tv NBC Nightly News NBC May 1, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
on our broadcast tonight, on the ground tonight in afghanistan. tonight the president's unannounced visit there landing in the dark and much secrecy a year after bin ladin was killed. plus our nbc news exclusive inside the situation room with the president, his reaction that night to the first evidence of bin ladin's death. and what it was like to place that call to president bush. the scandal, a devastating charge that rupert murdoch, perhaps the largest media mogul on the planet is unfit for his job. family drama at the john edwards trial, the wife of the star witness is cross examined and it gets personal.
plus, tonight. a terrific making a difference report. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening, and on this one year anniversary of the death of osama bin ladin, air force one touched down in the dark, without any visible lights on the runway in kabul, began began. an unannounced trip by president obama to the war zone that became a war zone following 9/11. tonight he will address the nation briefly outside kabul. there was work to be done on the ground there, and there is a lot of politics in the air surrounding this anniversary, in the context of an election year. we have it all covered from washington to kabul, let's begin with our chief white house correspondent and political director chuck todd. what do you know about the trip, chuck? >> reporter: well, as you know,
9 president left here on the anniversary of the killing, boarded air force one and landed 13 hours later. the u.s. did not lift the embargo until the president was inside the compound in kabul. it was at the palace the president met with karzai, and they signed a strategic agreement on what the united states relationship is going to look like after troops start to pull out in 2014. here's what the president said about that agreement. >> we came with a very clear mission. we came to destroy al qaeda. and we have enormous respect for afghan sovereignty and the dignity of the afghan people. together we're now committed to replacing war with peace. and pursuing a more hopeful future as equal partners. >> reporter: about an hour later, the president then addressed troops at bagram air force base. what was interesting here is how blunt the president was about what military operations are going to look like in
afghanistan over the next few years. >> some of your buddies are going to get injured. and some of your buddies may get killed. and there's going to be heartbreak and pain and difficulty ahead. but there's a light on the horizon. >> now, what this is is an agreement to forge an agreement. that agreement is this, it's going to be both economic, aide as well as some sort of security force that's going to be in the country over the next ten years. now, what does that force look like? there's not going to be any permanent u.s. bases in afghanistan. instead, u.s. forces would be on afghanistan bases. the united states is pledging they would not launch any military offensive against a foreign country from afghanistan. code wards, they're not going to
launch a military assault at iran. however, if they want to launch an assault at a terrorist, in some sort of compound in pakistan, that is something that the united states will still be able to do under the agreement, brian? >> chuck todd with the white house component. chuck, stay where you are, we'll come back to you in a moment. we want to go to nbc's atia abawe, based in our kabul bureau, where there was a sudden flurry of active overnight. they're never on the ground long, but it's intense while they're there? >> reporter: absolutely, brian. what was interesting about this visit was that this top secret visit was actually leaked by afghan journalists through the afghan media, including the airways and twitter, for that matter. it was a very important visit to the afghan people. many afghans skeptical about the u.s. commitment to afghanistan beyond the combat role that is expected to end in 2014. the u.s. president and the afghan president hoping to show the afghans as well as the
taliban that the u.s. is committed to the future of afghanistan. this agreement took quite a while to get to nearly two years for the u.s. and the afghans to come to an agreement. a little after midnight here in afghanistan, president obama and president karzai proving to the world they are committed together. >> atia abawe in kabul. helicopters overhead providing security during the duration of the president's visit tonight. that brings us back to chuck todd at the white house. a question of politics. it enveloped everything right now, including how the administration wants to frame the anniversary. >> reporter: well, look, they specifically picked this date. this agreement was agreed to in principle about seven to ten days ago. it was the white house that said, lets do it on the anniversary of the bin ladin death, because it's an important date for afghans as well as americans. it's supposed to send a message that the united states isn't leaving. and what's been interesting,
brian, is that republican reaction yesterday about how the white house and the political campaign was handling the bin ladin anniversary. there was some criticism today. nothing but praise from senators john mccain, lindsey graham. they're all saying they want to wait to read the details, they're happy with how so far the president has signed on with this strategic agreement that's going to take place beginning in 2014, brian? >> when you talk about presidents using the machinery of government nine years ago tonight was the mission accomplished speech. the carrier landing by president bush off the coast of california. and here we are now after this long, long conflict in afghanistan. chuck todd at the white house, thanks. michael leiter served as head of national terrorism center under both presidents bush and obama and was among the few individuals in the situation room that night with the president and the national security team monitoring the bin ladin operation in realtime.
