tv CBS Evening News With Katie Couric CBS September 20, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
>> couric: tonight, the recession is declared officially over. but why doesn't it feel that way? the president hears from one frustrated voter. >> i'm exhausted. i'm exhausted of defending you. >> couric: i'm katie couric. also tonight, christine o'donnell has the g.o.p. establishment bothered and bewildered. >> i dabbled into witchcraft... >> couric: but don't count her out. history shows tea party candidates can survive controversial statements. and the man upstairs sends steve hartman to south america to prove everybody in the world has a story. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> couric: good evening, everyone. this may come as a surprise to you, but the recession is officially over-- at least
according to a panel of economists who make the call. th recession, this which began in december of 2007, ended last year in june. it lasted 18 months, making it the longest recession since the 1930s. but if it's over, a lot of americans aren't feeling it and, at a town meeting in pennsylvania today, a woman named velma hart let president obama know it. >> i'm one of your middle-class americans and, quite frankly, i'm exhausted. i'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that i voted for. and deeply disappointed with where we are right now. i have been told that i voted for a man who said he was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle-class. i'm one of those people and i'm waiting, sir. i'm waiting. i don't feel it yet. my husband and i have joked for years that we thought we were well beyond the hot dogs and beans era of our lives. but, quite frankly, it's starting to knock on our door and ring true that that might be
where we're headed again and, quite frankly, mr. president, i need you to answer this honestly. is this my new reality? >> couric: the president said the financial reforms he's enact will eventually help but he made it clear he gets the message. >> times are tough for everybody right now, so i understand your frustration. >> couric: and there is a lot of frustration out there. anger as well. here's senior business correspondent anthony mason. >> reporter: the official declaration of the recession's end won't mean anything to the nearly 17% of americans who are either out of work or have been forced to take part-time jobs. and people don't just feel poorer, they are. as real estate values have tumbled, household net worth has plunged 19% from its peak in 2007. the economy may be in the recovery room... >> however, anyone who's been in a recovery room knows that it's still really hurting when you're in the recovery room and there's
a lot of healing that still has to take place. >> reporter: this economist says we have recovered about 70% of our economic growth and about 40% of the business and retail sales that were lost. but only 9% of the private sector jobs wiped out in the recession have come back. from here, looking forward, what do you see? >> well, continued slowing in the economy. >> reporter: this slowdown is typical, achuthan says, but the more than seven million jobs lost in the great recession are not. >> that time of having unemployment down at 5% or 4%, it's going to take a long time, maybe a decade, before we see anything like that again. >> reporter: while the economy is still fragile, leading indicators have started edging up again, achuthan says, and we'll know by no later than thanksgiving whether the economy is headed for a so-called soft landing or for another recession. katie, let's hope it's a soft landing that comes with cranberry sauce. >> couric: that's for sure. anthony mason, anthony, thank
you so much. the economy is the number-one issue as the battle for control of congress heats up and here's where the battle stands now 43 days before the elections. our cbs news election team has analyzed a variety of factors, including what we know about the voters' likely turnout and poll numbers determine the critical contest that will decide the fight, first, the house. all 435 seats are at stake. republicans need a net gain of 39 of them to take control. and 84 may change hands. since 77 of them are now held by democrats, republicans have a very good shot of taking back the house. it will be a lot harder, though, for them to take control of the senate where 37 seats are up for grabs. the republicans need a net gain of ten. and where to get them? cbs news considers 13 seats now held by democrats to be in play. that includes a race in pennsylvania which is why the president took a campaign trip to the keystone state today.
