tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC February 23, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
>> thank you. >> and i'm cheryl jenning autos thanks for watching. welcome to "world news." tonight, under pressure. soaring gas prices force the president to speak out today. and an alarming warning. are wall street traders pocketing $10 every time you fill up your tank? coast-to-coast. fierce winds, mudslides and here comes the snow. the huge storm slamming two-thirds of the country. "made in america." >> my name is -- >> peggy. come on. >> those maddening customer service calls from a world away. tonight, david muir on how that frustration may bring 100,000 jobs home. and turning the page. harry potter's author, her surprising, new book deal. can she work her magic with grown-ups?
good evening. you see it, you feel it. and most of you are angry about it. gas prices, they've gone up every, single day for almost a month. 28 in a row. and with americans from coast-to-coast fed up as they fill up, president obama did what he could, today, to channel that anger. speaking out to calm fears, explain the cause, and make the case that he's not the one to blame. that may be a hard sell. and those runaway gas prices are certainly the president's political problem. tonight, our reporters tackle the issue on two fronts, with a warning from a top government watchdog who tells us that a big chunk of the pain at the pump is wall street's fault. but we begin at the white house and abc's jake tapper. >> reporter: president obama argued today that the pain at the pump is not his fault. fueled with explanations as to why he's not to blame. and lashing out at those who are faulting him. >> last week, the lead story in one newspaper said, gasoline prices are on the rise. and republicans are licking
their chops. only in politics do they greet bad news so enthusiastically. >> reporter: the big fear at the white house is that skyrocketing gas prices could derail the economic recovery and undermine the president's poll numbers. at this miami gas station, just three blocks away from where the president spoke today, gas costs $3.89 a gallon. 5 cents more than yesterday. and tomorrow, the price will go up another five cents. and republicans are trying to light a fire. >> if you like $2.50 a gallon gasoline, we want you to be with us. if you'd rather have $8 or $9 a gallon, you want to be with obama. >> reporter: so, what can the president do to turn this around? in the short term, not much. on the table as an option, opening up some of the strategic petroleum reserve, as the president did last summer, driving supply up. but the president took issue with proposals from his opponents. >> since it's an election year, they're already dusting off their three-point plan for $2 gas.
and i'll save you the suspense. step one is to drill. and step two is to drill. and then, step three, is to keep drilling. >> reporter: republicans say the president's energy policies, which are more sensitive to the environment, have resulted in fewer permits for drilling. and the rejection of the keystone pipeline, driving supply down, they say, and prices up. of course, george, it's more complicated than that. keep in mind, when president obama did tap the strategic petroleum reserve last summer, releasing about 30 million barrels of oil, prices only went down about 10 cents a gallon. george? >> jake, thanks very much. now, to the government watchdog who says you can bring down gas prices by cracking down on wall street. he claims that every time you fill up your tank, up to $15 goes straight into the pockets of traders. and tonight, the newest member of our abc news team, mark greenblatt, an award-winning investigator from houston, joins us for the first time of that story.
>> reporter: you already know part of this story. >> the rates are too high. >> reporter: you pay for it every time you fill up. but as gas prices go up more -- >> yeah, i'm fired up. >> reporter: commissioner bart chilton is fighting back. he is one of wall street's top regulators, sitting on the commodity futures trading commission. and he's speaking out now, warning much of the problem is actually made in the usa. ground zero? wall street, where he says big banks gambling on oil are spiking the prices that you pay at the pump. >> there aren't any markets without speculators. it's excessive speculation we're concerned about. >> reporter: chilton got ahold of this wall street research report, which spells out how much extra prices go up because wall street gambles on it. chilton estimates it actually drives the price up as much as 22%, before it's sold to be made into gas. so, what does it mean to you? according to chilton, if you drive a ford f-150 and fill-up,
a typical tank of gas, it will cost you an extra $14.56 that you pay to wall street speculators. or more than $750 over the course of a year. for their part, the big banks say there's no evidence that their trading is driving up the price of oil. but chilton doesn't buy that argument, which is why he and the commission that he sits on are trying to rein the speculation in. but get this. wall street is actually suing them now, trying to keep things status quo. >> they don't want these limits. they want unbridled ability to speculate in these markets. and that's not good for consumers. it's not good for markets. and it's not good for our economy. >> reporter: now, commissioner chilton estimates that speculators actually play a part, as much as 90% of all trading that goes on during the day in energy futures markets. underscoring his point that this all impacts you in a big way, right here at the pump. george? >> okay, mark. thanks.
