Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  September 30, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

6:00 pm
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: the head of the secret service in the line of fire of tough questions from lawmakers over failures to secure the white house and protect the first family. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. gwen ifill is away. also ahead this tuesday. tens of thousands of protesters continue to peacefully fill the streets of hong kong, calling for more freedoms from china and defying government demands to disband. then, violin virtuoso joshua bell returns to perform at a washington, d.c. train station,
6:01 pm
but this time, people take notice. plus, in california, an impossible choice for the families of patients on life support with little chance for recovery. >> i really believe that if my wife could answer, "do you want to stay alive, or do you want to die?" i believe that she would say that she wants to stay alive. i believe that. >> woodruff: those are some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> at bae systems, our pride and dedication show in everything we do; from electronics systems to intelligence analysis and cyber- operations; from combat vehicles and weapons to the maintenance and modernization of ships, aircraft, and critical infrastructure. knowing our work makes a difference inspires us everyday. that's bae systems.
6:02 pm
that's inspired work. >> i've been around long enough to recognize the people who are out there owning it. the ones getting involved, staying engaged. they are not afraid to question the path they're on. because the one question they never want to ask is, "how did i end up here?" i started schwab with those people. people who want to take ownership of their investments, like they do in every other aspect of their lives. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting.
6:03 pm
and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: we begin with breaking news this evening: for the first time, ebola has been diagnosed inside the united states. officials at the centers for disease control and prevention made the announcement late this afternoon in atlanta. a patient was infected in liberia and it is now in a dallas hospital. >> it is certainly possible that someone who had contact with this individual farnlgly member or other individual, could develop ebola in the coming weeks, but there is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here. >> woodruff: u.s. hospitals have treated several other patients who contracted ebola in west africa but were diagnosed before returning home. there has been another breech of presidential security, this time in atlanta.
6:04 pm
"the washington post" reports a security guard, with a gun, got on an elevator with president obama during his visit two week ago. it turned out the man also had three convictions for assault and battery. a supervisor fired him on the spot, and that's when agents discovered he was armed. >> woodruff: lawmakers from both parties went after the head of the secret service today, over security breaches at the white house. julia pierson was grilled for three and a half hours, and said she takes full responsibility. >> woodruff: pierson had hardly settled into her seat before house oversight committee chair darrell issa bore in. this failure has once again tested the trust of the american people in the secret service, a trust we clearly depend on to protect the president. the "failure" in question came when iraq war veteran omar gonzalez jumped the white house fence on september 19th and made it well inside the mansion. today, pierson, a 30-year secret
6:05 pm
service veteran, issued a mea culpa. >> it is clear that our security plan was not executed properly. this is unacceptable. and i take full responsibility, what happened is unacceptable and it will never happen again. >> woodruff: what's publicly known about what happened has changed dramatically in the eleven days since the intrusion. the secret service initially said gonzalez sprinted across the front lawn and past a guard booth and dogs, but was stopped just after entering the north portico door. it's now known that in fact, he continued to run through the central hall and into the ornate east room before he was tackled by an off-duty secret service agent, who, it turns out, just happened to be there. the secret service has said agents showed "tremendous restraint and discipline" in apprehending gonzalez. but republican jason chaffetz of utah argued today that's nothing to be proud of.
6:06 pm
>> i want it to be crystal clear. you make a run or a dash at the white house, we're going to take you down. i want overwhleming force. would you disagree with me? >> i do want all our officers to use appropriate force for someone trying to breach the white house >> woodruff: there were also questions about why agents failed to take action after virginia police found guns and a map with the white house circled in gonzalez' car, in july. massachusetts democrat john tierney: >> you didn't take any action. you didn't have him arrested. you didn't have him continue to be under observation, did you? >> mr. gonzalez at the time denied any interest or any intent to harm anyone. he indicated that his information relative to the map in his car was given to him by another individual who had recommended places in washington, dc, to sight see. >> woodruff: pierson was also asked to explain revelations in the "washington post" that it took the secret service four
6:07 pm
days to realize a gunman hit the white house seven times back in 2011. >> woodruff: maryland democrat elijah cummings cited one of several agents who decided against contradicting their bosses' view that the shots were not directed at the white house... >> she did not challenge her supervisor for fear of being criticized. she later told investigators. now, director pierson, as a former agent and now director pierson, as a former field agent, and as the head of the agency -- that has to concern you tremendously, is that right? >> yes, sir. it does. it's unacceptable. but another massachusetts democrat -- stephen lynch -- charged pierson's overall responses were simply evasive. >> i wish to god you protected the white house like you're protecting your reputation here
6:08 pm
>> let me be clear, the united states secret service does not take this lightly. with all due respect that's my point. as a casual observer to what has happened here, i don't think the secret service is taking their duty to protect the american president and his family at the white house. i don't think you're taking it seriously. >> woodruff: still, the white house said again today the president is confident the secret serice will implement any reforms needed. the accused fence-jumper, omar gonzalez, was indicted today on federal and state charges. >> woodruff: president obama hosted india's new prime minister narendra modi in a bid to repair strains in relations between their nations. the two leaders focused heavily on resolving trade disputes and improving economic ties. and the president praised modi's policies. >> i've been impressed with the prime minister's interest in not only addressing the needs of the poorest of the poor in india and
6:09 pm
revitalizing the economy there, but also its determination to make sure that india is serving as a major power that can help bring about peace and security for the entire world. >> woodruff: modi was once barred from entering the u.s. after hindus killed more than 1,000 muslims in the state where he was governor. across central iraq, car bombings and other attacks killed at least 47 people today, most of them shiites. while to the west, iraqi and syrian kurds drove "islamic state" militants from a key border crossing into syria, with help from sunni fighters. in syria, kurdish fighters and their allies battled to hold kobani, near the turkish border. the conflict has sparked an exodus, as the united nations heard today. >> over the past two weeks isil forces have advanced in northern aleppo and over 160,000 people, mostly women and children, fled into turkey in just a few days.
