tv NBC Nightly News NBC July 7, 2009 7:00pm-7:29pm EDT
♪ we woe the d rl♪d >> on our broadcast tonight -- the michael jackson memorial, a celebration of the life of a musical icon, a fallen star with a complicated life. and the world hears from his young daughter for the first time in her wrenching farewell. also tonight in russia, the president has a power breakfast with putin and makes a push to win hearts and minds. sarah palin, the alaska governor, a short timer, gives us unprecedented access and has a lot more to say about quitting her job and what might happen next. her job and what might happen next. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening.
after watching this whole day play out here in los angeles, one observer wrote in the aftermath that it was "exciting, sad, and confusing all at the same time." the motorcade to forest lawn cemetery, via closed off l.a. freeways this morning. then inside the staples center where michael jackson last rehearsed, the massive memorial, at times musical, personal, even political, but also a well-performed celebration of an iconic but troubled life. it ended with the first words the world has ever heard from michael jackson's daughter. we begin with our report tonight from nbc's lee cowan at the staples center here in l.a. lee, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. it was the reverend al sharpton who said today that he didn't come to say good-bye to michael jackson, he came to say thank
you and that drew a round of applause from friends and family who insist michael jackson has for long been underestimated. it looked like a presidential motorcade, only more somber, less ceremonial. >> the 101 freeway is stopped. >> reporter: the jackson's private grief became very public as a 30-car cortege left forest lawn, snaking its way down closed free ways. >> this is the hearse carrying michael jackson's body. >> reporter: before arriving at an underground entrance to the 20,000-seat staples center in downtown los angeles. ♪ >> reporter: inside a gospel choir greeted the casket as it made its way under the spot lights, the very same place where jackson last rehearsed not even two weeks ago today. and with his voice gone it fell to others. mariah carey's sn filled the void. ♪ where there is love i'll be there ♪ >> reporter: music was the centerpiece. lionel ritchie, offered a spiritual ballad, in keeping with katherine jackson's wishes
that this not simply be a secular service. ♪ jesus is lord >> reporter: for all the celebration, this was a good-bye. and a tough one for many. >> although our hearts are aching, we need to look up where he is undoubtedly perched in a crescent moon and we need to smile. >> reporter: jackson's achievements couldn't fit into a single eulogy whether in the record industry itself or that moon walk on stage. >> i think he is simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived. [ applause ] >> reporter: that brought mourners to their feet, only to be lulled back into somber silence from the likes of stevie wonder. ♪ michael why didn't you stay? ♪
>> reporter: the memorial hit every note from jackson's calling as a musician, to the controversy his life so often brought. >> how much pain can one take? maybe now, michael, they will leave you alone. >> wasn't nothing strange about your daddy, it was strange what your daddy had to deal with. >> reporter: the crowd became an integral part of the service when jermaine jackson faltered singing michael jackson's favorite song. it was the audience that lifted him back up. ♪ you just smile but it was after a rendition of "we are the world" that brought
young and old on the stage that jackson's daughter brought 20,000 people to tears. >> ever since i was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. and i just wanted to say i love him. so much. >> reporter: tough to watch, brian. that is the first time jackson's 11-year-old daughter has spoken in public. as for michael jackson, the family left the memorial right away. there was no sign of the hearse. and no official word on where michael jackson will be buried. brian. >> lee cowan at the staples center here in los angeles. starting us off. lee, thanks. of course, not all of michael jackson's fans could fit inside the arena that meant mass viewings of the live televised proceedings around the globe, upwards of 1 billion people
watching it all live by one estimate. they gathered across this city and around the country as well.. our own michelle kaczynski is with us from the hollywood walk of fame not far from here tonight. michelle, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. a manageable crowd today here and outside the event itself. you know, police have been worried that the overflow there could swell above 700,000 000.e actual number around far more chose to experien this out of the hot sun and watching on tv and the internet. >> reporter: all around los angeles, and thousands of miles away -- berlin, moscow, times square. and places where you didn't need a golden wristband. the fans and the curious gathered to say good-bye. ♪ >> reporter: dancing in harlem, crying in london.
