tv PBS News Hour PBS December 9, 2015 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> ifill: good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: a new political divide: how republican leaders are distancing themselves from the party's frontrunner. >> ifill: also ahead this wednesday: as racial tensions on college campuses remain high, affirmative action is once again before the supreme court. >> woodruff: and, we hear we shouldn't trust them. but how accurate are political polls and what should we read into them? >> i don't think peter and i, or any pollster, would tell you that a poll today has much or any predictive power for what october of 2016 will look like. >> ifill: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.
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violence as far back as 2013. that's a year before they were married. at a senate hearing today, fbi director james comey said investigators are piecing together a timeline on syed farook and tashfeen malik. investigators are at the end of 2013 they were talking to each other about jihad and martyrdom before they were married. >> woodruff: it's also reported that syed farook may have plotted an attack in 2012 with a neighbor who bought the assault rifles used last week. the neighbor has checked himself into a mental clinic. >> ifill: the man accused of attacking a planned parenthood clinic in colorado blurted out today that he's guilty. robert lewis dear repeatedly voiced anti-abortion sentiments during a hearing. at one point, he shouted "i'm guilty.
i'm a warrior for the babies". three people died in the shootings last month. >> ifill: meanwhile, a baltimore policeman accused in the freddie gray case testified in his own defense today, against a manslaughter charge. gray was fatally injured during a ride in a police van last april, in an incident that touched off violent protests. officer william porter told the court he checked on gray several times and saw no sign of injury. and he said: "i didn't call for a medic because gray was unable to give me a reason for a medical emergency." >> woodruff: in chicago, mayor rahm emanuel has apologized for the shooting death of 17-year- old laquan mcdonald at the hands of police, saying he takes responsibility because it happened "on his watch." video of the 2014 incident came out last week, and now a white officer is charged with murder. emanuel told city council today that the police department must undertake complete and total reform.
>> no officer should be allowed to behave as if they are above the law just because they are responsible for upholding the law. permitting and protecting even the smallest acts of abuse by a tiny fraction of our officers leads to culture where extreme acts of abuse are more likely. >> woodruff: hundreds of protesters flooded downtown streets in chicago today, accusing emanuel of a cover-up. they blocked traffic and demanded that the mayor step down. >> ifill: the u.s. military is poised to do more to help iraq recapture a key city from islamic state control. iraqi government forces have now encircled ramadi, the capital of anbar province, and are slowly moving in. defense secretary ash carter told a senate panel today that the u.s. stands ready to help finish the job.
>> the united states is prepared to assist the iraqi army with additional unique capabilities to help them finish the job, including attack helicopters and accompanying advisors if circumstances dictate and if requested by prime minister abadi. >> ifill: later, the white house said president obama has not yet approved the use of u.s. attack helicopters in iraq. >> woodruff: meanwhile, in syria, the last of the rebel stronghold of homs has officially fallen to government troops. rebel factions pulled out today, under a local truce. scores of people -- including gunmen and civilians -- left the city in bus convoys organized by the united nations and red crescent. the city had been under siege by the syrian military for three years. >> ifill: afghanistan's military struggled today to beat back a taliban attack on an air base in the south. a gun battle raged into the night outside the city of kandahar, killing and wounding dozens of people. jonathan miller of independent television news filed this
report. >> reporter: we now know that at least 37 civilians and afghan soldiers were killed and 35 wounded when taliban insurgents stormed the heavily fortified complex, taking up positions in a residential section, home to hundreds of nato and other international personnel. this morning, this airport employee said the security forces weren't letting anyone onto the base yet, as the fighting was still raging. the taliban released this video of what they claimed were the insurgents who attacked the kandahar base. their leader, speaking in english, warned president obama to get remaining us troops out of afghanistan >> this my suggestion, barack obama. obama, you have (inaudible) in afghanistan. >> reporter: he threatened to
kill foreign soldiers of what the talibs call the afghan slave army. this photograph shows the same men same backdrop, this time dressed in afghan army uniform and wielding kalashnikovs. the identity of one of the ten is obscured. it's possible that he didn't join the operation. afghan forces claim to have killed 14 insurgents. gruesome pictures released tonight show afghan soldiers displaying the dead bodies of the attackers and their weapons to tv cameras. >> ifill: afghanistan's president ashraf ghani was in pakistan today, discussing possible peace talks with the taliban. >> woodruff: back in this country, a sweeping makeover of public education law cleared congress today. the senate gave final approval to the rewrite of the "no child left behind" law. it shifts more decision-making to the states, on how to assess teachers and schools, but it still requires annual testing in reading and math. >> ifill: another night of heavy
rain has spread flooding across more of the pacific northwest. storms in oregon and washington state knocked out power to nearly 100,000 customers. in portland, a tree crashed into a home, killing a 60-year-old woman. and just south of seattle, cars and trucks struggled to make their way through high water that closed a number of roads. >> woodruff: volkswagen now says one of its emissions scandals may not be as bad as first believed. company officials initially said they might have low-balled carbon dioxide emissions in 800,000 vehicles. now, they say it's more like 36,000. v.w. still faces a much larger scandal that involves cheating on u.s. emissions tests. >> ifill: on wall street, the dow jones industrial average lost 75 points to close back near 17,490. the nasdaq also fell 75, and the s&p 500 dropped 16.