6:10 pm
their fear was so great that many people crossed heavily mined fields to seek refuge. >> woodruff: also today, british jets launched their first attacks against islamic state targets in iraq. they joined the latest round of strikes by u.s. jets. the world has lost half its wildlife population since 1970. that stark finding today, from the world wildlife fund. it reported a 52% decline, centered in several thousands of species, and it said humans are largely to blame, through fishing, hunting and pollution. most of the new wildlife losses were in latin america. california will impose the first state-wide ban of single-use plastic bags. governor jerry brown signed the legislation today. it's designed to cut down on bags getting into waterways. the ban applies to large grocery stores next year, and expands to smaller stores later. more than 100 american cities already have such bans.
6:11 pm
a decision today by the federal communications commission will be welcome news for many sports fans. the f.c.c. voted to drop a decades-old rule that bans showing hometown games on t.v, if they're not sellouts. it was meant to protect ticket sales, especially of n.f.l. games, but the f.c.c. found the rule is outdated. on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average lost 28 points to close below 17,043. the nasdaq fell 12 points to close at 4,493. and the s-and-p 500 slipped five, to 1972. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour protests swell in hong kong, demanding more democracy; afghanistan agrees to keep thousands of american troops in the country; fears of another volcano eruption rattle japan; violin virtuoso joshua bell busks for commuters in washington dc;
6:12 pm
mississippi's senate race divides the republican party; and the painful decisions facing families with loved ones on life support. >> woodruff: protests grew in hong kong, and brought parts of the city to a standstill for a fifth day. and there was no sign the pro- democracy student-led demonstrations will stop anytime soon. lucy watson of independent television news has this report from hong kong. >> reporter: there is little that this huge crowd won't endure. the umbrella revolution and the fight for freedom is unrelenting. it's an unprecedented display of defiance, people in every direction taking over a city. there is strength in numbers but
6:13 pm
also in individuals. three days ago was an ordinary student, now he's rousing an historic crowd. >> everybody put your cell phone lights on. >> to fulfill our dream we'll sacrifice everything, they sing. they want their current leader to step down and elect another freely demands they refuse to give up on. >> never see the end because this fight is forever. >> reporter: this is a powerful body of people with a life of its own nobody quite knows what direction it will take next. but the hong kong government won't tolerate this mass civil disobedience for long, it's now a test of nerves. and as china's president prepares for the country's national day this is a direct challenge to his governance. they were not expecting the
6:14 pm
opposition to become what is now a popular uprising. then they worry that people are going to imitate this. threats the communist party is unlikely to respond well to. but while there is persistence there is hope here. >> woodruff: for more on what provoked these protesters and how mainland china is likely to respond, we turn to ian bremmer. he's the president and founder of eurasia group, a political risk research and consulting company. ian bremmer, welcome to the program. are these protests unprecedented? has china ever seen anything like this? and i guess tiananmen comes to mind. >> yes. tiananmen's the last time we've seen this sort of thing within china itself. certainly hong kong there has been nothing like this since the hanover from great britain in 1997. most importantly it is by far
6:15 pm
the first serious challenge domestically to the president. it really is directly a question of the legitimacy and the support of what's so far been a very popular, very charismatic and very transformative rule. >> how much of a challenge is it to him and to the regime, the government in beijing? these students have been there for five days. they don't show any signs of backing down. >> no, in fact, tomorrow, as you've heard, you have the national day. there have been a number of calls for demonstrations in support of the occupied central movement, not just in the united states and in the developed countries, but we also see that they're likely to happen in macau. they're going to happen in taipei and taiwan. and it would not surprise me at all, despite the fact the chinese government has really tried the crack down on anyone searching relevant social media terms around the hong kong protests within mainland china to, see some forms of sympathy there. that's one of the reasons why i
6:16 pm
