tv NBC Nightly News NBC November 7, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
>> thanks, rob. brian williams joins us next. hope to see you back here at 6:00. >> good night folks. back to iraq. a big escalation in u.s. involvement. the number of american troops there about to double, including some very dangerous places. are you among those allergic to pencillin? an increasing number of doctors are saying there's a good chance you're not. stunning news about a big overreaction. something he said in our interview with him last night that got jerry seinfeld a whole lot of attentioday on the subject of autism. and the crowd goes wild for a little girl going through a really tough time, finally getting to see her hero, her own dad, in action. "nightly news" begins now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. good evening. because terrorism is a moving
target, 1,500 more american servicemen and women are going back to iraq in numbers that will double those already on post. they are not intended as combat troops, but they'll be serving in an area surrounded by it. their stated mission is to train up and stand up the iraqi armed forces so that they can fight isis and other groups. and, yes, many of them are military advisers. and back in vietnam many of our advisers were quickly drawn into combat. it is where we begin tonight with our pentagon correspondent, jim miklaszewski. >> reporter: for years after the american combat role in iraq ended, more u.s. military forces are now headed back to iraq on a new ever-expanding mission. the obama administration announced today it was more than doubling the number of u.s. military forces now on the ground in iraq from 1,400 to nearly 3,000. their mission, to train, advise and assist the iraqi military in its fight against isis
militants. for more than three months u.s. air strikes have pounded isis forces with limited success while undertrained iraqi forces have been unable to halt the isis advance. u.s. military commanders fear without more u.s. advisers, the iraqis could lose the battle. the new teams of u.s. military advisers will fan out over the north, west and southern iraq and into two hot combat zones under isis control, anbar and the north baghdad province. those advisers will be protected by u.s. military combat teams. but pentagon officials insist they are not offensive combat forces. >> they're going to be trained troops. and they're going to be able to defend themselves. but that doesn't mean they're being introduced in a combat role in iraq. >> reporter: but vietnam veteran jack jacobs says there's a fine line between military advisers and combat troops. >> anybody who thinks being an adviser keeps you away from combat is just kidding themselves.
i was an adviser twice in vietnam and that guaranteed i would be in combat. >> reporter: this comes at a high price. another $5.6 billion and that's only the beginning. officials acknowledge that the overall mission will undoubtedly require more troops and money. a long-term commitment with no end in sight, brian. >> jim miklaszewski at the pentagon to start us off. jim, thanks. there are major developments tonight about the recall of airbags in millions of cars currently on the american road. nbc news has learned the justice department has launched a criminal investigation into the japanese company that makes the airbags after reports the company knew a decade ago some of its airbag inflators could crack and even explode and ordered employees apparently to destroy the evidence. we get our report tonight from nbc's tom costello. >> three, two, one. >> reporter: it's the explosive canister inside an airbag that investigators believe can blow
apart spewing metal shrapnel. four people are believed to have died, dozens injured including 26-year-old cory burdick who lost an eye when his airbag exploded last may. >> i thought i was going to die. i thought, right here on the curb, this is it, my boys, my wife, my job, my life, just gone. >> reporter: he's suing honda and the maker of the airbag, japan's takata corporation. while takata maintained it discovered the widespread problem in 2008, the "new york times" today reported that they conducted secret tests on 50 airbags and hid evidence that it found cracks in two airbag canisters. rather than notify federal safety regulators, the times reports the tests were shut down after three months. >> they were instructed to destroy the test results, the prototypes are also thrown in the trash together with the inflaters that they rounded up
from the junk yards. >> reporter: today takata called the allegations fundamentally inaccurate and said takata takes very seriously the accusations made in this article. and we are cooperating and participating fully with the government investigation now underway. since 2008, more than 11 million vehicles in the u.s. have been recalled. honda has been forced to recall the most. today honda told nbc news it is our intention to determine whether anyone at honda has any evidence that these claims regarding takata are credible. >> this clearly shows this company had a real quality control problem that wasn't addressed and they were willing to sacrifice safety in order to get their product into motor vehicles. >> reporter: tonight republicans and democrats are promising hearings into what takata knew and when it knew it. there's also growing bipartisan frustration with the national highway safety traffic administration for failing to detect problems far sooner, brian? >> tom costello in our d.c. newsroom on a friday night. tom, thanks. we've learned late today that some point tomorrow president obama intends to nominate loretta lynch to be the next attorney general of the united states. lynch is the u.s. attorney currently based in brooklyn, new