this is the same commission that warned about all the trading in rye-risk mortgages. welcome aboard. a note about something that happened on our broadcast last night. we couldn't quite believe what we were seeing. in the two minutes it took cecilia vega to share her report, the gas station behind her ticked up 10 cents. you all caught it. the video went viral. and so many of you told us today, you couldn't believe the price could jump that high that fast. well, it did. and today, we learned that the other stations in the neighborhood have actually caught up, too. surprisingly, those gas prices were not a hot topic at last night's republican debate. the 20th, probably the last, and certainly the roughest for rick santorum. he faced a tough crowd and a surprising tag-team. mitt romney and ron paul seemed to be working together. with five days to go before the big showdown in michigan, it is "your voice, your vote," with abc's jonathan karl. >> reporter: rick santorum offered a lesson on presidential debates. specifically, what not to do. first, don't talk about how you put party politics above
principles. >> i voted for that. it was against the principles i believed in. you know, when you are part of the team, sometimes you take one for the team, for the leader. and i made a mistake. you know, politics is a team sport, folks. >> reporter: second, don't sound like a big-spending washington insider. >> i did say there were good earmarks and bad earmarks. i admit, i voted for large appropriation bills. and there were things in there i didn't like. >> reporter: it played right into mitt romney's line of attack. >> while i was fighting for to save the olympics, you were fighting to save the bridge to nowhere. >> reporter: and romney got a big assist from ron paul, who landed some of the hardest blows on santorum. >> you have a new television ad that labels him a fake. why? >> because he's a fake. >> reporter: it's not the first time ron paul has played romney's wingman. >> santorum raised the debt ceiling five times. >> reporter: taking on romney's foes, but almost never romney himself. in fact, back when rick perry looked like the biggest threat to romney, ron paul attacked him
in the very first negative ad of this entire campaign. >> al gore found a cheerleader in texas named rick perry. >> reporter: and when gingrich was threatening romney, paul savaged him as a serial hypocrite. last night, amidst a crush of reporters, santorum suggested the two are in cahoots. >> you have to ask congressman paul and governor romney what they've got going. >> so, jon, you picked up the pattern here. but is there any hard evidence that paul and romney have reached some kind of a deal? >> reporter: not at all, george. there was a lot of conspiracy talk. mostly from their rivals. in the end, this may come down to just a matter of family. the wives of the two candidates, carole paul and ann romney have become close friends since they ran for president four years ago. then, there's the matter of ron paul's son, senator rand paul, who said he would be honored to be considered as mitt romney's running mate. although, george, you can imagine it's a little early to be talking about that. >> that's right.
if he does get the nomination, that paul doesn't run as an independent. jon karl. thanks very much. it's not every night the entire country feels nature's fury at the same time. but tonight, we're close. two-thirds of the states are riding out some wild weather, mudslides, snow, high winds. in 1 city, a 22-degree drop in 1 hour. and as abc's weather editor sam champion discovered, it could be a sign that we ain't seen nothing yet. >> reporter: in what has been the third-warmest winter on record, tornado season has come early. wednesday night, an unusual february twister roared across northwest georgia, with 95-mile-per-hour winds, damaging up to 100 homes. 71-year-old barbara washington died after suffering a heart attack when the roof blew off her home. >> seemed like it just -- like a dream. a nightmare. >> reporter: meanwhile, a powerful storm slammed into the northwest. with torrential rains, hurricane-force winds up to 88 miles per hour.
