tv NBC Nightly News NBC May 4, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
on our broadcast tonight, the slowdown in hiring. unemployment drops, but there are some troubling signs behind the new numbers. >> the heiress whose big money helped john edwards hide his affair. a riveting day in court capping off a week of explosive testimony. her story. the woman at the center of the secret service scandal speaking out for the first time, giving her version of events that night in cbia. and to the rescue. hollywood calls in reinforcements for this summer. "nightly news" begins now. good evening. we received some important new economic numbers today about jobs specifically. when you boil it all down, two things are true, unemployment
continues to go down, but it's also true that hiring has slowed down as well. this nation gained just 115,000 jobs last month, and again, the good news is unemployment is down again, though slightly, to 8.1%. some fear, though, what today's new numbers mean for the pace of recovery. others fear more people have stopped looking for work and in an election year, it is all, as you might imagine, under a microscope tonight. we begin here this evening with nbc's john yang in washington. >> behind the fact and figures of today's jobs report are the real stories of the people desperate for a job, like this woman. she's been out of work for two years and her unemployment benefits ran out two months ago. >> the person i was is gone. now i'm this person who sits around trying to figure out how to pay for bills and look for work. >> she's given up hope of finding a job as good as his old one as a manufacturing
production manager. >> i'm not looking for a career. i'm looking to keep the roof over my head. >> thomas may still be looking, but hundreds of thousands like her have thrown in the towel. that helps explain the slightly lower unemployment number. the total number of americans with jobs actually fell last month, but the unemployment rate ticked down because fewer people were working or looking for work. more of the unemployed said last month they were so discouraged, they had given up working all together. in previous months, mild weather led construction companies, hotels, and restaurants to start reezinal hiring earlier than normal, fueling optimism than the jobs market was gaining traction. >> there's not enough evidence to say that the recovery is by any means slowing. i think we were all a little overly optimistic in thinking it might be speeding up. >> the numbers quickly became a political issue. at a campaign event in pennsylvania, mitt romney got back on his key message. >> this is a time when america wants to have someone who knows what it takes to create jobs and get people working again.
i think it helps to have had a job to create a job and i have and i will. >> at a high school outside washington where some seniors are about to join the work force, president obama tried to emphasize the positive. >> more than one million jobs in the last six months alone. that's the good news. but there's still a lot of folks out of work. which means we have to do more. >> more politically as well. not since franklin roosevelt has a president been re-elected while facing unemployment at 8% or higher on election day. president obama can point to improvement, though. just a year ago, the unemployment rate was 9%. brian. >> john yang in suburban washington starting us off tonight, john, thanks. on wall street in new york today, the jobs report sent stocks lower. the dow was down 168 points. nasdaq plunged under 68. s&p 500 lost over 22 points on the day. john edwards trial on campaign finance charges turned
to the actual finance part of the story today. testimony about how money from an elderly heiress who thought she was supporting edwards run for president ended up being used to take care of his mistress instead. it's been an emotional few days in court in part because everyone is thinking about elizabeth edwards who waged such a tough and public battle against breast cancer. li lisa myers reports tonight from greensboro, north carolina. >> it's been a week of high drama. testimony about the anguish of elizabeth edwards, daughter cate leaving the courtroom in tears. accounts of expletive laced confrontations between edwards and campaign staff over his relationship with rielle hunter. but today, a change of pace. bryan huffman, the charming, stylish decorator and friend of 101-year-old bunny mellon told the jury how he became the middle man for what became known as the bunny money, used to help
cover up edwards' affair. he testified when mellon learned that the $725,000 she provided to help edwards with an unspecified personal problem was meant to take care of hunter, she didn't condemn him for having an affair, but huffman said, she thought you should probably pay for your girlfriend yourself. >> the jury erupted in laughter, as did much of the courtroom and even the judge cracked a smile. >> huffman said he and mellon referred to the money for edwards as the furniture business because the payments were disguised as checks to buy furniture. why hide what was going on? mellon didn't want her lawyer to know because he didn't want her to give any more money to edwards. huffman said mellon told her it was the prosecution's star witness, andrew young, and not edwards himself who asked her for the money. >> that supports the defense theory of the case that this money flow was created by andrew young to line his own pockets,
not orchestrated by john edwards to cover up the affair in a way that violated election laws. >> edwards denies he broke any laws. later in the day, mellon's lawyer testified that he figured out there was no furniture business after one of mellon's big checks bounced. he took a closer look and was told the money was actually for john edwards. lisa myers, nbc news, greensboro, north carolina. tonight, the woman caught up at the center of the secret service scandal is speaking out for the first time, giving her version of events about what happened that night in colombia. we get our record tonight from nbc's mark potter. >> for the first time since the prostitution scandal erupted at this hotel in cartagena, colombia three weeks ago, a woman identifying herself as dania suarez is speaking publicly. during a paid interview, she said she was the escort at the center of the scandal whose confrontation with a man she
later learned was an agent over his refusal to pay her fee, drew the authorities and sparked the investigation. speaking in spanish, she said it was obvious. i can't believe he would be so dumb or so stupid to think i wasn't going to charge him money. she was also asked whether she could have posed a risk to the president's security. her answer, if i had wanted to or i had been part of one of those terrorist groups, it's obvious i would have been able to get everything. in the interview, she said the agent and two other with him were drinking heavily that night. and she said after the scandal blew up, she fled to dubai. fearing for her safety and that of her son. during all that time, she said, she's never been contacted by u.s. officials investigating the scandal. a point of concern to a leading congressman briefed on the investigation. >> this woman is actually essential to the investigation, since she's the one who created the initial conflict that brought the whole house down. she was the one involved at the very center of this whole case,
and the secret service has not been able to interview her. >> the u.s. secret service will not comment on the suarez interview. in the wake of the scandal, nine personnel there are leaving the agency. representative king said one agent failed a polygraph test. the pentagon said the investigation of 12 u.s. military personnel is completed now, awaiting final review. mark potter, nbc news, miami. now to the diplomatic drama in china playing out on the world stage. today, marathon negotiations led by secretary of state hillary clinton may have ended with a way out of this tense crisis for the white house. a blind chinese dissident may soon be on his way out of the country, on his way to study at a university here in new york. we get the story tonight from our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. >> for 24 hours, chinese police at chen gaungcheng's hospital, blocked u.s. officials from even seeing the blind dissident.
