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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 22, 2015 6:30pm-7:00pm EST

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tonight, shock waves from donald trump's vulgar attack on hillary clinton. a sexually derogatory word and a crude comment about a bathroom break leaving many asking has he finally gone too far. christmas ever. records shattered. in the 70s where we usually see snow. and a major thrt for last-minute travelers. 38 million at risk. historic landing, a spectacular feat for the future of space travel. and tonight the rocket man behind it dreaming of a city on mars. targeting cancer. a little girl becomes the first child of the world to receive a revolutionary treatment that saved her life and could save many more. and santa's little
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dad who turned his son into elf on a shelf with the help of a little photo magic. "nightly news" begins right now. good evening. how far donald trump will go with his crude insults and school yard-like taunting, we're still waiting to see it. his latest verbal assaults include a public mocking of hillary clinton bathroom habits, a vile depiction of her last defeat and declaring his hate for some in the media. whipping up an angry crowd against the press there to cover him. but of course it is playing well to his core of supports who embrace his boldness. but is that enough? especially as the new national poll shows senator ted cruz nipping at his heels. let's start with nbc's
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>> wow! >> reporter: donald trump again storming past political decor um. this time to kriz site hillary clinton. >> what happened to her. i'm watching the debate and she disappeared. >> for using the bathroom during the democratic debate. >> i know where she went. it is disgusting. i don't want to talk about it. no, it is too disgusting. don't say it. it is disgusting. >> reporter: and going even further, berating her with a sexual vulgarity for losing to barack obama in 2008. >> she was going to beat. win. she lost. >> reporter: hillary clinton fighting back with humor. >> we should give a few more minutes for bathroom breaks. >> i'm just glad they had one somewhere. >> and a message to a little girl about bullying. >> you are looking at a person who has had a about me. it is important to stand you will to bullies wherever they are and why we shouldn't let anybody
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presidency. >> trump grand rapids rally, anything before christmas, was anything but merry and bright. the crowd riled up and angry. trump turned the table on reporters, by the way, i hate some of these people but i would never tell them. no, these people, i'll be honest, i'll be honest, i would never kill them. i would never do that. >> reporter: his traveling press corp penned for campaign protocol in the center of the arena as thousands booed and jeered. >> you are offended. the average american is not. because the average american was just sitting on their couch thing. >> reporter: but today a new poll found that half of all americans would be embarrassed billionaire president. and though the same poll finds him atop the gop field, ted cruz is gaining fast. >> i will donald trump speak for himself. myself. >> reporter: and that
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for ted cruz who is now within the margin of error with donald meanwhile, if there ever was a line for the front-runner, it is hard to imagine where it was, lester. >> katy tur, thanks. and we want to turn to our political director, the moderator of "meet the press," chuck todd. before. controversial comment by donald trump. and i kept thinking when i heard the comments, if most americans say in the workplace what he said, they would be fired. gone. it doesn't appear to be hurting him. but does it himity his growth and could he win if he doesn't grow his core. >> you are right about this idea. if any of us said what he said in the public square in the media, any other politician, if you said it in the workplace, you would be fired. but we said the same thing about what he said about mexicans and john mccain being a war hero and what he said about fox news host megyn kelly. one of one of those would have get you reprimanded or fired. but it doesn't hurt
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but the thing we miss the most about the donald trump supporters is that this is not economic, it is cultural. it is the anti-political correctness idea. the idea that everything -- all of the major changes that have happened demographically in this country, he is tapping into -- into this idea that things are changing fast and don't you miss the old good days. the whole reason for the slogan make america great again. it is the again. that is the code word of saying the way it was. the way before we pead all of these changes. the way before your culture changed. so i think that is what we're seeing. obviously he is being crude about it. i don't think anything could stop him as far as chasing him out of the race. however, it does hurt him in a general election. there is no way this guy could win a general election if he continues to go down this road. >> chuck todd, appreciate your analysis. we're learning so much more about the american troops killed in a suicide attack in afghanistan. it was the deadliest attack
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country in more than two years. chief pentagon miklaszewski has more on the victims of who they are and who they leave behind. >> this major adriana vorder bergen is the first openly gay female officer to be killed in combat. she and five other u.s. airmen were meeting afghan leaders near bagram air base when a suicide bomber on a motorcycle drove into the group and detonated his bomb, killing all six americans. described as a champion of gay rights she was most proud of her wife and her young song jacob. she said adriana was light of our livers. we his her so much. she has always been me hero. so much more than now. sergeant lam loved to surprise his wife and two children. this is the first time
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afghanistan after a 10-month deployment. and as a new york city police detective in the bronx, lam was well loved. >> you met him and knew him and he was well loved. >> reporter: he did three combat tours before being killed this week. the u.s. airmen include save stargt lewis bona casa. chester mcbride, a college football standout and mike an anthony cinco of rio grande valley, texas. in washington, d.c. a restaurant was closed. staff sergeant petter toll b was among the dead. loyal customers joined in. >> the good people in america care about you and your son, your loss is our loss. >> reporter: this, as his wife just learned she is pregnant with their second child. coincidentally, this week marks the fifth anniversary of the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," lifting the ban against gays in the military.
