tv PBS News Hour PBS October 4, 2016 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> ifill: good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: on the newshour tonight, hurricane "matthew" pummels haiti, as fierce 145- mile-an-hour winds and torrential rains, carve a devastating path. >> woodruff: also ahead this tuesday, tim kaine and mike pence take center stage. what to watch for in tonight's vice presidential debate. >> ifill: and, from the classroom to the campaign trail: why oklahoma teachers are running for political office to turn the state's failing education system around. >> a lot of legislators feel like because they went to school, they are education experts. well i've been to a thunder game, but i can't play basketball. there's a difference. you have to bring the subject matter experts to the table. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.
public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: reports are just beginning to trickle in tonight, but already it's clear, hurricane "matthew" has sent long-suffering haiti even deeper into misery. there's word of at least seven dead and widespread wreckage. >> this is matthew! pray for us! >> woodruff: it's one of the fiercest caribbean storms in years, and its powerful core roared over the southwestern tip of haiti before dawn, with winds of 145 miles an hour. emergency officials reported major damage: trees were torn out of the ground, and roads and bridges were under water. forecasters had said the storm would dump as much as 40 inches
of rain on the poorest country in the americas. a reporter from "the miami herald" spoke via skype, from port-au-prince, the haitian capital. >> water is beginning to rise. there's one major bridge that connects the capital with the north. police basically blocked traffic from using that bridge because it's now become a dangerous situation. >> woodruff: after crossing haiti, the hurricane's center moved on, during the day, on a path to strike eastern cuba tonight, not far from the u.s. naval base at guantanamo bay. its approach sent people fleeing across the region as winds and rain built in intensity. >> ( translated ): last night was terrible, the waves were enormous, to the point where i thought they were going to enter the house. they were very big; they were worse than now. >> woodruff: overnight, the slow-moving "matthew" is set to barrel through the eastern bahamas. it's projected to head toward
florida at the end of the week, and push its way up the east coast over the weekend. today florida governor rick scott was out telling people to start getting ready without delay. >> once this storm comes, we cannot put our first responders in harms way. you must leave before it's too late. you can rebuild a home, you can rebuild a business, you cannot rebuild a life. >> woodruff: hurricane watches are now up for the southeast parts of florida. and for the very latest on matthew, we turn to the national hurricane center. i spoke with its director, rick knabb, in miami just a short time ago. rick knabb, welcome. first of all, where is this storm right now? >> right now hurricane matthew is centered in between haiti and eastern cuba, will clip the eastern tip of cuba this evening. then it will be headed toward
the bahamas. it's still going to be impacting haiti and cuba for many, many hours to come. it's not just a point on a map. it's a pretty big and powerful hurricane, a category four. it's not just about wind either. heavy rainfall, likely flash floods and mud slides affecting haiti and the dominican republic, and that can spread into east everybody cuba and then the bahamas. hurricane warning for the entire length of the bahamas. they're going to be impacted starting tomorrow. >> woodruff: you said it's a powerful storm. compared to other hurricane, how do you describe it? >> it is similar to many other past major hurricanes that are category three or stronger on our five-tier hurricane wind scale. and matthew's sustain winds are 140mph. so those are the maximum winds, but the tropical storm-force winds can extend out to almost 200 miles from the center. so it's a big and powerful system. and what we're really concerned about is a large number of folks in the bahamas being impacted, but then we're forecasting this
turn to the northwest and florida, georgia, south carolina, north carolina are all threatened with florida being first, hurricane watches in effect for portions of the southeast coast of florida. we had to extend that further south to include broward county, the fort lauderdale area here at 5:00 p.m. >> woodruff: so what are you able to determine in terms of how strong it's going to stay? >> it's not going to interact with land enough to significantly weaken it. it's good that it's not spending too much time over eastern cuba tonight. and then as it's over the bahamas, that's mostly a water environment. the islands there probably not going to cause it to weaken. the waters are very warm. the atmosphere conditions still conducive for it to remain major hurricane for the next few days. and that means it's not impossible for a major hurricane to make landfall somewhere in the state of florida this week, and it's also possible for hurricanes to directly or
indirectly impact georgia, south carolina, and north carolina. so we've been talking to emergency managers in all of these areas today, and we urge folks to pay attention, do whatever their local officials are telling them to do. and here in south florida where we live, today and tomorrow and tomorrow night is the time left to prepare before the weather starts going downhill down here on thursday morning. >> woodruff: and, rick knabb, when is the next alert you're going to be issuing? >> we issue full updates with a complete new forecast every six hours. that will happen at 11:00 p.m. eastern time tonight. we do issue intermediate public advisories every three hoursing between to update on the intensity and on the position as we continue to fly hurricane hunter aircraft into and around the hurricane. but the next complete forecast and major changes that we would potentially communicate with watches and warnings will happen again at 11:00 p.m. and then again at 5:00 a.m. so people on the east coast of the u.s., don't tune out. and take preliminary
