tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC October 20, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
ime to give our schools a break, not the big corporations. tonight on "world news," the drama revived. we track down anita hill to ask about the call from justice thomas' wife. 19 years after the moment that changed america on sexual harassment. dare. why has the phrase "man up" become the phrase of the moment? politics? verdict. six months after the bp spill, what about the birds, the ocean, the money? and we have answers to your burning questions about hormone use and cancer. and, yikes. did a modern white house once actually lose the nuclear launch code? a riveting bit of history tonight. good evening. the news was breaking just as we
came on the air last night, and we brought you first word of the early morning phone call that returned us to a turning point in america 19 years ago. you'll remember that political drama that transfixed americans. for days, we all argued about the questions it raised. supreme court justice clarence thomas was in his confirmation hearing. a formidable law professor, anita hill, accused him of sexual harassment. well, professor hill surfaced again today after that unusual phone call from thomas' wife, and sharyn alfonsi is here to bring us up to date tonight. >> reporter: good evening. well, the big question tonight, why now? why after 19 years did virginia thomas pick up the phone and call anita hill? she says she was offering an olive branch, but tonight, anita hill is not taking it. the testimony lasted seven long hours. anita hill, an oklahoma law professor, alleging the lurid details about her time working for clarence thomas. >> he spoke about acts that he'd seen in pornographic films
involving such matters as women having sex with animals. >> reporter: a cringe-worthy moment in american politics. >> thomas told me graphically of his own sexual prowess. >> reporter: that put a bright spot on sexual harassment in the workplace. thomas angrily denied the allegations, saying they amounted to a high tech lynching. but now, nearly two decades later, his wife ginni has rekindled the story. with that call to anita. 7:30 on a saturday morning, leaving that message. "i would love for you to consider an apology some time and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband." ending the call with, "have a good day." hill, now a professor in boston, wouldn't talk about the call today. >> i don't have any comment right now. >> reporter: but in a 2007 interview, the thomases did talk about anita hill. >> i think she owes us an apology and i look forward to receiving that phone call or that visit one day. >> reporter: ginni thomas has
long stretched our idea of what a spouse of a nonpartisan supreme court justice should be. >> the wonderful ginni thomas. >> reporter: a long-time conservative activist, she now heads liberty central, a group opposing what she characterizes as the leftist tyranny of president obama. >> washington is sick, it's corrupted. there's a bubble over it. >> reporter: she's talked candidly about being part of a self-help group that she later called a cult. friends have described her as brainy, a churchgoer. a woman so kind she invited homeless people out to lunch. she said she looked forward to forgiving anita hill. 19 years later, hill says she has nothing to apologize for and stands by her testimony. >> so, she says she told the truth and stands by it. but it changed america, the line on sexual harassment moved in the workplace. >> reporter: it absolutely did. and in the five years following this hearing, the number of sexual harassment cases actually doubled. and the amount awarded to those victims quadrupled.
so, this really became part of the conversation as a country. >> i remember, everybody sitting around talking about it, and there were meetings in the workplace to try to work through issues. >> reporter: and it's still a flash point today. >> still is. thank you, sharyn alfonsi. good to see you tonight. time is getting short on the campaign trail, as you know. just 13 days until the elections. and for the next few days, president obama is going to be pouring it on. starting in oregon tonight, he'll go 7,200 miles in four days. at the same time, as you know, the candidates have been facing off in debate after debate, and our jon karl has been traveling the country, as well. and he seems some patterns. we ask for his take on those debates tonight. jon? >> reporter: diane, there is yet another debate here tonight in philadelphia. but i can tell you, i have been listening to hours and hours of stump speeches and debates in races all across the country, and it often sounds like you're listening to one big debate. it has become the catchphrase of the campaign. "man up." >> some of you need to man up.
