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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  December 31, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EST

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. on the broadcast on this new year's eve, going over the year's eve, going over the cliff. they're still working but there's no deal expected in congress tonight. and that could mean a steep cost to you and the economy. health scare for secretary of state hillary clinton, hospitalized with a blood clot near her brain. what her doctors are saying tonight. flying high. we all know air travel can be no picnic. but tonight there's some good news. and in with the new. ringing in 2013 all over the world. "nightly news" begins now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. >> good evening, i'm kate snow in tonight for brian, and on
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this new year's eve, lawmakers may be watching the ball drop from their offices at the u.s. capitol. it has been a day of twists and turns in washington, both procedural and political as the white house and congress tried to find a way to avert those automatic tax and spending measures that kick in midnight tonight. the bottom line at this hour, we are headed over the proverbial fiscal cliff. we say that because the senate hasn't voted on any kind of deal. you see it there live. and the house has said even if there is a deal, they're not going to bring any bill to a vote on this new year's eve. so the big question tonight, what impact will it have on every american? we have all of it covered, and we begin with nbc's kelly o'donnell for the latest from capitol hill. kelly? >> reporter: good evening, kate. well, congress is out of time, and frustrations are really running over. and while democrats and republicans say they want to find a solution and they are working toward that, they don't have a deal yet, and that means for now there is nothing to vote on before tonight's deadline.
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with your money on the line, tonight washington can only claim progress. but not success. >> it appears that an agreement to prevent this new year's tax hike is within sight. but it's not done. >> we're very, very close. >> reporter: close comes after intense, closed-door negotiations that kept even most members of congress in the dark. the white house and senate leaders have been trying to beat a deadline they created to stop massive tax increases and automatic spending cuts that could trigger another recession. but one breakthrough did come today. >> i can report that we've reached an agreement on all of the tax -- the tax issues. >> reporter: a genuine compromise on taxes. most notable, rates would go up for couples earning above $450,000 a year. and today the same for everyone else. but they are divided over how much and how soon to cut government spending. and people are frustrated.
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>> sometimes you wonder, is it all just for show, or, you know, what's really going on behind closed doors? >> reporter: come midnight, your takehome pay shrinks. income taxes go up for everyone. roughly $2,400 next year for a family making 50 to $75,000. the 2% payroll tax break ends, costing an average worker another $1,000 a year. higher taxes on savings and investments. families will pay more on large inheritances. and for those on hard times, out of a job longer than six months, unemployment benefits stop. visitors to capitol hill say they're out of patience. >> i don't think it's fair that our kids are coming into this world with so much debt. >> reporter: the new year with no deal also means government spending faces deep cuts. slicing 8 to 9% from many federal agencies and the military. cutting about $110 billion next year. and right now, sources in both parties say they think they can delay those spending cuts for about two months.
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but again, they're still working on it. and all of these negative effects can be undone with congress continuing to work. but deadlines tend to make things happen here. and missing tonight could delay this for an amount of time we just can't predict. kate? >> kelly o'donnell on capitol hill where i suspect she'll be for a while. tonight our political director and chief white house correspondent chuck todd also on hand tonight. he joins me now. chuck, there are a lot of people, i'm sure, out there rolling their eyes, wondering how did we get to this point on new year's eve? how did they let it go this far? >> reporter: well, the biggest problem is our political system does not reward compromise. the way these deals have happened in the past, with previous presidents and previous speakers and previous leaders is a compromise is rewarded by the public. and right now, whether it's president obama, whether it was speaker boehner, the two of them couldn't find a way to get to a deal because they didn't want to look like they were ever caving. and when you get to a point where it looks like you're caving on something, then there is negative political effects.
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now, that's why they've brought in vice president biden, mitch mcconnell, the senate republican leader, to try to close this thing. and they may close a deal, but there's no guarantee that even any deal they come to an agreement with tonight will actually make it tomorrow. >> and chuck, this congress has, you were telling us, the lowest approval rating ever, the least productive. in terms of bills past. what happens when the next congress comes in later this week? >> reporter: well, the bad news is, if you view this as bad news, more of the same. because even if they get this temporary deal on taxes, temporarily buy down the automatic spending cuts, what they have set up is a series of mini fiscal cliffs, if you will, kate. so every three to six weeks, over the next six months, we could be going through nights like this where we're up against the clock and congress has to act and the president -- they have to figure out how to compromise or watch automatic headaches kick in. >> chuck todd is going -- it's going to be a long night.