preparations so you know what you're going to do if watches and warnings are issued for your area later. >> woodruff: well, i know everyone will be paying very close attention. rick knabb with the national hurricane center. we thank you. >> thank you, judy. >> ifill: in the day's other news, the way is now clear for the paris climate change accord to take effect. european union lawmakers gave their endorsement today. the overwhelming vote means the accord has the backing of countries accounting for 55% of global emissions-- more than enough. >> ( translated ): our vote opens the way to ensuring that the whole agreement can achieve the necessary threshold figures so as to come into world-wide implementation. >> ifill: the e.u.'s member states are to make the approval official on friday, and present it to the u.n. the paris accord formally takes effect 30 days later. >> woodruff: there's a new surge in the flow of migrants trying to reach italy, from libya. the italian coast guard reports more than 6,000 people were rescued on monday, alone, as
seas calmed for the first time in days. meanwhile another 1,000 migrants have been brought into ports today. so far, 132,000 have arrived in italy this year. another 3,000 have died in the attempt. >> ifill: russia air strikes blasted eastern aleppo in syria again today. but rebels said they repelled a ground assault on the southern part of the city. just yesterday, the u.s. suspended direct talks with russia on the conflict. this morning, secretary of state john kerry said that does not mean the obama administration is giving up. >> we will continue, as we have before, to pursue a meaningful, sustainable, enforceable cessation of hostilities throughout the country, and that includes the grounding of syrian and russian combat aircraft in designated areas. and russia knows exactly what it needs to do, in order to get that cessation implemented in a
fair and reasonable way. >> ifill: and moscow announced it has deployed an advanced surface-to-air missile system in syria for the first time. >> woodruff: a u.s. military service person was killed by a roadside bomb in afghanistan today. it happened during operations against islamic state militants in the east. meanwhile, in the north, afghan forces in kunduz regained control of most of the city. the government troops drove back taliban militants who attacked a day earlier. it came nearly a year after taliban gunmen held the city for three days. >> ifill: in economic news, new worries about britain's exit from the european union weighed on wall street. the dow jones industrial average lost 85 points to close at 18,168. the nasdaq fell 11 points, and the s&p 500 slipped 10. >> woodruff: and, three british- born scientists who teach in the u.s. have won this year's nobel prize in physics. david thouless, duncan haldane,
and michael kosterlitz were recognized for their research into rare states of matter. it paved the way for designing new materials for electronics and future quantum computers. haldane is now a physics professor at princeton. >> it's a very gratifying recognition of the work. i mean it's-- i don't think one goes into the business for prizes. you're kind of trying to find neat stuff basically. everyone wants to find neat stuff. >> woodruff: the other recipients are affiliated with the university of washington and brown university. still to come on the newshour: donald trump and hillary clinton focus on the swing states, as their running mates prepare for tonight's debate. what to expect from the only vice presidential face-off. plus, the implications of a deadlocked supreme court, and much more.
>> ifill: the vice presidential nominees step out of the shadows tonight for their lone debate. they are at longwood college in farmville, virginia for their 90-minute face off. lisa desjardins is there, and begins our coverage. >> reporter: they previewed the debate site here, less than an hour apart: first, republican mike pence, then, democrat tim kaine, scouting out the longwood university stage ahead of their one-and-only vice-presidential showdown. for both, it's an opportunity to help the ticket, while trying to avoid pitfalls. consider 1988, when republican dan quayle likened himself to a youthful john f. kennedy, and drew a famous rebuke from democrat lloyd bentsen. >> jack kennedy was a friend of mine. senator, you are no jack kennedy. (applause) >> reporter: then, there was 2000, when two experienced politicians and debaters met: democrat joe lieberman and republican dick cheney.
>> reporter: while this year's debate participants were prepping today, their top-of- the-ticket running mates were out stumping. hillary clinton, not far from philadelphia, talked up her proposals to help families, and went after donald trump on the way he talks about women. >> think about it. my opponent insulted miss universe-- i mean how do you get more acclaimed than that? but it wasn't good enough. we need to laugh at it, we need to refute it, we need to ignore it and we need to stand up to it. >> reporter: first lady michelle obama was also campaigning for clinton again, this time in charlotte, north carolina. >> hillary clinton is tough. see, i've watched her. when she gets knocked down, she doesn't complain. she doesn't cry foul.