york. if confirmed she would take over for outgoing attorney general eric holder. weather is in the news tonight because it's about to get bracingly cold. a dramatic change in temperature very quickly. well below normal this early in the season across about 2/3 of the lower 48. and by the way, snow is in the forecast. this is when things change. our report tonight from nbc's kevin tibbles in chicago. >> reporter: get ready, america. winter is barrelling down the pike. remnants of typhoon nuri hitting alaska was near 100-mile-per-hour winds manhandling the jet stream, pushing the polar vortex and frigid temperatures south. >> much colder air is coming in to the lower 48 from above the arctic circle. this is going to pack a punch. >> reporter: in chicago they know what that means. what does the word polar vortex mean to you? >> chicago in the wintertime. >> shoveling. >> the polar vortex is nothing we can't handle. >> reporter: by midweek temperatures from the plain
states to parts east will be ten to twenty degrees colder than on average. we've already had a taste. 21 inches of snow in parts of maine, bone chilling 65-mile-per-hour winds battered the chicago waterfront. and in north carolina a football game in a snow globe. could this foreshadow a repeat of last winter when the mercury plummeted? >> minneapolis, st. paul. minus 20 degrees. >> reporter: braving it all, yours truly of course. the christmas tree is at the ready in rockefeller plaza. the winter weather isn't far behind. >> bring it on. >> reporter: kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago. another sign the u.s. economy is improving. a slow road to recovery. new numbers show employers added 214,000 jobs in october. the unemployment rate ticked down to 5.8%. that is the lowest since july of '08. at the white house today president obama came face-to-face with top
republicans for the first time since the gop took control of congress in a big way tuesday. the president invited leaders from both parties for a lunch that lasted about two hours. stated goal of the get-together finding common ground which has been elusive these past six years. issues on the table included just about everything from the economy to the fight against isis and immigration. right about the time the president was breaking bread he got a piece of bad news. the supreme court will take up another challenge to his signature obamacare law at stake. health insurance coverage for 5.5 million low income americans who bought through federal exchanges and now stand to lose the subsidies that made coverage affordable for them. now to the health news that will likely come as a surprise to americans, one in ten of them who believe they are allergic to penicillin. tonight, the nation's top allergists are saying most of those people are in fact not allergic. for more on this, we're joined by nbc news medical contributor
dr. natalie azar. of new york university hospital. doctor, how can this be so? >> first of all let's talk about this. it's very relevant for medical practice. we see penicillin allergy being reported very, very frequently to us. these two very important studies suggest that of the subjects who say they are penicillin allergic, 94% of them, in fact, are not. you say how does this happen? a lot of times people carry over a history of a penicillin allergy from childhood, my mom said i had an allergy. and probably more frequently actually is that people are having what we call an adverse effect from the penicillin, not a true allergic reaction. this is a very important distinction. an allergic reaction involves a rash with hives, it's wheezing, it's difficulty breathing, itchy eyes, whereas an adverse reaction could be i don't feel good, i have headache, nausea, upset stomach. that doesn't actually constitute an allergic reaction. why is this important? we like to use -- when we can, we like to use as narrow
a spectrum antibiotic as possible. when we give these big gun antibiotics, not only are wiping out the good bacteria in our guts, but also are incredibly expensive and also breeding antibiotic resistance in the community. not a good thing. so what do we do about this? >> right. >> a lot of people are going to sit at home saying i'm not sure. i always thought i had a penicillin allergy. go to an allergist, get a skin test, takes roughly an hour. that will make the distinction for you. incredibly important news for viewers. >> story came out of nowhere today. dr. azar, thank you. >> thanks so much. the berlin wall came down 25 years ago this weekend. it had been up for about 30 years before that. the symbol of the cold war, dividing east and west berlin, which are now, of course, part of a prosperous and unified germany. mikhail gorbachev commemorated at checkpoint charlie to commemorate the anniversary. back then for us in the news media, it was the biggest story for us at the time and few of us
can believe it's been 25 years. i'm brian williams reporting from the berlin wall. >> as i was saying, a number of us were there early on. but one american anchorman, one broadcast, this one, in fact, got their first. tonight, tom brokaw has a look back at that trip and that momentous time. >> reporter: it was a night when the world changed right before our eyes. good evening live from the berlin wall on the most historic night in this wall's history. this was me 25 years ago at the brandonburg gate, the berlin wall, the night that it came down. a complete surprise and yet one of the most historic and significant events of the 20th century. east berlin, a maximum security prison in the heart of europe. we had come here to report on the growing protests against communist rule. and the violent crackdown. it looked like it would spiral out of control.
