tv NBC Nightly News NBC January 26, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
on the broadcast tonight, state of play. a wild day on the trail. tonight, our exclusive new poll numbers tonight showing gingrich convincing the voters, but can he beat the president? also tonight, an angry gingrich is unleashing new anger against the gop machine. also, finger pointing. that photo everybody was talking about today. who have you ever seen talking to the president like this and what was this all about? fair deal. new rules for airlines that take effect today and what's in it for all those of us who fly. and drunk at the wheel. dirty little backstage secret about pat and vana and those early days at the monster game show. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
good evening. in the poll numbers we are debuting tonight, there is a new gop front-runner in this race. that's newt gingrich. now leading mitt romney by nine points nationally. santorum third. ron paul with 12%, fourth. seizing the lead, however, as you know, comes with quite a cost to newt gingrich. as we've seen in this race so far, front runner status means coming under heavy fire. that's what happened today. our poll is also showing evidence this race is hurting the gop, and we could see more of that tonight at the next debate, because after all, it's only been three days since the last one. a lot of ground to cover tonight, including those new poll numbers. first, let's begin with nbc's ron mott in jacksonville tonight. ron, good evening. >> reporter: hey, brian, good evening to you. long before republicans officially get the chance to beat president barack obama in the fall, newt gingrich is
saying tonight he's getting beaten up by the republican establishment and does not plan to go down without a fight. >> you sounded angry today. >> i am angry. i'm angry. every american should be angry. >> reporter: with $14 million of advertising in florida aimed largely at newt gingrich from mitt romney and a super pac backing him. >> if newt wins, this guy would be very happy. >> reporter: the former house speaker had a lot to say today, as evidence surfaces his forward momentum may be slowing. in the line of fire the gop establishment he says is supporting romney. >> how can somebody run a campaign this dishonest and think he's have any credibility running for president? >> we are not going to beat barack brag with some guy who has swiss bank accounts, cayman island accounts, shares of goldman sachs that forecloses in south florida. >> reporter: he says a primary win would bring up the forces
against him. one force bob dole did just that. writing in an open letter, "hardly anyone who served with newt in congress has endorsed him, and that fact speaks for itself. he was a one-man hand who rarely took advice. it was his way or the highway." former house speaker nancy pelosi raised eyebrows in a tv interview tuesday. >> he's not going to be president of the united states. that's not going to happen. >> why are you so sure? >> there is something i know. >> reporter: the intrigue prompted this fiery resort from gingrich on the "today" show. >> i have no idea what is in nancy pelosi's head. >> reporter: the apparent frustration flows beyond the candidate. how do you attain all your information? >> reporter: gingrich's press secretary confronted utah congressman a romney supporter, and soon the zincers were flying.
>> where does newt gingrich live? >> reporter: john mccain's former campaign senior strategist warned things could get rougher. >> if newt gingrich is able to win the florida primary, you will see a panic and meltdown of the republican establishment that is beyond my ability to articulate in the english language. >> reporter: tonight, nbc's michael isikoff is reporting mitt romney is amending his financial disclosure forms to include tax return information that did not officially get put in those forms from overseas investments. >> ron mott from florida tonight. thanks. now we turn to those exclusive new numbers on where this race stands nationally in our nbc news/wall street journal poll. we turn to our political director chuck todd in our d.c. bureau. gingrich seems to be winning over the republic at-large in
the party right now. >> reporter: at least republicans nationally. we matched them up in a two-way race with mitt romney. his lead actually grows to 52/39. let me explain why he does it. his advantages are among the core of the republican party. among conservatives that call themselves very conservative, he leads by 39 points. among those folks who call themselves southerners, it's 37. tea partiers, 35-point lead. our poll shows if gingrich is the nominee, he's got a huge hill and perhaps mountain to climb to match up against president obama. he trails 55-37, an 18-point gap. even rick santorum matches up better to president obama than gingrich. mitt romney trails obama six points. the big reason for this general election gap is women. among the general election with romney, he's actually competitive. gingrich actually is 13 points lower among women than romney himself.