think the president, who has been very willing to engage in policies of economic transformation on the mainland, but has had no interest in political reform, this is not a gloucester nos guy, he's very unlikely to show any flexibility whatsoever, as is the hong congress government in responding to these protests. occupy central has now become occupy hong kong. as of tomorrow it's likely to become occupy larger than that. and if local police through threat and selective arrests are unable to disperse these demonstrations, we're likely to see a very significant violent crackdown. >> woodruff: what do you mean by that? if these protesters not going away and the central government isn't going to bend, what does that mean? >> well, the initial step comes from hong kong itself. we've seen the hong kong leadership completely refusing to even meet with the leaders of the occupy central movement,
6:17 pm
never mind brook any compromise about what suffrage in selection of a chief executive in hong kong high look like in 2017. i think the next steps clearly involve the police, who have been relatively quiet over the last couple days. they can certainly take steps to try to remove who they see as the ringleaders of that movement. and after they've done that, they can try to pressure the broader group, give them a couple outs, let them disperse once their lead verse been taken into custody. but again, if we continue to see this type of mobilization among the students that poses a much greater threat to the legitimacy of the chinese enterprise. and to their power, their exertion of power in hong kong, i think the response goes beyond just hong kong police. then the people's liberation army does indeed come inch they have garrisons in hong kong. i suspect they would be used. certainly the international community can complain, but there is no potential of sanctions on punishment being
6:18 pm
exerted against the chinese government for what they do internally in hong kong. this is not like russia versus ukraine. >> woodruff: very quickly, you mentioned the international community. britain's prime minister cameron protesting today. of course, they previously held hong kong. you're saying there's nothing anybody on the outside can do? >> oh, i think that cameron and obama will do a great impersonation of ban ki-moon. i think they will express a great deal of concern over what happens for hong kong. but if you ask me, are we talking about the potential of sanctioning them, i'd want to go back to what former secretary of state hillary clinton said, which is it's generally not a good idea to criticize your banker on human rights. it's going to be very, very difficult for anything more than words in response to what's happening on the ground in hong kong. >> woodruff: ian bremmer with the eurasia group, thank you. >> my pleasure.
6:19 pm
>> woodruff: the united states and afghanistan signed a bilateral security agreement today, which will keep a limited number of american troops in the country. the long term deal will allow u.s. and nato soldiers to carry out counter-terrorism missions and support afghan forces. chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner has the details. >> warner: the signing ended months of uncertainty over what happens when the u.s.-led international mission officially ends, december 31st. u.s. ambassador james cunningham: >> the united states values its relationship with afghanistan and the afghan people, we are committed to a better future for afghanistan. our close defense and security >> warner: more than 2,200 american troops have died in the afghan war since 2001. at their peak, u.s. forces stood at 100,000 in 2011. the new deal will leave 9,800
6:20 pm
americans and about 2,000 other n.a.t.o. forces there, to train and assist afghan units. newly inaugurated president ashraf ghani said today afghan sovereignty won't be compromised. >> ( translated ): the international forces are not allowed to enter in our holy sites and our mosques. integrity of our life and houses will be safe based on our constitutional values. >> warner: for months, former president hamid karzai refused to sign the accord. both ghani and his presidential rival, abdullah abdullah, supported it, but their drawn- out election dispute prevented its signing. during those months of uncertainty, the taliban stepped up attacks and regained territory in the north and south. >> woodruff: so how important is this security agreement? jeffrey brown explores that. >> brown: and joining me is barnett rubin, former senior adviser to the special representative for afghanistan and pakistan at the state department. he's now director of the "center on international cooperation" at new york university.
6:21 pm
thanks for joining us. i'll start with that very question. how important was it for the u.s. to get this agreement and why? >> it's important because it allows us to manage the transition toward afghan self-reliance on security much more effectively. afghan security forces still require a great deal of u.s. assistance and logistics expertise and, above all, i should say, funding, and keeping those forces there makes it much more likely they will obtain all of those. >> brown: given the sensitivities that margaret warner just referred to in all of this, remind us exactly what these troops will do. we refer to training and assistance. what does that mean exactly? >> it means that system of them will be working in headquarters. a few of them will be working at division level in the field. they will not be engaged directly in combat activities. but there's a lot more to running an army than fighting.
