changed comedy in the process. do you test with this? freestyle lite test strips? i don't see... beep! wow! that didn't take much blood. yeah, and the unique zipwik tab
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so i'm at my best. an intense burning sensation i woke up with this horrible rash on my right side. like somebody had set it on fire. and the doctor said, cindie, you have shingles. he said, you had chickenpox when you were a little girl... i said, yes, i did. i don't think anybody ever thinks they're going to get shingles. but it happened to me. for more of the inside story, visit shinglesinfo.com starts with arthritis pain and a choice. take tylenol or take aleve, the #1 recommended pain reliever by orthopedic doctors. just two aleve can keep pain away all day. back to the news. ♪ ♪
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until she came along. >> i was at a beauty parlor and a lady at the desk said, madame, we do repairs, not reclamations. >> she was born phyllis driver in lima, ohio, a serious musician who worked on her college newspaper, married young at 22, and had six children in all. while her husband worked making bombers at detroit's willow run plant, she wrote advertising copy. when they moved west, she took a job as a secretary in a san francisco tv station where her friends at work, at the laundromat and pta meetings told her how funny she was. that led to a night club booking and then tv -- a lot ofit alongside the greats of all time. >> yes, i've worn a wedding ring for 18 years. >> really. two more payments and it'll be all yours. >> her husband wasn't really named fang and while she famously had more face lifts than husbands she had a few partners over the years. she didn't like smoking but
always had a cigarette holder and she wasn't always funny. in fact, she turned in some memorable, dramatic performances. mostly, phyllis diller blew open the doors of comedy for all the women who came after her and she launched a generation of comics and then some. when her one-time comedy partner bob hope died, she came on the air with us to remember his favorite joke about her. >> it was that i was so ugly that a peeping tom threw up on my window sill. >> bad health finally forced her to give up stand up a decade ago. her last appearance was on the tonight show in 2007. tonight every big name in hollywood has reacted to the death of a giant among them. the one of a kind phyllis diller, gone at the age of 95. that is our broadcast on a monday night. thank you for being with us as we start off a new week. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com