finally, just as the u.s./china summit was ending, an apparent break through. both sides eager to avoid a all-out crisis. >> our staff and our doctor had a chance to meet with him, and he's concerned that he and his family now want to go to the united states so he can pursue his studies. >> a ct scan showed chen had three broken bones in one foot. injured while scaling a wall to escape house arrest. but doctors say no other serious medical problems. some republicans say the u.s. was too quick to let chen leave the safety of the u.s. embassy. >> if those reports are true, it would be a dark day for freedom. >> in a call to the associated press today, chen said friends who tried to visit him in the hospital were beaten, and his situation is still dangerous. worrying his supporters in the u.s. >> he should have been given more time in the embassy. to really think through his options, but again, it was a hurry-up offense to get him out. >> experienced diplomats said
negotiating was touch and go because he changed his mind about staying in china after being reunited with his wife and learning how his friends and family had been abused. >> emotions are running high on everybody's part. we have a person who has been in prison for four years, been under really intense surveillance for some months after that. >> if the deal holds, chen and his immediate family will come to the u.s. on a student visa, joining almost 170,000 other chinese students now studying in the u.s. he plans to be at nyu in new york, but with hillary clinton scheduled to leave china tomorrow, state department officials will be up all night tonight in case something still goes wrong. brian. >> andrea mitchell in the d.c. newsroom tonight, thanks. more than a decade since the attacks on 9/11. khalid sheikh mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the plans and four other defendants will face arraignment tomorrow at a military tribunal in guantanamo bay, cuba.
some families of 9/11 victims are there to attend the proceeding tomorrow, but the start of the actual trial could be a year away. the case has been in legal limbo for the past three years as president obama tried and failed to move it to a civilian court of law. >> officials are reacting with caution tonight to a wild and rather perverse item written by al qaeda members on the web. it's suggesting that potential terrorists set fires in the american west. it specifically mentioned montana. it includes instructions on how to make a so-called ember bomb. the article also suggests using lit cigarettes or magnifying glasses to start destructive wildfires as a form of terrorism in this country. forest services and law enforcement officials are taking the threat seriously. a big line of violent thunderstorms pushed its way across the midwest toward the east coast this afternoon. on into tonight, and causing some problems at churchill downs
on the eve of the kentucky derby. the infield was evacuated when a storm packing 60-mile-per-hour winds moved through the area. about 100,000 fans were getting ready to watch the traditional kentucky oaks, the derby's little sister race when they were told to seek shelter. you can watch tomorrow's big race beginning at 4:00 p.m. eastern on this nbc station. still ahead, as we continue on a friday night, the long-term effect of the hard hits on the playing field. growing number of big names are sounding the alarm now that has a lot of parents concerned for the safety of their kids. and later, fans reacting tonight to the loss today of an american music pioneer.
we have a follow up on former nfl star junior seau who killed himself with a gun shot wound to the chest on wednesday. today, his family members agreed to allow his brain to be studied for signs that repeated concussionsed could have led to brain damage. this comes on a day after 100 former nfl players filed suit against the league for lasting damage that hard hits to the head may cause. it's not limited to pro athletes. it's an urgent issue on every field for every child and their parents during every contact sport. our report tonight from nbc's kevin tibbles. >> hall of famer harry carson played 13 years for the new york giants. his opponent today, post concussion syndrome. >> once you're damaged from a neurological standpoint, you may never, ever be the same. >> carson is one of a growing number of former nflers battling brain injuries. now more than 1500 of them are
suing the league, the latest saying the nfl failed to take reasonable steps to protect players from devastating head injuries. away from the pros, efforts are under way to restrict rough contact between younger players. >> we're going to limit the hours of the practice time where they can have any contact at all. and we're going to try to eliminate in practice any head to head contact. >> and at the ncaa level, in addition to recommending baseline brain scans, new guidelines mandate if a concussion is suspected in any sport, athletes are pulled from the game until a qualified medical evaluation clears them for play. some medical evidence suggested that three concussions could be the threshold where cognitive damage starts to occur. but that doesn't take into account the number of brain injuries a player may have sustained prior to turning pro. the nfl said they're working to protect players and advance
medical understanding of the treatment of concussions and in a statement said any allegation that the nfl intentionally sought to mislead players has no merit. >> this is very much like being in the military and going to war. except you're fighting different enemies or different opponents week in and week out. >> for many former players, that battle continues long after they have hung up their cleats. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago. we're back in a moment with the free show this weekend that has a lot of true fans excited.