6:22 pm
there is record keeping, logistics, targeting, definition of strategy and so on. those are all things in which these advisers will help them to maintain and develop their capabilities. in addition, it will give us additional eyes on the ground to help us understand the political evolution there, as well. now, it's... this is not a permanent deployment. president obama has said that thissed a vizry mission will last at most two years. we'll have one other mission, which is what they call "counter-terrorism." , but that will be limited to targeting those groups that specifically target the united states, in particular whatever remnants of al qaeda there may be in afghanistan. it won't be part of the effort against the taliban. >> brown: i wonder now with a new president, is there a sense that the u.s. has a real and
6:23 pm
reliable ally in ashraf ghani as opposed to hamid karzai? >> i think that both ashraf ghani and his chief executive, abdullah abdullah, supported this agreement, and both of them have been quite consistent in their views. so i think that they will represent the interests of afghanistan, which are not always the same as the interests of the united states. but they will be easier and more reliable to deal with. >> and i suppose looming question for a lot of people as we watch what goes in iraq is what lessons have or should u.s. officials learn from that when they look at our afghan policy now and develop that? >> i think one lesson they should learn is not to compare iraq and afghanistan because in the past falsely the bush administration drew the conclusion from the rather rapid
6:24 pm
collapse of the taliban in afghanistan that they could have a similarly easy victory in iraq, and that was totally wrong. iraq is a middle-income country with oil revenue. afghanistan is an extremely poor country. i think of course the jumble lesson that you should try to maintain stability in your relationships is valid, but after it was president al-maliki in iraq that refused to sign an agreement such as the one president guantanamo -- president ghani has signed in iraq today. >> brown: barnett rubin, thank you so much. >> woodruff: in japan, rescue efforts at the mount ontake volcano have been hampered by toxic gases and fears of another eruption. on saturday, more than 250 people were out hiking and enjoying a nice fall day, when a surprise eruption littered the mountain with falling boulders,
6:25 pm
thick smoke and piles of ash. at least 36 people were killed and questions have been raised as to why there wasn't more warning. here to help us understand what's happening, our science correspondent, miles o'brien, and thomas wagner of n.a.s.a., an expert on volcanos. we welcome you both. miles, to you first. was this as unexpected as we're reading? >> it was, judy. this was what's called a "freeatic" eruption. it means it was shallow and involved some hot water essentially, steaming water that entered into a crevice and came in contact with magma, which is many thousands of degrees. it causes an understand and insh like what you would have in your oven and causes that cloud to come out. this is not something that those censors, and japan has many censors on their volcano, this
6:26 pm
is not the type of thing they predict well. >> woodruff: so they're not always unpredictable, are they? >> no. it depends on what's going on in the volcano. in hawaii there are big bodies of ma "gma" moving around. you can think of a volcano like a crazy plumbing system in a big old building. >> woodruff: there are many different kinds of volcanos active around the world, but they're operating at different speeds. >> some volcanos like the japanese volcanos have a lot of water in the magma, like if you took the soda and shook it up, unlike hawaii. >> woodruff: so clearly these 36 deaths are tragic. for the volcano itself, how significant an eruption is this? >> well, this is... scientists will be looking very closely at what may lie ahead here. if you'll harkin back to 1980, mount st. helens before the huge represent shun there, there was
6:27 pm
a series of these freeatic eruption, these eruptions involving boiling water. they were viewed as a precursor to the eruption which we ultimately saw which caused such deftation in that part of the world. so volcanos are in some sense predictable but in some sense not. you can see a lot of the warning signs. it's very difficult to know when they're going to blow. think of the island of montserrat. that island dealt with evacuations. half the island is now completely evacuatedment but itling nerd a state of near eruption for many, many years. many scientists were asked, why can't you figure this out better. >> woodruff: thomas wagner, continuing with that, is it easy to predict when it will settle down by watching it? >> no, because you get different kinds of eruptions. in some cases we look at satellites to see how a central kay know deforms. in other cases people map the old deposits around the volcano to figure out its history.
