tv NBC Nightly News NBC April 27, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
on the on the broadcast tonight, born in the usa and anxious to remove any doubt. president obama releases his official long-form birth certificate and said he's had it with sideshows and carnival barkers. security shakeup. big names in national security getting new jobs but why now? walking tall. congresswoman knaby giffords seen for the first time since she was shot, boarding a plane for her husband's shuttle launch and continuing her climb back. and girl next door. a trip for the country town where the girl about to become princess is just one of them. "nightly news" begins now.
captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. there are people who remember his mother when she was pregnant and living in hawaii. there are people who remember seeing him as a baby in the nursery in the hospital right after barack obama was born in hawaii on august 4th, 1961. but because there have always been doubters demanding more and because one of them is famous and loud and named trump, today, president obama offered further proof of his american birth. the long-form birth certificate showing the particulars, and while the president acknowledged it still won't be enough for some, he told the american people today, we don't have time for this kind of silliness, as he put it. white house correspondent savannah guthrie starts us off tonight. good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the president's personal lawyer had to get a special legal exception from hawaii to get the document and then travel physically to hawaii to retrieve it. aides say this is a side show and a fake controversy, but this
was kind of creeping into the mainstream. today, the president decided enough was enough. >> yet, this thing keeps on going. >> frustrated that a conspiracy theory about where he was born refuses to die. >> yes, in fact, i was born in hawaii, august 4th, 1961, in kapiolani hospital. >> the president tried again today to put the issue to rest. >> we're not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers. >> reporter: the white house today released the long form of the president's birth certificate, hoping to finally disspell a rumor dating back to the presidential race that mr. obama was born smir other than america. in june 2008, they posted the president's official birth certificate on the internet, and news clippings also surfaced showing his birth announcement in a honolulu newspaper.
still, some doubters said the only sufficient proof would be the long-form department kept by the hawaii department of health and by law unavailable for public release, even to obama himself. >> because if he wasn't allowed here -- he's not allowed -- he's not president. >> the argument got new life when donald trump started pushing it as part of his possible presidential campaign. today, choppering into new hampshire with a backdrop made to look presidential, trump claimed credit for the birthday certificate's release. >> today, i'm very proud of myself. >> reporter: but said closer inspection was needed. >> we have to see is it real, is it proper, what's on it? but i hope it checks out beautifully. >> when nbc's ron allen tried three times to show the document to trump -- >> why don't you take a look at it? >> reporter: he was ignored. a recent poll showed two thirds of republicans question the president's birth place, and though he's tried to laugh it off at times -- >> i happen to know my approval ratings are still very high in the country of my birth --
>> reporter: the president has grown increasingly tired of the issue. with nbc's brian williams last year. >> i can't spend all my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead. >> reporter: today as strump held forth in new hampshire, the split screen gave way to the president who played his trump card. >> we live in a serious time right now, and we do not have time for this kind of silliness. we have better stuff to do. >> reporter: at that moment, the real president sounding a lot like that hollywood one. >> this is a time for serious people, bob, and your 15 minutes are up. my name is andrew shepherd, and i am the president. >> reporter: traveling to chicago later for an appearance on oprah, the first lady weighed in. >> he was born here. >> reporter: well, i was actually given an opportunity to look at this birth certificate today. i felt the raised seal, i saw the names, the date, the place of birth.
honolulu, hawaii. so mr. trump is saying there's a lot of revelations thanks to him, but the fact remains as it has with the short-form birth certificate which has been out for years, the president was born in honolulu, hawaii. back to you. >> savannah guthrie from the white house. thanks. the other big news in washington today, a national security shake-up that will see one veteran official switching jobs and a military leader taking on a big civilian post, and they're all big names, and it comes on a day when nine americans were killed in afghanistan. our pentagon correspondent jim mcluchefsky has the story. >> reporter: cia director leon panetta showed up today as the pentagon where he's expected to take charge on july 1st. in the major shift on the national security team, the president tapped pennetta for defense secretary to replace retiring robert gates. two years ago, with no background in intelligence, he took over as cia in trouble for aggressive interrogations and detention of terrorist suspects.