no. she gets right back up. >> she complains about how i've used the tax laws of this country to my benefit. then i ask her a simple question: why didn't she ever try to change those laws so i couldn't use them? >> this morning campaign manager kellyanne conway defended him against a "new york times" report that he might have paid no income taxes for 18 years. she insisted he paid plenty in taxes. >> the fact is this man has paid >> the fact is, this man has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes, over decades: excise taxes, federal payroll taxes, city state and local taxes, real estate taxes, property taxes. >> you didn't say income taxes. but you didn't say income taxes. >> well, he certainly has, in the years that he made a profit. like anybody else, he paid income taxes. >> reporter: meanwhile, libertarian nominee gary johnson tried to make a virtue of his
widely criticized lack of basic foreign policy knowledge. he suggested it might help prevent wars. >> you know what? the fact that somebody can dot the i's and cross the t's on a foreign leader's geographic location then allows them to put our military in harm's way. >> reporter: for tonight, though, the focus is on the vice presidential faceoff. and then, it's full speed ahead to the second trump, clinton debate, on sunday night. late tonight we asked gary johnson's come pain to respond. and they responded us late tonight saying that gary johnson was not making a serious argument, that he was being tongue in cheek. back to you. >> ifill: okay, lisa. that's an interesting response. let me ask you about the scene down there in farmville, virginia. last weekend we worked up to the first presidential debate. there was so much excitement about how much people would be watching, what would happen, what wouldn't happen. is it fair to say it's not exactly the same tonight? >> i think that's right. but maybe in a good way.
it is actually an incredibly relaxed atmosphere. of all the debates i've covered, ga -- gwen and judy, i've never been to one with this nice feeling to it, maybe because it's two midwesterners, maybe because it's the vntdial debate, maybe because people are tired of all the attacks. flu is an almost casual atmosphere i haven't experienced at a debate. in the spin room, i noticed some high-rank trump campaign officials walking around. no one was noticing, not any reporters. a reporter went up to talk to them, they seemed more at ease in the spin room hours before a debate. a very different atmosphere indeed. >> woodruff: lisa, is the expectation we'll hear more tonight about the vice presidential candidates, the running mates, or about the folks at the top of the ticket? >> yes. i think we will hear about both, but i think when you talk to the campaign, they are hoping for a
policy debate, but they don't expect one. these two vice presidential candidates have had a lot they've had to defendant in the past month and a half, and we expect that to continue tonight. of course, a lot depends on the questions, but then candidates can turn their questions around. we'll see if either one of them goes on the attack tonight. maybe some policy, but maybe it's a case of fasten your seat belt. it's going to be a politely bumpy night, something like that. >> ifill: a politely bumpy night. we'll ask you about that later, lisa desjardins. thank you very much. >> ifill: as the campaigns prepare for tonight's debate, we turned to representatives of both parties to tell us what to expect. we begin with matt schlapp, chairman of the american conservative union. he also served and the political director in the george w. bush white house. when we talked a short time ago, i began by asking what mike pence needs to accomplish tonight. >> you know, i think his job, his primary job is to connect with that heart and soul of the republican party, and that's the conservative base. that conservative base is trying
to get to know this guy, donald trump, and be comfortable with him. it's mike pence's number-one priority to connect with them to, close the deal with them, bring back those conservatives and republicans who are still thinking about who they're going to vote for on election day. >> ifill: i have heard more analogies having to do with mike pence's role, from clean-up to swiffer, none of them complimentary, all of them about mike pence having to defend donald trump. is that his principle role tonight? >> all vice presidents have to be the number-one cheer reeder for the top of the ticket, but i don't think that's what this debate will be about tonight. i think what we'll have tonight is a very conservative public servant against a very liberal public servant. in our own ratings, mike pence has a 99% and tim kaine has a 0%. we might have a very solid ideological conversation about what it means to be a conservative and what it means to be a liberal and why one
philosophy is the right philosophy in 2016. >> ifill: mark schlapp, one of the big differences is donald trump will not release his income tax statements but mike pence already has. how do you explain that? >> i think that's one of kaine's strategies to put mike pence on the defense. i'm sure mike pence is very ready for this moment, and he will be ready to put tim kaine on the defense for the fact that hillary clinton has been involved in scandal after scandal after scandal, and it's one of the reasons why the american voters in all the polls don't find her honest and truft worthy. it's her number one problem that she has to mentioned between now and election day. >> ifill: i think it's fair to say mike pence and donald trump come from opposite ends of the personality spectrum. do you think their differences help or hurt the trump-pence candidacy? >> i think the difference make for a good tease. mike pence is a kind of steady