6:28 pm
the hazards are different, too. in this case we had a freatic eruption. in some cases a tiny eruption melts snow and makes a mud flow. one of those killed 20,000 people in south america in the '80s. sometimes you get lava flows. that's why it's important to tungs particular hazards around the central kay know you're on. >> woodruff: miles, what are scientists looking at here? >> well, what they're going to do, and as i mentioned, the japanese have a well-censored volcanic system, if you will, as well as great ability to predict quake, as well. this is a nation that lives on the knife edge when it comes to seismic activity and volcanos. so they'll be looking at those censors, seeing what was damaged, putting in the types of devices that will allow them to further analyze it. at the time of the hike, it was considered safe to be there. level one out of a scale of 1-5 on the safe end for hikers to be
6:29 pm
in proximity of that volcano. perhaps over time they'll not be as generous with that rating as they consider the possibility that this could be a precursor to something bigger. >> woodruff: very quickly, thomas wagner, here in the u.s., nothing quite like this? >> no. we have like mt. rainier and all the cascade vol nay knows. we have a great program monitoring those and studying those. there are good maps to the hards that people should make themselves aware of. >> woodruff: if you didn't have a reason to do that before, you do now. thomas wagner with nasa and our own miles o'brien, we thank you. >> woodruff: did you hear the one about the famous violinist who played in a subway station, and no one noticed? well, it was a different story today and jeffrey brown was there. ♪ ♪ >> brown: it was a sight that almost no one watched as it happened, but gained much
6:30 pm
attention afterwards: a superstar of the classical music world, joshua bell, playing in a metro station in washington d.c in 2007, largely ignored by a few thousand commuters on their way to work. an article by gene weingarten of the washington post about the event, or non-event, won a pulitzer prize. ♪ now 46, bell has been performing in the world's greatest halls since he was a teenager. and he's recorded more than 40 albums, including a brand new one of compositions by bach. but something about the subway performance captured the imagination of many, and apparently of bell himself, because there he was earlier today, at washington's union station metro. ♪ ♪ this time, though, the performance had been publicized.
6:31 pm
bell brought along a group of young musicians he's been working with for an hbo "master class" program. and, with word out that this was no mere "busker" asking for a few dollars, a crowd was on hand. ♪ ♪ bell joined us soon after. it was better this time? >> a lot better brown brown a lot better? >> i didn't enjoy the first time around that much, although i was amused the first time around. >> brown: wait. why did you not enjoy it? >> music, you need the give and take from the audience and the feeling of attention and... it's not about attention to me. it's about the music itself. part of the reason why i accepted to come here was the invitation of union station was they said, this time we're going to tell people about it, spread the word, and nopefully you'll get a captive audience. i said, you know, this is precisely what the whole original experiment, which was
6:32 pm
not scientific in any way, that's really what it was about. >> brown: it all raises the question of how classical music could should be or could be prevented. should it be done in different venues? should you try out different things? should you reach people in different ways? >> i'm always interested in reaching people in different way, not we just standing randomly on a subway platform with my case open. that's not really a great way, but this is an example of... i think this shows there is interest in classical music from a wide range of people. i fell like one of the beatles. i don't normally get that kind of response from people grabbing at me. it was so fun for me. but i think we need to experiment with more creative ways of reaching audiences. >> what about the idea, and i was thinking of this as they started clapping after the first movement, sometimes there's a
6:33 pm
discussion in classical music circles, you know, should we encourage people to clap? should bit a less formal experience? >> well, first of all, people, if you go back 100 years of 200 years when the music of mendelson was being performed, people did clap after that first moment, when beethoven's seventh symphony was performed after the second movement, they clapped so much they had the repeat the second movement. there was a different vibe. people today when they say you're not supposed to clap, historically it's incorrect and i enjoy... when i hear people clapping at the wrong times, i think that's great. we have a listener that's not used to going, we have a new listener. that excites me. >> but you don't want to discourage that. >> i don't. i've had conductors, played with conductors that turn around to the audience and say, don't clap, and i'll usually turn to the audience and say, come on, do it, do it. >> we often hear about the crisis of classical music, right, about the aging audience,
6:34 pm
about the... do you sense that? what do you see? >> i think people have been talking about the aging audience for 100 years now. and somehow people keep replacing those older people because i think the problem is that classical music, so often we come to it late in life, as you're looking for something, something in music that's not just about being trendy and what's popular, but something that's profoundly affects you. i think great classical music and jazz and other things, but there is no reason why we can't reach younger people. i'm not pessimistic about it. look at the young people there today. after every concert i go to, i greet young people in the lobbies. i see a huge surge of young people playing music. so i think where we need to work on is getting, making sure that it's just part of everyone's educational diet in the school, music an art is part of what it means to be a human being, and to make it an extracurricular thing is sad because most kids
6:35 pm