michael, we woke up this mourning to this kind of vague warning about possible body bombers here in the united states. the kind of thing we're sadly used to. are we better off in the year since the death of bin ladin? >> i think there's no doubt we are much better off. we're better off because al qaeda is weaker and has been ever since 9/11. with the death of bin ladin, al qaeda really lost its inspirational leader. but as we also found out in the raid, it lost its operational driver for pushing al qaeda affiliates to attack the united states, to attack the homeland. and with his death, the pressure on those affiliates to turn back toward their local targets is much greater. i think in that sense, although al qaeda is still there, the u.s. is much safer one year later. >> as we said, the situation room was part of your old workplace. we were there, we brought cameras in there this past week for the first time, and had conversations with basically
everyone in the picture, to reconstruct that night, what they were feeling. including the president, and the exchange we want to air here from the hour long special on "rock center" tomorrow evening. i asked him about the moment the proof of death photos arrived of osama bin ladin from the s.e.a.l.s that captured him. how did that feel to look at that image? >> you know, it -- i think it's wrong to say that i did a high five, because you have a picture of a dead body. and, you know, there's -- i think regardless of who it is, you always have to be sober about death. but understanding the satisfaction for the american people, what it would mean for
9/11 families, what it would mean for the children of folks who died in the twin towers who never got to know their parents. i think there was a deep seeded satisfaction for the country at that moment. >> and then you place a call to george w. bush 43 on whose watch the attack happened. >> yes. >> and what was that like? >> well, i think that it was an important symbol of who we are as a people. we get into these partisan fights. administrations come and go, but there's a certain come continuity about who we are and what we care about, and what our values are. and for me to be able to call my predecessor and say, a lot of the work that you did under your administration was continued in my administration, and there's
that constant thread that ultimately leads to justice being done, i think it was symbolic of how our government should work. >> pretty incredible to be in that room. the president stood above the chair he sat in that night. what does it conjure up to see it again? and when you think of that long day and long night. >> the day was such constant emotion. it was waiting, when we first got there, for the s.e.a.l.s to leave afghanistan and fly into pakistan. then there's that incredible tension as we saw that first helicopter go down. and then there is the relief and satisfaction when we get the geronimo call, and we know we've gotten bin ladin. i think there is an incredible amount of reflection on the victims, the families, and add the president noted, on the thousands of people in the bush administration and the obama
administration that had focused on this for so long. and the satisfaction of that moment on behalf of those families, on behalf of all those people in the military and the intelligence community was wonderful. >> very happy to have you affiliated with our team these days, michael leiter. thank you very much for being with us. >> thank you. >> our entire hour long special edition of "rock center inside the situation room" a deconstruction of the entire mission with the president and his security team airs tomorrow at 9:00, 8:00 central. tonight 7:30 eastern, live coverage of the of president's address from bagram air field in afghanistan. in this country, the fbi arrested five self-described anarchists in cleveland, ohio today. the men are between 20 and 37 years of age and are accused of plotting to build up a bridge over a cleveland park. the plot was uncovered by an fbi sting operation which provided the men with what they thought was bomb making materials. the fbi says, as is the case with so many of these, there was never any real danger associated
with the plan 37 on this mayday across the world, around the country, there were marches and protests focused on the rights of workers. occupy wall street reemerged on the scene in new york after being dormant for much of the winter season. one of their targets banks. they staged protests targeting the big names including bank of america, chase, citibank. in oakland, california, where the occupy protests, you may recall, clashed violently with police just last fall, there were some skirmishes today. several people ended up getting arrested. a media empire may be hanging in the balance tonight after blistering criticism of the man in charge, rupert murdoch. he is the power as you know behind some of the biggest names behind british and american media, including all of the fox brands. and tonight he's being called unfit for the job. jim maceda has our report from london. >> reporter: today british lawmakers dropped a bomb in
rupert murdoch's lap. the report was scathing. murdoch, his son james and three key executives all in the crosshairs. >> we find the directors responsible for willful blindness. we find executives guilty of misleading parliament, rupert murdoch himself not fit to run the company. >> reporter: if british regulators now agree with that report, newscorp could be forced to sell down its controlling stake in a lucrative british satellite channel or even see its broadcast license revoked. today's move, a body blow to the once bulletproof media mogul. and an empire with global reach. hundreds of properties, including 20th century fox, the wall street journal and fox news. tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue. >> arrest rupert murdoch! >> reporter: now increasingly under siege, especially at its u.s. corporate headquarters. >> newscorp was already facing issues due to bribes.