>> woodruff: and, it was 150 years ago this month that the 13th amendment was ratified and slavery was abolished in the united states. president obama marked the occasion at the u.s. capitol, and he appeared to target donald trump's call to bar muslims from entering the country. >> we betray the efforts of the past if we fail to push back against bigotry in all its forms. our freedom is bound up with the freedom of others, regardless of what they look like, or where they come from, or what their last name is or what faith they practice. ( applause ) >> woodruff: that drew a standing ovation from the gathered congressional leaders. but the white house said the remarks were not specifically directed at trump. we'll focus on how republicans are reacting to trump in just a moment. >> ifill: also ahead on the newshour: race in college admissions, back at the supreme court. exactly how accurate are
election polls? and much more. >> woodruff: now to the divisions and dilemmas inside the republican party. there's growing gop opposition to donald trump, the frontrunner in the race for the white house, especially since his latest comments on denying muslims entry into the country. what do these divisions mean for republican leaders? we explore that with former minnesota congressman vin weber. for the record, he's formally endorsed jeb bush. and jonathan martin, national political correspondent for "the new york times." welcome to both of you. so, ja jonathan let me start wih you, when you were in south carolina when donald trump made
the comments about muslims. first of all, remind us, what was the reaction in the where he spoke and what's been the reaction since then? >> quite enthusiastic from his supporters, a lot of applause and a sort of prolonged ovation, many folks standing up, some yells. there was approval. i talked to many of them afterwards, too, and it was easy to find people in that crowd that support immediate donald trump's plan. if you dig a little bit deeper though, you can find some people that i think want to see the border tightened and want to see immigration tightened, want to see more vetting of those coming into the country but are a little bit leery about going as far as trump plans so i don't think it's as cut and dried as perhaps the crowd reaction may have been in real time. but obviously in the days since them, there is deep concern in the party about the implications of this-- barring an entire faith of folks coming into the country-- and the concern is not just the fact that it's trump saying these bombastic things. it's the fallout that could hurt
the party on the ballot next year, too, judy. >> woodruff: vin weber, we have pointed out you endorsed jeffrey brown. you talked to republicans about the country. what are picking up? >> i don't know of a single republican leader that that is not applaud at what donald trump is saying, and i don't upon a single republican strategist that doesn't think he poses a huge threat to the republican party. increasingly so, whether he wins or loses. and that's a great, great concern. at the grass-roots level, you know, it's a mixed bag. as jonathan points out, i think trump is a classic demagogue, and the demagogue succeeds by preying on the fears, legitimate fears, sometimes, that people have, and they respond. >> woodruff: what is it that the opposition is born out of? is it this comment about muslims because there have been so many other comments he has made that have been controversial? what's generating this? >> you reach a tipping point, i think. his comments about mexican americans, you had his comments
about disabled people, you can his comments about mccain which can be extrapolated about veterans and now you have the comments about muslim americans and this is the one that went over the edge and convinced people that this is a real serious threat to brand the republican party as a party of bigotry and intolerance. i want to emphasize, no republican leader i am aware of shares any of these views. >> woodruff: jonathan martin, you're, again, obviously, talking to republicans. s what's genesiss? what's behind this concern? is that they're concerned he's going to win the nomination? >> yes. >> woodruff: is it concern he will leave the party and go run as an independent? >> i think it's both of those factors and a third one. it's that nominee or not, as vin said, the fallout from this is going to have an impact on the republican party because these comments are going to be the link to candidates next year. look, i think for months there was frankly widespread denial in the republican party that trump could be the nominee or that trump was formidable. it was the summer of trump. folks said, "this laib passing
fancy." here it is, we're coming up on christmas and he is still overwhelmingly the front-runner for the party's nomination and i think you finally see people in the party come to terms with that as he ups the rhetoric level to new heights. that's the concern. >> woodruff: is it more that they think they're worried he gl on to win the election and become president and will impose his ideas or is it they're worried he will lose to the democrats? >> oh, it's the latter. it's not that he's going to be president. it's that he could either be the nominee and calls a-- >> or lose the nomination and split the party. >> right or go to the convention next summer and offer some kind of demands or give more speeches that hurt the party. there are a lot of scenarios, none of them very good for the g.o.p. >> and all of this, by the way, coming from somebody whose republican credentials are very thin. everybody else running for the republican nomination has some right to say they are more or less lifelong republicans. donald trump has kind of picked this party as his vehicle. he's really not a republican.