midwesterner who comes from kind of a base of an ideological firebrand. he understands the conservative philosophy well. and donald trump is a complete outsider, is a relatively new republican, and he doesn't even talk like poll tightses. he talks like a new york businessman, and together i think trump is reaching out to these blue collar, working-class americans across the country like the republican has never been able to do before. we've always had trouble with that bloc, and i think mike pence is able to reach out to those steady conservatives, those lifelong republicans and say, look, take a chance with this guy because together we're going to make a great team for the country. >> ifill: taking a chance. here's a thing about vice presidential debates. people often expect a vice presidential candidate to be fine as long as he or she does not make a mistake. so is it a good night for mike pence if he simply gets away
without making a mistake? >> i think so. i think... actually, i think for both of them, i don't think either one of them has to worry too much about... they're going to make a mistake, gwen. you've been there, you have seen it. they're going the make small mistakes. i don't see either one of them making a big, huge gaffe. they're pretty steady political foes. i also think tim kaine's number-one job is to help hillary clinton be more likable and smile and be charming and be himself, that's a pretty low bar for someone to have to pass, and i think for mike pence, his job is to once again hit those themes which he lives and understands and passionately believes in. >> ifill: mark schlapp, thanks so much. >> woodruff: now we hear from the democrats: donna brazile is interim chair of the democratic national committee. welcome to the program, donna brazile. we just heard mark schlapp say tim kaine's main job is to make
secretary clinton more likable. is that right? >> i think tonight tim kaine is going to build upon what i believe was a terrific debate by hillary clinton last week. she outlined her plans for the american people. she talked about job creation. she talked about keeping us safe and secure. she talked about making sure that college is more affordable. i think mike pence has a tough job tonight explaining to the american people all of the ridiculous things donald trump has said from insulting veterans to insulting women of a certain size to banning muslims. i i think mike pence has a more difficult job tonight explaining the differences between him and donald trump on so many issues. tim kaine tonight is a reasonable, down-home, what i call a great public servant will be able to tell the american people what the clinton-kaine ticket will be able to do to build upon the great success and legacy of barack obama, as well. >> ifill: quoting for mr. schlapp, he thinks tim kaine will have to defend secretary
clinton tonight, and he said that she's been involved in "scandal after scandal." >> what is the biggest scandal of not paying your tax, not releasing your taxes, saying that you're smart because you don't abide by the rules like most of us, and making sure that we can pay for our roads, making sure that we can educate our children. i think that's the greatest scandal. i also think that donald trump's comments again that he made overnight at 3:00 a.m. and there were different things he said on the campaign trail. how does mike pence defend this notion that president obama was somehow or another not born in america, the whole birther nonsense. i think tim kaine's job tonight is to focus his remarks on the american people. this is about the future. having a conversation with the american people, and i think tim kaine will be able to get the message across that we're stronger together when we come together as americans to solve our problems. i think that's what tonight's debate will be about.
>> you mentioned former president bill clinton said on the trail yesterday, he made comments about hillary clinton reform law, obamacare, he said that it's crazy system in which half the american people, hard-working people have seen their premiums go up, become more expensive, and he did walk that back a little bit today, but is that something that hillary clinton is going to have to explain herself? >> well, look, i'm sure that tim kaine will be able to explain that tonight. so he's been a strong supporter of the affordable care act, over 20 million americans now have health insurance because of that. bill clinton has been a champion for hillary clinton reform, as has hillary clinton over the years, but i think it's important to understand that the law is good. it's strong. people with preexisting conditions are now able to have access to hillary clinton. millions of americans who live below the poverty line have access to what i call life,
quality, medicaid. i just saw in my home state of louisiana. what bill clinton was talking about i believe are the improvements we'd like to see in expanding the marketplace, ensuring that people have subsidies to be able to afford. and those americans who own small businesses and others who are not able to give the subsidies that they need or to have what i call more marketplace protections, there's no question that even president obama said that we have to focus on that. look, the issue tonight is that the democrats believe in expanding hillary clinton for all. with ebelieve in making sure that people have lifesaving medicines. the republicans want to repeal and donald trump said he wants to replace it with something terrific that we don't know what that means. >> woodruff: donna brazile, we saw hillary clinton set a trap for donald trump in the debate. she brought up the comments about miss universe. maybe tim kaine does something like that tonight? >> you know, tim is smart on his
feet, and he also is bilingual, so maybe he'll say it in spanish, but regardless of how he says it, most americans will see tim kaine as a man of principle, someone that hillary clinton picked because he's a future leader, he's a visionary and he's a strong leader. let me say something. i think tim kaine will bring up the fact tonight that when it comes to women in this society, we're the majority of voters, the majority of college graduates, hillary clinton and tim kaine believe in equal pay, and mike pence does not. so there are many issues, whether it's making... mike pence went out of his way to say that planned parenthood should not be funded. mike pence went out of his way to put forward policies that were discriminated against the l.g.b.t.q. community. so tim kaine has a great record. hillary clinton is a great leader, a visionary. i think tonight you'll see dras in two candidates, one who is optimistic and who has a plan for the future and another one who is trying to drag us back the someplace in the past nobody
