tv NBC Nightly News NBC January 10, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EST
>> you know, as you saw from that, he's not getting older, he's getting better. and he system acts like he's 18. >> there's no telling where he's celebrating >> on the broadcast tonight, decision day here in on the broadcast tonight, decision day here in new hampshire. the polls are about to close. the question here, of course, did the attacks on mitt romney make a difference to the voters tonight. can they say that? can they show that on television? everyone watching us tonight has a stake in the fight over decency on television. also tonight, buried you should a mountain of snow, it appears as if winter has arrived all at once and all in one place. as if winter has arrived all at once and all in one place. "nightly news" begins now.
captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening in manchester, new hampshire tonight, where they are still voting for a little while longer. the first election this season is hours from history. this is a huge moment for mitt romney. he's an assumed front-runner. he owns a house in this state. he was the governor of the state next door. but his own opponents have been attacking him like democrats, especially for his career in business, buying and selling companies. there's at least one sound bite mitt romney would like to have back from this past week. if you buy the theory that tonight is basically a race for second place, that's where this really starts to get interesting. our team is here and in place, including a look tonight at what voters have been saying here today as they cast their votes. we want to start off with nbc's peter alexander. he is live from romney headquarters at the university of southern new hampshire here in manchester. peter, good evening.
brian, good evening to you. mitt romney is the prohibitive favorite here tonight, so as you say, this is a race for second place. mitt romney would become the is first ever nonincumbent republican candidate to win both iowa and new hampshire. battling through crowds of cameras -- >> governor huntsman -- >> reporter: the republican candidates made last-minute appeals across new hampshire today. >> this is bizarre. >> reporter: hoping for a decisive win here, front-runner mitt romney continued to face blistering attacks about what he's presented as an asset -- his business experience as the former head of bain capital that romney said created jobs and stronger companies. but newt gingrich today questioned bain's practice of sometimes liquidating companies and laying off workers. >> i am not saying anything that mitt romney has done was outside the law.
i'm saying it may have been bad judgment. it may have been an exploitation. it may be inappropriate. just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. >> reporter: and fiery barbs other romney's time at bain emerged today in south carolina, the next state to vote. >> they're vultures sitting out there on the tree limb, waiting for the company to get sick. and then they swoop in, they eat the carcass. >> reporter: the bitterness began to take shape monday after romney said this about insurance companies that don't meet consumer expectations. >> i like to be able to provide people who provide services to me. you know, if somebody doesn't give me the good service i need, i want to say i'm going to get somebody else to provide that service to me. >> reporter: jon huntsman who showed a late burst of momentum he's betting his campaign on, quickly tried to capitalize on romney's remark. >> governor romney enjoys firing people.
i enjoy creating jobs. >> reporter: rick perry's website even featured this custom ring tone. >> i like being able to fire people. i like being able to fire people. >> reporter: today, nbc's andrea mitchell asked romney about his firing comment. >> i was talking about, as you know, insurance companies. we all like to get rid of our insurance companies. we don't want obama to tell us we can't. >> reporter: meanwhile, the democrats have embraced the line, handing out fake pink slips across the state, where independent voters who account for 40% of the electorate here may decide this primary. >> the deficit, spending is out of control. i'm looking for someone who really takes it by the horns. >> reporter: and tonight, ron paul defended romney and criticized his republican challengers' attacks on romney's firing comments, calling them, quote, desperate and deplorable. tonight, he said those are the republicans who are arguing like democrats. brian? >> all right, peter alexander,
across town from us here starting us off tonight. peter, thanks. as we said, the polls are still open as we come on the air. but that hasn't stopped us from approaching some of the voters in this state today and asking them what has motivated them for the vote they have come to cast today. tamron hall with more. >> reporter: we're getting a first look at voters who went to the polls in new hampshire were thinking about today. first, the issues. the economy was the issue that voters cared most about when choosing a candidate. you see, 60%, versus 25% who said federal deficits, followed by abortion and health care. now to what qualities voters were looking for in a candidate. it was pretty evenly divided. a third said electability was the most important thing. they wanted someone to beat president obama, with 27% saying they wanted someone with the right experience to be president, followed by someone with strong moral character, 24%. just 14% saying they were looking for a true conservative.
now, in terms of ideology, 54% are conservatives. 34% liberals with 12% saying -- excuse me, 12% saying liberals and 34% saying moderate. that was a lot different than we saw last week in iowa where the caucusgoers were overwhelmingly conservative, brian. >> all right, tamron hall, we'll be watching those numbers as the evening goes on. now our team here in manchester. our political director chuck todd, several feet away from us in the same room, andrea mitchell is here with us, and the moderator of "meet the press" david gregory. andrea, the race for second place really is by all provable accounts, true. you have a guy who's a homeowner here, governor of massachusetts. but second place becomes everything leaving here. >> absolutely. and we remember that bill clinton in 1992 came in second but made it sound as though he won and had the bragging rights going forward. it's even more important this
year with those big super pacs. you've got three or four big money people watching this to see who has the goods to go forward. one of the most important ones ironically is jon huntsman's billionaire father. if jon huntsman father who came out of nothing and created the clam shell, the styrofoam clam shell -- >> the big mac container, that's right. >> he only put up $50,000 for his son's race in south carolina, according to our ad trackers. if he sees his son does well tonight, he might put more money in the super pac. mitt romney has all the money he needs. he's already put $1.9 million in south carolina, the next primary race. newt gingrich has $1.6 million, but his backers will be looking to see how well he did. santorum only has $164,000 in south carolina. then they go to florida which is even much more expensive. only romney's super pac has put money there yet. so they're all watching, the money bags are watching to see who to stake to keep on going. >> and to chuck todd, who's live again across the room.