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thanks for being with us on wall street today, this final trading day of the year. investors were hopeful of a deal would be worked out by the time the closing bell rang at 4:00. stocks soared to their highest point today. capping an up year. the dow finished 166 points up, the nasdaq rose 59 points and the s&p 500 was up almost 24 points on the day. for the year, the dow finished with a 7% gain. the nasdaq was up almost 16% this year and the s&p 500 gained more than 13%, a very strong year for stocks. so let's bring in cnbc's senior economics reporter steve liesman. steve, we just said the market was way up today, they thought we would have a deal. now we're headed over the cliff. this can't be good news for our economy. >> reporter: it definitely would not be. and if you take all the things that kelly mentioned and add them up, that's about a 4% hit to gross domestic product. we put that into perspective. we're only going to grow about 2 or 3% this year. what does that mean?
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it probably means a return to recession, it means higher unemployment. it means more uncertainty as chuck todd was just talking about. if you imagine yourself a business person, thinking about making an investment in a factory, well, if i have to tune into "nbc nightly news" every night to figure out are we going to have a deal, that's not the kind of climate you want for investment and for jobs. >> and you were saying, this at a time when we were seeing some good signs in the economy for a change. >> reporter: that's right. we're about to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory here in the sense we were growing at 3% in the third quarter, we might do 2%, 2.5% in the fourth quarter. we had better job growth, a bit of a housing rebound going on. and then this self-opposed artificial deadline comes along and we're headed towards recession. if this goes on for a long time. >> and are we looking at other individuals, tomorrow morning? what changes for all of us? >> if it lingers, your taxes are going up, you're going to pay higher taxes for everyone. if you're getting unemployment benefits, that's going away. a whole slew of things, kate,
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are going to hit people in the pocketbook if this fiscal cliff lingers. >> steve, thanks so much tonight. we have learned more tonight about why secretary of state hillary clinton is in a new york city hospital. her doctors confirm she is being treated for a blood clot between her brain and skull. they say she did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage but clinton remains hospitalized tonight. nbc chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell joins me now from washington with the latest on that. andrea, good evening. >> good evening, kate. hillary clinton was set to return to work, until doctors discovered the blood clot that formed in her head, specifically in the vein sich waitated between the brain and skull behind the right ear. they say she did not have a stroke, did not suffer neurological damage but will have to be hospitalized for the time being. she's the administration's most high-profile frequent flier. 112 countries, nearly 1 million miles. more than 400 days of travel. named in a gallup poll today as the world's most admired woman.
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for the 11th year in a row. widely viewed as the democratic front runner in 2016, if she chooses to run. now grounded at a new york hospital. her spokesman says for a blood clot found during a follow-up exam sunday. clinton has not been seen publicly since december 7th when she picked up a stomach virus, on a whirlwind trip, leading to dehydration, a fall, and a concussion. now resulting, her aide says, in a blood clot. clinton was still recovering last week when the president nominated john kerry to succeed her. >> over the last four years, hillary has been everywhere, both in terms of travel, seen her represent america in more countries than any secretary of state, and through her tireless work to restore our global leadership. and she is looking forward to getting back to work. >> reporter: this is not clinton's first experience with a blood clot. in 1998 as first lady, she had a blood clot behind her knee, also treated with blood thinners. this time she has been out of the office for three weeks, working from home. >> she has had a very real accident and she's recovering
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from it, and she will be back. >> as we draw the lessons -- >> reporter: her concussion caused her to miss a capitol hill grilling about benghazi, the most serious crisis of her tenure. >> secretary clinton is recovering from a serious virus and concussion. all of you who know hillary know that she would rather be here today. >> reporter: and just today, a new senate report was sharply critical of the administration's security failures before and after the benghazi attack. republicans say they want to hear from clinton herself about benghazi before they'll confirm john kerry as her successor. >> i've been told by senator kerry, he wants that approach also. he needs to hear what she says so he can make comments about, i agree with her, i don't agree with her. it makes sense to have her go first. >> reporter: tonight, clinton's doctors say the secretary is making excellent progress in all other aspects of her recovery, and they're confident she'll make a full recovery. they describe her as in good spirits and engaging with her doctors and family and staff. but, of course, kate, she is