wants to go to. that's mike pence. the clinton campaign is the campaign of the future. >> woodruff: donna brazile, it's good to have you with us. thank you. >> always good the hear your voice and see >> ifill: for more on tonight's debate, we're joined now by syndicated columnist mark shields, amy walter of the "cook political report," and "washington post" columnist michael gerson. hey, amy, did you notice something i just noticed with donna brazile, which is when she was asked about something bill clinton said, that we interpret as a gaffe, tim kaine will talk about that tonight. >> tim kaine will clean that up. both of these candidates, tim kaine and mike pence, were brought on to be stageizers for hillary clinton and donald trump for different reasons. for donald trump, literally a stabilizer in that both his personality and his ability to talk to that core conservative base that mark schlapp was talking about, to make that feel better. tim kaine was there to stabilize the hillary clinton, not expand
her base but hold on to a lot of her base and also the prove to be a very different kind of candidate without the baggage that hillary clinton comes with. >> woodruff: mark shields, how do you see the mission of these two men as the second man on the ticket in both cases tonight? >> obviously, as i said earlier, not to make any mistakes, but most of all mike pence has a tougher task. he does have to stop the bleeding or however you want to put it. it's been a terrible week for the trump campaign ever since the first debate. he's been assigned the task of being the explainer-in-chief. he's had to clean up in the past after mr. and mrs. khan. he said he honored the parents to partisan crowd. time and again he's had to right the wrongs. i think he has the try the change the narrative. tim kaine i think is going to be
the happiest i've ever seen hillary clinton in a public setting was the day she chose tim kaine. she was beyond giddy. she was just happy. and she had somebody she could totally depend upon as a partner, and i think it was the best decision of her campaign in the sense of you couldn't get a republican the say anything bad about him. in washington and the toxicity to, have somebody like tim kaine. so i think his job again is going to be to explain her, defend her, whatever, but i just remind people, tim kaine in 2007 at virginia tech, and i have never seen anybody handle a situation after the tragedy of 32 people being murdered by a deranged person with a gun. and i've never seen anybody handle it better. >> ifill: michael gerson, the vice presidential debate, do they ever help or are they more likely to hurt? >> they're often memorable.
they're seldom consequential to determine the outcome. this is a strange one, though, in a certain way. not strange men, but it's a strange circumstance where the republic might be better served and a lot of people might agree that both tickets could be flipped and actually have more appealing candidates. >> they say that about the libertarian ticket, too. >> that's interesting because it's an indictment of sorts of the system. the primary system has chosen the least popular politicians in america, but the people they selected as vice president are very respected in their party, knowledgeable people. so, you know, the selected candidates better than the elected candidates maybe. >> woodruff: amy, when all is said and done tonight, we don't know what's going the happen, but does the direction of this election change? >> remember in 2012 after barack obama's first... after the first presidential debate, he was widely panned for having an off
night. and you saw democrats panic. and the polls started to dip. and it was joe biden's job to go in and basically reassure republicans... i mean democrats, reenergize democrats, keep them, keep their chin up. that's what mike pence will have to do tonight, as well, reassure a lot of those republicans who are worried as well as go on the offense, something that donald trump did not do well in the first debate. i actually think while it might not be consequential, i think we might see a much more aggressive debate than we're expecting because mike pence really does have to put kaine and the hillary clinton campaign back on its heels, and so this may not be the nice, genteel, lovely sort of experience that people are expecting. >> ifill: briefly, which one is better equipped to do that job, that swiffer job, that clean-up job tonight? >> well, pence has the tougher task, whether in fact he can do it. it's more immediate and urgent that he do it than kaine.
>> i agree with that. i talked to some people that prepared pence today. they need to explain, because they have to respond to these charge, but then not give -- get into the quicksand of just explaining because that would be a loss. >> woodruff: we'll be watching closely. you'll all be here with us in just about two and a half hours from now. we ask all of you watching, tune in at 9:00 p.m. eastern for our special live coverage of the vice presidential debate. and online you can follow along at pbs.org/newshour for more in-depth analysis. >> ifill: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: teachers tired of the status quo
step into politics, and onto the ballot. and a tribute to the man retiring as the voice of the dodgers. the u.s. supreme court's refusal this week to re-hear a key immigration case was a blow to millions of undocumented immigrants. it also reflects the continuing difficulties of an eight-person bench. the issue of the immigration program's legality could yet return to the high court, but the future make-up of the court, and the lives of those now in legal limbo, hinges on the outcome of the presidential election. 12-year-old victoria bonilla, like many 7th graders, spends weeknights hammering away at her homework. unlike her classmates, she worries her mom won't always be there to help. >> i'm worried that they might take my mom away from me, which is really hard for a kid. you know you can't live without your mom. >> ifill: victoria is an only child and a u.s. citizen. but she was born to a mother
