tv NBC Nightly News NBC November 3, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
in the morning you'll need a jacket. >> get out and vote tomorrow. on our broadcast tonight, cliffhanger. we're just hours from elections across the country. with so many battleground races too close to call and big power up for grabs. early blast. record cold and it's barely november. the earliest snow ever in some places. is it any sign of things to come? what went wrong? new details about the spacecraft disaster in the desert. what investigators now think happened in the moment before it plummeted ck to earth. and hoop dreams. one of the most inspiring, young women you will ever meet, facing down the shot of a lifetime. and the crowd goes wild. "nightly news" begins now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. and good evening from our election night headquarters here in new york, where a little over
24 hours from now we will begin getting the very first results. we'll start to see the very first trends emerging from across the country. the republicans believe they are on the verge of taking over power in the u.s. senate. and as is often the case with a sitting president, the democrats are preparing to see evidence of the president's unpopularity at the polls. and today we started hearing that several big races have perhaps tightened. we begin all of it tonight with our political director, moderator of "meet the press," chuck todd. >> that's what we want to change. >> reporter: as candidates around the country rush to make their final push, control of the senate hangs in the balance. and voters are conflicted. if i say washington, what do you say right now? >> fighting and poor performance. >> just a plain mess. absolute mess. >> reporter: that feeling is why eight of the most competitive senate races are within four points. and a whopping half of the nation's 36 governors races are
also too close to call. and voters tell us they aren't happy with the campaign. both parties catering to their base rather than focusing on the two issues they say matter most. in our latest nbc news/"the wall street journal poll," washington gridlock among the most important issues to voters. you got a message to washington? >> i would like to see both sides working together. >> there's a lot of division between the two. you've got to step across the aisle and work together on things. >> reporter: it's the president that is taking the brunt of voter anger. his approval rating in our latest poll only 42%. >> this is what happens when you do not lead. if you're not going to be a genuine leader, whether you're right or whether you're wrong -- >> reporter: republicans are using the president as a political pinata in just about every competitive state. and yet despite president obama's woes, republicans haven't put this election away just yet. a late surge of democratic enthusiasm has turned this election into a surprisingly close contest.
>> gridlock is something that both parties own, the republican party in particular, and that's hurt the republican brand. and it's made these races closer. >> reporter: still, republicans are poised to have a good night tomorrow. the question is if it's enough to take the senate. so, brian, here's our battleground map. these are the ten senate races we're going to be focused on. let me give you a quick sort of time tour here. early in the night, new hampshire and north carolina, they're going to be early closes. these are democratic held seats. if republicans win either one of these early in the night, the question isn't going to be whether the republicans get the senate but how big their margin is. but if democrats hold serve, we're going to be spending our time talking a lot about these four states, iowa, colorado, kansas and alaska. this is where one party wins three of four, that's their road to majority. all of that could still leave things up in the air. and then we're going to get to know georgia and louisiana. they're going to have potential
rubr runoffs that will make it look like presidential-style campaigning for two more months. >> i'm just worried about your control over your art skills and your tablet. luckily we have 24 hours. >> we do. and i've got ten fingers. i'll figure this out. >> all right. the night is still young. andrea mitchell as chuck mentioned joins us tonight as she will tomorrow night. given how smoothly and efficiently our government runs now, what are we to expect if there's a shift in power and the republicans take over for at least the foreseeable next two years? >> well, the first big change would be john mccain. john mccain, the president's toughest critic on war policy, taking over the senate armed services committee, that's going to be a big change. then republican senators who've said, we're going to repeal obamacare. if they try, he will veto it. he's only vetoed twice -- used veto twice since he was first elected. that's going to be another cause of gridlock. and gridlock is what the voters tell us they don't like. there are other big changes to come. judges, supreme court justices, how does he get them confirmed?