>> but what's stunning, judy, is nobody is hitting him on that or anything else about his comments, his background in business, his previous political stances. he is untouched. >> woodruff: you mean on the other parts of the rhetoric. is that what you mean? >> exactly. >> we have to give credit where credit is due. paul ryan can a really good thing for our party today. he did not have to speak on this subject. he said that he didn't have to speak on it. he chose to speak to and he spoke very well. >> woodruff: yesterday, you mean about the muslims. >> i mean the muslim comments. >> i'm talking about a sustained effort to go after donald trump on tv in places. this is comparable to, that but i think the threat that trump poses is much more serious than dean, and where's the money? >> but the democrats had one clear alternative, john keri, who ultimately got the nomination. part of our problem on the republican side is there is not one clear alternative to get behind. i'm for bush, but i can't say
he's the only alternative. >> woodruff: what about the fact that these crowds that jonathan just described that trump is drawing they appeared to agree. there is a new poll out today from bloomberg news that was reported on that indicates there's a large percentage of voters who agree, republican voters who agree with what donald trump is saying about muslims? how is the party dealing with that? >> that's very troublesome, beyond troublesome. i have to say the only way you can beat a demagogue, which is what he is, is to have a strong message of leadership from someone else, whether the someone else is a republican alternative or the president of the united states. and so far, those voters are not hearing a strong enough message, strong enough, responsible message to sort of overshadow the strong demgojic message coming out of donald trump. >> and i think, also, those numbers judy explain some of the reluctance among the other candidates to go after him that hard. it's a hard reality for the party to swallow. >> woodruff: some have, and some have been less vigorous. >> yes. it's a hard reality for the
party to swallow. a lot of their grass-roots voters in fact support these kind of ideas. >> they do. >> woodruff: we'll leave it there. jonathan martin, vin weber. >> it's interesting, if not positive. >> ifill: the supreme court returned today to the hotly debated, recurring dispute over race in college admissions. the question -- whether affirmative action is constitutional -- has played out before the nation's high court before. >> ifill: for the second time in three years, the justices are considering whether it is constitutional for universities to consider race in admissions. the lawsuit, then and now, was brought by abigail fisher-- a white student from texas who was denied admission to the university of texas at austin in 2008. >> like most americans, i don't believe that students should be treated differently based on their race.
hopefully, this case will end racial classifications and preferences in admissions at the university of texas. >> ifill: fisher's case reached the high court the first time in 2012. justices sent it back to the lower court for further review. she went on to graduate from louisiana state university-- but never dropped her challenge to u.t.'s policy, which admits every texan who ranks in the top 10% of their class. for the rest of the class-- about 25%-- race can be taken into account. university of texas president gregory fenves: >> this morning we argued before the supreme court that universities have a compelling interest in the educational benefits of diversity and that our use of race and ethnicity in the u.t.'s holistic admissions process is narrow, is constitutional and is in the best interest of our state and the nation. >> ifill: the lower court ruled in favor of the university again last year, prompting the supreme
court to take the case up again. the court has weighed in on affirmative action before. in 2003, it decided five to four to allow the university of michigan law school to use race as one factor in its admissions process. but eight states have now banned the use of race altogether as a factor in admissions. eight instead of nine justices will decide this case: elena kagan, who defended affirmative action as president obama's solicitor general, has recused herself and will not participate. >> ifill: we're joined now by two people of opposing views who listened to the arguments at the court today. janai nelson, associate-director counsel of the naacp legal defense fund, and richard kahlenberg, senior fellow at the century foundation. welcome to you both. >> thank you. >> ifill: you were both in the court today. presumably you have been following this case very closely for some time. what was different today from what we saw last time? >> i think there's a lot of similarity to what we saw last time.