our chief white house correspondent chip reid went with him. chip, are democratic candidates eager or reticent about sharing the stage with the president? >> reporter: katie, most democrats are very reticent, but there are still places around the country where the president is quite popular, and one of those places is philadelphia. >> hope will beat fear every time and the future will beat the past! that's what this election is about. >> reporter: in many parts of the nation, the last thing democratic candidates want is to share a stage with president obama. ( cheers and applause ) >> reporter: but in philadelphia today, congressman joe sestak, who's running for the senate, said he's thrilled. >> i'm proud to welcome him here because he's got the same message i have. >> reporter: with control of the senate on the line, the president is in full campaign mode, helping sestak raise money and firing up the party base. but even in this overwhelmingly democratic city, that won't be easy. many democrats here are dispirited. >> i think that the political
mood is one of fear and of panic but... >> reporter: for democrats, you mean? >> for democrats. >> reporter: and some former obama supporters are just fed up. >> i don't care anymore. i just... i'm done being idolistic. i'm done. >> reporter: presidential candidate obama won pennsylvania decisively two years ago, even carrying the philadelphia suburbs, but his popularity has there has plummeted because of spending, deficits, and health care reform. >> once you move outside of philadelphia, the president's job performance drops very, very sharply. >> reporter: sestak is narrowly trailing conservative republican pat toomy in recent polls. toomey says the president's visit may help him more than sestak. >> i think that's an element of that. i think people are very conscious of this very liberal agenda and in my race joe sestak is fully supporting everything item on that agenda and arguing it should have gone further. >> reporter: in the coming weeks, the president will be campaigning in the relatively small number of places where he
is still popular, including congressional districts in new mexico, wisconsin, and ohio and, not surprisingly, katie, he will be returning here to philadelphia. >> couric: all right. chip reid. chip, thanks very much. republicans were counting on picking up a democratic senate seat in delaware. that is until tea party favorite christine o'donnell won the g.o.p. nomination. will her past statements about, among other things, witchcraft, come back to haunt her? congressional correspondent nancy cordes reads the tea leaves. >> reporter: christine o'donnell's witchcraft comments may have spooked some republican leaders. >> she's got to deal with it and explain it. >> reporter: but her fellow tea party senate candidates are living prove that unusual assertions are not necessarily campaign killers. >> watch out, here we come. >> reporter: take kentucky's rand paul who questioned the historic civil rights act but is still tied with the democrat in a recent poll.
nevada's sharron angle is neck in neck with senate majority leader harry reid even after she advocated an armed insurrection against the government. >> senator reid still is not very popular in nevada because a lot of people blame the bad economy on him. >> reporter: and utah attorney mike lee is crushing his democratic rival even though lee favors dismantling social security and eliminating unemployment benefits. priorities he shares with alaska's joe miller. >> here's the difference: delaware is a democratic state and those other tea party states are either competitive purple or republican red. >> thank you so much! >> reporter: back in delaware, supporters of christine o'donnell... >> one of my first dates was with a witch on a satanic altar and i didn't know it. >> reporter: say they're not phased by the latest skeleton in her closet. >> i'm going to vote for people on what they're running on, not what they did 20 years ago because i'd never get elected myself if that happened.
>> reporter: o'donnell was a frequent guest on comedian bill maher's program back in the 1990s and he plans to release more colorful clips like that one. for now, she's laughing off the threat saying, "hey, bill wanted ratings and i gave them to him." katie? >> katie: nancy cordes on capitol hill for us tonight. nancy, thank you. turning overseas now, two months after monsoon floods inundated pakistan, the situation there is only getting worse. nearly two million homes were damaged or destroyed and today unicef said 105,000 children under five years old could die from malnutrition. earlier today i spoke with pakistan's foreign minister shah mahmood qureshi about a number of things, including the crisis in his country. your country is still reeling from devastating floods. the acumen fund, which is a nonprofit organization here in the u.s., recently visited is the area and came back with some very moving, tragic images.
can you describe the level of human suffering there. >> it's huge. you've never had a natural disaster of this magnitude before. the area the size of the united kingdom is underwater. 20 million people in pakistan have been affected by these floods. shelterless. billions of dollars worth of standing crops have been lost. livestock. so it's a very serious situation we're dealing with. >> couric: the united states alone this weekend pledged $345 million in civilian aid and $55 million in military assistance. does that go very far with the people of pakistan? because there's a significant amount of anti-american sentiment in your country. >> the qualitative difference has come under this administration. they have tripled the economic assistance to pakistan. it is helping because for the
first time this money will be spent where? education, health, poverty alleviation. now, when people see american money helping their lives, that is what will change the public opinion of pakistan. >> couric: i was recently in eastern afghanistan and a major complaint is that insurgents return, cross the pakistani border, retrain, regroup, rearm, and then come back into afghanistan. >> it's a two-way traffic. there has to be a strategy to check them once they cross the border. >> couric: but pakistan has some major responsibility here. >> well, we are fulfilling our responsibilities. but we need international help. >> couric: a recent poll in this country found that 24% of americans have a favorable impression of islam, 39% have an unfavorable opinion. why is that, in your view? >> i think many in the west,
many in the united states, are not fully aware of the message of islam. islam is a message of peace, not violence. >> couric: have extremists, then, co-opted the narrative to such a point that that is not how people feel about muslims? >> in every society there are extremists. to give you an example: one american pastor. look the way he captured the attention of the world. and what was he trying to do? burn the koran. fortunately that horrific incident did not take place. but god forbid if it had what would i deduce? did he reflect american values or was it an individual act of an extremist? there can be a fringe extremist element in this society and you have to be cognizant of them. >> couric: and still ahead here on the "cbs evening news," steve hartman with "everybody in
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critics call it frankenfish, but the f.d.a. says it's safe to eat. what the agency is about to decide now is whether to approve it for sale. as wyatt andrews reports, it would be the first genetic altered animal allowed on store shelves and it could open the door for others. >> reporter: the salmon would grow twice as fast as normal but taste the same and cost much less. the question is, should we eat it? >> it's very scary because what are they putting in this stuff and what is going to be the side effects? >> reporter: the industry invented this salmon by taking a single gene from an eel-like fish call the ocean palp which grows year round and spliced it into a farm-raised salmon to keep the growth hormones on overdrive expert after expert told the f.d.a. panel that that genetic change did not change the salmon itself. that the flesh and nutritional content no different from normal salmon, just as the company
growing the fish has claimed. >> it means it's the same as the traditional food. it's indistinguishable from the traditional atlantic salmon. >> keep it out of the food supply. >> reporter: but several environmental groups say the f.d.a. has failed to study this fish outside the lab or in any kind of clinical trial. >> the f.d.a. hasn't done the necessary safety tests to make sure these fish are safe for human consumption. >> reporter: another concern is that these oversized fish could escape from the tanks where they are supposed to be confined and become predators. >> there's absolutely no way you can contain these salmon and if they get out it's a threat wild salmon. >> reporter: several of the outside experts also questioned the f.d.a.'s conclusions and now the f.d.a. has 60 days to rule if this fish should be sold as food and if it should be labeled. even with approval, however, it could be years before the first gene-altered salmon is on the table. wyatt andrews, cbs news, washington. >> couric: and we'll be right back.