you can see also republican senators, we already know ted cruz, rand paul, others want to run for president. are they going to try to prove they're obstructionists, or are the republicans going to prove they are different from the democrats and can get things done, can good afternoon. -- can govern. that's going to be the big question for their party and for the government and the people. >> andrea mitchell, chuck todd, members of the big team that will be here with us in the studio tomorrow night as the results come in. we'll be doing hourly updates all evening long. then we're on the air for a full hour, 10:00 p.m. eastern, again, 10:00 p.m. pacific time. and results any time all evening long on the web, of course, at nbcnews.com. tonight, more than 100,000 homes and businesses are without power in the state of maine. and that includes some polling places. after a big snowstorm came through, more than a foot of snow there and record cold as far south as miami and it's barely november. question everyone's asking
however, is this a sign of anything yet to come? nbc's dylan dreyer has our report tonight from bangor, maine. >> reporter: in maine the snow fell fast and furiously. >> it's too early for snow. >> reporter: much of the state got record snowfall for this early in the season. the problem with a storm this size this early in the season is all the fall foliage. you have this heavy, wet snow that clings to the leaves. it adds weight to the branches. and they can bend or break onto power lines. crews worked through the night and into today trying to restore power to more than 100,000 customers. >> we're surprised we got as much snow as we got. >> reporter: blinding snow and winds of nearly 50 miles per hour slammed massachusetts. sports fans in north carolina braved blizzardlike conditions to watch appalachian state take on georgia state. >> lots of layers. >> reporter: columbia, south carolina, saw its earliest snow
ever recorded. there were dangerous driving conditions in north carolina and georgia as well as records set in florida where cold air brought new lows to miami, daytona beach and orlando. so is this a sign of a rough season ahead? according to noaa this winter's temperatures will actually be milder than last year's bone chiller. >> the odds of a recurrent pattern like that is probably pretty small. >> but not so fast. the old farmers almanac paints a very different picture. >> there will be a lot of snow, though not everywhere. new england for example will get less snow than we normally do, but it will be extremely cold. in the midwest and down south it's going to be a very cold winter. >> reporter: so as people deal with a winter storm in the middle of autumn, the predictions are as varied as the weather and only time will tell what's in store. dylan dreyer, nbc news, bangor, maine. now we turn to the story that dominated so much of the news coverage this past
weekend -- the catastrophe in the desert. the feds tonight are searching for what caused the crash of that virgin galactic spacecraft on friday. the pilot somehow lived, tragically the co-pilot did not. and now the day when civilians can soar into space as paying customers may be even further out of reach. our own jacob rascon is at the mojave space port tonight. jacob, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening. tonight the ntsb is much closer to understanding why the test flight failed while investigators are far from announcing an official cause, they're looking now at what one of the pilots did just before the space plane broke apart. tonight, the ntsb investigation has a new focus, the feathers or speed brakes on the tail of virgin galactic spaceship two. 20 minutes after takeoff at 45,000 feet, spaceship two separated from its carrier and its rocket ignited propelling the plane toward the edge of the atmosphere. nine seconds later the ntsb says cockpit video shows co-pilot
michael alsbury unlocking the plane's feather. something usually done at a higher speed in altitude. the locks are in place to prevent aerodynamic forces from inadvertently deploying the feathers. the ntsb says once the feathers were unlocked, they deployed and the aircraft broke apart. 22 miles away from where it took off in a debris field five miles wide and this is the biggest piece of what's left of virgin galactic spaceship two. virgin galactic founder richard branson back at his private home after visiting the accident site says his dream of space tourism is not over. >> it's a grand program which has had a horrible setback. but i don't think anybody watching this program would want us to abandon it at this stage. >> reporter: the next big clue that might help explain the crash may come from peter siebold, the pilot who survived by parachuting out of the space plane. the 43-year-old who has 17 years of flight experience is now