i think university of texas is in deep trouble with its defense of the racial preference programs. there's broad agreement in the court that diversity is a valuable thing. that's certainly something i believe in, but there's a big disagreement on how to get there. should we use race explicitly in our admissions policies or should we do alternatives, such as giving a leg up to economically disadvantaged students? and today you heard justice alito, in particular, i thought was quite powerful in arguing that the alternatives are a better way of getting racial diversity. texas is in this awkward position because the top 10% plan did produce a lot of racial and ethnic diversity. so they're in this awkward position of having to argue, well, there's something wrong with the top 10% admitees so we want to get upper middle class
students of color who will be more likely to be leaders. and alito went very hard at that saying the top 10% students are ones who a lot of them went to seg dpaitd high schools, they overcame odds. they ought to be our leaders. >> ifill: i notice something justice roberts, the chief justice said today, he said, "what unique perspective does a minority student bring to a physics class?" do you see general agreement that diversity in and of itself is a good thing. >> i thought that was heartening is that not only was diversity something universities should seek to achieve but also there was a recognition that the court has held now four times that you can use race in admissions, that you can use it so long as it's constitutionally permissible, so long as you do it in a narrow way and it full fills a compelling governmental interest. the comment that chief justice roberts made really reflects
perhaps individual or personal lack of understanding about the contributions that diversity makes to the university setting. but i think we can all agree that the supreme court has already spoken on this in a 5-4 decision so we know there are justices who may not agree with this but we know it is the law of the land that you can use race in admissions and diversity is a compelling governmental interest displfl let me read to you one of the other things that one of the other justices said, justicein antonin scalia: richard kahlenberg, what did
justice scalia mean by that gipersonally don't think he helped his cause in suggesting that the classes are too hard for african americans, playing into those stereotypes. i think the bigger issue, though, is what kind of diversity are we going to have on campus? right now, we do a good job of bringing in upper middle class students of all colors, right. we've got 86% of african american students today at the selective colleges are middle or upper class. and the white students are even wealthier. so we're bringing in racial diversity but we're not going further to socioeconomic diversity. and it seems to me that's where-- justice scalia aside-- justice kennedy is the key here in this case. he's the deciding vote and he has been pushing universities to say we want you to get diversity but try it in other ways, and i think he's likely to pave the way in the ultimate decision for a more robust affirmative action
that addresses our big economic divide, as well as our racial issues. >> ifill: justice kennedy always seems to be the hinge point in all of these debates. but i guess one of the reasons i was curious about what justice scalia said, janai nelson, is one thing that has said is all the college protest where's people feel maybe they don't fit in and they don't fit in their campus, they haven't had enough attention paid. did you have any sense that that was affecting any of the reasonings of the justices today in listening to this case again? >> i can't say that it necessarily affected the justices, but i can say that justice scalia very unfortunate and misguided comment in that against african americans and every minority in terms of whether they can compete with others in a highly competitive higher education setting, what it reveals is that he does not have faith in the concept of diversity and what it does for all students.
also, i think what was packed in there was a pot shot, frankly, against our historically black collegecolleges and universitiet have served african americans at a time when this country would not and continue to provide a space for african americans to thrive. i don't think he realized that he also really affirmed the notion that black students, like all students, need a university environment in which there are high expectations are for them, in which they are welcomed, in which they are provided opportunities. and the university of texas is seeking to do that through this very thoughtful admissions process. >> ifill: i want to ask you both based on what you heard today and what whatyou've heard in the part, what do you think the court is wrestling with at this stage? i know justice kennedy said he needed more information. >> he said that early on in the argument, and when he was pressing texas to say what new information could you provide, i think he pulled pack from that a little bit. i think we're likely to have a decision some time this year. i think we're going to see a brand new affirmative action
come out of this. so instead of basing our decisions on which, you know, racial box a student checks, it will be based on alternatives that justice kennedy likes, things like socioeconomic affirmative action to give a leg up to students who are, you know, the-- it would give a leg up to the young michelle obama, the young sonia sotomayor, who grew up in public housing, but not to-- sasha and malia. >> ifill: i would like to you have a chance to respond. >> we think an equal opportunity for everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic background should be afforded to them. clearly, we care about economic diversity, and that is certainly one of the many factors that the university of texas considers when determined how it will compose its diversity in its entering freshman class. and there's no reason to think we have to choose race or class. we can consider the complexity of an individual in his or her entight, their race, their class, their language, their
parental background, whether they're from a single-family household, their geography-- all of those play into creating the whole person. >> ifill: we will know something by june. richard kahlenberg of the the century foundation, janai nelson of the naacp legal defense fund, thank you both. >> thank you. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: greek police round up migrants on the border with macedonia. plus, the link between stress and asthma. but first, in this presidential race, as with any of the previous ones over the past few decades, potential voters have been inundated with a seemingly non-stop wave of opinion polls. but what do polls really tell us? historically, at this point in the race, they aren't necessarily a good predictor of the eventual party nominee. so how can voters decipher which ones are more accurate than others?