>> reporter: uttered mostly by women associated with the tea party. >> man up, harry reid. >> reporter: the concept, if not the exact phrase, began with none other than christine o'donnell, who had this to say about her primary opponent, mike castle, back in early september. >> these are the type of cheap, underhanded, unmanly tactics that we've come to expect. this is not a bakeoff. get your man pants on. >> reporter: at least one woman from the other side has jumped on the phrase. >> man up and do what you ask other people to do. >> reporter: it is not a bad way to leave your male opponent speechless. >> i think this is a very effective way for a come candidate to look tough. and it is very tough for a male candidate to have a comeback. >> reporter: but it's not just about testosterone. many republican candidates this year seem to be reading from the same tea party script. first, label your opponent. >> career politician. >> career politician. >> career politician. >> reporter: then, label yourself. >> i am a mother and a grandmother. >> i'm a physician. >> full-time business person.
>> reporter: say what you oppose, like it's a dirty word. >> obamacare. >> obamacare. >> obamacare. >> obamacare. >> obamacare. >> reporter: and what you want to do about it. >> we must repeal this health care bill. >> it cannot be saved. >> it ought to be repealed. we ought to start again. >> reporter: sprinkle in some numbers. >> $900 billion. 11.7%. >> 2.6 million jobs. >> reporter: and the other side? boil it down to one word. >> are really extreme. >> extreme positions. >> extreme right wing candidate. >> reporter: the debate tonight which will be moderated by george stephanopoulos pits joe sestak against pat toomey in a senate race that is emerging as one of the closest in the country, diane. >> thank you, jon karl, tonight. and it's so rare that we can mention the words hope and progress when talking about the nine-year war in afghanistan. but tonight, we are learning more about face to face talks between nato and the enemy. some leaders of the taliban. so, we asked martha raddatz if
progress is really at hand. >> reporter: it happens in complete secret. meetings with taliban leaders, so high level that if the u.s. was not helping them enter afghanistan, they would very likely be killed by u.s. special forces. >> any insurgent seeking to enter into talks could be subject to that kind of targeting. >> reporter: the journey usually begins at this headquarters of the afghan taliban leadership. they drive northwest, over the border to kandahar. they are then either sneaked onto coalition aircraft and flown to kabul, or they travel by road with the u.s. military, tracking the vehicles from the air and the ground. clearing roads to make certain the occupants are not harmed by the coalition forces. officials hope that these high level talks will lead to more scenes like this -- low level taliban fighters turning in
their weapons with a promise to stop fighting and pledge allegiance to the afghan constitution. every official i've been in touch with stresses that these talks with the taliban are only in very initial stages, diane. >> but why now? why are we hearing about them now? >> reporter: well, i think they need to show something by december and certainly by spring. progress. the administration knows this is not a war that the public really supports, so, they need some hail mary progress. >> okay, martha, so good to have martha raddatz reporting. and we turn next to the gulf. six months ago tonight, april 20th, bp's deepwater horizon exploded. 11 men died. and the worst oil disaster in american history began. 206 million gallons spewing into the ocean. and the fears were grave. but matt gutman has revisited the worst sites and brings us some encouraging news. >> reporter: the gulf is healing, but where oil remains here in bay jimmy, 40 miles from new orleans, it has leached into the landscape.
now these work crews gather 2,000 gallons a day, just from this spot alone. so, what's the most frustrating part for you, frank? >> everybody probably thinking that it's over. >> reporter: but patches of thick oil like this are dwindling. and in this mess, a fledgling. so, we went back to that same spot. now it seems that the population of birds are much healthier. in fact, it's harder to find one that's been oiled at all. officials say fewer than 2,300 oiled birds have been found dead. far fewer than expected. and look at this marina. when diane sawyer sailed from this dock just after the spill, it was deserted. now, the fishermen and a few smiles, have returned. and of over 30,000 fish samples taken, so far, not a single one tested positive for oil. nature may be healing, but for fishermen like diane, the
economic landscape remains blighted. >> i don't believe a word you said. >> reporter: she had asked for over $100,000 for compensation czar ken feinberg. >> he only gave me, first of all, a $600 check. i'm a commercial fisherman and he insulted me. >> reporter: the compensation process is still years away from being complete. about 75,000 families and individuals have received a nearly $1.5 million. another 75,000 lacked the proper documentatio documentation. and some are just trying to defraud the system. we caught up with the man who became the face of the gulf outrage. he told us, with the worst seemingly over, he now has a new fight on his hands. >> well, six months ago, we were fighting for our lives. the concern is, as this thing ratchets down, how long does it take for people to start booking fishing trips, people come down to buy the seafood. we're ready for that fight now. >> reporter: matt gutman, abc news, venice, louisiana. and now we have an investigation into money, politics and corruption.