[ applause ] >> reporter: this woman flew from london on her own without a ticket tthe memorial. finally, someone gave her one. >> it was great to be amongst the other friends and share the grief and the loss and also to celebrate michael and his life. >> reporter: but most honored michael jackson simply where they discovered him, in front of television screens. robert wren didn't win the online lottery for a ticket to the event so spent the day quietly inside. >> if i had to if i was working i wouldn't go to work. i had to watch it. i mean it's michael jackson. >> reporter: for those who wanted company without a crowd, people watched in churches, movie theaters, cafes and the beauty parlor. >> i think everyone is paying their respect. and this is the only way we can, is by closing things down and watching television and remembering. >> reporter: for dane parker. the dancer who appeared in three of michael jackson's blockbuster hit music videos, that's him
behind the bar in "smooth criminal" and "beat it." ♪ beat it >> reporter: he was offered a ticket to the memorial but turned it down. >> i wanted to do something more private. >> reporter: many who knew michael jackson, and many who didn't but felt like they did, decided that joining the masses and being a part of today meant just remembering the man who changed music and broke barriers. early viewership estimates have been estimatedt above 1 billion people, potentially, by comparison, princess diana's memorial in 1997, drew an estimated 2.5 billion viewers, brian. michelle kaczynski, along the crowded walk of fame in hollywood tonight, michelle, thanks. lester holt will have more on this later on from the staples center. nbc will have more coverage of e michael jackson memorial tonight on "dateline" 10:00, 9:00 central. we go overseas now to a power breakfast the world was watching today. president obama in russia had a
long one-on-one today with prime minister vladamir putin and sat down and talked about it with our chief white house correspondent, chuck todd, traveling with the president. with us tonight from moscow, chuck, good evening. >> good evening, brian. as you said, the president began his day with vladamir putin, a senior white house aide told me that the two-hour private meeting was dominated by a 50-minute soliloquy by putin about the history of u.s./russia relations sort of a throwback to the soviet era leaders. >> reporter: in h first-ever face-to-face meeting with mr. putin at his home just outside moscow this morning, the president had a chance to size up russia's most powerful politician. >> he is strong. he cares deeply about russia. and he has suspicions about the united states. >> reporter: mr. obama who last week said putin had one foot in the old ways of doing business, stuck to that assessment today.
>> he is somebody who knows the pains and hardships and difficulties of the russian past and that is still -- informs some of his views. i found him to be very smart and i found him to have a practical bent. >> reporter: that practical bent that mr. obama hopes to appeal to on issues like iran. >> i am persuaded that they do not want to see iran psess a nuclear weapon. can we provide a door for iran to walk through where they say that we are not going to develop a nuclear weapon? >> bottom line, the president acknowledged the russians still need more convincing when it comes to iran. >> we definitely have some diplomatic work to do, because understanding the situation is serious doesn't automatically translate into the kind of action that leads to the results that we would look to see.
>> reporter: just ahead of the summit of industrial nations in italy, mr. obama addressed criticism leveled by his own vice president that his team misread the severity of the recession. >> rather than said misread we had incomplete information. in some areas, you are seeing the economic engine turn. but what we always knew was that a, this recession was going to be deep, and b, it was going to last for a while. >> reporter: mr. obama spent his last full day in moscow appealing to the russian people about shared interests. >> this can't just be a matter of two presidents. it has to go deeper. it has to be between our people. >> now, brian, i did ask the president about the hot political story of the last week, sarah palin deciding to resign her governorship. he said he takes her at her word she was simply making this decision to respect her family. tomorrow, heeads to italy
where there is that meeting of the g-8. but yet some three dozen world leaders will be attending as well. brian. >> chuck todd, traveling with the president in moscow tonight. chuck, thanks. when we continue along the way, from los angeles tonight, we'll go north to alaska. more on governor sarah palin. back in public now and telling nbc's andrea mitchell what she is thinking about the future. later more on the michael jackson memorial. what today's events will say about his legacy. ♪ nbc's andrea mitchell what she is thinking about the future. later more on the michael jackson memorial. what today's events will say about his legacy. ♪ but how close are you to your goals? there may be more you can do. only caduet combines two proven medicines... in a single pill to significantly lower... high blood pressure and high cholesterol. in a clinical study of patients... with slightly elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, caduet helped 48% reach both goals in just 4 weeks. caduet is one of many treatment options, in addition to diet and exercise... that you can discuss with your doctor.
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catch up with sarah palin and find out why she shocked the political world with her abrupt resignation. >> are you staying warm? >> i am. >> reporter: sarah palin re-emerged on the shores of bristol bay, alaska. >> will you ride with us? >> i'd love to. >> reporter: an annual retreat at the peak of the the salmon run in the village where her husband's family has been commercial fishing for generations. on this day a giant photo opportunity to rebutt internet speculation about why she quit. >> how does it make you feel being back out on the bay? >> it is awesome. it is beautiful. >> is that a typical size? >> yeah, yeah. you will see out here, some that are huge. >> she says resigning was not a snap decision. >> i knew i wasn't going to run for re-election. i knew everything changed august 29th in politics in alaska the day i was tapped to run for vice president of the united states. >> you haven't finished the job some would say? >> you are not listening to me
as to why i wouldn't be able to finish the final year in office without it costing the state millions of dollars and countless hours of wasted time, wasted -- we have true worthy public causes. >> reporter: some people have said that you w the bright lights from the national campaign and came back and it was very hard to readjust to the nitty-gritty work of -- >> the nitty-gritty like the fish slime and dirt under the fingernails and stuff? >> the state capital. the hard legislative slog. >> no, that's -- i am a fighter. i thrive on challenge. >> reporter: no doubts at all? >> no doubts at all. >> the right decision for the kids and for you? >> for the state and the family. >> reporter: she isn't ruling out politics. can you imagine yourself running for president? >> i don't know what the future holds. can't predict what the next fish run is going to look like much less what happens in a couple years. >> what is clear, sarah palin
may be walking off into the sunset, but she is hardly about to fade away. and today, palin was back at work, signing a bill wrapping up state business and comfortable with her decision even if it means she will never hold higher office. brian. >> andrea mitchell, in anchorage, alaska, after an interesting day with the governor, andrea, thanks. important news item about health, especially for those who fly a lot. specifically this is about dvt, deep vein thrombosis, the condition that received so much attention when it took the life of our colleague, david bloom. at the start of the iraq war. a study says the risk of life threatening blood clots is three times greater for people who find themselves cramped into an airplane for hours at a time. this report says it is important for people to know the symptoms, to try to move around, and stay hydrated. an estimated 2 million people a year suffer from deep vein thrombosis. back in new york -- on wall
street today, stocks fell hard in very light trading. dow finished the day dowmore than 161 points ending at the lowest mark since late april. up next -- what is different about this trip to russia where the obama family is concerned? something a lot of people have noticed about this visit when we continue.
