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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  October 22, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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on our broadcast tonight, the final debate with just two weeks to go now, and our newest national polls show the race for president is a dead heat. our team is in place heading into tonight's big event. and finish line for one of the world's most celebrated athletes, lance armstrong erased from cycling's record books. his seven tour de france victories no longer exist. >> and high risk on the side lines today, why doctors say we need to think about cheerleading the same way we do the athletes we're cheering on. and a mission, making sure america's quiet heros are not lost to history. plus, there is important health news for women, and pediatricians weigh in on organics. nightly news begins now.
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good evening, after tonight, there are no plans for these two candidates to meet face to face. it will be hand-to-hand combat from here on out until election day. going into tonight's third and final debate, the new national polling out shows the race is a dead heat, 47-47, with 15 days to go. while all the talk, correctly has been around the battleground states, and while they are still vital to victory, the national polls can be an indicator of what we're about to see in the battleground states. we think it is safe to say this, a dead heat two weeks out is nothing that the two candidates expected. we begin with our chief white house correspondent, political director chuck todd, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian, you know the first debate changed the chemistry of the race in mitt romney's favor, the second debate was a verbal fight.
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it got the president back on his feet. the topic is foreign policy, but the sheer closeness is hanging over their head. the president arrived in florida today, aware he needs to do well in tonight's debate, the race being closer than ever. the polls show a dramatic divide within the 47-47 tie. there is that gender gap, the president up in percentage with women. mitt romney's lead with men is a commanding 33 points, but hispanics by a 70-25 margin strongly prefer the president mr. romney spent the day behind closed doors where the press was not allowed, inspecting the table where he and the president will sit. he knows the subject matter tonight puts him at a disadvantage, something he found out in the second debate. >> you said in the rose garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror.
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it was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you're saying? >> please proceed, governor. >> all right, i want to make sure we get that for the record. because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in benghazi an act of terror. >> get the transcript. >> reporter: tonight gives the voters a chance to judge romney on the key questions, can they see him as a commander-in-chief? the new polls show that 47 said the president. 41% said mitt romney, the president with an eight-point lead last month. perhaps the big challenge for romney, differentiating himself from the last candidate, george bush >> how is your foreign policy different from president bush? >> there is a disconnect between the narrative that president obama is giving about the world in large and the reality. very similar to what happened in iraq, learn from bush's mistakes, and learn from obama's mistakes.
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be smart, listen to your commanders, don't over-sell. >> reporter: obama is trying to sell his successes, the osama bin laden killing, the draw-down in afghanistan. and the end of the iraq war aides say mr. romney will turn the attention back to the economy, saying you can't be strong abroad if you are weak at home. the president's challenge goes beyond the debate hall. according to our polls, there are doubts about what a second term will look like. 62% say the president should make major changes if re-elected only 4% say the second term should be like the first. as soon as this debate is over, the election rubber hits the road early in person voting kicking off in two more battleground states today, colorado and wisconsin, and voting in some fashion is in all nine of the closest swing states. and brian, as you know it will be a week of traveling. the president will hit eight of the nine states in a 48-hour stretch beginning wednesday. we'll be along with him for a lot of that. >> chuck todd, part of our team
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in boca raton, now, beginning with our chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell, what should people watch for tonight? >> reporter: i think watch for new rhetoric from romney, a softening from his position on iran, there were back-channel talks between the united states and iran about talking about getting together. not yet agreed to by the ayatollah for iran, or from the united states, but the agreement of the diplomatic issues are a good thing, you may hear more rhetoric on benghazi and libya, but mitt romney wants to keep the focus on the economy and both candidates will talk about china quite a bit. china's impact on ohio, they're all looking towards voters in ohio, the battleground states.
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>> andrea mitchell. we don't have you home for long, given your world travel and view of the world right now, what is the most urgent and pressing issue that could come up tonight? one that will live well beyond the debates? well, i think afghanistan and troops, tens of thousands, that is very important. but the most pressing issue right now seems to be syria, the united states can no longer ignore that situation, a huge hole that is sucking in other countries. so far 30,000 people killed in syria, and it is clear that that conflict is a regional war with other countries becoming involved. the bombing in beirut, many believe that syria was involved. and today, in jordan, officials say a soldier there was killed when the jordan troops clashed with the fighters crossing into syria, this is a situation that the president, whoever happens to be president will be forced to deal with.