define '80s music bridging from punk to the first white rap artists and in hip-hop they were among the few at the vanguard of a movement. he was a self-taught musician and later a filmmaker. he leaves behind a wife and a 13-year-old daughter. adam yauch, mca, was 47 years old. music business is also remembering the man who figured out how to make his guitar sound like this. that's the instantly recognizable wa-wa pedal guitar rift at the beginning of "the shaft." gave richard roundtree the perfect new york city walking music. it was performed by charles pitts. a longtime sideman for isaac hayes among others. he also came up with the guitar line in the eisley brothers "it's your thing." skip pitts was 65 years old. the folks at nato have put out a beautiful video about chicago in preparation for the upcoming nato summit there.
while it's a terrific tribute to a great city, there are some problems. >> we'll meet in the capital of illinois this time. the decision was made by the american president, barack obama, who wanted this event to take place in the city he grew up in. >> okay, few facts wrong, but there are other errors in it as well. and in all fairness, how many americans know where nato is headquartered? answer, brussels. and the secretary-general of nato's name? they're said to be correcting their narration. >> even if you're not a yankee fan, you recognize a player of all time in mariano rivera. and new york was a very sad place today because mo wement down last night, loosening up before the game, as he always has, going after fly bails in the field. he crumpled in the warning track, tore the acl in his knee, out for the season and perhaps
forever. it's hard to express how good he is beyond this. he's the best of all time among closers. his 608 saves the most ever, his e.r.a., the lowest ever. he's a modest and supernatural 42-year-old man, who may have thrown his last pitch in the major leagues. one more reminder to look up in the night sky this weekend wherever you are. weather permitting, for what they're calling correctly the super moon. it's the closest the full moon will be to earth all year. 30% brighter, 14% bigger than our regular moon. so here's wishing you a clear sky and a moon lit saturday night. when we come back on a friday night, hollywood calling on some old friends to save the world and boost their bottom line this summer.
finally tonight, on this friday heading into the weekend evening, thoughts often turn to the movies. as the season take its big final turn into summer and the big studios hope to fill out movie theaters, starting this weekend, they're reaching back a bit to some classics hoping to refire the movie imagination. our report tonight from nbc's kristen dahlgren in los angeles.
>> power, 400% capacity. >> how about that? >> when it comes to summer blockbusters, hollywood is pulling out the big guns. the studios hoping superheroes have the power to lift ticket sales on their way to saving the world. if it all looks pretty familiar, that's the point. filmmakers are hoping to recapture the iconic characters like thor, ironman, captain america, the black widow, and the hulk. this time, all together in the avengers. >> to see all of those people come together in one movie, first time ever something like this has happened, it's kind of epic. >> but the super group is just the first in the season of superheroes. in july, spiderman gets another reboot, then batman makes his repeat performance in the dark knight rises. the latest installment for the caped crusader. >> i think the genre is something that we all deep down wish we could do ourselves. i mean, who wouldn't want to fly? >> it's not all old school.
tinsel town is turning the page on some character traits. in the comic book, superheroes were always larger than life. here in hollywood, they said they're a lot more like you and me, complex characters who are not always perfect. >> apparently i'm, what is it? volatile, self obsessed, and don't play well with others? >> in a way, we're all outside. especially anyone who grew up loving comic books. we were the geeks in the corner, the people that didn't have a lot of friends, that had creative abilities that people didn't really understand. we're each kind of our own avenger. i think that's why people really respond to it. >> the studios are appealing to female audiences. in the tradition of wonder woman, it offers powerful women like anne hathaway's catwoman, emma stone as spiderman's love interest, and scarlett johansson's black widow. comic book legends meet modern times in what hollywood hopes will be a super summer. kristen dahlgren, nbc news,
hollywood. >> that's our broadcast on a friday evening. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we will of course look for you right back here on monday. in the meantime, please have a good weekend. good night. good evening, everyone. i'm jessica aguirre. >> and i'm raj mathai. we're following that breaking news in san francisco. the bomb squad is investigating a suspicious package, and this has shut down several surface streets and even the geneva off ramp off 280 happening near the balboa park station and the city college of san francisco. you see down below that package which appeared to be a suitcase was discovered just before 3:00 this afternoon, police have been on the scene ever since. a helicopter on the scene as well. they have a robot in place which is inspecting the suitcase.