in a report that's part of our collaboration with "the atlantic" magazine, we break down the art, and science, of polling. >> who would have thought that i would be in front? >> woodruff: remember president jesse jackson? president mario cuomo? no? how about president howard dean? >> eeee-ahhhh!!! >> woodruff: or presidents gingrich, cain and santorum? >> thank you so much iowa. >> woodruff: not ringing any bells? of course, none of these men actually became president. but each was once deemed a frontrunner in the polls, however briefly, as he sought his party's nomination. early polls sometimes do reflect the final numbers-- think ronald reagan in 1980 and al gore in 2000-- both led early and became party nominees. and who knows, maybe 2016 will be one of those years, as the trump juggernaut shows little
sign of slowing. but often, the early leader doesn't hold on to that lead. >> i don't think peter and i, or any pollster, would tell you that a poll today has much or any predictive power for what october of 2016 will look like. >> woodruff: republican pollster bill mcinturff partners with democratic pollster peter hart to conduct the nbc/"wall street journal" poll. >> judy, four years from now you're going to come right back to the two of us and you're going to say, you had ben carson and donald trump winning this election. no we didn't. we told you that this was where the american public is in the odd year before we're there. >> woodruff: the most reputable pol stand by the accuracy of their work, but acknowledge they're wrestling with a sea change in polling methods. >> there's no question it's harder, and much more difficult to collect an accurate opinion, a sample opinion of americans. i don't think industry has figured out all of our
methodological problems, and to fix something it takes a lot of money. >> woodruff: one problem is cell phones. >> i have a landline at home for the internet and i don't answer it ever. >> my landline isn't plugged in, i just use a cellphone. >> woodruff: pollsters actually do reach out to people on cell phones-- lots of them-- but it's expensive; far more expensive than calling a landline. that's because pollsters calling landlines can use auto-dialers-- computer programs that dial random numbers. but the f.c.c. prohibits auto- dialers for cell phones, so every call to a mobile device must be made by a person. >> this is a state of the art facility, but all the interviews are being done manually in terms of punching in the numbers of the people we want to reach. there is no auto-dialing going on, and we don't even have the capacity to do that. >> woodruff: lee miringoff directs the marist institute for public opinion.
>> good, scientific, rigorous polls have become more difficult. they've become more expensive. and unfortunately, we've also seen a proliferation of lower- quality polls that also get picked up in the media. so for the public as a whole, it gets a little confused trying to sort out all the numbers. >> in bad polls that i have seen, and mostly in a partisan setting, is they've interviewed anybody who answers the phone. well, guess who answers the phone now? it's all people over 50. >> woodruff: so polls that avoid the expense of calling cell phones exclude a significant segment of the population. >> 45% of the people in the country have a cellphone only, and those people who are most likely to have a cellphone only are latinos, some of our america's poorer respondents, who that's the one phone they have. and younger people. so guess what, if you under-represent in our politics latinos, the poor, younger people, you are systematically under-counting democrats. >> woodruff: what about online only polls?
>> trouble. i mean, i think that the work that survey monkey is doing is exceptionally good. but i think there are an awful lot of people who are in this, and essentially unless you really understand the business of polling, online polling can be exceptionally dangerous. >> if you're a local news organization, and someone says hey, i can give you a headline for literally $5 or $7,000 for a poll, compared to our telling you, wow, that's just going to be the interviewing cost for just a little fraction, i mean we've had an explosion of that kind of polling. >> woodruff: the major polling organizations like abc/"washington post," nbc/"wall street journal," marist, pew and others continue to produce excellent, accurate polls. but because of their expense, many in the industry are working hard to improve the accuracy of less costly, non-traditional methods like online polling. meanwhile, as the presidential
campaign heats up, and polls proliferate, the lesson for voters is "buyer beware"-- and to understand that not all polls are created equal. at this stage in an election season the main targets in the efforts to reach voters are the early primary and caucus states, like iowa. here, every four years, voters are flooded with phone calls-- not just at home, but wherever they carry a cell phone. >> i would we say we probably get them twice a day, everyday. >> two or three a day. and do i answer them? no. >> our landline rings nonstop. >> woodruff: i sat down with these iowa voters at drake university in des moines to hear first hand what it's like to be the target of so many polling calls. >> it's become somewhat of a game to figure out who's conducting the poll. >> typically i kind of screen them and don't answer if i don't recognize the number. but when i pick up i do like to participate. >> i like to kind of decipher,
you know, what is their agenda, why are they trying to push this issue. because that's what you're going to be seeing in the next two weeks to a month. >> the assignment that iowans are given is to look at more candidates than any other state does, and really, embedded in that assignment is to keep an open mind. >> woodruff: ann selzer runs the "des moines register"/bloomberg poll. she says polling for caucuses presents special challenges. >> finding the people who are actually going to show up on caucus night, and getting a good cross section of them, is difficult from the get-go. it always has been difficult. what is added to it is that with the proliferation of polls there's a greater likelihood of polling burnout. >> woodruff: what is it about polling, is there something about polling that annoys you? >> i don't like the negative ones where they'll say, "did you know this person backs-- is in favor of abortion," and then they go into these things. you can tell right away, right when it starts, i hang up on those types of ones. >> i think when they start manipulating the questions, it turns me off. so it's very skewed or trying to