activist filmmaker risked his life to smuggle these pictures out of the city of lip sig a month earlier. it was a pivotal moment. >> translator: the people saw that we were protesting and that we were peaceful, that we were so many. >> reporter: as november 9th dawned, the regime's grip in power seemed in tact. no story. until this bombshell afternoon press conference. east germany announcing its citizens would be free to travel to the west, but when? immediately. producer michelle newburger and i were stunned. >> i was like, tom, i think the berlin wall might be coming down. >> reporter: do i understand it correctly, it is possible for them to go through the wall at some point? >> it is possible for them to go through the border. >> reporter: the news spread like wildfire. siggy was among the thousands who headed here to the born homer bridge to try their luck. >> translator: it thought the
bridge would make a turn and we'd be back in the east where they'd be waiting with trucks to arrest us. >> reporter: a historic moment tonight. the berlin wall can no longer contain the east german people. for us, it was a historic exclusive. for east germans, for all germans, it was so much more. they are crossing this wall, east-to-west. and west to east. they've been joined once again as one, as freedom loving people, and no wall can stand in their way. it's a night to remember. >> tom brokaw back in berlin 25 years later. and still ahead for us on a friday evening, what jerry seinfeld said on our broadcast last night that has gotten him a lot of attention today, specifically what he said about the autism spectrum. also, the moment that brought 65,000 in attendance and a national viewing audience to their feet, a 4-year-old fan favorite.
we had a rollicking good time with jerry seinfeld while working on a profile of him that aired here last night. it was mostly about his new life as a producer and the new season for his web show called "comedians in cars getting coffee." but it was something he said about what he's noticed about himself in adult life that got a ton of attention today. he believes he fits somewhere on the autism spectrum. we get a follow-up report tonight from our national correspondent, kate snow. >> reporter: we all know jerry seinfeld as the funny man, but when he told brian he thinks he's on the autism spectrum, he wasn't joking. >> i don't see it as dysfunctional, i just think of it as an alternate mindset. >> reporter: he'd been talking about his web series where he interviews comedians. >> they're the only kind of people that i feel completely relaxed around.
every other social interaction i have is somewhat of a management. >> reporter: and that's when he brought up a play he'd seen on broadway called "the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime." he said he saw himself in the main character who has autism. >> in the play the kid talked about the apple of your eye. there's no apples in your eye. why are you saying that? it's over-literalizing. i'm very literal. when people talk to me and they use expression, sometimes i don't know what they're saying. >> reporter: it's been a story line on nbc's "parenthood" when ray romano's character came to the realization he might have all the symptoms after reading a book. >> check, check, check. i'm seeing my life here. i'm seeing everything. the whole thing. >> reporter: reaction to seinfeld's comments on facebook page, mostly positive. >> what he said struck a chord with the autism community. >> reporter: seinfeld joins a number of adults identifying
themselves as being on the autism spectrum. >> i think if awareness runs in the community, stigma surrounding autism decreases. and i think more people comfortable talking about their experiences. >> psychologists are repelling down the side of my house. like the autism task force is coming to diagnose me. there he is, i've got a visual. >> reporter: author david finch never realized he was on the spectrum until he was 31. >> i cried because it was this moment of self-recognition i'd never had before. >> reporter: like jerry seinfeld, he said he struggled with social interaction. he had to practice it. >> i'm choosing my words a little more carefully. and modulating my voice to match what it is i'm saying. >> reporter: things most of us don't think about while we're doing them. we just do them. >> okay. see, that's strange to me. >> i spoke to david today. he said what seinfeld said was great. he's happy to see people talking about autism. autism speaks says it's unclear how many adults are living with autism. they're funding a study next year to try to quantify how many adults are out there. and unlike jerry seinfeld, brian, how many need support. >> it is a fascinating story. kate snow, thank you as always.