who came to country illegally, from el salvador in 2004. the bonillas live in gaithersburg, maryland, a washington, d.c. suburb where hilaria works as a restaurant manager. hilaria says she moved u.s. to escape domestic abuse, one of an estimated 3.6 million parents who would have qualified for legal status under a 2014 executive order issued by president obama. the president's order was blocked by a texas federal judge last year, leaving families like the bonillas in limbo. the court deadlocked 4-4 when it heard the case earlier this year, leaving the lower court's holding in place. and with the ninth seat vacant since justice antonin scalia's death nearly eight months ago, there is no resolution in sight. newshour regular marcia coyle covers the court for the national law journal. >> this is such an important issue, it may be well that the
court is willing to take another shot at it if it does have a ninth justice eventually. >> ifill: president obama's nominee, merrick garland, chief judge of the d.c. court of appeals, has languished without a confirmation hearing since march, after the republican senate majority declared it was too late in his term for the president to make a nomination. either way our view is this: give the people a voice in filling this vacancy. >> ifill: the conservative judicial crisis network has spent more >> ifill: the conservative judicial crisis network has spent more than $4 million opposing garland's confirmation. >> the constitution gives the authority to choose the supreme court justices to the president, as the nominator, and then to the senate which gives its
advice and consent. and there's a lot of ways it can do that; it doesn't have to have hearings or votes on a specific schedule. and historically, two thirds of the justices who have not been confirmed, who've been rejected by the senate-- it's been because they didn't get a vote. >> all we're asking is for the republicans to do their job. mitch mcconnell did it publicly. his number-one goal was to make sure president obama was not reelected. he failed miserably, just like he'll fail here. we'll have a supreme court justice. it's the right thing to do. >> ifill: michele jawando follows the supreme court for the liberal center for american progress. >> the supreme court is supposed to be the final arbiter of the most difficult constitutional and statutory questions in our country. and if they can't make a decision to move us in a direction that the framers intended us to move forward on, then we have a major problem. and that's why we need congress >> ifill: it is also clear that
the scalia vacancy is not the only worry for those most worried about the court's future. >> if you look at the ages of the justices who are currently on the supreme court, the potential is very high that the next president would be able to fill not only one seat, but possibly as many as three and maybe even four. >> ifill: that makes supreme court appointments a campaign issue. 65% of registered voters told pew research this year that supreme court appointments are, quote, "very important." 70% of trump supporters said the same, compared to 62% of clinton supporters >> one of the reasons this election is so important is because the supreme court hangs in the balance. >> even if you can't stand donald trump, even if you think i'm the worst, you're going to vote for me. you know why? judges.
>> ifill: even texas senator ted cruz, who called trump a pathological liar during the campaign, told conservative radio host glenn beck that the future of the court drove his decision to endorse trump last month. >> almost every one of our constitutional rights hangs in the balance. we have a narrowly divided court, with justice scalia's passing. just about every right we cherish is at risk of being lost. >> ifill: that makes hillary clinton supporters like michele jawando nervous about what a trump court would look like. >> there are questions about if he even understands the constitutional contours of his role as president. there've been questions of does he understand what due process is or what constitutional protections are available to all americans. >> ifill: whether the court is made up of eight or nine justices, that political divide could make it more powerful than ever. national law journal's marcia coyle. >> the political polarization that we've been experiencing in the last eight years, has driven more organizations and people to
turn to the courts for answers to some of the questions and issues that congress has not been able to address. and that has raised the profile of the u.s. supreme court and also has made the supreme court loom much larger in every american's life than it has been perhaps in recent decades. >> ifill: and for hilaria bonilla and her daughter, this election's outcome will hit close to home. will they stay or will they go? >> we never know. so we are going to work and we never know if we can come back or not. it's difficult. >> woodruff: in some parts of the country, it's not just the presidential race on voters' minds. state elections are taking center stage in some places too, like oklahoma, where education is at the forefront of the
ballot. teachers are upset over spending cuts and what they see as a political assault on public education. they've decided it's time to take matters into their own hands: a record number of teachers are running for seats in the state legislature. all of this comes as oklahoma faces tough budget decisions. special correspondent lisa stark of our partner, "education week," reports from oklahoma as part of our weekly segment, "making the grade." ♪ ♪ >> reporter: football is king in oklahoma, so it's no surprise the norman high school homecoming parade shuts down the town's main street. there's candy for the kids, cheerleaders, the athletes of course, and enjoying the ride, oklahoma's teacher of the year, whose day job is deciphering algebra for 9th graders at norman high. >> so this one is adding, go ahead and write that down, so we have a binomial. >> reporter: this is shawn sheehan's 6th year teaching. so, you love being a teacher?