as a former democratic congressman and clinton white house chief of staff, pennetta used his political skills to convince lawmakers to back off threats for congressional investigations. >> we're in a period where we're facing an increasingly dangerous world. >> reporter: but as defense secretary, he will now be responsible for waging an increasingly deadly war in afghanistan. a draw-down in iraq, and budget battles with capitol hill. >> the pentagon will be a new kind of challenge. remember in washington terms, the cia is a relatively small place. in washington, the pentagon dwarves everything else. >> to replace pennetta at the cia, the president has picked general david petraeus, now the top u.s. military commander in afghanistan, who has nearly ten years of experience leading counterterrorism and intelligence operations. >> petraeus has been at war continuously since 9/11. during that time, he's had multiple years in iraq. and now directly on the ground
working the afghanistan/pakistan issues. petraeus would be a terrific follow-on during these very dangerous times for the american people. >> reporter: especially dangerous for the forces in afghanistan. nine americans, eight u.s. military, and one civilian were kill today with an afghan military officer opened fire at an airport in kabul. the incident remains under investigation. general petraeus won't leave afghanistan until september so it's unlikely there will be any immediate change in the war strategy there. and military officials say the first withdrawal of american troops set to begin in july will be minimal at best. >> jim with the story tonight. thanks. and now to the series of monstrous storms crossing the country. we have been tracking this for days. the national weather service today issued a rare high risk warning of tornadoes, hail, flash flooding, and dangerous storms for georgia, alabama, mississippi, and warned that
severe weather could strike 21 states from the great lakes down to the gulf coast and across to the atlantic coast. we have an active situation tonight. jeff mauro is in birmingham, alabama. good evening. >> reporter: it was like nothing i have ever seen. i have been in this business about 30 years forecasting and reporting like this. amazing sights here around the birmingham area. a huge black mass of clouds touching down from a huge thunderstorm complex moving by from west to east right across the north side of birmingham. touching down, actually, earlier in the tuscaloosa area, doing massive damage there, and then doing just unbelievable damage here. the smauth is evidently almost a mile wide in some spots. again, we're getting reports, preliminary, that parts of the town are actually gone, in other words, complete buildings are gone. it's just an incredible, incredible thing here. power is out to many people,
particularly on the north side of birmingham. that was just one big cell of this whole complex. we have had other tornadoes reported across alabama and mississippi. some of the worst of which was actually earlier in the day, on wednesday, in coleman, we're talking about some pretty bad damage there. have not heard of any fall taytys or number of injuries from any of these yet. just one fatality around the tuscaloosa area, but that number may grow as we head on through time. just an amazing, amazing day here, and unfortunately, a very much heartbreaking day across alabama as one of the worst outbreaks we have seen in years comes across this region. >> reporter: jeff, thanks. congresswoman gabby giffords was out in public for first time since the day she was shot in january. we see her carefully climbing the steps of a gulfstream jet to
florida to watch her husband's space mission. >> they have been working a rather stubborn wildfire here at the kennedy space center today. it's right behind me, kicking up an awful lot of smoke, but we're toll it doesn't threaten any nassy facilities, and it won't threaten the launch on friday. that's the event congresswoman giffords has been determined to see on hand. today's news showed her making her way up her stairs to a waiting nasa jet that then brought her to florida. she landed at an airforce base and she's supposed to be with the astronauts and their families tonight at the beach house, an isolated spot on the beach where astronauts and their families have gathered for years before liftoff. also here will be numbers of her staff, the president and mrs. obama along with sasha and
malia. and liftoff is sit for 3:45 p.m. on tuesday. now we go to london where the countdown is really on. the eve of the eve of the royal wedding. rehema ellis is there with the preps in that city. rehema, good evening. >> reporter: good evening. after months of preparation, the real signs that a royal wedding is indeed about to take place were evident today. late today, a royal limousine pulls up to westminster abbey. ainside, william and kate, getting a private look at where their very public wedding will be held in two days. earlier today, kate was seen greeting well wishers outside clarence house. and maybe just maybe a sighting of kate's top secret wedding dress, or at least a suspiciously long garment bag being carried into her hotel.
the day started with a rehearsal. the streets around the 1 1/2-mile parade route from westminster abbey to buckingham palace were closed so that 1,000 members of the armed forces could go through their paces. the band played. the boots shined. hats were straightened. a preview of friday's grand display, complete with air force fly over. along the route, hard-core royal watchers and princess diana fans staked out the best seats. >> i think if she was here today, she would be overwhelmed. >> reporter: back at the abbey, floral displays were brought in. outside the palace, wilted tulips were cut away. as police kept an eye out for any signs of trouble. so why all the fuss about a young couple getting married? >> the relationship between these two young people ais goin
tremendously important not just for britain but for britain's standing in the world. eventually, of course, these two are going to be king and queen of britain. >> today's glimpse of these two together may be our last until we see them on westminster abbey on friday when they become husband and wife. >> rehema ellis, thanks. when we come back tonight, the crackdown on protesters in syria continues as tanks roll in the streets. what's the next chapter in this story? and later, the town where a royal bride is better known as the girl from town. she needs help from me. and her medication. the exelon patch -- it releases medication continuously for twenty-four hours. she uses one exelon patch daily for the treatment of mild to moderate alzheimer's symptoms. [ female announcer ] it cannot change the course of the disease. hospitalization and rarely death have been reported in patients who wore more than one patch at a time.
