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tv   Nightline  ABC  August 7, 2015 12:37am-1:08am PDT

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this is "nightline." >> tonight, the donald show. at the first republican debate, donald trump brings the noise. >> if you don't like it, i'm sorry. >> did any of the other candidates cut through? is trump stoppable? plus, the embryo custody battle. they wanted a family so they created frozen embryos. now they're divorced and she wants to have the babies while he is trying to stop her. it's a potentially precedent-setting case on a high-tech, highly sensitive issue that has even ensnared celebrities like sofia vergara. he went from america's youngest evening news anchor ever to a seasoned war correspondent to a broadcast icon and household name. gone ten years now, tonight we
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are remembering peter jennings. first, the "nightline 5." if you're suffering from constipation or irregularity, powders may take days to work. for gentle overnight relief try dulcalax. laxative tablets. providing general overnight relief. unlike miralax which can take up to three days dulcalax. designed for dependable relief. super poligrip holds your dentures tightly in place so you never have to hold back. laugh loud, live loud. super poligrip. get strong all-day hold. >> number one in just 60 seconds. happy anniversary to me it's safeway's anniversary... happy anniversary to me but you're the one who's gonna save some serious money. happy anniversary to me right now with your club card usda choice ribeye steak is $7.99 a pound 32-ounce gatorade is 69 cents and select quaker cereal is $1.49 happy anniversary to me.
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safeway's huge anniversary sale! it's just better. good evening. safe to say it was the donald trump show tonight for better or for worse. at the first republican debate held in cleveland, it was at
quote
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times easy to forget there were nine other candidates on the stage. we've got our analysts standing by. but let's begin with the highlights. >> in the center of the stage tonight, businessman donald trump. >> reporter: right from the jump, donald trump made waves. >> is there anyone onstage, and can i see hands, who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the republican party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person? mr. trump? >> i cannot say i can totally make that pledge. if i'm the nominee i pledge i will not run as an independent. >> tonight you can't say if another one of these -- >> this is what's wrong. this is what's wrong. he buys and sells politicians of all stripes. he's used to buying politicians. >> well, i've given him plenty of money. >> he's not going to make the pledge? >> i will not make the pledge at this time.
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>> reporter: a few other candidates said a few other things then 21 minutes in it was back to trump for another doozy. >> you've called women you don't like fat biggs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals. your twitter account -- >> only rosie o'donnell. >> no, it wasn't. for the record, it was well beyond rosie o'donnell. >> yes, i'm sure it was. >> your twitter account has several disparaging comments about women's looks. >> i think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. >> reporter: moments later, rosie herself weighed in on twitter. "try explaining that to your kids." the testiest moment of the night didn't involve trump, but instead new jersey governor chris christie and kentucky senator rand paul. it was over the nsa's bulk data collection, which christie supports and paul does not. >> i want to collect more records from terrorists but less records from innocent americans.
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>> when you're sitting in a subcommittee blowing hot air about this, you can say things like that. >> you fundamentally misunderstand the bill of rights. i don't trust president obama with our records. i know you gave him a big hug and if you want to give him a big hug again, go right ahead. >> you know, senator paul -- senator paul the hugs that i remember are the hugs that i gave to the families who lost their people on september 11th. >> reporter: to be sure there was plenty of hillary clinton bashing tonight. >> if hillary is the candidate, which i doubt, that would be a dream come true. >> if i'm our nominee how is hillary clinton going to lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck? >> everywhere in the world hillary clinton touched is more messed up today before she -- >> we have many questions to come. >> reporter: in the same arena in cleveland where the republican party will hold its national convention next year, but perhaps the most bizarre riff on hillary came from the donald who talked about why he contributed to her in the past. >> with hillary clinton, i said, be at my wedding, and she came to my wedding. you know why?
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she had no choice. >> reporter: it was a bit of a tough night at times for jeb bush. the former governor of florida seemed to struggle on issues such as immigration, education, and once again, the iraq war. but he did stay above the fray when offered a chance to attack trump. >> you called mr. trump a clown, a buffoon -- >> don't bring up the next -- >> and something else that can't be repeated on television. >> none of which is true. >> is it true? >> no, it's not true. but i have said mr. trump's language is divisive. i want to win. i want one of these people here or the ones at 5:00 to be the next president of the united states. >> first of all, jeb, i am very happy that you denied that and i appreciate that very much. >> how did the debate go over with republican voters? we got some rapid response tonight. >> if you won't say it, i will. >> reporter: tony laren, a young political commentator who's become a viral sensation on youtube in recent weeks. tonight she weighed in on all things trump. >> we know donald trump tells it like it is.
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he's not afraid of it. what i saw is donald trump be fearless. i didn't see him back himself into a corner, i saw him challenge megan kelly and other republicans on the stage and i saw megan kelly challenge him right back. i liked the conversation there. >> abc's tom llamas was in cleveland tonight for all the drama. tom what are you seeing there? >> good evening. from the post-debate spin, candidates are answering even more questions. the big buzz obviously that donald trump is not afraid to run without the republican party. refusing to take a pledge that he will not run as an independent. the other big buzz, some candidates actually breaking through. besides donald trump, dr. ben carson, the second most talked about candidate on social media. and speaking of social media, hillary clinton had something to say. jon stewart, missing you already. #gopdebate. dan, back to you. >> tom llamas on the ground, thank you. we turn to our colleague, matt dowd political analyst, and buzzfeed's washington, d.c.