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argentina called cordoba. cordoba is argentina's second- largest city with more than 1.3 million stories to choose from. of course, we're just here to tell... this one. sandro giovannini. 28-year-old sandro giovannini lives with his girlfriend estrella, they've been dating four years and although i don't speak any spanish, it was pretty obvious from the smart... >> sexy! >> reporter: .. . that theirs is a very loving and playful relationship. ( laughs ) sandro's story, on the other hand, is anything but giggles. it begins long before estrella. back when his whimsy and warmth was all anger and angst. sandro says when he was a teenager growing up on his parents' farm, he and his dad would argue constantly. >> ( translated ): ever since i
was a young boy i was different from my dad-- or maybe we weren't different. maybe we were so similar we just bumped heads. >> reporter: his mom, graciella, says the biggest battles were always over sandro's future. he says her husband pretty much insisted sandro take over the farm. >> ( translated): but sandro said he wanted to be a writer. his dad said "you're crazy. i didn't raise you, bring you into this world to be a writer or anything else." >> reporter: the fights escalated until one day at the age of 16 sandro ran away from home. his dad was so fed up he even helped him pack. sandro says he spent the next three nights in a boarding house living off a single apple. why not just say "dad, you win, i'm coming home"? >> ( translated ): it was tough. i was young and pride played a big part. >> reporter: sandro lasted those three days and then three more. he made it a month, then a year.
his mom says she wanted to invite him back many times but his father wouldn't allow it. so sandro never returned. he got jobs and somehow survived but here's the amazing part. even though sandro was working sometimes 16 hours a day, he still always made time for school. somehow he avoided the trappings that trip upmost runaways and not only finished high school but next year he'll graduate from college. >> ( translated ): it's a moment i've been waiting for a long time. >> reporter: it's already taken him seven years, working part time jobs like the one he has now at a newsstand, but sandro says his diploma will be well worth the sacrifice. his mother plans to be there for the graduation, but his father won't. sandro's dad died five years ago, suddenly, before they ever had a chance to really make up. what would you dad think if he was at that graduation? >> ( translated): i think he would be happy. he would have realize
misdemeanor things about me. i really wish he could be there. >> reporter: it's understandable. i found this story a hemisphere away, but sandro says there's a message in it for teenagers everywhere. >> ( translated ): parents always want what's best for their children and what may upset you sometimes is simply done out of love. >> reporter: like wise, sandro says you parents need to understand that sometimes your children know themselves better than you do. take it from the soon to be college graduate who still plans to be a writer. steve hartman, cbs news, cordoba, argentina. >> couric: universal lesson. next week, steve reports from the australian outback where he was attacked by-- believe it or not-- a camel. we're going to show you how it turned out. steve's pretty tasty. that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric. thanks for watching. i'll see you tomorrow. good fight.
you're watching cbs5 "eyewitness news." when you call for police help you expect some. why one department in the bay area is having to tell people "sorry, but we can't help you." pg&e finally releases its gas transmission line map. why some say the information is incomplete and debate about why it was or wasn't public in the first place. and after the latest deadly crash what will it take to make children understand the dangers of drunk driving. good evening, i'm dana king. >> i'm alan martin. with fewer officers on the streets some people living in oakland are calling on neighborhood police departments to help but help may not come. we report from piedmont with the options people have when dealing with crime. we have had probably a 20% increase in crime