chuck, let's talk about some numbers here. interesting state. about 40% of the voters are unaffiliated party wise. and here's another number, 25% that mitt romney has thus far been able to crack. that's something to watch tonight. >> it is. it's a reminder, though, that the new hampshire republican primary is actually the outlier in this primary season. most of the republican primaries going forward, starting with south carolina, also going forward, arizona, michigan, all those come within the next six week, are much more conservative, traditional republican electorate. this is the outlier where nearly half the electorate is independent. it's a great test to see how you can do with swing voters. that's why it's an important early test. but it's an outlier and it's not going to tell us the answer whether mitt romney has won over conservatives because that's still the ceiling he has not cracked yet, brian? >> okay, and david gregory, we get the results tonight. we'll all learn about them at
the same time in this very room. it is everything going forward. and as chuck says, moving on to south carolina. >> and as we've talked about, mitt romney, if he really does well here tonight as expected, he's still going to be on the defensive. there's still a big field coming after him hard. but as i talk to republicans, brian, the word i keep hearing is consolidation. if he goes 2-0 going into south carolina, it's a big lane to get this nomination. twisty, curvy canyon pass for the other candidates who still have a find a different route to victory. >> and despite, as we said, all the attacks from republicans who sound more like democrats, it's been fraught for the front-runner. goes without saying, we're going to be back on the air throughout the evening with the results from here in new hampshire and of course, msnbc will have wall-to-wall coverage throughout the evening. and don't forget our dedicated website to all of this, nbcpolitics.com. the place to go for information. up next, as "nightly news" continues from manchester, new hampshire, some of the other news in this day, including new questions tonight about nicotine patches and such.
do they work? do they help smokers quit? in the final analysis. also, the fight over decency on television. are your favorite channels, your favorite shows about to get even racier? and later, two towns that winter has not forgotten after all. so much snow, it's taking the national guard to dig themselves out. national guard to dig themselves out. back then he had something more important to do. he wasn't focused on his future. but fortunately, somebody else was. at usaa we provide retirement planning for our military, veterans and their families. now more than ever, it's important to get financial advice from people who share your military values. for our free usaa retirement guide, call 877-242-usaa. it's bring your happiness to work day. campbell's microwavable soups. in three minutes -- the deliciousness that brings
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some of the day's other news. the u.s. military has rescued iranians from the persian gulf again. pentagon officials who released these photos of the incident tell nbc news, the u.s. coast guard rescued six iranians today from a cargo ship that was taking on water. they were given food, water and medical attention and turned over to the iranian coast guard. in syria, a defiant president assad gave his first national address in june, dismissing all suggestions that he give up power there, even as his government's bloody ten-month crackdown on syria's uprising goes on. the death toll so far estimated to be north of 5,000 people. now to a story that's gotten a lot of attention in this country. a florida a&m drum major who was hazed to death apparently. today his parents revealed that their son was gay. they said they don't think that's what led to the beating
that killed him. they said they will sue the company that owns the bus where the hazing attack took place, part of their effort to confront the overall culture of hazing. >> i sent him to this school to get an education, to be a valid citizen. and came back in a body bag. so we need to change the culture. >> that was the father of robert champion jr. who died in november. by the way, we have posted a complete report on this story, including more with the champion family. it's on our website, nbcnightlynews.com. news tonight about a scandal we first reported on rock center. it was about doctors and government officials in north carolina conspiring for over 40 years to sterilize thousands of women, men, even children. their way of weeding out people they considered at the time to
be undesirable. north carolina ended the practice, but not until the late '70s, and just today, a task force there recommended that victims should be paid $50,000 each as compensation. now to a fight that will affect all of us. what are the limits of decency when it comes to the programs coming into millions of american homes via television and radio? are the rules antiquated? how far can the government go to keep cursing and nudity off the screen? especially on a free over-the-air broadcast network like the one you're watching via your local nbc station right now. this fight took center stage today at the u.s. supreme court. our justice correspondent pete williams was there. >> reporter: during unscripted moments on live broadcasts, it can happen. out pops a four-letter word. that was really, really [ no audio ] brilliant. >> reporter: there's been a crackdown for swear words and brief images of nudity in scripted dramas. they began to crack down on
indecency after george carlin's rant on the seven words you can't say. the government says the rules are justified because broadcast television reaches so many homes and is easily accessed by children. >> if fcc regulations are struck down, then network television can dump whatever they want into the homes of american families and i don't think that's what people want. >> reporter: but with the explosion of new channels, including cable and the internet, the networks, including nbc, say it no longer makes any sense of broadcasters when viewers treat it all the same. >> for anybody under the age of 30, they don't know the difference between over-the-air broadcast and cable tv because 97 of people have access to either satellite or cable television. from where they're hitting, it's
just a number. >> reporter: and some on the court today seemed to agree. justice ginsberg said the fcc is inconsistent, barring nudity in some shows and then allowing it and cuss words in movies like "saving private ryan." but justice roberts and scalia says the public needs a few channels kept free from indecency. the court appears likely to let the government continue regulating the network, but may require the fcc to be more clear about what's out of bounds. pete williams, nbc news at the supreme court. nicotine gum and nicotine patches are under new scrutiny tonight. millions of people use them, of course, to help them quit smoking, including notably, the president of the united states. but a new study by researchers at the harvard school of public health and university of massachusetts concludes they have no lasting benefit. in other words, they don't help smokers who quit stay quit. the researchers say using gums and patches is no more effective long term than quitting without them, though a whole lot of people have had success with
them, including the president of the united states. on wall street, the dow was up today nearly 33 points. the nasdaq up just two points. up next, as we continue, no snow here in new hampshire. not even close. but we'll show you a place where winter has arrived in a big way. to see it through. d 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.