will not get any musical experience if they don't have it in their schools at some point. >> and yet that is happening? >> it's happening. that's what i'm spending a lot of energy trying to encourage change in that way. i'm working with education through music, which is etm, an organization that puts classical music programs in or just music programs in inner city schools that have no music programs. we've seen incredible... the test scores go up all across the board. their self-esteem of these kids that have an instrument in their hand and play together, if you saw... if anyone saw that, they would think it's ludicrous ever to cut out music from your school, and i hope you will get that message. >> speaking of young people, you yourself started as such a young person. >> you have been at this a long time. do you feel pressure to keep... i don't know, finding in -- new ways to do new repertoire, new approach, new venues like this? >> you know, it's not a
6:36 pm
pressure. it's just... for me it's the music world and the things that i want to do is so huge that it's just... the only thing that makes me sad is there's not enough time in my lifetime to see the things i want to do. >> are you done with subway stations for now? >> i think it's a perfect end to the story. there were a lot of chapters unanticipated. there's a children's book about it. there have been sermons from preachers and ministers and pop tickings. and it's been kind of fun following the journey, but this i think was a perfect cap, ending to the story. i couldn't have been more pleased with it. >> brown: joshua bell, thanks so much. >> thank you. thanks for having me today. >> woodruff: in the battle for control of the united states senate, this summer's primary contest in mississippi exposed deep divisions in the republican party that still haven't been reconciled. jeffrey hess of mississippi
6:37 pm
public broadcasting has our report. >> reporter: 42-year-old state senator chris mcdaniel is the >> reporter: 42-year-old state senator chris mcdaniel is the energetic, young face of mississippi's tea party. the sarah palin-backed mcdaniel came within a few thousand votes of beating six-term incumbent republican u.s. senator thad cochran in a june primary and subsequent run off by riding a wave of anti-washington, anti- incumbent anger. mcdaniel claims election fraud helped cochran win a june runoff election, and is challenging the results in court. according to mcdaniel, democrats voted in their own primary and then illegally crossed over and voted in the republican runoff, which is a violation of state law. mcdaniel blames the state's republican establishment and the cochran campaign for appealing to those democrats, in addition to millions spent by outside groups attempting to sway the race and potential stop the tea party in its tracks. >> they were willing to sacrifice a friend for power.
6:38 pm
they would say and do anything to do that. and they did. that's problematic, but not just for me because when they called me those nasty names, when they called me a racist, which is not true, when they said i was going to cut off funding for historically black colleges and universities, which is not true, when they said i was going to end welfare and suspend voting rights, which is all not true, they were likewise saying it about 187,000 conservatives. >> reporter: the contentious primary here in mississippi was the most high-profile example of the fight that played out in primaries across the country this year between the establishment and tea party wings of republican party. in 2010, republicans rode a wave of tea party support to take back the house. but many republicans with ties to washington believed the tea party cost them seats in the senate. with control of the senate up for grabs this year, they were determined not to let it happen again, and they spent millions to make sure of it. but staunch mcdaniel and tea party supporters aren't giving up the fight. mcdaniel's legal appeal to the
6:39 pm
>> this race split the republican party in half is basically what it did. i told a guy the other day, there's a mcdaniel sticker still on my car, pretend that's my name on there and everything that happened to chris happened to me. >> reporter: mississippi tea party chair laura van overshelde says they are unlikely to endorse or campaign for senator cochran in the general election against his democratic opponent. >> we endorsed chris mcdaniel because he holds those truths that we should have a limited government, we should have fiscal responsibility and we should have free markets in this country. and thad cochran has not shown us by his voting record that he supports any of those. >> reporter: repairing the rift between active tea party supporters and more main stream republicans is the challenge facing mississippi's gop chair joe nosef, who says it is time to move into general election mode. >> you can't continue to move the bar every time a different election comes up and create a litmus test for what you consider a real republican, i said to someone the other day that my only hope is that you wouldn't vote against your own best interest and try to get somebody back that ran an ad you
6:40 pm
didn't like. the republican nominee will face off against democrat travis childers, a former congressman from the state's first district, and a little known reform party polls in the state have repeatedly shown cochran with a roughly 15-point lead. cochran won by almost 25-points in his reelection six years ago. d'andre orey, a political science professor at jackson state university, says it would be a long shot for childers to beat either republican but that tea party supporters do have a choice to make. >> the tea party electorate can do one of two things. they can get out their vote so that the democrat does not win because that is a very, very plausible case if they don't get out the vote. or they can stay home and show, in their opinion, how much power they have. and so the question is one of those two being the answer, i just don't know because i don't know what they will do. >> reporter: cochran would be a strong favorite to retain his seat in november in part because of his broad appeal. in fact in his primary, he was able to turn out black voters by
6:41 pm