lead me down a garden path, i feel like that's when i click off. >> it is become far more complicated for the public, and i feel for the public, because there are so many polls, and even i have a hard time weeding through and finding what methodology was used. >> woodruff: determining the source and purpose of a poll can be daunting for voters. public polls like those conducted by large media organizations mainly measure which candidate is up and which is down, and what voters think of them. but the campaigns themselves are also polling, often in an effort to change voters' opinions. >> we're really doing a lot of message development and message testing. >> woodruff: jeff link directed polling in 25 states for the 2008 obama campaign. >> so the horse race information is not really the most important thing for a campaign, it shouldn't be. what we're really doing with our polling internally is trying to figure out what are the issues
that we need to emphasize most, what are the aspects of a candidate's background that are most appealing to voters. >> woodruff: and what to say about an opponent? >> and certainly yeah, what to say about an opponent, what people find most disturbing about an opponent's record, or what's something they've said. >> polling ranks near the top of any decision when it comes to resource allocation within a campaign. >> woodruff: matt strawn is a former chairman of the iowa republican party. >> where are your weaknesses and deficiencies? do you have weaknesses with female voters in the eastern part of the state? you need polling to guide those decisions. >> people are often asking me, "are these numbers going to hold through caucus night," and i always reply "i hope not," and it's hard to imagine they would. the campaigns are spending a lot of time, and money, and effort, and bringing their candidate into our state to change those numbers. so one would hope that they would, and if they were to hold, why would we continue to poll? >> i think what you really want to understand is the mood and the direction of the electorate.
and the fact that we have donald trump ahead, don't get caught up with that. understand the anger behind that and what's that expressing. >> imagine how you would be thinking about this race, and let's take the republican side, if you didn't know what the polls were saying. you have a field of fifteen, sixteen candidates, how would you know who is doing well, and who is not doing well, if you didn't have a poll to tell you? would you predict donald trump, would you predict ben carson? so i think those polls are really very helpful at shaping the debate, and helping people decide how they want to vote. >> woodruff: as iowa voters head into another caucus season, they'll endure the onset of winter, as well as the continued barrage of polling calls, wanted or not. being iowans, they'll take it all in stride, and on a wintry february night, they'll caucus for their candidate of choice-- bearing out, or not, what the polls were showing.
>> woodruff: greek riot police have closed down a temporary transit camp used by refugees and migrants on the border with macedonia. the action comes as balkan countries, including macedonia - have closed their frontiers to all nationalities except those from syria, iraq and afghanistan. that leaves thousands of so- called economic migrants - hoping to reach northern europe -stranded in greece. from the border, special correspondent malcolm brabant reports. >> reporter: the police sealed off the village of idomeni at dawn and expelled news teams from the makeshift camp so the operation would not be conducted under the glare of publicity. extra riot police in full battle gear were brought in and there are claims on social media that excessive force was used to remove people from their tents. hundreds of migrants were placed on busses and sent back to
athens and the northern city of salonica. the closure of the camp provoked strong emotions from jenny ostlund, a volunteer from sweden. >> driving them back to athens without any options. we don't really know what they will be forced to do now. will they be deported from athens? or? these people need a viable option. moving them from one place to another will not help their situation right now. >> reporter: the greek operation represents a substantial change in policy. because for months, they had helped refugees on their way north. but the greeks' hands were forced by the balkan countries, which had decided that they would only accept refugees from the conflicts in iraq, syria and afghanistan. ( chanting ) >> open the borders. >> no going back. >> reporter: these were the poignant poster boys of the last demonstration about the double anguish of thwarted journeys and reluctance to retrace steps.
osman zihra was an airport worker in morocco. weary of what he called bad democracy and insecure employment prospects, he joined the migrant trail. but the thousands he spent to get here so far count for nothing. >> europe needs much more people to work for them, because european people aren't going to work like us. we can work saturday, we can work sunday. we can work after hours, we can work more hours. and we can be cheap, you understand me? >> reporter: two decades into europe's open-border project, razor wire now separates some countries in central europe and the balkans. the macedonian government claims it erected the fence to improve control of the migrant flow. this gate was the only entry point for syrians, iraqis and afghans. the macedonians rejected anyone with suspicious papers.