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bureau chief john stanton. we'll start with you. did donald trump help or hurt himself tonight? >> i think donald trump had momentum coming into tonight. but i think over the course of the two hours,think it wore sort of thin over this. i think any momentum in my view that he had coming in is stopped by tonight. i think he made a few errors in the course of tonight. some of the engagement that he had with some of the moderators. but i think what he did, he'll still be ahead coming out but i think any momentum is now stalled because of his schtick. got old over two hours. >> john, do you have a sense of what is popping tonight, what's going viral, if anything? >> i think there are a couple of things. i think, one, the eyeroll from rand paul was kind of amazing in his fight with governor christie. i think the donald trump sort of -- the shrugging emoticon was pretty good. they body sort of sum up i think their debate performances frankly. i think coming out of today, carly fiorina, who did very well in the afternoon debate, and the ohio governor kasich, he did very, very well.
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i think they're going to have momentum and that could change the dynamic a little bit for trump. >> why are people excited about carly? >> carly fiorina will be in the next debate. i think she has enough momentum from the earlier debate. by all accounts she won it overwhelmingly. i think there are people from this debate that faded, that she's going to jump into the next debate in september. get ready for carly fiorina. i agree. i think if there was a winner tonight it was john kasich, the governor of ohio. i think he came across as the adult in the room, his answers flowed well, there was a seam to them. i think he had the line of the night tonight, which is, god loves me unconditionally, therefore, in answer to the question about gay marriage and his daughters, therefore i'm going to love my friends and family unconditionally. >> before we go i've got to ask you about jeb bush. >> i think he didn't do a lot to ultimately distinguish himself, which is kind of i think what he needed to do to get momentum. >> i'll take it a step further. i think jeb bush is no longer the inevitable candidate that everybody thought he was. i think of anybody on that stage tonight that didn't do what they were supposed to do, it was jeb bush. he's going to need every dollar
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of his $100 million in the course of this race because he lost any veneer of inevitability coming out of here. >> thank you both, appreciate it. up next on "nightline," a family drama on the frontiers of science and ethics. one that has ensnared celebrities like sofia vergara. we'll go inside the story of a couple who created embryos together but then got divorced. now she wants to have those babies and he is fighting to stop her. and eat like i skipped lunch. why? because red lobster's crabfest is back. and i'm diving into so much crab, so many ways. like crab lover's dream with luscious snow and king crab legs and rich crab alfredo or this snow crab bake. who knew crab goes with everything? whoever put crab on this salmon, that's who. with flavors like these, i'm almost too excited to eat! hey i said almost. and now that it's back get crackin' while you still can.
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they met, fell in love, and when she got sick with cancer they created embryos together to protect their chances of having a family. but then divorce. and now she wants to have those children, while he is trying to stop her. this is an emotional fight at the intersection of baby-making, technology, and the law. here's abc's amy robach. >> i'm doing this for my babies. and i'm their mom. >> reporter: 46-year-old mimi lee is locked in a legal battle for what she calls her only shot at motherhood. the five frozen embryos she created with her now ex-husband, embryos he wants destroyed.
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>> i have biological children ready to come to life. >> reporter: these embryos are at the center of a two-year-long, high-profile california court case. an unhappy ending to a romance that spanned two decades. >> we met as students at harvard college. >> you plan your wedding, he proposes, you get the worst news possible. >> ten days before the wedding i got the diagnosis that i had breast cancer. >> how important was it to you at that moment to preserve your ability to procreate? >> it was critically important. >> reporter: lee, a julliard-trained pianist and anesthesiologist, said she decided to risk making her cancer worse for a chance at the children she says she and her now ex-husband, steven findlay, wanted more than anything. >> we realized the risks. i would be injecting myself with the very hormone my tumor feeds on. >> reporter: lee, then 41, went
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through with the procedure. the embryos were created and she successfully completed breast cancer treatment. then her marriage began to fall apart. in 2013 he filed for divorce. >> did your mind go immediately to the embryos and what might happen? >> yes. it was the number one biggest concern of mine. >> reporter: lee is suing for custody of the embryos. but there is a critical detail. the clinic's consent form which they both signed saying that the embryos were to be destroyed in the event of a divorce. >> tell me about the consent form that you signed. you checked off what should happen to the embryos in the case of a divorce. correct? >> uh-huh. >> what do you remember about that? >> there wasn't a lot of discussion. we just kind of went through the form just like we did all the other forms for all the other multiple procedures we were going through at the time. >> reporter: steven findlay and his lawyers say this signed consent form should determine
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the outcome of this case. >> it's still an agreement. the agreement is in this document at least 27 times. >> reporter: mimi lee's lawyer peter skinner disagrees. >> it's not a contract. if you go through these consent forms, ten-page single-spaced, the kind of thing you're handed before you begin a medical procedure, nowhere in it does this say this is irrevocable, we're not going to be able to change our minds, these are the binding directions for all-time. >> reporter: steven findlay testified he believes his ex-wife would "manipulate the situation" to extract money for other purposes, a claim lee denies. >> you've made it very clear in your declaration you do not expect steven to be a part of this child or these children's lives physically, logistically, and more specifically, financially. correct? >> correct. >> your ex-husband's lawyer said during closing arguments, it's not that steven doesn't want to have children, he just doesn't want to have children with mimi. >> those are hard words to hear
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from anybody. it hurts in a way. that's -- so personal. >> reporter: mimi's court battle could set an important legal precedent for others like her. the decision is now officially in the hands of a california judge who will render the final verdict. >> she's got a powerful and compelling moral argument. but because she signed that document, she's in a tough spot legally. >> reporter: there's an estimated 1 million embryos currently in preservation across the united states and advances in reproductive technology are now outpacing the law. and the battles are playing out in court. like the high-profile battle between actress sofia vergara and former fiance nick lope. the couple created frozen embryos before they broke up. he then sued her for custody. i interviewed sofia about that this past may. >> there's papers signed. there's a court date. he shouldn't be creating something so ugly out of nothing.