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>> richard engel in the d.c. bureau tonight, and david gregory as we said at the top of the broadcast it is probably fair to say in their worst fears or wildest dreams neither campaign would have told you a year ago this would be a dead heat, 47-47, two weeks out. >> it is so close, brian, and there will be a lot of political signs about how to try to win over the next two weeks. but i think tonight is a 30,000 seat debate. this is about america's role in the world, we've heard from our correspondents here, we're not only a nation at war but we have faced other threats down the line, how does america lead at home, strong in the world, about our economy and place in the world. and i think tonight the real challenge for the romney campaign, they have sort of evened things up, seen as a credible alternative, he is not going to be seen as a commander-in-chief, but the stakes are high. the tone will be different
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>> david gregory, a reminder, our debate coverage begins 6:00, 9:00, and earlier we'll gather at 8:45 eastern, for a pre-coverage discussion with our team, only available on the web at and now, more on the spectacular fall from grace for lance armstrong, a one-time icon in the world of sports, stripped today of his seven tour de france titles and banned from the sport of cycling for life. our report tonight from nbc's kristen dahlgren >> reporter: it is one of sport's most epic falls. >> will strip him of his seven tour de france titles, lance armstrong has no place in cycling. >> reporter: the man whose place was for so long on top of the podium, erased from the record books. >> he deserves to be forgotten in cycling now. >> reporter: this morning, the
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governing body in geneva upheld the ruling regarding armstrong, of the u.s. anti-doping agency who they say had a massive doping program. the report contained incriminating statements from 11 of armstrong's former teammates a mass exodus from names such as nike and oakley sunglasses. >> it has been a difficult couple of weeks for me, for my family and friends at a 15th anniversary party for his livestrong charity organization, armstrong alluded to the controversy. >> i've been better, but also been worse. >> reporter: armstrong never admitted to doping but did drop the fight against it, leaving many wondering what it all means to the sport they love. >> i think it is a dark cloud over the sport right now. >> reporter: the international body will now list no winner for the tour de france from '99-2005. while many fans try to separate
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armstrong from the accusations. >> i'm disappointed in him, but i still think he is a heck of an athlete. >> lance armstrong only has to ride to the finish line. >> reporter: once famous for being the world's greatest cyclist, now is called one of the worst chapters in cycling history. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, los angeles and as we mentioned there is important news about women's health that may come as a surprise to many women who get one of the most common and important medical tests every year. a pap smear to screen for cervical cancer. tonight, new recommendations from the american college. they say most women age 21-65 can wait three to five years between pap tests as long as there is no sign of a problem. also, for the first time, the doctors advise that starting at the age of 30, women should also get tested for hpv when they get their pap test.
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also tonight, the first time america's baby doctors are weighing in on the debate a lot of parents have faced over organic foods. while a lot of parents feed their kids fruits and vegetables that are organic, to avoid pesticides, they think they're doing the right thing, the nation's pediatricians say there just is not any proof that organic is safer or has more nutrition than conventional foods. this was in addition to the study at stanford university. it was met at the time with uncertainty. still ahead as we continue on a monday night, they cheer for the athletes. and tonight, why there is new appeal to see them as athletes for the sake of their own safety. and later, the teen making a difference, keeping the stories of america's greatest generation alive for generations to come.