reminding them of his record of bringing back funding to the state and warning about what mcdaniel would cut. former governor haley barbour's nephew was one of the orchestrators of that strategy, which enraged tea party activists. barbour himself, who is often credited with creating the republican infrastructure in the state, feels confident that tea party supporters will remember that they are republicans at heart. >> anytime you have a vigorously contested primary some people are gonna get their feelings hurt. some people are gonna pick up their marbles and go home. but most people come back, because of what they believe in. the obama admin has followed policies so far to the left and so antagonistic to what republicans, whether they are tea party republicans or been republicans for 50 years. those obama policies are so bad people are not going to stay home. >> reporter: democratic candidate childers says he does not think that the intense republican primary will have an
6:42 pm
effect on the november general election. he says he is not concerned about his affiliation with the democratic party will drag him down. >> people are far less concerned about party in the state of mississippi. they are more concerned about who is going to work for them and who is going to stand up for them. who is going to stand up for mississippi and who is going to stand up to washington dc. i am clearly the working man's >> reporter: but time is running out. the party and the cochran campaign need to shift into general election mode to remind their voters that there is still a race to be run this november. cochran campaign spokesman jordan russell says they are moving on, confident that their primary run off victory will stand. >> we are campaigning. we have been in 42 counties. we are moving forward. we are focused on november. making sure people understand the difference between senator cochran and his challenger. the court case will play out how it will play out. >> reporter: the state supreme court is scheduled to hear mcdaniel's appeal to a lower court's decision to throw out
6:43 pm
his challenge to the runoff results. in the meantime, ballots are being printed that list senator thad cochran as the republican nominee to be the u.s. senator from mississippi. >> woodruff: and finally tonight, to california. we have partnered with i- newsource, a san diego-based journalism nonprofit, to take us inside special nursing home units where thousands of people live on life support. the state spends millions of dollars on this type of care designed to preserve life at all costs. families often have high hopes for their loved ones to recover, but few ever will. i-newsource reporter joanne faryon reports on the impossible choice facing those families, when to let go. >> you know me, you know me, your husband steve. >> reporter: steve simmons
6:44 pm
spends most evenings by his wife's bedside. rafaela simmons is severely brain injured. >> squeeze my hand. >> reporter: she has a feeding tube in her abdomen, a tracheotomy tube in her throat, she is unable to walk or talk, or respond to the world around her. >> squeeze my hand. >> reporter: she has lived in this nursing home for the past four years. >> reporter: rafaela is one of the 4,000 people living in units like this in california. on the books they're called subacute units, but among some doctors, they're known as vent farms, because so many people who live here need ventilators just to breathe. the average age of these residents is 56. but there are units devoted just to children. they're the end of the line, the place people go once medicine has saved them, but where there
6:45 pm
is little hope for recovery. ed kirkpatrick is the director of the villa coronado nursing home in san diego county. >> the drive in the system is to be able to repair and fix anything. and that's a good thing, that's a good thing. we want that to happen. at what point though does it become futile? >> reporter: the villa coronado subacute unit is one the largest in california. most of the 62 men and women here don't react to people. or stimuli. touch. sound. smell. they have not tasted food in years. some have had strokes. others, traumatic brain injuries. falls and fights. car and motorcycle crashes. >> it was a beautiful day in february it happened valentine's
6:46 pm
day 2010, and i love riding my motorcycle and i rode it every week. >> reporter: steve wasn't going very fast that sunday morning. rafaela was on the back of his bike when they were hit by a car. she was thrown. >> i don't know how high she went. i don't know at what angle she came down. my friend saw but i told him don't tell me. >> reporter: like everyone on this unit, rafaela needs constant care. she is turned to avoid bed sores, her tubes are cleaned and flushed, and there is this. the routine suctioning. people with tracheotomies are unable to cough up mucus that gets trapped in their lungs. dr. ken warm is rafaela's doctor. >> i feel it every time i see it. how frightening it would be to have a tube in my lungs and i can't catch my breath and i'm coughing and someone is doing that to me. i can't move my arms to push it away and reflecting on that can be horrifying. >> reporter: this level of care
6:47 pm
is expensive. it can range from about $500 a day to as much as $900, depending on the nursing home. medical, a state program for the poor and disabled, pays for most of it. more than $630 million last year. that's almost double over the past decade. the state of california established these units back in 1983 to save money. keeping people on ventilators and feeding tubes is even more expensive in an intensive care unit than in a nursing home. joan teno is a professor at the brown medical school. she is an expert on medical care for the dying. >> i was kind of shocked. i started looking at it and i thought this is like a robin cook book. like a vent farm. >> reporter: robin cook wrote "coma," a medical thriller about brain dead patients being kept alive teno says the financial incentives in the medical system are aligned with doing more at the end of life, procedures and hospitalizations, rather than letting go.
6:48 pm
>> we pay for another day in the icu. we don't pay for the physician to sit down and have that really difficult conversation with that family about what would your mother want under these circumstances. those conversations were politically-dubbed as death panels in 2009 during the debate over obamacare. under the original healthcare proposal, doctors would have been paid to have end of life conversations with their patients. that provision was eventually removed from the health care bill. according to a recent pew research study, 66% of americans, say there are some circumstances in which doctors should allow patients to die. 31% believe they should do everything medically possible to save lives in all cases. >> i've heard that so many times in my career, "do everything, do everything." okay, we will.