finally, there's some suggestions in our poll that this presidential primary campaign is actually hurting the party as a whole. look at these negative ratings. romney, santorum, gingrich, all within that negative rating. the last three republican nominees, mccain, bush and dole, all who had very tough primary campaigns came out of it with a net positive. the last democrat to have a net negative was john kerry. we know how that turned out. >> chuck todd watching the numbers in our d.c. bureau tonight. thanks. all of this takes us to the photo everybody's been talking about today. the governor of arizona with her finger in the face of the president of the united states. you don't see that often or maybe ever. so what was this all about? for more on that and the president's ongoing road trip, white house correspondent kristen welker in aurora, colorado. >> reporter: on the road to sell his state of the union message, this image of arizona governor jan brewer pointing at president
obama has taken center stage. >> i welcomed him and thanked him for being here. >> reporter: on wednesday, governor brewer met the president at the airport in mesa, arizona. brewer said she handed him an envelope requesting a meeting to discuss border issues, and that's when she says things got tense. >> he immediately took umbrage, if you will, with my book i wrote "scorpions for breakfast" and was somewhat disgruntled, if you will, about the way he was portrayed in the book. >> reporter: brewer describes two meetings with the president, including one at the white house in 2010, in which she says the president was, quote, condescending and lectures her over immigration issues. >> i don't know why he was surprised by my book, but he evidently is. he is thin-skinned in regard to it. >> reporter: today the white house described the incident as overblown, but said the president did note after their last meeting, a cordial
discussion in the oval office, the governor inaccurately described the meeting. the incident was fodder for cable news. >> it's the tip on the tarmac. >> is that how we are supposed to behave toward the president of the united states. >> she may feel this score points with obama haters in arizona, but nationally, this is unusual enough that i'm not sure it's going to help her. >> reporter: this afternoon, president obama weighed in during an interview with abc news saying the whole thing was not a big deal. he also said, and this is a direct quote, "i think it's always good publicity for a republican if they're in an argument with me." president obama now heads to michigan where he will discuss new ed kaegs policies tomorrow. >> kristen welcomerwelcomering president tonight. secretary of state hillary clinton who was a presidential candidate last time around was asked again today about her future. she said without hesitation, she
is done after the president's current term, ready for a rest, ready to get off what she called the high wire of american politics. defense secretary leon panetta today announced his plan for cutting almost $500 billion from the defense budget over the next ten years. the focus will be mainly on shrinking army and marine ground forces. fazing out over equipment, including planes and ships and slowing the purchase of some new equipment including the next generation stealth fighter. more resources would go towards special forces like the seals we watch go into action again this week. some republicans are already rejecting the plan saying it would shrink the u.s. military too much. another place where those cuts won't go over well is the state of california, which has a huge defense contracting industry and took a major hit when the state's passive housing bubble burst. california is mounting a comeback led by a man whose name
has been synonymous with california government for decades. that is the back drop tonight for a conversation between tom brokaw and governor jerry brown. >> putting it as simply as i can, california is on the mend. >> reporter: there is a lot to mend. it's been a world of hurt during the down turn. a million jobs were lost when the housing bubble burst. when unemployment dropped to over 11% last week, that was good news. there was a time when california set the pace for america's economy. it remains a state of conspicuous wealth, but it is deep in debt. a year ago the budget deficit hit $26 billion plus. brown wants to raise the state's sales tax and is asking californians who pay the most taxes, the wealthy, to pay more. >> neither is popular, but both
must be done. >> reporter: brown says it is the only way to protect the state's education system. >> i'm not doing this unilaterally. i'm putting it to the people and urging them, make the decision for california. >> reporter: now that he's back in california for his third tefrm, a lot changed. governor brown is a lot older. it's a new century. it's not sunshine every day for the california economy, but jerry brown has not given up on big dreams. his new big dream, a high-speed rail line from the north to the south. through many rural areas. to redistribute the population. how would that help the state's biggest gridlock? the 24/7 traffic jams around greater los angeles. i don't have any problem getting from the north to south. i have problems getting across town in los angeles. isn't that a higher priority? >> when we look at 20 million more people coming to this state, you can't build more airports. you can't build more runways. you can't build more freeways. >> reporter: the one-time boy
wonder of california politics is now the state's aging lion. a fourth generation californian. >> that's my great grandfather. >> reporter: sticking up for his state. >> california has problems, but rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated. >> tom brokaw tonight from california with governor jerry brown. 12,000 people jammed penn state university's basketball arena to say a final good-bye today to former football coach joe paterno. like a penn state football game, there were long lines to get in and tickets had quickly sold out. like a penn state game, some folks actually tailgated outside. the crowd rose to its feet for paterno's widow sue and son jay who paid tribute to his father. still ahead tonight as our broadcast continues, tired of the cheap airline tickets that turn out to cost a lot more than advertised? big changes starting now for the airlines and the millions who fly.
later, what happened since we told but an extraordinary young woman? when bp made a commitment to the gulf, we knew it would take time, but we were determined to see it through. today, while our work continues, i want to update you on the progress: bp has set aside 20 billion dollars to fund economic and environmental recovery. we're paying for all spill- related clean-up costs. and we've established a 500 million dollar fund so independent scientists can study the gulf's wildlife and environment for ten years. thousands of environmental samples from across the gulf have been analyzed by independent labs under the direction of the us coast guard. i'm glad to report all beaches and waters are open for everyone to enjoy. and the economy is showing progress with many areas on the gulf coast having their best tourism seasons in years. i was born here, i'm still here and so is bp.
we're committed to the gulf for everyone who loves it, and everyone who calls it home. [ slap! ] [ slap! slap! slap! slap! ] ow, ow! [ male announcer ] your favorite foods fighting you? fight back fast with tums. calcium rich tums goes to work in seconds. nothing works faster. ♪ tum ta tum tum tums but i wanted more support for my heart. i found centrum specialist. a complete multivitamin enhanced for what's important to me. vision. energy. prenatal. heart. [ man] new centrum specialist hes make nutrition possible.