>> i do. i love it. i love it so much. i love working with kids. i really do. i love math. that sounds super nerdy but i do love math. >> reporter: so it may seem odd that sheehan, oklahoma's top teacher, is ready to hang up the white board. >> i made the decision to run for state senate. i think what we have is a lack of representation at the state capitol. we have folks up there who don't really understand what's going on in education and what's going on in our communities. >> reporter: he's not the only one who feels that way. sheehan has joined more than 40 educators who have filed to run for the oklahoma legislature. why do you think so many educators are running this year? >> i think in this state, educators are finally fed up. it's almost like a sense of we don't have anything to lose at this point. >> reporter: oklahoma schools have already lost a lot-- the state ranks 47 out of 50 in per pupil spending, and since 2008
the legislature has cut spending per student by 24%, the largest drop in the nation, leading to teacher layoffs, overcrowded classrooms-- more than 100 districts have approved four day school weeks-- teachers and parents are riled up. >> they are really concerned about the education of their children. >> reporter: david boren is president of the university of oklahoma, and a former u.s. senator and governor. >> we're headed for dead last in what we spend in the nation among all the states on education of our students, and we're losing our best and brightest teachers to all the states that surround us because they pay so much more in their salaries, every single one of them. we're at a crossroads. >> reporter: salaries average about $45,000 a year including benefits, it's so hard to attract teachers that the state this school year has already approved more than 900 emergency certifications. currently, an estimated 50,000 students are relying on these teachers, who may not be fully qualified to take over a classroom. >> and that's troubling
>> reporter: gene perry, is the policy director at a progressive oklahoma think tank. >> what is shown is that experience and that training is the most important thing to have to be an effective teacher and we're putting untrained people in the classroom. >> reporter: educators say they've tried to change things from outside the capitol, rallying for more money for education. instead lawmakers cut taxes, even when the state's oil industry was booming, now the industry's in a slump and there's no money to spare. >> hello sir, i'm judy mullen hopper >> reporter: so educators are now trying to get inside the capitol. judy mullen hopper is vying for the state senate, she retired after 35 years as a special ed teacher, unhappy over the emphasis on testing. >> our biggest concern right now is education, and being able to finance it correctly, being able to allow teachers to teach the way they used to teach!
you know. >> i just wanted to come back by and ask for your vote on november 8th. >> reporter: mickey dollens is campaigning for the state house, one of 1,500 oklahoma teachers let go last spring, because of budget cuts. >> i am sticking up for education, mental health, senior citizens, and public safety. that's where all my time and attention will go into. check out my campaign headquarters >> reporter: his headquarters-- right behind his front door. >> these are the most important parts right here, the follow-up thank you letters, i try to hit a 100 doors a day. >> reporter: dollens was a college football player, a team usa bobsledder, even drilled for oil, before he became a high school english teacher. he's reinventing himself again. >> how to win a local election. uh huh. >> reporter: a step by step guide. >> yeah, i read them all. >> reporter: dollens and the other educators running for office have been dubbed the teacher caucus. >> mostly democrats running in this very conservative state- this is a list of candidates our
group supports. >> reporter: angela little can take some credit for this swell of education candidates. a suburban, single mom with twin 5th graders, upset over increased school testing, she started a facebook group two years ago for parents and teachers to share ideas. this year, she put out a call for candidates to challenge quote "anti-public education" legislators. the idea took off- so did the facebook group, it now has 25,000 members. >> a lot of legislators feel like because they went to school, they are education experts. well i've been to a thunder game, but i can't play basketball. there's a difference. you have to bring the subject matter experts to the table. >> these people who are running to put more money in education, to do more for education, i think they are going to quickly find out, whoa, we've got other things we have to fund too >> reporter: state senator clark jolley has chaired the senate appropriations committee for five years, and has seen oklahoma's economy nosedive, as gas prices plummeted. mid-last year, lawmakers
suddenly faced a $1.3 billion deficit. even so, jolley says education got more than it's fair share. >> we actually are giving more money to education at the end of my tenure than we were at the beginning, the problem is... >> reporter: but not more money per student. >> we've got more students coming in than we have money coming in, and so because of that we're seeing a decrease in the per pupil expenditure even though we're putting tens of millions of more dollars in education every year. >> reporter: but what legislators didn't do, voters are being asked to. on the ballot, a measure to raise the sales tax by 1% for education, including money to boost teacher salaries by $5,000 a year. university president boren is its chief backer. >> it's not a perfect solution, but we can't sit here and wait. are we going to wait until we have 100,000 students in classroom with no teachers-- qualified teachers, are we going to go to three day school weeks? how long are we going to wait before we go over niagara falls, so to speak in a barrel.
>> reporter: it's clear some voters aren't convinced. they see waste in the system- too many school districts, too many administrators. >> and our teachers are complaining about not being paid enough, where is all this money going to? every year we ask for more and more money for education. >> reporter: regardless of what happens at the polls, educators feel that by running in such large numbers, they have made a difference, they have changed the conversation around education here in oklahoma. >> come help me! >> reporter: it's a conversation these novice candidates hope will sink in with voters. >> okay, here we go. and down it goes. reporting from oklahoma, i'm lisa stark from "education week," for the pbs newshour.