today's report has no direct impact on those probes, does provide powerful ammunition for shareholders suing the company and for investors demanding change in their investment. some of them say now for the first time, murdoch's control could be in jeopardy. >> could it be a blot on my reputation for the rest of my life? >> murdoch has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in fees from in britain from a phone hacking scandal with no end in sight. murdoch issued a contrite statement. the british report has been called partisan and lacking credibility. it said it's put sweeping changes into place to make its shareholders proud. it may be too late for that. jim maceda, nbc news, london. on wall street today, the dow rose to its highest closing number in more than four years. blue chips were up more than 65 points to 13279, the best close since december of '07. nasdaq, s&p 500 also up on the
day. as we continue along the way tonight, the john edwards trial, the wife of the star witness holds her ground under some tough cross-examination that gets personal. and later, making a difference. a gift for kids that's got their parents cheering as well. that's how it is with alzheimer's disease. she needs help from me. and her medication. the exelon patch -- it releases medication continuously for twenty-four hours. she uses one exelon patch daily for the treatment of mild to moderate alzheimer's symptoms. [ female announcer ] it cannot change the course of the disease. hospitalization and rarely death have been reported in patients who wore more than one patch at a time. the most common side effects of exelon patch are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. the likelihood and severity of these side effects may increase as the dose increases. patients may experience loss of appetite or weight. patients who weigh less than 110 pounds may experience more side effects. people at risk for stomach ulcers who take certain other medicines should talk to their doctor
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defense lawyer alan duncan, mr. edwards was like a third person in your marriage and you had a great deal of anger. not about mr. edwards, while acknowledging she had to swallow a lot because of her husband's job. isn't if true you were trying to get john edwards, duncan asked? sir, that is a completely false statement, she shot back. i'm here to tell the truth about my experiences. there's no hatred. i can't live like that, sir. >> cheri young has been a steel magnolia, southern, slender physically, but unyielding in p blame for this entire episode squarely on the shoulders of john edwards. >> her demeanor was in sharp contrast to yesterday's sometimes tearful testimony. she recounted an important direct conversation with edwards about how to handle hundreds of thousands of dollars to take care of his mistress rielle hunter. money prosecutors allege amounted to illegal campaign contributions, a charge edwards denies.
has cheri young been a stronger witness than her husband? >> she's taken the government's case, which in many ways may have gone into the ditch during the cross-examination of andrew young, and put it back on track. >> reporter: the defense did get young to admit that her husband drank heavily when working for edwards and often took ambien, which she acknowledged sometimes made him loopy, and affected his memory. lisa myers, nbc news, greensboro, north carolina. up next here, tonight. the news out today about weight gain. and bringing a plane down intentionally while cameras rolled. the story behind this crash in the desert. when's the show? well, if we don't find an audience, all we'll ever do is rehearse. maybe you should try every door direct mail. just select the zip codes where you want your message to be seen. print it yourself or find a local partner. and you find the customers that matter most. brilliant! clifton, show us overjoyed. no! too much! jennessa?
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poppins" was specially staged for the benefit of young people with autism and their families. part of an effort of a nonprofit group making a difference. our report from nbc's anne thompson. >> reporter: it's curtain time at "mary poppins". >> in 2:45 time you will without question have changed the lives of a whole group of people who are out there this afternoon. ♪ >> this is a performance for children with autism and their families. ♪ >> reporter: to make this event possible, the associate director changed the show. >> how many times in your show are you having to adjust the set? >> a lots. majorly. i would say in every scene. >> reporter: more than 40 audio and 200 visual cues were toned
down which can disturb people with autism. the musical director went through every song. >> we spent time identifying where pitches of voices may simply get too high. >> reporter: they cut one musical number giving burt just seconds instead of five minutes to travel four stories from the stage to the ceiling. >> while the kids are watching the show go on, i'm in the elevator undressing and putting new clothes on in under a minute. >> reporter: the challenge is so make these changes and preserve the magic of the musical. this is a boisterous audience. moving, shouting, just being themselves. exactly what families need seautism speaks founders bob and suzanne wright. >> all the judgment's gone, there's nobody judginging them. >> to have these families have a day of total normalness is a wonderful thing. >> an idea theater groups across
the country may try out. >> we put this one out overnight. guess what, guys, there's an audience here, there's a market here. >> reporter: one look at these faces tells you, the magic is here too. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. >> that is our tuesday night broadcast, thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams, and we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night much