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spending new year's in the hospital. >> andrea mitchell in washington tonight. thank you so much. nbc chief science correspondent robert bazell joins me now. bob, walk us through exactly what happened with this blood clot and how dangerous is it? >> reporter: this is a blood clot right behind the ear, right there. in a vein that's very close to the brain. you can see it on a red dot there, where there's a blockage, in a vein that drains blood from the brain. this is not common and not usually the result of a concussion. typically people get clots on the brain itself, and those can't be treated with anti coagulants, but this can be safely cleared away with drugs. the big danger is, if it weren't dissolved, it could grow and cause a stroke. according to her doctors, she has no evidence of the neurological damage that would have resulted from a stroke. >> the doctors are saying she'll recover completely. any idea how long she might be in the hospital? >> reporter: well, kate, experts who are not involved tell me if
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the treatment is successful, the patient often leaves the hospital within a few days. typically patients need to take it easy for several weeks. but doctors say there is no reason that a person cannot recover completely from this problem. >> and that is good news. bob bazell, thank you so much. when "nightly news" continues in just a moment, an item about airline travel that will actually make you feel good, believe it or not. and later, happy new year. all around the world. and here at home. how 2013 is shaping up so far. aww man. [ male announcer ] returns are easy with free pickup from the u.s. postal service. we'll even drop off boxes if you need them. visit usps.com pay, print, and have it picked up for free. any time of year. ♪ nice sweater. thank you. ♪
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as we look back on this past year, there is one milestone we don't want to overlook, given americans' general dissatisfaction with air travel these days. despite the cost and the hasslel, 2012 is going into the record books as the safest year for air travel ever. not just in this country, but worldwide. here is nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: the numbers speak volumes. every day, worldwide, there are
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93,000 commercial airline flights. 3 billion passengers a year. and yet not a single fatal commercial airline accident in the u.s. in nearly four years. and worldwide, 2012 is going down as the safest year ever, with just one accident for every 5.4 million flights. veteran aviation safety expert john cox. >> what's significant about that is that we're improving by 50% over last year, which was the aviation's safest year previously. it's an incredible feat. >> reporter: why the improvement? pilots have never been better trained. computerized cockpits monitor every aspect of flight. alert systems warn pilots of a potential mid-air crash or mountain ahead. and hd simulators for pilots and air traffic controllers train them to handle emergencies before they face a real one. debbie hersman is chairman of the ntsb. >> we have learned from accidents, we have plowed all of those lessons back in.
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they have been embraced in many cases, and we're not seeing repeats of those same accidents. >> reporter: but experts say two actions in which human failure was at least partly to blame. underscore that, remains the biggest threat to safety. air france 447 crashed into the atlantic in 2009, killing 228. that same year, regional airline, flight 3407, crashed in buffalo, killing 50. >> colgan air was a watershed event in aviation safety, in particular bringing the regional carriers up to standards with the major carriers. >> reporter: the safety culture is spreading, accident rates are dropping, in russia, africa, latin america. the caribbean and asia. despite the improvement in safety, experts say there is a real danger here. just when you start to think it can't happen again is very often when you're most vulnerable. tom costello, nbc news, washington. >> when we continue on this new year's eve, two men who have learned some hard lessons, now
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congress may not win any awards for public service this year, but recipients of the congressional medal of honor are another story. they remind us what it means to serve our country in war, but also at home, every day of their lives. nbc's mike taibbi has the story of two veterans who are passing along some hard-won lessons to a new generation, and making a difference. >> reporter: at first blush, it wasn't much of a parade. a couple of hundred yards, a crowd of just a few hundred people along the way. and two old soldiers, the honored guest. >> we are proud of you! >> reporter: but perhaps no one deserves a parade more. major general pat brady and lieutenant colonel bruce crandall are recipients of the congressional medal of honor, the nation's highest salute. for both men, both helicopter evac pilots, vietnam was their war. brady saving more than 60
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wounded in one day of pure hell in 1968. and crandall, three years earlier, braving enemy fire on 22 straight missions, the story celebrated in the hollywood film, "we were soldiers." >> medevac command of the seventh cavalry, are you inbound? >> reporter: but today the men are on a new mission as part of the congressional medal of honor foundation's character development program, has now touched down in 44 states. a free lesson plan for schools like this one in acton, california that trains teachers how to translate the values learned a half century ago in combat to today's youth. >> it's to make heroes, good people, who do courageous things out of young people like you. that's what it's all about. >> reporter: the message here, you don't have to be in battle to be brave and honorable. >> i will have the courage to say no when someone asks me if i want drugs or alcohol. >> good one. >> reporter: and that's the point of the program, says one of its architects. medal of honor recipient and nbc military analyst, colonel jack jacobs.