toppling trees in california colorado and tossing cars and trucks on the highway. take a look at this. a 100-foot mudslide in washington state, nearly pushing this home into the raging river. now, a wintry blast is carving a path across the northern half of the country, already closing down major interstate highways. and this winter/spring hybrid storm does some unusual things. like drive a line of snow from the great lakes, all the way to northern new england. pop off some powerful thunderstorms in kentucky and tennessee. and then, 22 states, at least, george, have these wild wind watches and warnings out. >> let's talk about the tornados. we're seeing them so early. not even close to peak season. >> reporter: 95 in january alone. that's the second-highest total in january ever. and our weather pattern doesn't really change. we're expecting the jet stream to be right in the middle of the country as we head into spring. that's the fuel for powerful storms. and forecasters say, it's going to be a tough spring for storms. >> okay. sam champion, thanks very much. military officials tonight are investigating the deaths of seven marines, killed when their helicopters collided in a routine exercise. it happened over the california
desert, near the arizona border, a rugged stretch that simulates the conditions in iraq and afghanistan. it's one of the deadliest accidents the marine corps has seen in years. overseas to afghanistan, where the furor over korans burned by the u.s. military continued today. abc's nick schifrin covers the latest from kabul tonight. nick? >> reporter: george, i've lived in this region for four years. and i've never felt this level of anger at americans. and now, that anger has led to the murder of two american troops. for three days since u.s. soldiers mistakenly burned those korans, afghan fury has been fierce. today, it spread to all corners of the country and inside a u.s. base. an afghan soldier shot and killed two u.s. troops. he escaped into a crowd of anti-u.s. protesters. and two of those protesters were killed by soldiers guarding the base.
today's written apology from president obama himself failed to pacify the crowds. even in areas where the taliban have little influence, afghans called for the death of americans. apologies, he says, are not enough. at another u.s. base, protesters threw rocks and tried to storm the walls. afghan soldiers responded with bullets, but couldn't prevent protesters from raising a white, taliban flag on the base's outer wall. tomorrow are traditional friday prayers. and demonstrations are expected to grow even larger and more violent. tonight, this city is tense. and, george, all americans here are on lockdown. >> nick schifrin, in kabul. thanks. and still ahead on "world news," the creative genius behind harry potter is getting ready to thrill us again. but this time, j.k. rowling has her eye on grown-ups. and the frustrating customer service calls, going from this -- >> hi, this is sherry. >> hi, this is betty. >> to this.
>> my name is walter jamison. >> and why it could mean 100,000 new jobs on u.s. soil. [ male announcer ] how can power consumption in china, impact wool exports from new zealand, textile production in spain, and the use of medical technology in the u.s.? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex, global economy. it's just one reason over 75% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information, risks, fees and expenses to read and consider carefully before investing. so i wasn't playing much of a role in my own life, but with advair, i'm breathing better so now i can take the lead on a science adventure. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both
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years ago. and just as her boy wizard has grown up and moved on, so has rowling. as abc's dan harris reports, her new book is aimed at adults. >> reporter: j.k. rowling's harry potter books, about a boy wizard, cast a powerful spell. not only getting millions of kids interested in reading -- >> i picked it up. it was so good. i finished it in about three days. >> reporter: but also becoming the most successful publishing franchise ever. selling 450 million copies. the movies were the largest-grossing franchise in history, taking in $7.7 billion. but her new book for grown-ups, that's pretty much a blank page. we don't know what it's called, what it's about or when it's coming out. all we do know is what rowling said in a statement. my next book will be very different to the harry potter series. while the potter books made this single mom on welfare wealthier than the queen of england, can she really make the switch to grown-up literature?
rowling herself seemed to have some doubts when she finished the last of the seven potter books in 2007. >> i'm looking forward to a post-harry era. but at the same time, i dread leaving harry. >> reporter: it is true that children's authors rarely succeed in adult literature. >> but j.k. rowling isn't any other author. she has such a brand. such a franchise. it's a guaranteed, biggest book of the year. >> reporter: as he points out, millions of adults read the potter books, sometimes in secret. and so many of those children who grew up on her books are now grown-ups themselves. in fact, the first book begins with harry potter's 11th birthday. he would be 26 today. dan harris, abc news, new york. >> boy, people are going to gobble that up. and still ahead -- >> come on. >> is that how you feel when you talk to customer service overseas? tonight, our "made in america" team on why that's about to get better. same. but your erectile dysfunction --
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and so have the exodus of american jobs. so, tonight, something to call home about. >> okay. i've been waiting 15 minutes. >> reporter: we've all been there. hoping for an answer. and someone answers, all right. >> usa prime credit. my name peggy. >> third time i've called. >> i transfer. >> transfer. >> transfer. >> usa prime credit. my name is -- >> peggy. come on. >> reporter: customer service, a world away. >> may i have your system number? >> reporter: in the '80s and '90s, a stunning number of american companies began outsourcing their call centers. 600,000 american jobs, evaporated. gone to the philippines. to india. where operators had to learn english. and their new names. >> hi. this is sherry. >> hi. this is betty. >> hi. this is nick. >> reporter: 8,000 miles away from those call centers in india, we arrive at this one in ft. worth, texas. i heard you're hiring. >> oh, we are. >> reporter: they now have five centers in the u.s. and growing. how many american operators have you hired in the last year? >> about a thousand. >> reporter: what's changing the game? what we're calling about. what americans used to need are now answers we can find ourselves on the internet. a password reset. an account balance.