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reported on indepth last night. it's been another violent day in western china. with police using tear gas to disperse ethnic riots. hundreds of muslim women filed into the streets to protest their husbands' arrest. more than 150 people are dead. there is now a curfew across that region. as promised we have more now on the obamas' trip to russia as promised. this is the president's fourth major foreign trip. all of the previous trips have drawn huge crowds, massive media coverage, until now. it's different this time in russia. white house correspondent savannah guthrie has more from moscow. >> reporter: this is the kind of reception the president is used to getting on the streets of europe. but in moscow's red square, not so much. outside the kremlin monday the pending arrival of a celebrity american president barely drew a crowd. did you know president obama is giving a speech here today? >> no. >> reporter: do you think most russians are interested in this visit?
>> i don't think so. >> reporter: while the president has spent two days having a series of high profile encounters with russia's leaders, ordinary russians hardly seem to notice. here in moscow, most people aren't talking about president obama, in fact the night before he arrived, national television barely mentioned the visit at all. some russia experts say that may be by design. >> russians also certainly don't want mr. obama to upstage their own leadership, mr. putin, they're aware of the charismatic power mr. obama has, a global rock star. >> reporter: a recent poll shows 44% of russians think relations between the two countries are cold or tense. only 28% think president obama will improve them. many russians blame the u.s. for starting the economic crisis that now grips their country. and today, for a more pedestrian problem. bad traffic. >> i'm just really surprised in moow they close the roads to move.
you can't move. very important people moving. it's so unfair. >> reporter: still in some shops, russian entrepreneurs have paid a high american style compliment, painting mr. obama's face on traditional russian dolls. savannah guthrie, nbc news, moscow. and we're back in a moment from los angeles with a look at just what kind of legacy will be left behind after the events so many witnessed here in l.a. today. ♪ i'll be there ♪ i'll be there events so many witnessed here in l.a. today. sis--or athero. and high cholesterol is a major factor. but crestor can help slow the buildup of plaque in arteries. go to arterytour.com and take an interactive tour to learn how plaque builds up. and then ask your doctor if crestor is right for you. along with diet, crestor does more than lower bad cholesterol and raise good. crestor is proven tolow the buildup of plaque in arteries. crestor isn't for everyone, like people with liver disease,
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♪ i'll be there ♪ i'll be there ♪ i'll be there ♪ just call my name and i'll be there ♪ one of the moments from the michael jackson memorial, mariah carey and trey lorenz singing. one of the jackson 5's early hits "i'll be there." lester holt was my partner for the coverage earlier today at staples center tonight. lester, what exactly do you
think we witnessed there today? >> brian, i think we witnessed the period to a very long sentence that has been growing for almost two weeks. a sentence about his musical legacy, his fame, what he meant to people. we all have been talking about it for the two weeks. i think the publ was clamoring in one place to hear the word come from his peers and family. they got that. another sentence about prescription drugs and legal battles. i think this was important for people. the other thing we heard today was a sense of humanizing michael jackson beyond the star. we heard brooke shields come out and talk about how they related to each other as two child stars growing up. and who laughed together. and she offered a very human reflection on him. of course, paris, michael's daughter, in those heartfelt words at the end he was the greatest father anyone could ever have. a great equalizer. whatever you thought of michael jackson, no parent, no person can watch that and not understand the grief of a child who lost a parent.
lastly, brian, we saw some attempt to repair the image even in death of michael jackson. congresswoman sheila jackson lee talking about innocent until proven guilty. other comments suggesting that michael in some ways might have been a victim. brian. >> lester holt from the staples center. he will be hosting "dateline" by the way tonight on this nbc station. lester, thanks. that will do it for our broadcast this tuesday night. thank you for being with us. i'm brian williams reporting 'll go off the air here york morial.ith more from today's jermaine jackson singing his late brother's favorite song. jermaine jackson singing his late brother's favorite song. good night from los angeles. captions paid for by nbc-universal television -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com ♪ what's the use in crying you'll find that life is still worthwhile if you just smile ♪ [ applause ]