>> ifill: and finally tonight, as the baseball playoffs are about to get under way, one of the game's legendary figures, vin scully, signs off. scully, who is 88 years old, called his last los angeles dodgers game on sunday. that closed an incredible 67- year career that started back when the dodgers called brooklyn home. jeffrey brown spent a day at the ball park with scully in 2009. here's an excerpt of that profile. >> it's time for dodger baseball. brown brown it's a voice that generations of dodger fans have grown up with, savored, loved. >> ground ball to third backhanded by blake. easy inning for randy wolf. >> brown: in los angeles, but also incredibly going all the way back the brooklyn in the 1950s. >> the pitch at the right angle is balance one.
admittedly, there are days when you think, you know, i'd rather sitd under a tree and read a book than go to the ballpark. >> every has those days. >> but what's great is you come to the park, you do the routine stuff, and then the crowd comes in, and the team takes the field, and the crowd roars, and all of a sudden you're delighted as a kid in a candy store. >> that's exactly where you want to be. >> exactly. >> brown: in an age when the sports broadcast booth is crammed with two and even three announcers, scully was the first to work alone. >> sanchez a strike and the count 0-1. >> brown: his style, mastery of language and, yes, longevity, have made him a legend in sports circles. it all began with lessons in attude from his mentor red barber, another broadcasting great, who gave scully his first big break and brought him into the booth in brooklyn in 1950. >> one of my many jobs as the junior partner of the broadcasting firm would be to get the lineups every day. and let's say that one day i
brought up a lineup where smith was hitting in front of brown, the next day i brought a lineup up and brown was hitting in front of smith, red would ask me why. and the first time he asked me why, i didn't know. however, after that i knew. and that was part of red, be there early, be very well prepared, and then you're ready to go on the air. >> brown: who are you talking to when you're doing the game? you're one of the few who still does it alone for the most part. so who are you talking to? >> well, first of all, i have the make people understand, it's not an ego thing. it's in the that i just want to be on all by myself. this goes back to brooklyn where red's philosophy was simply this: if i want to sell you a car, is it better for me to talk to you about the merits of the car or talk to so and so and have you listen to our discussion about the merits of the car? red always felt that it was better to talk one on one. so what i'm doing, i'm talking
to the listener, and i will talk. i'll say, oh, by the way, i forgot to tell you. >> brown: i forgot to tell "you." >> yeah. i don't want the microphone to be in the way. wayen them to know i'm sitting next them in the ballpark. >> yankee stadium shivering on its concrete foundation right now. >> brown: he called the only perfect game pitched in the world series, a gem against the brooklyn dodgers in 1956. >> got him. the greatest game ever pitched in baseball history. "downton abbey" --. >> brown: nine years later he was there for sandy cofact's perfect game. >> here's the pitch. swung on and missed. >> high fly ball into right field. she is gone. in a year that has been so
improbable, the impossible has happened. >> brown: and then there was the fabled walk-off series home run by a hobbled curt gibson. that crowd noise and the silence from the broadcast booth is another scully trademark. >> when i was very small, maybe eight years old, we had a big radio that sat on four legs and it had a cross piece underneath it. anused to take a pillow and crawl under the radio. i would listen the a game that meant nothing to a kid growing up in new york. it might be tennessee-alabama, but when someone scored a touchdown and the crowd roared, that crowd noise would come out of the speaker like water out of a shower head, and it would just cover me with goosebumps. and i used to think, oh, i'd like to be there to feel that roar of the crowd. and it's never left me to this day. so that when something happens, i love it, to shut up and enjoy
the crowd. >> brown: but you still enjoy what you're doing? >> i involve it. you know how i know i love it? when there is a great play on the field and the crowd roars, i still get goosebumps. i'm just like that little kid under the radio. >> bases loaded, one out. a drive to left field down the line. it is gone, a grand slam home run. [cheering and applause] >> ifill: that was back in 2009. scully, who was a childhood fan of the san francisco giants, said the greatest ballpayer of his lifetime was willie mays. and on sunday, mays joined him in the booth for his final game between the dodgers and their rivals, the giants. after the game, he said farewell to his fans. >> you and i have been friends for a long time, but i know in my heart that i've always needed you more than you've ever needed me, and i'll miss our time
together more than i can say. but you know what, there will be a new day and eventually a new year, and when the upcoming winter gives way to spring, oh, rest assured once again it will be time for dodger baseball. so this is vin scully wishing you a very pleasant good afternoon wherever you may be. >> woodruff: tune in later tonight: on charlie rose, tennis star maria sharapova talks to charlie after authorities reduce her two-year suspension for failing a drug test. and that's the newshour for now. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. join us at 9:00 p.m. eastern for special live coverage of the vice presidential debate between democrat tim kaine and republican mike pence. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon.
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