today, the answers we can't find online are more complicated. especially for those overseas operators. the calls can take forever, sometimes turning into two calls. >> well, it is really cheaper if it takes two calls to handle that customer? i can do the math very quickly and tell you it's more expensive to that job offshore. >> reporter: and americans are applying. you've got 1,422 potential employees. and six more while i'm standing here. they're about to play us one of the tryouts they recorded. an american dad, demonstrating his intonation, his clarity. his name is walter. >> i would talk very closely to the customer and making sure they were understanding. >> reporter: what we didn't know was that walter was hired with that tryout. he was already taking calls about 500 feet away. are you walter? >> i'm walter. >> reporter: i heard you before. he showed me the family he now supports with this new job. walter can make anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 in a year to start. while overseas, in new delhi, we find his indian counterpart, suket, doing the same job. making just $2,400 a year.
suket told us what he often hears from american customers. >> please connect my call to somebody in the u.s. they would like to speak to somebody they can relate to. >> reporter: mary argues that's she's trying to do. and she points to the map. saying if an american operator can answer a complicated question quickly, they can also do something else. while you have them on the phone, you have a shot at selling them another product. >> a lot of companies are selling as much as 25% of their products on the phone. but you have to earn the right to sell them something. >> reporter: so much riding on that one call. that ceo is teaming up with other american call centers. their goal to bring 100,000 jobs home. they're on their way. get this, george. a lot of money to be made at the call centers. if you're an expert in health insurance or counseling, you can make $90,000 a year getting in. >> that's a good job. david muir, thanks very much. still ahead, who stole the food from the office fridge? the workers who took the law into their own hands. and what they found surprised everyone. rised everyone. but with copd making it hard to breathe,
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>> reporter: every office has that shared sacred space, where trust is all that keeps your sandwich out of your co-worker's mouth. that trust was violated in the break room of the deer park police department outside houston. for more than a year, drinks disappeared, sandwiches vanished. the last straw? >> we had the officer who had 60 pounds of deer sausage taken from the freezer. >> reporter: so, frustrated officers did what they do best, set up a hidden camera sting. and just watch, as one of their own, officer kevin yang, taking a monster energy drink with a detective's initials written on it. three days later, someone's sandwich. four days later, another monster. apparently it was so good, he came back the next day for yet another.
when confronted, yang told detectives he was just cleaning out a dirty fridge. >> a lot of times we clean up the community refrigerator like once a week. everything taken by friday or with a certain date or everything gets thrown out, which we don't do here. >> reporter: yang was in court this afternoon to face theft charges. he's been suspended for 30 days. and when we gets back to work, his co-workers are sure to remind him, there's no such thing as a free lunch. ryan owens, abc news, dallas. >> better buy them a lot of soda. thanks for watching. we're always on at abcnews.com. and check out "nightline" later. i'll see you tomorrow on "gma." tonight a controlled burn races out of control in these unusually dry condition autos a 78-year-old man found dead and its probably murder, police getting. >> and a stock holder meeting
draws critics to cupertino. >> and you fix it week. continues. >> and you're looking at thick, billowing smoke from a napa valley brush fire, burning and spreading throughout the afternoon. >> sky 7 is over flames here burning and soda canyon area close to the trail. the fire is an unusual winter wildfire that caught firefighters off guard. staffing isn't in place in february as sit during the summer, vic lee slif with the latest for us. vick? >> there is some good news, we've learn that had the fire is now 50% contrained -- contained. we saw today a lot of white smoke billowing out which is good news for firefighters. and the winds seemed to be dying down but now,