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back again with one of the health stories in the news today. this one involves millions of girls and cheerleading, although it has been the subject of a debate, technically cheerleading has not been considered a sport. a lot of people feel it ought to be. and now a group of nation's doctors would like to change the designation in order to make it safer. more than 3 million american girls are involved in cheer leading, with many injured every year. about 26,000 of them are injured every year
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our report tonight from nbc's janet shamlian >> reporter: with the high-flying lifts the modern day cheerleading has required skills of gymnasts, with concussions and broken bones, injuries are going up almost 37,000 visits to emergency rooms by cheerleaders last year. it is why the american academy of pediatrics recommended that it be classified as a sport. mandating qualified coaches, better medical care, and limits on practice time protections are already in place for other sports. >> i definitely think that this has been needed for a while. this -- it really is a sport. >> reporter: laura jackson knows the danger, after cheering in elementary school, her life changed forever on the day of the high school tryouts, when the then 14-year-old landed on her neck during a back flip, that was nine years ago. >> you know, had this been a sport when i broke my neck, it
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would have had stricter guidelines and regulations, and it may have been prevented. >> reporter: her case is not isolated. among high school girls, cheerleading accounts for 66% of the terrible accidents >> the cheerleaders are falling from heights of ten-18 feet, a fall from that height can have terrible consequences, including skull fractures, broken necks, in addition to broken bones. >> reporter: 29 states already recognize it as a sport, in states like texas, they don't, and that is a concern. >> the fear is you will be regulated on practice times, within a season cheerleading teams practice year around to promote safety. >> reporter: once on the sidelines, cheering takes the spotlight, amid calls for greater safety, janet shamlian. nbc news, houston. >> and up next, we learned what being popular in high school may mean for later in life. it shall be the policy of
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it shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile, launched from cuba against any nation in the western hemisphere as an attack by the soviet union on the united states, requiring a full retaliation from this country. >> scary years, the president took to the air waves and revealed the soviet missile plan. to the american people and the rest of the world a situation he called a reckless and provacative threat to world peace, eyeball to eyeball, the u.s. was seeing the threat. the closest america has come to the nuclear war threat the soviet dismantled their weapons and the u.s. agreed not to launch against cuba. it changed life in america forever. nuclear danger was
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suddenly real, as well as things like fallout shelters it helped to lay the groundwork suddenly real for the counterculture movement years later. and fidel castro was a young leader then, now, he is frail, 86-year-old man and just last week he was the subject of a new round of rumors, near death. and to show he was just fine, he was out in public this weekend, riding in a van. at a hotel. another photo showed him reading friday's paper as if to prove to all of us he was still with us. and it was not uncommon around the time of watergate, to see bumper stickers on cars, saying i am from massachusetts, don't blame me what they referred to was the land slide loss. regarding george mcgovern in the loss to richard nixon following word of his death this weekend, george mcgovern is being remembered as a statesman, a patriot, a decorated hero of
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world war ii, and one of the last of the liberal lions, after leaving the u.s. senate, he devoted much of his professional life to world hunger. senator mcgovern of south dakota was 90 years old and will be buried on friday. another prominent son of south dakota is being remembered tonight. russell means has died, one of the first american activists, to show the plight of tribes, he helped lead the bloody uprising at wounded knee, back in 1973. the first time many realized the struggles of native americans and the struggles they saw every day. after leading that movement he appeared in several hollywood films and died at his ranch in porcupine, south dakota, at the age of 72 and those who graduate in the top fifth of their class in terms of being popular, go on to
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make more money in life by an average of about 10% more, decades after they leave high school. the study says in effect, learning how to play the game in the world of high school increases your odds of figuring out how life works. when we come back. why members of the greatest generation are telling their stories to a scout who really wants to make a difference.
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our final report here is about recording the lives of the greatest generation of americans, 16 million americans proudly served this nation in world war ii many are still with us, with the va saying we were losing about 740 of them every sell day, and many have not talked about what they did during the war some of them are telling their stories to a young boy scout making a difference, his story and some of theirs tonight from nbc's rehema ellis. >> reporter: what ranks did you achieve, when most kids his age are focused on the future, 16-year-old kyle miller is taking notes on the past. >> there is always stories out there that were missing.
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>> reporter: kyle, a boy scout, from ohio, is on a mission to collect and share the stories of world war ii soldiers. he plans to interview and digitally archive the memories of a thousand veterans, called "voices from the front," and to hear from the widows. >> i didn't like the idea of going out killing people . >> and to hear from the widows >> your husband served in the navy during world war ii? >> yes. >> reporter: he was inspired by his grandfather who fought in the battle of the bulge. >> so i interviewed a group of them. >> reporter: kyle soon realized that preserving veteran stories could also help him earn scouting's highest rank of eagle scout, by demonstrating leadership in the community. when you got started did you know you would need so much help and it would take so much time? >> i thought i did. >> reporter: he called in the troops and supervised interviews at retirement homes. >> i got in at the tail end of the war.
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>> reporter: some were reluctant to talk, like this man who served on board the uss houston. 85-year-old charles burriss >> because i served after the war was really over, i never made much of the fact that i was a world war ii veteran. >> reporter: dean russell who joined the waves was eager to speak out. she joined in 1943 >> so they could see what we lived through, everything was rationed. everything was going to the servicemen. >> they were ordinary people doing extraordinary things. >> reporter: preserving war stories that never made it into the history books. rehema ellis, ohio. >> that is our broadcast on this monday night, thank you for joining us. i'm brian williams. we'll see you for our live debate coverage tonight. and of course, we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night.
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