tv NBC Nightly News NBC May 6, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
on our broadcast here tonight, paying tribute. president obama's first meeting with the team who risked it all to kill bin laden as al qaeda vows to strike back against the u.s. on the ground in pakistan, more details emerging about bin laden's secret world, down to the medicines he was taking in his hideout. jobs report. some of the news sounds great for millions of americans looking for work, but there's more to the new numbers. opposite extremes in this country tonight. too much water in some places and too little where they really need it. and the unusual story behind a new honor for a former president. "nightly news" begins now.
"nightly news" begins 5 now.captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. today, the president of the united states delivered the thanks of a grateful nation to a group of men whose names we can't know and whose faces we can't show. members of the u.s. navy s.e.a.l. team who pulled off the high-stakes raid that killed osama bin laden. the president went to ft. campbell, kentucky, where halfway around the world, we're still learning more about the raid, what was grabbed, the official confirmation of bin laden's death, and a potential threat to all of us once again. we start off with two reports tonight, beginning at the scene, ann curry on the ground in pakistan tonight. ann, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening to you. and confirming osama bin laden's death today, al qaeda is clearly trying to reinvigorate its jihad and send a message that its war
on americans will go on without him. at the same time, u.s. intelligence officials tell nbc news bin laden was fully engaged in al qaeda operations at the time of his death. coordinated protests announcing the u.s. raid that killed osama bin laden struck multiple cities in pakistan today. as al qaeda reacted for the first time, threatening americans on it official media website. quote, soon, with god's help, we shall flip their celebrations into sorrow and their blood shall mix with tears. >> in al qaeda's language, soon could be anything from the next three days the next three years. it's difficult to know and it's important to emphasize al qaeda uses its language whether or not they actually have an attack in store. >> these images are the newest from inside the compound where u.s. intelligence officials tell nbc news bin laden was far from retired and was in fact still al qaeda's operational leader.
u.s. intelligence also tells nbc news, quote, a lot of video as well as details of plots around the world and associates were found. osama bin laden's compound is just beyond these buildings, but today, the pakistani soldiers have told us all the media has to be pushed back and if they even see our cameras, they threaten to confiscate them. local officials in abbottabad said the compound is now cleansed. washed of all evidence, and sealed. there are reports that pakistani security has as many as three of bin laden's wives in custody, now under interrogation. the cia asked for access to the wives, especially bin laden's last and favorite wife. she was known to be devoted to bin laden and was in the room when her husband died. and she has reportedly told interrogators that bin laden and his family had been living in the abbottabad compound for the past five years.
al qaeda also said today it will soon release a voice recording of bin laden which it claims was made a week before his death. back to you. >> ann curry, thanks for your reporting on the ground in pakistan tonight and all week. in their short time on the ground, those navy s.e.a.l.s grabbed everything they could find of any consequence inside bin laden's house, down to the medications they found in his bedroom, and the list of medications looks a lot like the stuff advertised on this broadcast or any other. an ulcer relief medicine and two others for stomach discomfort, two antibiotics. one in liquid form. one drug believed to be for the treatment of shingles. another is a french-made medication for high blood pressure. they also find ibuprofen and some cough and cold medicine, and they find avena syrup, which according to folklore in that part of the world, at least, can be used for virility enhancement. notably, no kidney medication of
any kind was recovered, raising doubts about the long-standing rumors we were all told that bin laden had kidney problems and may even have required dialysis over the years. back in this country today, as we mentioned at the top of the broadcast, president obama met for the first time since bin laden's death with members of the team who went in and got him. he and vice president biden met privately at ft. campbell, kentucky, with the assault team, bestowing upon them the high honor of the presidential unit citation. from there, the president went on to tell the ft. campbell community, job well done. our report from norah o'donnell. >> hello, ft. campbell. >> reporter: the president and vice president today came to say thank you. >> job well done. job well done. >> reporter: speaking to more than 2,000 soldier who have just returned from afghanistan, president obama praised their extraordinary service and sacrifice. >> we're going to ultimately
defeat al qaeda. we have cut off their head. we will ultimately defeat them. >> reporter: and he repeated his intention to start pulling u.s. forces out of afghanistan. >> we're moving into a new phase. starting this summer, we'll begin reducing american forces. >> reporter: this is a big deal for the soldiers here at ft. campbell, kentucky, home of the 101st airborne. few divisions have been called on more in afghanistan than the 101st. it's also home to the night stalkers, the 160est, who flew with the navy s.e.a.l.s in the dark of the night to kill osama bin laden. today, the president met for more than an hour with special ops forces. including members of the navy s.e.a.l. team six. >> they're america's quiet professionals. whose success demands secrecy, but i will say this. they trained for years. they're battle-hardened. they practice tirelessly for this mission. when i gave the order, they were ready.