word tonight that the fbi has conducted stings in one half of the states in this country. it turns out state capitals, maybe even yours, are the new ground zero of influence pedaling. chief investigative correspondent brian ross has spent months following this trail. >> reporter: the owner of this huntsville, alabama, barbecue restaurant, paul sanford, got quite a lesson in civics when he ran for the state senate two years ago. >> even before i was elected, i was tempted with $250,000. >> reporter: sanford says a lobbyist for the state's gaming interests made the offer to essentially buy his vote on a bill to legalize bingo slot machines. sanford refused the offer, but still got elected. did you get the impression that was not the first time he made an offer like that? >> it seemed to flow pretty easily to be honest. >> reporter: earlier this month, that lobbyist and ten others were indicted by a federal grand
jury in alabama, the latest case in a wave of undercover stings that in the last five years have led to the charging or conviction of at least 80 sta. >> we're going to use the exact same technique that historically, we've used when prosecuting organized crime or violent crime. >> reporter: seeking to influence powerful lawmakers who control hundreds of millions of dollars. >> the sophisticated players play not just at the federal level. they also play at the state level. >> reporter: that attempt to influence was on display at the annual convention of top state lawmakers this summer in louisville. a team of college journalists on assignment for abc news found a round of late night parties. put on by corporate sponsors. and alabama lawmakers skipping convention sessions on this day for 18 holes of golf, hosted by a lobbyist for the state's gambling industry.
>> i have nothing to say. >> nothing to say. and how's the -- you know, how are you doing -- >> if you don't want me to take this to you, leave. >> reporter: our investigation found ethics rules vary widely. in some states, lawmakers can accept little more than a cup of coffee or a low cost meal. but in alabama, a lobbyist can give a lawmaker up to $250 a day without reporting it. that's $90,000 a year, diane, completely legal. >> $250 a day? >> reporter: a day. >> well, we know corrupt money moves where no one's looking. glad you were looking tonight. thank you, brian. and i know you're going to have a lot more on "nightline." be sure to watch brian's further report. and that's coming up tonight. and still ahead on "world news," the seismic worry about hormone replacement and cancer. we heard your questions. tonight, experts will answer. and this is a true story. which white house apparently lost the top secret nuclear code? that's ahead.
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doctors offices, as well. we put some of your most urgent questions tonight to experts, our medical contributor dr. marie savard is here, and the president of the north american menopa menopause society, dr. stephen goldstein, thank you for coming. in the calls you're getting, people panicked what to do? >> they are panicked because they see the headline and think the hormone therapy they're on is similar what is being reported all over the media. >> 5 million women on mother hormone replacement therapy right now. is the first thing they should say to themselves, if i can get off it, get off it. >> you start people on a low dose. you bring the dose up until they are relieved of their symptoms. and then at one year or 18 months, i try to lower that dose and see if the symptoms recur. >> is there any certainty that one year is safe, two years, safe? >> we're talking risk versus benefit. if you are waking up three and four times a night and you are unable to function in your daily activities, you need relief.