with tonight's news about more americans in uniform heading back into iraq, this has been a homecoming week at camp pendleton for some of the last marines and sailors who left afghanistan. the first marine division is commemorating the tenth anniversary of the brutal battle of fallujah, the largest loss of life that unit suffered in combat since vietnam. final autopsy results are in tonight for robin williams. confirmation he died from asphyxia due to hanging. and notably his system was free of alcohol and illegal drugs when he took his own life inside his northern california home back in july. his family had said at the time he'd been dealing with a bout of particularly severe depression. it is one thing when they come here to new york to play our rangers, but we're all about the boston bruins tonight for
what they did for bruins superfan liam fitzgerald. liam has down syndrome and he just got over a successful fight against cancer. and in case you forgot what pure sports joy looks like, every member of the bruins fist-bumped liam skating off the ice after warm-ups, the very definition of a happy 8-year-old boy. and when we come back on this friday night, from the ice to the turf and the wonderful story of a little girl who finally got to see what her dad does for a living.
finally tonight, a story that has moved so many people across the country, especially those of us who are football fans and parents. it's about a remarkable little girl whose dad happens to play in the nfl. at just 4 years old, she's endured a very tough fight with cancer. but now she's gotten strong enough to be there to watch him play in person for the very first time since he joined the nfl. nbc's ron mott has their story. >> reporter: this was no ordinary take your daughter to work day. >> daddy, i want to -- >> reporter: an airplane ride, a manicure, high tea, and -- the
perfect cheer. this was 4-year-old leah stills first time seeing her daddy at his office since being diagnosed with a rare cancer in june. >> you ready to get this cancer up out you? let's do it. fist bump. >> reporter: months of chemotherapy and surgery in the rearview mirror with radiation and more struggles ahead. you're a big strong guy. what have you learned about strength and power and resilience in your little 4-year-old? >> it doesn't come from the weight room. strength comes from your heart. my daughter has showed tremendous strength, tremendous heart. >> she is america's sweetheart. >> reporter: leah was the unquestionable mvp, the star attraction for a full house of 65,000-plus. >> i haven't seen my daughter smile as much in a long time. and i definitely appreciate everybody chipping in to help put that smile on her face. >> reporter: while there are more popular players on the bengals team than devon still, you wouldn't necessarily know it looking around the stadium. his number 75 jersey has become a big seller and that's a big
deal for kids like leah battling health challenges. sales are so brisk some improvise waiting out delivery delays. all adding up to a donation of more than $1.3 million by the bengals to cincinnati's children hospital in leah's name. >> it's been phenomenal to see the outpouring. >> we want her to beat it. we know she will. >> reporter: his job is to tackle opposing quarterbacks. last night that quarterback embraced him. and the bengals lost, this father is after a much bigger victory. >> go out there and do to win, but right now i'm trying to fight a harder battle to win my daughter's life back. >> reporter: no matter the result, teammates for life. ron mott, nbc news, cincinnati. >> that is our broadcast on a friday night and for this week. thank you for being here with us. we want to leave you tonight by showing how hard they've been working out back to raise the tree that will thrill millions once it gets all gussied up and lit up. i'm brian williams. lester holt will be here with you this weekend. we, of course, hope to see you right back here monday night. in the meantime, please have a
good weekend. goodnight. right now another 6:00, he is giving up silicon valley's congressional race congratulating congressman mike honda. good evening. thank you for joining us. >> it's not official, but it's over. the much hyped congressional race in the silicon valley came down to the wire. you saw him at the podium
conceding to mike honda. there's more to this story, the future of him. >> this long campaign has come to a close. but my hope is that those engaged in both sides will channel their extraordinary talent, their extraordinary passion to solve our nation's most urgent challenge and that is to help create a strong middle class in an economy that is changing. i believe more than ever before that in this district, we have so much to offer in building a fair and prosperous economic future for our nation in the 21st century. my friends, our work has just begun. thank you. >> you heard him