6:49 pm
>> reporter: often, people are making those decisions under duress, or they're making it for someone who doesn't have an advanced directive, a document stating their medical wishes. after the accident, rafaela spent nearly a month in an icu teetering between life and death. doctors told steve his wife would probably never recover and offered hospice. but a neurologist who was consulting on the case, told steve, rafaela was a fighter. >> he gave me a little bit of hope. >> reporter: in california, a patient or their next of kin, can stop treatment or disconnect life-support at any time. they can even withhold food and water. but deciding whether a life is worth living, and making that decision for someone else, a parent or even a child, can be agonizing. >> maria would throw them deliberately at their feet so they would break. >> reporter: some people on this ward have a progressive illness.
6:50 pm
like maria curcio. she was born with severe cerebral palsy. nancy curcio is maria's mother. >> she has the feeding tube, a urostemy tube and the trach. >> reporter: maria is 54 years old. she has lived in this nursing home room for ten years. she has kidney problems, respiratory failure, and a right hip so badly contracted it required surgeons to cut through bone for relief. she has never walked or talked. >> it's getting harder and harder because basically, if i was in that condition, i would give it up. >> reporter: nancy has had to make life and death decisions for her daughter from the time she was born. doctors sent her home to die because she couldn't suck from a bottle. nancy fed her drop by drop. ten years ago, maria needed emergency surgery. >> one doctor stopped me in the
6:51 pm
hall and said, "mrs curcio, we cannot do the surgery unless we do a trach." and i had seconds to make up my mind, and then i looked down at maria and she's looking at me like, "hey, what are you thinking about, i don't want to die! this is me." >> reporter: there are times when maria smiles and she looks more like the happy little girl in so many of the curcio family photos than the middle-aged woman she now is. or she tries to spell out the word "mom." >> thank you very much. >> reporter: for nancy, these are signs her daughter wants to live. >> i cannot pull the plug on somebody like that, who expresses the fact that they're not ready to give it up. >> reporter: dr. warm has done a lot of reading about grief since he started working at villa coronado. trying to understand why some people are unable to let go. he believes they grieve in the same way as someone in search of a missing person. >> here they sit with the moral obligation to bring their family member back and though i might say the hope of their return is extremely low, they can't let go
6:52 pm
of that extremely low probability. >> reporter: for steve simmons, its been a four year vigil that at times has driven him to the brink. like when his wife's feeding tube was clogged for the fifth time. and staff had to put a tube down her nose to feed her. he couldn't bear to watch. >> i said, "one of these days, one of these days," it's terrible what i said, but i said, "one of these days, i'm going to bring a shotgun in here." and what i really meant was, i'm going to come in here and blow my brains out in front of all of you. because i can't endure any more of this." >> reporter: rafaela has made small improvements in the past year, she is able to sometimes squeeze steve's hand or grasp a ball. dr. warm continues to tell steve that rafaela has little chance of recovering. but to steve, these small gestures are affirmation he's made the right decision to keep
6:53 pm
his wife alive. >> i really believe that if my wife could answer: do you want to stay alive, or do you want to die? i believe that she would say that she wants to stay alive. i believe that. >> reporter: what would you want if it was you? >> if it were me i'd want to go. i'd want to go. i wish it were me, i wish it were me. i wish it were me. i asked for that so many times. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day, the centers for disease control announced the first case of
6:54 pm
ebola diagnosed in the u.s. the patient is now in an isolation ward at a dallas hospital. and the "washington post" reported that a private guard with a gun and a record of assault and battery got on an elevator with president obama two weeks ago. the disclosure came after a house committee grilled the head of the secret service. on the "newshour" online right now, artist wendy smith wood, living off the grid has its perks. she gets to live amid the stunning beauty of the alaskan wilderness and it's 75 miles away from the nearest village. it's all served as inspiration for her work, "silk that she dyes in the glowing rivers of glacial mud." see how she does that online at >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we'll look at buddy cianci's bid to come back as mayor of providence, rhode island, after spending time in prison.
6:55 pm
i'm judy woodruff we'll see you on-line and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century.
6:56 pm
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
6:59 pm
7:00 pm
garabedian. this is "nightly business report" w with tyler mathisen a zbaifrg. separate ways, ebay spins off its fast-growing pay pal unit marking a sharp reserve in strategy as the mobile payments strategy changes very quickly. >> going to be very quickly focused on performance and we're a very competent group that will deliver returns that our clients expect. pimco's make chief investment officer and ceo tell investors the world's largest fixed income asset manager is moving forward without its former manager, bill gross. if it isn't broke, why ford is making a big change to its best selling vehicle for the past


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on