they protested that they were one people, but the migrant trail now has a class system that is frustrating tassdaq hussain from pakistan. >> if we had no problem there, then why did i come here? we have many problems in pakistan and therefore we come here. no man wants to leave his family, his homeland, if there is a suitable job and other things in his country. >> reporter: george kosmopoulos from amnesty international could offer nothing but sympathy. >> i don't they will let you pass for the moment. i don't know what the police will do. i'm really sorry i can't help you. >> everyone substantially, has the right to claim asylum, has the right to explain their personal circumstances, and then there should be a decision as to whether these people are refugees or not. what we are actually seeing here is people being divided according to nationality and nothing else.
and that's discrimination. it's not fair to put it simply. because anyone can be a refugee. anyone can have protection needs. and this is simply not taken into account here. >> reporter: before the closure, alexandros voulgaris, from the u.n. refugee agency failed to persuade these young somalis to consider returning to athens or perhaps beyond. >> why are you still here, when you see and you know, this is a policy decision, and countries have taken this decision for you? >> maybe they will change their opinion. always they believe it will be changed. >> the door is closed and they need to consider their other options. >> reporter: and what are those options? >> for those that have refugee profiles, the asylum procedures. and for those that do not, there is always i.o.m., the international organization for migration, where they can apply to return to their countries.
>> reporter: what happened? >> morocco. thank you. >> thank you! thank you! >> no pictures. >> reporter: so where do the rejected migrants go now? yanis, a political scientist who specializes in immigration policy, believes they will try alternative groups to get out of greece. >> as for the risk of refugees or migrants staying in greece, yes, it is a genuine risk. but to some extent, i think the economic situation of the country will deter them from staying long because they have nothing to do. it is difficult to survive in
greece. and they would have to live in some form of camps, which i don't think they would. ( chanting ) >> we want freedom. >> reporter: but europe is becoming increasingly deaf to this appeal. even the more hospitable nations like germany and sweden are promising to deport those who don't merit political asylum. idomeni represents a new european reality. it's a field of broken dreams. for the pbs newshour, i'm malcolm brabant, on the greek/macedonian border. >> woodruff: for more than a decade, the number of americans diagnosed with asthma has grown dramatically, with a nearly 50% increase among african-american children. scientists are puzzling over why some communities are especially
hard-hit and are investigating links to obesity, bacteria and chemicals. but new evidence also points to a mind/body connection and the role of stress and trauma. special correspondent indira lakshmanan has our report from michigan. this story was produced in collaboration with "the detroit news." >> cameron, it's time to get up. good morning. >> reporter: cameron carter wakes up every morning with the after-effects of her cousin's murder. when her cousin was 12, he was shot to death by a neighbor at a birthday party. soon after, cameron ended up in the e.r. herself-- struggling to breathe from a severe asthma attack. >> when i worry, i start to, like, get scared and stuff, and when i get scared, my asthma, it starts to mess up. >> reporter: duncan smith spent the first eight months of his life lying on his back in an russian orphanage, often alone,
before being adopted by a middle class family in suburban detroit. his parents say he sometimes struggled to breathe as a baby-- today, he has asthma. >> every time i breathe, i just feel a little bit of pain, because it's coming from my lungs and going up. >> reporter: malik cole's family has been in and out of temporary housing for a year, because his father's income doesn't cover a rent. he and his four siblings were sleeping in their car with their parents when we first met. on stressful days, his asthma gets so bad that he vomits or passes out. >> it feels like i'm hurting. like i'm dying. >> reporter: these children are part of a growing phenomenon: nearly one in 10 children in the u.s. have asthma today. doctors have long understood asthma as an inflammation of the airways, triggered by allergens like pets and pollen, and environmental irritants like pollution, smoke and mold. it's also often hereditary.
but across the country-- in places like detroit, where childhood asthma has reached epidemic proportions-- new research shows stress, abuse and neighborhood violence may play as big a role as physical conditions, in causing kids who never had asthma to develop the life-threatening disease. while some stress is helpful in facing challenging situations, too much for too long can trigger the adrenal glands above the kidneys to over-produce cortisol and adrenaline. those chemicals, in turn, can kick the immune system into overdrive and fuel an array of health problems, including-- according to new studies-- asthma. >> one in three detroit children are living in extreme poverty. karen bouf-fard of the "detroit news" says the motor city's alarmingly high childhood asthma rates map closely with some of the nation's most violent and impoverished neighborhoods.