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it is worth noting that where we were here in new hampshire this afternoon, it was 45 degrees. and in this land of sturdy people who are winter professionals, that's nothing. people here were walking around in light jackets today. this primary is normally fought in the snow. this year, it's been so mild, at least the weather, if not the politics. however, the weather is making headlines in alaska where one town is buried in snow, another is iced in and hoping to get enough fuel to last the winter. nbc's kristen dahlgren has our story.
>> reporter: this is alaska after all, but this is extreme. in cordova, population 2,500, jeff bailey can barely see his house. >> i have to tunnel it straight into the front door. >> reporter: the whole town is snowed in under almost 15 feet. many here using social media to show and tell the outside world what they're living through. >> oh, my god, beth's roof just went. even those hardy souls had to ask for help from the national guard. the mayor declared a disaster and dozens of troops are digging out. >> what's the biggest concern for you? >> the next storm coming in is just going to increase the hazard possibility.
>> reporter: that next storm is now. another one to two feet expected, increasing the danger of avalanches. 700 miles away -- >> as soon as we get out of the critical range, i'll tell you. >> reporter: getting to gnome through all of this ice. for an ice breaker trying to lead a russian fuel tanker on a resupply mission. at times, the mission comes to a halt and the coast guard can't say if they'll make it. >> we're working through the night. we'll get stuck and then escort them. >> reporter: vital fuel that may now not get there until spring -- a season that for many can't come soon enough. kristen dahlgren, nbc news. and we'll be back in just a moment with a woman who's seen presidential hopefuls come and go right through her front door for more than half a century. right through her front door for more than half a century. g. just to be able to wake up in the morning on your own. that's a big accomplishment to me. i don't know how much money i need. but i know that whatever i have that's what i'm going to live within. ♪
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and take your personal assessment today. better nutrition is within reach. centrum. nutrition possible. and finally tonight from manchester, pretty much all you need to know about politics in new hampshire, you can learn not far from here at robie's country store. it's a must-stop location for politicians who are running and running through here. and while not all of them go on to be winners, they all do get a spot on the wall. the bell rings when you walk through the door here at robie's and the list of those who have
been here reads like a roll call of modern political history, all the candidates for whom the bell tolls. >> there was carter, mrs. carter, nancy reagan, jack kemp and his wife joan. kerry from nebraska. he played checkers with my husband. we always had the checker board set up. and al gore came. and he sat over at the table in the corner other there and he had coffee. >> this is rudy. >> dorothy has seen them come and go. a life-long republican. her biggest thrill was being asked to host a lunch for the president from georgia because
his wife visited and liked it so much. >> they said would you be willing to give a luncheon for mrs. carter. i thought a luncheon for the first lady in this little town? in this little store? i said yes right away. >> if you stay at this long enough, you're bound to see some amazing things in new hampshire, as dorothy witnessed when mitt romney stopped by. >> when romney came, the first thing he did was to come in here and see a picture of his father when he ran up there on the wall to see if it was still there. this is mrs. reagan when she came in. >> dorothy knows what happens here could only happen here. >> that's new hampshire, that's what we are. >> how about that? a picture of mitt romney's father. by the way, folklore has it the headline "jimmy who" that was used to describe the once-unknown jimmy carter came from dorothy's husband who had trouble hearing governor carter introduce himself in the score and he asked jimmy who? and that moment stuck and
propelled carter's campaign. that is our broadcast on this tuesday night. thank you for being here with us. of course, we'll be back on the air with you tonight with results from here in new hampshire, wall to wall coverage tonight on msnbc, of course, and a complete wrap-up on your late local news. i'm brian williams. we as always hope to see you right back here tomorrow od night.