new underwater video tonight shows how tough it's been to recover those who perished onboard the costa concordia crew ship disaster. divers are battling poor visibility, dangerous conditions under water. they may never find the 19 souls still missing, including a retired couple from the state of minnesota. >> now to what happens when you buy a plane ticket online. the price often looks so good and then all kinds of fees and taxes get piled on. the fare starts to look like nothing you first saw.
today, a lot of that changed with new rules to force the airlines to make those prices more transparent from the start. our report tonight from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: the new rules are meant to avoid the sticker shock of millions of airlines customers experienced when booking online. as of today, the very first price that appears when booking a flight must include all taxes and fees. baggage fees must also be spelled out. no more teasing passengers with low prices that aren't real. >> it's truth in advertising and it's for people who are not regular travelers. >> reporter: southwest and spirit airlines are suing to overturn the rules arguing their fares now appear much higher. >> the taxes are rolled in with the ticket price. so when you see that price, you don't know what's tax and what is ticket. >> reporter: on spirit's website today, a warning popped up they're, quote, to high taxes and fees in the ticket price.
the airline websites we checked clearly broke it all down. flying on delta, for example, from atlanta to london heathrow will cost you a total of $899. the ticket price is $308, but the taxes and fees are $591. fly chicago to dallas on american, $360, taxes and fees make up $21. >> this isn't going to stop people from traveling. it's just going to make it more clear how much they are paying to do that. >> reporter: travelers seem to like the idea. >> this way you know exactly what you're getting when you're buying it. you're not surprised when you're pushing the button. >> at least i won't feel like i'm being fooled. this way i'll see what it is, it's what i get. >> reporter: airlines must compensate customers who are bumped, notify passengers of delays and cans layings and give customers 24 hours to cancel a reservation without penalty. >> it's about respecting passengers. >> reporter: respect in the air and on the ground. tom costello, nbc news, washington.
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in mock horror after we all learned this week the dirty secret behind the "wheel of fortune" in the early days. pat sajak and van vanna white were apparently half-hammered for some of those shows. sajak spilled the margaritas saying he and van vanna used to go to a restaurant in burbank between tapes. there are a lot of nbc staffers who are good customers there to this day. pat and van vanna came back after getting lubricated across the street. >> they served great margaritas. we would go across and have two or three or six then come and do the last shows and have trouble recognizing the alphabet. >> sajak says he had a great
time. by the way, it sounds like it. he says he has no idea if those shows were any good, looking back on it all. he quickly adds, however, those days are over. he can't do that any more. about three years ago, two brothers in law from new jersey were fishing off the coast of nantucket in massachusetts. they were in a good sized, well-equipped, full sea-worthy vessel, two outboard motors and a squall line arrived. the waves were over their heads. they were forced to abandon ship and abandoned all hope of ever seeing their vessel the "queen bee" ever again until a week ago when it was discovered in spain, mucked up 20 miles from shore. it apparently rolled and tumbled its way across the atlantic, hitching a three-year ride on the gulf stream and a path something like this. it's definitely their boat and now they have a choice to make. you could put it this way, there
once was a boat from nantucket that bobbed across the sea like a bucket, hit by winds and heavy rain, it drifted clear to spain. now they must decide whether to chuck it. how many times have you seen this photo of the planet earth? it was shot back in 1972 by apollo 17. it shows our big blue marble. it still amazes us and sometimes makes us feel very small. when you look at that picture full in all its beauty, it holds up after all these years until you look at this. the earth in hd featuring our little corner shot in october last year. please note there are no blue or red states visible from state. up next, more to tell about a young woman whose excellence has taken her places already. ♪ a refrigerator has never been hacked. an online virus has never attacked a corkboard. ♪
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rehema ellis, there is more to to samantha garvey's story. >> reporter: for samantha garvey, the last two weeks have been an extraordinary whirlwind. >> i never could have imagined that this would have happened. >> reporter: after being named a semi final nis a top science competition, this 18-year-old senior who was also homeless, attracted the nation's attention. >> this is completely amazing. thank you, everyone. >> reporter: officials from new york suffolk county stepped in and offered samantha, her parents and twin siblings a three-bedroom home through an affordable housing program for families in shelters. last week, an appearance on the "ellen degeneres" show. >> they are going to give you a $50,000 scholarship. >> that was like someone pulling out your dream and giving it to you. this is your dream. have it. >> reporter: tuesday, samantha was invited by her congressman. >> mr. speaker, the president of
the united states. >> reporter: to attend the state of the union address in washington. >> he actually signed it for you? >> yes. >> reporter: then appeared on the "today" show. >> this is the lab where you spend a lot of time. samantha didn't make it to the final round of the science competition. as she waits to hear from colleges, she is convinced now more than ever education will change her life. >> i had all these amazing opportunities. just the fact he was able to apply to this competition, had other people ablg my research and see what i've done is winning in itself. >> reporter: one talented young woman's story of turmoil turning into triumph. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. >> great story to end on for a thursday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. of course, we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com