>> and about a quarter of households where children are in the city don't have a single parent or adult working in the household. >> reporter: that must cause incredible stress on the family. >> it does. there's a whole range of effects parents are worried about: coming up with the rent or the electric bill, the gas money, and that kind of stress comes through for children. >> reporter: the henry ford health system has opened two mobile clinics to address soaring childhood asthma rates, and has seven school-based health centers in some of the poorest neighborhoods. asthma is the leading chronic condition causing kids to miss school in detroit. most don't even have access to inhalers. so medications are now being delivered directly to children at school, with pictures to remind kids how to use their inhalers even if there's no adult to help. >> what are you going to do if you want to be breathing well? >> two puffs every morning, and two puffs every night. >> reporter: but as cameron carter and her mother vickey know, asthma medication can't fix everything. the murder of cameron's cousin
is just one of the tragedies that has punctuated her young life. >> we had a house fire during a birthday party, we've had family members pass away, my best friend committed suicide, a really good friend of my husband was murdered, we had another house fire, we have had financial difficulties. >> reporter: vickey noticed her daughter's asthma often spiked in periods of high stress. and cameron's attacks got so bad that her mother started home-schooling her. the two joined a national institutes of health-funded study on the connection among bad experiences, the stress hormone cortisol, and asthma. >> after the study, it kind of was a light bulb moment, where it really made sense that stress caused asthma issues. i mean, not all asthma issues are stress-related. but it is a big issue. >> reporter: a recent report in a leading journal on asthma, allergy and immunology found children exposed to just one traumatic experience at home--
like divorce, death of a parent, or abuse-- were 28% more likely to report having asthma during childhood. those who suffered four traumatic events were 73% more likely to have asthma. >> you can't ignore it anymore. the data is there that says psychological stress is a factor just like these other physical factors. >> reporter: dr. rosalind wright is a professor of pediatrics at kravis children's hospital at mount sinai health system in new york. her latest work shows stress in itself-- irrespective of poverty or environmental toxins-- can cause asthma. emerging research at other leading institutions is demonstrating the same cause and effect. >> and that's important why? because if i'm talking to a patient and i'm trying to make their asthma better or i'm trying to think about how to prevent asthma from happening i want to say these are the things we know that can potentially lead to this, so these are things we want to try to help you minimize if we can
>> when you see the lips and fingernails are turning blue or gray, that is a 911 situation. >> reporter: but the stresses on malik just keep adding up, and even though his mother has sought asthma education, his condition keeps getting worse. sleeping in the car as the weather turned cold was making it harder for malik to breathe. >> most asthmatics have difficulty at night. there's a whole lot of reasons why that happens. are you having difficulty now? mom, you have his inhaler? >> when i see kids like this, i know something-- because it's not normal. and it kind of hurts to breathe like this. >> i know he's stressed out but he don't want to tell me. if he's scared, he's stressed. >> reporter: on the day we last saw them, malik's parents-- with heavy hearts-- drove their four youngest children to child protective services to request the kids be placed in a temporary foster home until the parents can find affordable housing. their case drives home the challenge of treating asthma when life's stresses are so
overwhelming. getting medication can be the easy part, compared with the huge challenge of healing the underlying trauma. programs that attempt to do that are rare. duncan smith's parents turned to easter seals michigan and its new trauma-intervention program to help duncan and his sister gabby with emotional and physical challenges stemming from their abandonment as babies in russia. the children are now undergoing a series of evaluations. and will be guided to individual and group counseling to help them better cope with stress and anxiety. a year of counseling helped cameron carter and her brothers, who were standing on either side of their cousin when he was killed. >> i learned that you should forgive yourself before you start blaming yourself for stuff. that it wasn't your fault. >> reporter: her brother alexander, who has gotten his asthma under control, is now a
starting running back on his school's varsity football team. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: cameron, who takes weekly dance classes, still struggles. but as she learns to cope with her anxieties, she's starting to better manage her asthma, one breath at a time. for the pbs newshour, i'm indira lakshmanan in detroit. >> woodruff: on our website, learn how stress-fueled health conditions like asthma may actually be passed from one generation to another. and find a link to the full report from "the detroit news," which includes more on the research, and each of the families profiled in our story. that's on our home page. >> ifill: on the newshour online right now, a popular art form that once reinforced stereotypes about native americans is now telling a different story. rocky mountain pbs explores how
a new wave of comic books offers fresh takes on native identity. all that and more is on our web site, pbs.org/newshour >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on thursday we'll look at how a vermont ski resort cashed in on a little known visa program. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. from all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> what if this year we went around the table and instead of saying what we were thankful for, we said who we're thankful for. lincoln financial helps provide financial security for those who are always there for you. because this is what you do for people you love. lincoln financial: you're in
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♪ >> this is "bbc world news america." >> funding of this presentation is made possible by -- the freeman foundation, newman's own foundation -- giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good, kovler foundation -- pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs, and hong kong tourism board. >> want to know hong kong's most romantic spot? i'll show you. i love heading to repulse bay for an evening stroll. it is the perfect, stunning backdrop for making romantic