recovering after surgery, but so far has not been well enough to speak with investigators. >> was there too much emphasis on testing? was there a lack of safety culture? there are lots of issues we look at to come to the question of now we know the lever was moved before it should have been. why was that happening? >> reporter: and the ntsb will wrap up its on-site portion of their work later this week, but it will take up to a year to analyze thousands of pieces of data and debris and come up with possible recommendations for change in the industry. >> jacob rascon, thanks. class returned to session today at the high school in marysville, washington, where tragedy hit ten days ago. hundreds of people still along the road to school this morning. they cheered the students as they came back. the school shut down october 24th, when a student shot and killed three classmates and wounded two others before taking his own life. the lava flow on hawaii's
big island has taken a different turn. it's now creeping into a nearby swamp. and you can actually watch it and hear it boil water on contact as it forms new land along the way. the flow has largely stalled in recent days, but in that village that stands right in its potential path there are fears this slowdown is only delaying the inevitable. thirteen years since the first one was taken down by terrorists, the new world trade center is officially open. the first new tenants, 175 employees of conde nast which publishes "the new yorker" and "vanity fair," thousands more will arrive in stages. our cameras were given an early look from the lobby to the new observation deck. the new tower is 104 stories. it cost just under $4 billion. and though some like chris rock this past weekend on "snl" expressed reservations about entering the new building, fears
that could be a target have caused the building about a 60% lease rate so far. there are dozens of enhanced security features and protections including elevators and stairs and sprinklers that are all wrapped in several feet of reinforced concrete. still ahead for us on the broadcast tonight, the woman who fought to end her own life on her own terms after a terrible diagnosis. her legacy and the debate she kicked off. also, the fallout from a wild brawl on the track.
she became an internet and television celebrity right before her death this weekend she said her goal was to begin a national conversation about how we handle the end of life. and true to her word, on saturday, brittany maynard took her own life using medicine legally prescribed to her by a doctor. she was only 29 years old. she had terminal brain cancer. and the conversation she started indeed goes on. our report tonight from our national correspondent, kate snow. >> i hope my family is still proud of me and the choices i've made. >> reporter: brittany maynard made an enormously difficult choice in an enormously public way. in this video posted by an advocacy group last week, she worried the seizures she was having would leave her incapable of making her own decision if she waited too long. >> i remember looking at my husband's face at one point and
thinking, i know this is my husband but i can't say his name. >> reporter: she and her family had moved to oregon specifically because the state allows doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs. >> i would like to see all americans have access to the same health care rights. >> reporter: the 29-year-old's death has reframed the debate defined for so many years by jack kevorkian, the man "time" magazine called dr. death. >> he scared people. he was almost like the wild-eyed fanatic. brittany, she's young, she doesn't frighten anyone. and she's saying i want my choice. and i would like more people to have choices like me. >> reporter: five states allow doctors to write prescriptions to help patients end their lives. seven more have recently considered so-called death with dignity laws. but maynard's case also brought out opposition. >> brain cancer sucks. in a really big way. >> reporter: maggie is fighting the same kind of brain cancer maynard had, another advocacy group posted this video before
maynard's death. >> it's almost like you've stepped out on a ledge and you're ready to jump. i guess i'm yelling to you, brittany, on your ledge. i'm asking you to stay with us as long as possible. >> reporter: and some doctors have concerns too. >> the patient has the autonomy to choose how they want to live, or end their life. but to ask the physician to be complicit in an act of suicide, i think, crosses the line. >> reporter: maynard said her goals were simply. >> mostly do boil down to my family and friends. and making sure they all know how important they are to me. and how much i love them. >> reporter: maynard may have public opinion on her side. gallup poll shows majority say doctors should be allowed by law to end a patient's life by some painless means, if the patient asks. whether that translates into legislation is a much more complicated political question, brian. >> kate snow with us here tonight.