>> somebody sitting at home goes, look, i'm not going to do this. i'm going to try everything else possible, and don't give me soy milkshakes, okay, because they won't work, what will work? >> diane, you hit it. there are a lot of women who are afraid of estrogen, so, even if they have disabling symptoms, they are afraid. alternative therapies do work for some women. things have been tried. nonhormonal therapies, such as the antidepressant, effexor. there's a type of medication that blocks nerves that can help. neurontin. and acupuncture has helped some. >> are there distinctions among the kinds of estrogen and what should we know? we should be informed. >> diane, there are. for estrogen, which is the only thing that really relieves disabling hot flashes, you can take it in a topical route, in a patch, a cream or even a gel that kind of gets absorbed directly through the skin and may be safer. >> i'm going to ask you both to let us check in online with you. >> love to. >> thank you both. and still coming up, the nfl cracks down on those head to
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puts people in the stands, they want to see hits and violence. >> cowboys linebacker brady james complained, he'll be playing flag football in about five years. and, a reality check about geography as we learned it. look at the map. it's the gold standard in all of our classrooms growing up. the trouble is, it distorts countries close to the equator, making them seem smaller. which altered, say, our perception of the continent of africa. look at how big africa really is you can put the u.s., china, india, japan and all of europe into it. even though most american children still say they think america is bigger than africa. and, a footnote in history. we learned that 14 hours after jfk's assassination, a secret service agent came, quote, chillingly close, to gunning down the newly sworn in president johnson. gerald blaine, seen here with the president, was seen standing guard at night outside lbj's home. her heard footsteps, drew his gun, aimed it point-blank at the
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insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for different results. i've built businesses. i've built a business. met the payroll. met a payroll. i enter this office beholden to no one except you. i will owe my office to no one but you. i don't owe anyone anything. i don't owe anyone anything. what's the worst that can happen? what's the worst thing that can happen? we know that the people in the white house are people, like us, misplacing things. but the nuclear code? and, was the person who did it in the oval office? john donvan has a report. >> reporter: things a president can lose -- some key votes in congress. his standing in the polls. a game of golf. things that a president can never lose, never, ever? the card with the nuclear codes on it. the one that lets him get into that black briefcase an aide
always brings along, inside which are the instructions for launching a nuclear attack. like the briefcase, which is called the football, that card, which is called the biscuit, is supposed to be with the president at all times. giving him numbers to read out loud that identify him to everyone in the system as the commander in chief. that's why you don't lose the biscuit. think of it like an atm pin number to get your money. except that when bill clinton was president, someone lost the biscuit. this is according to the former chairman of the joint chiefs, hugh shelton, who has just come out with a memoir and it's right there on page 392. "at one point during the clinton administration, the codes were actually missing. that's a big deal," shelton writes. especially, he says, because the codes were unaccounted for for months. actually, this clinton critic told a quite similar story in his own book, seven years ago. retired air force general
robert patterson was one of those men who carried the football for clinton. he says clinton is the someone who lost the biscuit. >> he thought he misplaced them upstairs. we called upstairs, we started a white house, kind of a pretty thorough search around the white house for the codes and he finally confessed hours later that he misplaced them. he couldn't recall when he had last seen them. >> reporter: who is to say the president couldn't have just picked up the phone to order an attack? today, his office is not commenting. same as no one's confirming or denying another old tale that jimmy carter once left his biscuit in a suit that got sent to the cleaners. john donvan, abc news, washington. >> can someone look out for the biscuit and the football? hope you have a great night and that we see you right back here for "world news" tomorrow night. we'll be here. see you then. e
new signs of life at the former nummi plant in fremont. people are going back to work but not nearly as many as before. >> you heard about california's budget deficit but there is another deficit leaders are ignoring and it could affect unemployment benefits. >> a major hurdle cleared for billion dollar casino resort but there is no guarantee it will ever be built. >> and reminder from apple, they still make computers, the features of the ipad coming your way. good evening. there is a lot of new activity at the old nummi car plant in fremont. >> tesla owns it now and they are bringing in new equipment. >> a closer look at what is happening there. >> definitely today when we were here we saw a little bi