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as you may know, this is tough to get in there and cover. syria has cut off media access. richard engle is monitoring this situation from libya. richard, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. despite threats of a u.n. investigation and growing international condemnation, this crackdown in syria by bashar assad's regime shows no signs of letting up. the syrian army has mobilized to crush the biggest internal threat to the syrian regime in decades. witnesses say troops and tanks have fanned out in damascus, re-enforcements have moved into dara, the center of the protests. these unverified images show armed men, apparently soldiers. syria remains closed off to most journalists. one syrian cameraman fled to neighboring jordan. the videos on his laptop show protesters tearing down images of the syrian president, and police beating demonstrators. via skype, we spoke to an human rights activist in syria.
she describes desperation in dara, under siege. >> you can hear shooting, voices calling for help. no food, no water. they have targeted the water tanks. many dead bodies in the street, and the people cannot get them from the street because the shooting. >> reporter: and in syria, past crackdowns still cast a long shadow. in 1982, bashar's father violently put down a revolt by muslim activists in the city of hama. an estimated 10,000 to 40,000 people were killed. that crackdown by the syrian president's father was one of the deadliest acts of repression in the history of the modern arab world. there are fears now of a similar atrocity taking place, and that's why there's so much concern. >> richard engle covering tonight from benghazi, libya. thank you for that.
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>> big ben on what's become a cold night in london. when we see you from there tomorrow night, it will officially and finally be the eve of the royal wedding. a chance for the world to feel good about something in the news, at least those following it. and great britain by friday will have a new princess not previously from the royal ranks. nbc's kate snow, part of our team in london and is with us from there with more. kate, good evening. >> reporter: good evening to you, brian. on friday when millions of people are watching, they will see kate middleton as a bride, a symbol, possibly even a future queen of england, but for the folks in bucklebury, just north of here, she's quite literally the girl next door. the old boot inn is the kind of spot where everyone is a regular. everybody knows the village dairy farmer, richard plank. and everyone also knows the girl
from up the hill who is marrying a prince. though in bucklebury, they're used to seeing kate middleton in jeans. >> she would pop in for a drink or might come in with her family and have a meal. >> reporter: john will be at the wedding friday, and so will hash and chan, owners of a minimart in town. >> at the end of the day, she's still a young lady from bucklebury, a young girl who wasn't forgotten by people around her. >> reporter: the middleton family briefly lived in jordan, but kate spent most of her life in the british countryside, and yes, way, way back, her ancestors worked the coal mines. >> people talk about her being a commoner. that's a slightly ridiculous thing to say. she has been to these incredibly expensive schools, and she's always fraternized with the upper classes, so it's not like she's suddenly been parachuted into this world. >> reporter: kate's parents bought an estate off this road when she was 13 after making a
small fortune with a company that sells party supplies. kate met her prince at st. andrews university where she rowed and got her degree in art history. >> she's an independent girl. famously said, she, when someone said you're lucky to be going out with him, she responded, he's lucky to be going out with me. >> reporter: she was criticized for working in the family business while waiting for a proposal, but supporters say it kept her safe from the british paparazzi. as the british say, kate has never put a foot wrong. ozpoised, dressed impeccably, already a style icon. you can even ask for the kate hairstyle in london. but don't be fooled, kate is still a country girl. >> she isn't glitzy or celebrity. she's not going to be the girl at the end of the night dancing on the table. she'll be quietly finishing her one and only glass of wine. that's just her style, and that's why it's perfect for the royals. >> at st. mary's church in bucklebury, built in the 11th century, the bell ringers are
getting ready for a three-hour composition in her honor on friday. >> it's something which is only going to happen once in my lifetime. >> back at the pub, they're clearly proud. >> i would say she's going to make a wonderful princess, so i don't think he could have met a nicer girl. >> reporter: and brian, along with the bells ringing for three hours, they're planning quite a party in bucklebury. invite only, complete with a wedding cake for 1,200. >> kate snow in london. thanks, and one more reminder, nbc news live coverage of the royal wedding begins 4:00 a.m. eastern, 3:00 a.m. eastern, and yes, 1:00 a.m. pacific time. that our broadcast for this wednesday night. thank you for being with us. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you right back here on the broadcast tomorrow evening. good night.
right now at 6:00, a legal curve ball. the surprising move by a suspected serial killer as he breaks his silence in court for the first time. >> reporter: potentially exclusive new evidence in the chauncey bailey murder trial. i'll tell you what it is coming up. also, the condition of brian stowe. he recently got a visit from a baseball legend. the news at 6:00