two stunts in the news, the first televised live on discovery last night. nik wallenda walking a tight rope between two chicago high-rises without a net. and then for good measure he did it again, blindfolded. just another sunday night in chicago. the second stunt looks like a trick photo, but it is indeed tom cruise. and that is a military transport plane. and he's on the outside of a perfectly good plane while it's flying, at times 5,000 feet over the british countryside. of course he was safely tethered and of course being inside a plane is always preferable. but this they hope will sell tickets to "mission impossible v."
tom magliozzi has died. he was beloved by radio listeners and gearheads alike. as one-half of the radio show. he was click, his brother ray was clack. their show went on the air 37 years ago, developed a huge following on npr and it lives on in reruns. tom magliozzi died from complications of alzheimer's. he was 77 years old. a hot time at texas motor speedway last night when one of the more-respected veteran drivers, jeff gordon, took a swing at brad keselowski. easily the most widely disliked driver in the garage. when both men were racing for the win, keselowski tried to shoot the gap and caught gordon who cut down a tire and spun. he went from second to finishing 29th. gordon and one other driver were spitting mad. and keselowski was later left spitting blood. social media owes our friend mike seidel an apology. the intrepid and fearless weather channel meteorologist was the victim of some wild misinformation when this
happened on the news here saturday night. lester holt threw to mike's live report in a snowstorm in north carolina. he couldn't hear through his attached earpiece he was on the air. he put his back to the storm and the camera. he had to take off his gloves and redial his phone which was tethered to his ear. that's when the rumors hit the web that he was perhaps writing his name in the snow. it was just mike working to make it right, which is why we all love working with mike seidel. when we come back here tonight, why thousands packed an arena to see this college freshman play her very first game. "nbc nightly news" with brian williams, brought to you by pacific life, for insurance, annuities and investments, choose pacific life. the power to help you succeed.
finally here tonight, we go off the air with a story about never letting go of your dream no matter what life may throw at you. over this past weekend a student at mt. saint joseph university in ohio played her very first college basketball game, but to do it she had to play through an incredible obstacle.
we get the story tonight from nbc's john yang. >> reporter: for 19-year-old lauren hill, this was the moment she'd wanted since she was a little girl, taking the court as a college player. what was going through your head? >> it was just so happy. i was so happy. >> reporter: it might not have happened at all. a rare, inoperable brain tumor diagnosed about a year ago is sapping her energy, throwing off her balance and forcing this natural righty to shoot with her left. doctors say it will take her life in months, even weeks. she's determined to live every moment to the fullest. >> heart, desire and intensity. and those have been the three words i've kind of latched onto. >> reporter: to make sure she could play in the college game, the ncaa allowed the season to start two weeks early. but as game day began, lauren wasn't feeling well. >> i was a little bit concerned
about her early in the morning. i was really hopeful that just the whole adrenaline rush of everybody would help kick her in. >> reporter: by tipoff time she was ready, just 17 seconds into the game this terminally ill young woman filled the sold out 10,000-seat arena with life. >> and the lay-up is good. >> i was jumping up and down and dancing on my toes because i was just so filled with joy. >> reporter: it was the first shot of the game. the plan was to sit out the rest. but with about 25 seconds left, she did it again. >> me emotionally it was the biggest day i've ever experienced. that's why i'm doing what i'm doing still. i love it so much. >> reporter: john yang, nbc news, cincinnati. a story to tuck away for the next time we think we're having a bad day. that starts us off for this new week.
on this monday night, thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we, of course, hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. goodnight. we take a look flds inside facebook. the social network shows us what it's doing in terms of online privacy. >> a story you'll see only on nbc bay area, an inside look at how facebook is attempting to protect your data. in this era of data breaches can
facebook keep it all safe? we got an exclusive look inside facebook and his security team. he joins us outside the headquarters. scott. >> reporter: data breaches and hacks take up a lot of our time and put a lot of our personal information at risk. facebook, where we spend a lot of time and post a lot of personal information is working to keep that data safe. >> we need to focus more as been entire industry around protection. that comes from the tools we can implement, working with our heers in the industry and also