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major adriana voder burgen and providing military benefits to her family that would have otherwise been denied, lester jim miklaszewski at the pentagon. thank you. the woman accused of running down a crowd of people on the vegas strip has ore officially been charged with murder, child abuse and felony hit-and-run. 24-year-old lakeisha plowed into the crowd repeatedly killing one woman and injuring three dozen more, including several now in critical condition. prosecutors say they are considering a number of other charges as well. chances are no matter where you live today, you were talking about the weather. extremes from coast to coast. and across much of the eastern and central u.s., we are headed for the warmest christmas on record. temperatures being shattered, headed for the 70s on christmas eve and christmas day. there is also a major storm brewing. severe weather threatening 38 million americans. and causing trouble for last-minute travelers.
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breaks it all down. >> reporter: the weather on i-49 along the texas-arkansas border turned the roadways deadly. three killed, seven injured in a blinding fog pile-up. >> it sounded like a explosion. weather system creating havoc is also poised to shatter records. some spots, 40 degrees above average. christmas eve in philli, 73. charlotte, 77. savannah, georgia, 79. 2800 temperature records already broken in december. in raleigh, where it will be 78, today the roads are sloppy. 2600 pig lets were on this big rig. what they are calling the pork chop overturn. >> oh, my god. >> reporter: across the country, a different extreme fuelled in part by el nino. the jet stream funneling strong southern california winds powerful enough to rip off roofs and topple trucks. in sierra, this winter
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dangerous. major roads shut down. crawl. >> these things have to be up on the tire. >> reporter: many here home by christmas. >> it was supposed to be a christmas eve but i didn't get out of town in time. >> reporter: in oregon, steve sill has spent 15 hours a day for the last 15 days fighting blizzards so travelers don't get stuck. >> we can't afford to go down. we have to have everybody on hand. >> reporter: oregon and washington state have been hammered continuously. winds knocking down power lines and trees. a season of extremes from coast to coast. tonight here in southern california where we are bracing for 60 mile-per-hour winds, a cold weather alert has been issued for many of the region. the temperature could plummet well below freezing. in an area, lester, renowned for sunny skies even in the middle of winter. lester. >> miguel almaguer, thanks. let's bring in meteorologist dylan dreyer. typically in december,
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where is the white christmas. but all i see is red on that half of your map. >> it is going to be a warm christmas across the eastern half of the country with temperatures running 30 to 40 degrees above average. we'll start to break wednesday. but christmas eve is the day we're all about. we are going to crush records. in boston the old record 61. we're forecasting a high of 68 degrees. in washington, d.c., the old record 66. to 76 degrees. but keep in mind, these warm temperatures come with heavy storms. the best chance of strong storms will be back near memphis. we could see long, track, long duration tornados especially as we go into wednesday afternoon. now out west, that is where we're getting the white christmas. we're looking at troubles in the overpasses. wednesday is going to be a rough travel day. christmas eve the rain continues up and down the east coast and on christmas day still rainy in the southeast. but you have to head to the mountains to get the white christmas. >> dylan, thank you very much.
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stunning astonishment in cape canaveral. space skch has contracts to carry cargo and eventually astronauts to the space station managed to launch an unmanned rocket into the night sky and landed back on earth paving the way to reuse rockets, not just discarding them after a single use. tom costello on how this could change the future of space travel. >> reporter: the liftoff was like a thousand rocket launches before, but for space x, this was no ordinary mission. just 4 1/2 minutes into flight, the first stage of the falcon 9 separated and did a u-turn, headed back to earth. then oven seven minutes later mission control watched history in the making. for the first time ever, a rocket on a pay load mission had returned and successfully landed
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while 385 miled up 11 kplungs satellites were released no or bit. in california, celebration. the upstart at space x had overcome a challenge that had stood for decades. how big of a challenge? space x said this was like launching a pencil over the empire state building, breaking it in half and reversing it and landing the pencil right-side up on a shoe box. recovering and reusing the first stage could dramatically cut the cost of future launches. the space x kre billionaire elon musk. >> i think it is a revolutionary moment. >> reporter: six months ago a space x rocket blue up after liftoff. last month blue origin owned by amazon ceo jeff bezos launted vertal cally in the texas desert. >> to see private companies doing this kind of innovation in the space realm is
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beginning of a whole new era in space, i think. >> reporter: an achievement the ran who runs space x said will one day set the stage for a mission to mars. tom costello, nbc news, washington. still ahead tonight, it is save the -- it saved the life of a little girl dying of leukemia. a revolutionary treatment with the power to change human genes. can it work on others too. and a car spins out of control on a high-speed chase and red 97! set! red 97! did you say 97? yes. you know, that reminds me of geico's 97% customer satisfaction rating. 97%? helped by geico's fast and friendly claims service. huh... oh yeah, baby. geico's as fast and friendly as it gets. woo!