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>> reporter: vergara says the bottom line is they had a signed agreement the embryos were to be destroyed in the event of their breakup. >> hurt, embarrassed, angry? >> no. i won't allow this person to take more advantage of my career and try to promote himself. >> reporter: 33-year-old jacob szyfranski is fighting for his right not to be a father. >> i am being forced to become a father against my will. there's no question or mincing words about that. >> reporter: he donated sperm to create embryos with his now ex-girlfriend right after she was diagnosed with cancer. they broke up but his ex still wants her only chance to have biological children -- his. the court ruled in her favor. >> there was an injustice in what took place that day. to say that i'll become a parent without wanting to become a parent, that's the worst circumstance to bring a child into the world. >> reporter: his lawyer plans to appeal to the illinois supreme court. his ex-girlfriend declined to comment. >> what would you say to those
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who are looking at this case and believe that you're essentially forcing parenthood on your ex-husband? >> it's such a gray area. i think steve and i created these embryos with the hope of having our children. i can't imagine that if we actually did have children and the marriage dissolved that he would say, okay, now we have to end of lives of these children because i don't want to be part of it anymore. >> reporter: the judge in california has until late november to decide the fate of steven and mimi's embryos, a decision that could have resounding repercussions for so many. >> if the verdict doesn't go your way have you prepared yourself for that and what are your options? >> i am prepared. i'm still very, very devoted and dedicated to seeing these embryos to life. so i will continue to fight for custody of them. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm amy robach in new york. up next, from the front lines to the bright lights of the anchor desk.
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it has been ten years now since we lost peter jennings. a broadcast icon and my mentor. a personal reflection when we come back. progressive insurance here and i'm a box who thrives on the unexpected. ha-ha! shall we dine? [ chuckle ] you wouldn't expect an insurance company to show you their rates and their competitors' rates but that's precisely what we do. going up! nope, coming down. and if you switch to progressive today you could save an average of over 500 bucks. stop it. so call me today at the number below. or is it above? dismount! oh, and he sticks the landing! i'm jerry bell the second. and i'm jerry bell the third. i'm like a big bear and he's my little cub. this little guy is non-stop. he's always hanging out with his friends. you've got to be prepared to sit at the edge of your seat and be ready to get up. there's no "deep couch sitting." definitely not good for my back.
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finally, this is the kind of night with an exciting presidential debate that my old boss and mentor peter jennings would have loved. hard to believe it was ten years ago tomorrow we lost peter. tonight we're going to take a look back. >> from abc, this is "world news tonight" with peter jennings.
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>> good evening. >> reporter: like many aspiring journalists i grew up wanting to be peter jennings. so worldly, so smooth. with the 007 looks and that keen intelligence that just pierced right through the screen. peter, who was actually a high school dropout, started as the anchor here on abc at age 26. but it didn't go so well. till he went overseas to reinvent himself as a foreign correspondent. here he is at the munich olympics filing his now-legendary live reports as israeli athletes were massacred by palestinian terrorists. >> the most likely to narrow in on a group called black september -- >> reporter: in the 1980s peter returned to the anchor chair, leading abc's "world news tonight." signature moments included his 24 hours of anchoring at the turn of the millennium. and then there was his emotional moment during our marathon
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coverage of the terror attacks of september 11th. >> if you're a parent, you've got a kid -- in some other part of the country, call them up. >> reporter: his extraordinary career came to an end in 2005, however. >> i have learned in the last couple of days that i have lung cancer. >> reporter: he never returned. for me, peter was perhaps the single most important influence of my professional life. this is us reporting together in iraq. there was no question that in person, peter could be tough and very intimidating. but he was a singular figure a deeply serious and skeptical journalist, a broadcast icon, and someone i and many others here still dearly miss. i still think about him all the time. thank you for ending your day with us. much more on the big debate first thing in the morning on "gma." and we're online 24/7 on our "nightline" facebook page at abcnews.com. thanks for watching and good night.
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