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>> if we don't transfer to the next generation notions like service and sacrifice and patriotism, then all the hard work, all the sacrifice in the previous generations will be for naught. >> reporter: enter brady and crandall. history and heroism brought to life. >> it's much harder to wear it than it is to get it. >> they really went out there and did their best, and did make this world a better place. they changed it for the better. >> i don't mind talking to the young people, because it kind of keeps you young. >> reporter: two old soldiers, nowhere near ready to just fade away. mike taibbi, nbc news, acton, california. and one sports note tonight. it has been a particularly black monday for nfl coaches following the end of the regular season yesterday. seven teams fired their head coaches. the philadelphia eagles, chicago bears, san diego chargers, arizona cardinals, cleveland browns, buffalo bills and kansas
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city chiefs all missed making the playoffs, and today their coaches paid the price. when we come back, we're live from times square with preparations for the big party. and a look at some spots where they've already rung in 2013. when the doctor told me that i could smoke for the first week... i'm like...yeah, ok... little did i know that one week later i wasn't smoking. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix is proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke. some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. if you notice any of these stop taking chantix and call your doctor right away. tell your doctor about any history of depression or other mental health problems, which could get worse while taking chantix. don't take chantix if you've had a serious allergic or skin reaction to it. if you develop these stop taking chantix and see your doctor right away as some can be life-threatening. if you have a history of heart or blood vessel problems,
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but on december 31st, it is absolutely super charged. an estimated 1 million people are expected to jam into the streets here, ready to toast a new year. another year, another ball, another chance to dance to a different tune. as crowds clog the heart of manhattan for its annual raucous party, goodbye '12, hello '13. >> going to be a year of adventure so starting it off right. >> new year, want to have new goals. >> reporter: celebrations have been going on around the globe. from new zealand and australia to tokyo and beijing. ♪ >> reporter: across america, 12:00 will arrive to crowds hungry for a fresh start. there's a moon pie over mobile. they squeeze an orange in miami. it's peachy in atlanta. back here in new york, bulbs are in, the crystal sparkles, especially one honoring the late dick clark, the first new year without him.
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just a sign of the times in this square, security is super tight. 54 check points. >> people will be safe. we believe it's the safest location in america on times square. >> reporter: even those getting ready for the big night aren't forgetting others who need a little cheer. one salon owner is donating her cut of today's proceeds to survivors of superstorm sandy. >> why not give them a reason to help somebody else while looking great themselves? >> reporter: on a night when style is substance -- no shame for tooting one's horn. but when you uncork the bubbly, doctors warn, don't do this. here's how to toast to good health without putting an eye out. hold a towel over the cork, point away at a 45 degree angle. twist the bottle, not the cork, and let the good times flow. >> it's my first time on new year's eve, because it's on my bucket list. >> it's on our bucket list. >> bucket list. >> reporter: spoiler alert, bucket list is on the new banished words list for 2013. checking it twice, so is spoiler alert. and trending. and fiscal cliff.
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so on to a new year. and a final word on 2012. >> hoping change for a better new year. >> happy new year! >> reporter: it was balmy last year when the ball dropped, in the mid 40s. not so lucky this time around. wind chill at midnight expected in the mid 20s. everyone is bundled up, kate. happy new year. >> happy new year to you, ron mott. and did you say fiscal cliff was on the banned list? that is our broadcast for this new year's eve. and on this last night of the year, we want to remind you, ring in 2013 on new year's eve with carson daly, starting tonight at 10:00 here on nbc. i'm kate snow in for brian williams. we hope to see you back here tomorrow evening. good evening and happy new year. . good evening and happy new year.
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