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we're back with what could be a huge leap forward in the battle against cancer. a treatment that changes the genetic makeup of your cells an turns them into cancer-fighting weapons. it brought one little girl who was the first child to receive the treatment back from the brink of death. nbc's rehema ellis has more in our series -- target cancer: chasing the cure. >> reporter: emily whitehead is like most fifth graders, full of energy. but this 10-year-old is also a pioneer. we first met her three years ago when she was diagnosed with an acute form of leukemia. the cancer was growing out of control and doctors were out of options. desperate, her parents turned to an skpar experimental treat that only showed promise in a few adults. >> how sick was she? >> at one point the doctor came in and
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your family and because emily won't be here tomorrow. >> reporter: but emily fought hard. becoming the first child in the world to test a revolutionary technique, changing a cancer patient's own dna. it started with doctors at the university of pennsylvania and children's hospital of philadelphia. >> i think if you ask people back in 22,002, some of this would have sounded like science fiction. >> here is how it works frxt a blood sample, a patient's immune cells are separated out and injected with a deactivated version of hiv. the virus genetically changes the cells turning them into super-fighters that hunt out and destroy cancer cells. >> she's cancer-free. and i couldn't believe it. i just -- i thought it was a dream. >> reporter: today more than three years after emily's ground-breaking treatment, doctors have seen a 90% success rate in kids
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>> the fact that it worked was absolutely miraculous. so many other people. >> reporter: and now are underway, testing this approach and other kinds of cancers, like pancreatic and ovarian. >> but her story is now literally the text book example. >> if someone were to come to you now and to say, emily, how can we feel hopeful about our child going through cancer, what would you say to them? >> to never give up. >> reporter: one little girl winning her battle against cancer, paving the way for so many others to win theirs too. rehema ellis, nbc news, phillipsberg, pennsylvania. when we come back, don't blink and you'll
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for the first time since the military determined he would face court marshal, pow sergeant bowe bergdahl appeared in military court at ft. bragg. he was arraigned on charged of desertion and miss behavior before the enemy but he did not enter a plea. he was held by five years by the taliban after leaving his post in 2009. a deposit got quite a shurp when he -- surprise when he discovered the driver in this high-speed chase was a teen. it spun out of control into oncoming traffic. you could make out the teen and his 8-year-old sister also in the car making a run for it. they snuck out and took the car owned by their dad's girld girlfriend for a joy ride. nearly a catastrophe when a drone fell from the sky, nearly crushing a skier.
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a tv camera and came crashing down during a world cup slalom race. he didn't seem to notice how close it came until later. he joked about experiencing, quote, heavy air traffic in italy on social media. when we come back, the elf on a shelf comes to life. technology empowers us to achieve more. it pushes us to go further. special olympics has almost five million athletes in 170 countries. the microsoft cloud allows us to immediately be able to access information, wherever we are. information for an athlete's medical care, or information to track their personal best. with microsoft cloud, we save millions of man hours, and that's time that we can invest in our athletes and
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finally tonight, a holiday delight. it is about a real life elf on the shelf. when you see him it might be hard to contain yourself. as hallie jackson tells us, his adorable pictures have earned him viral glory which leads us to this charming story. >> reporter: twas was the weekend before christmas and in the town of paradise, the elf on the shelf wasn't being very nice. he tiptoed downstairs with wrapping paper and glue. >> i can go into the bathroom in the middle of the night. >> he makes mischiefs and messes. not a role model, just look at that sweet tooth. >> he drank out of the syrup bottle. >> but big brother zack knows this is not a toy. he is rockwell, his brother. yes, he is a real boy. spreading the magic of the season with a little help from his pop. >> i'm holding him the
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>> and the magic of photo shop. rockwell sees you when you are sleeping and tells santa if you have been nice. his pictures so popular online, people shared and shared twice. strangers all over the world clicking photos of this kid. >> not really expecting it would go viral and get the attention that it did. >> reporter: but this family has had a taste of what it is like to spread joy. look at who is next to rockwell. do you recognize that boy? that is will. he can fly, as we've told you before. his pictures proof. syndrome can soar. these photos all taken for one simple reason. to share the love this family shows. no matter the season. and for the two youngest kids, it is a love that never ends. >> we're really excited to watch them grow up together and be best friends. >> reporter: life is perfect. clear. you don't have to wait until christmas to feel this kind of cheer. it's santa's best gift, you can't find under the tree.
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family, and ours, nbc. jackson. and i tried, nothing rhymes with that. that will do it for us on a tuesday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for

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