>> reporter: and now, with bin laden's death, this soldier who just got back from afghanistan this morning feels a sense of satisfaction. >> some soldiers who didn't make it back, felt like they did something for them. and we got the job done for those guys. >> reporter: brian, president obama and vice president biden got quite a briefing from the navy s.e.a.l.s today complete with maps and a scale model of bin laden's compound and when one s.e.a.l. mentioned that a dog was part of the assault team, biden asked to meet the canine combatant, and the handler said, quote, i recommend you bring treats. >> important that the credit gets spread around for this mission. norah o'donnell, good to hear those in the crowd today. we have economic news on two fronts tonight. both hit home more than any other. jobs and gas prices. as we reported here last night, oil prices have plummeted this
past week, which should bring some relief at gas pumps soon. and the april jobs numbers are just out. coming in better than most of the experts expected. so we have two reports on this front tonight, beginning with nbc's tom costello in washington. >> reporter: the good news is that it was the private sector, not the government, that added jobs at the fastest rate in five years last month. 57,000 jobs in retail. 51,000 professional jobs, 46,000 in leisure and hospitality. 29,000 manufacturing jobs. a-123 has hired 800 in michigan, and the ceo said he'll hire more. >> we alone expect to hire thousands of people in the next three years. >> reporter: in indiana today, president obama tours a hybrid bus technology company that plans to add 200 more jobs. >> this is where the american economy is rebuilding. >> reporter: despite adding 240,000 jobs in april, the unemployment rate inched up from
8.8% to 9%. as the population grew and some americans resumed their job hunt. in ft. myers, florida, natasha green has been looking for two years. >> nobody wants to hire somebody who has been unemployed for so long. >> reporter: and experts caution the real unemployment rate may be closer to 16% when you include the underemployed and those who have given up on a job. while the economy has added jobs for the last seven straight month, at this rate, it would take several more years to recover the 8 million jobs lost during the great recession. >> to get unemployment down to about 6% over the next three years, we're going to have to add about 360,000 jobs a month. >> a tall order with nearly 14 million out of work americans now hoping for better days ahead. tom costello, nbc news, bethesda, maryland. >> reporter: this is kevin tibbles in chicago. as the oil price sky rocket plummeted this week, it was pandemonium on trading floors worldwide.
the same speculation that pulled prices up, pulled them down again. closed at $98 a barrel, down 15% for the week. there's a saying in the trading community, high prices fix high prices. and so that process is what's under way now. >> reporter: a combination of bad weather, refinery maintenance, and mideast turmoil put oil prices through the roof. aaa says a gallon of regular gas sits today at $3.98. this time last year, it was more than a buck cheaper. the wild fluctuation in price has turned us all in mini speculators. do you fill up thinking the price is going to be higher next time or do you just put in $10, hoping it's going to go down? >> others fight back. these chicago commuters save money belonging to a van pool. >> i probably save about $90 a month. you figure over a course of a year, you're talking about $1,000. >> it amazes me a lot more people aren't looking for alternative ways to commute back
and forth to work. >> reporter: the department of energy says people have already changed their habits, resulting in a 2% drop in a demand for gas, and that could soon translate into lower prices. >> i'm expecting gasoline prices right now are peaking. as we go through the summer, they will begin to decline. >> reporter: any more uncertainty, and they could rise again. >> it's not going to be a summer for renting the winnebago and going to yellowstone. >> reporter: unless, of course, you like playing gas pump roulette. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago. now we have to turn to the midwest. we think this story is going to occupy a lot of our time and attention next week. it's already been an awful flooding season. if you live in memphis or the surrounding area, all eyes are on the mississippi river. they're looking for perhaps the second highest crest in u.s. history, perhaps in the next five days. nbc's ron mott is in memphis on some hallowed ground there in that city. ron, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening
to you. we're standing at the low end of beale street tonight. as you can see behind me, it's taking on water, water that is starting to flow where it's simply not invited. >> maybe a boat for the lake, but not to your house. >> reporter: after 19 years in her community, tina picked the right time to befriend a neighbor with a boat. as both their mobile homes in memphis are filled with several feet of water tonight. >> i have a lot of my mom's stuff in there. i don't even know if i can get in. you can only do what you can. >> reporter: we paddled along with joe, who offered to help tina get a few more of her valuables. when we reached her place, she waded through leach-infested floodwaters, fought a stubborn door, finally pushing in and finding a mess, also what she came looking for. hers is one of 2,800 homes and businesses officials say are in the flood threat zone. as the mississippi continues to rise, approaching an all-time high here, sand bagging intensifies. intersections are swamped, a horse stable under water to the roof as the big muddy expands
far beyond her banks as seen on these before and after satellite images. >> even though there are predictions that the crest will exceed historic limits, we still will be prepared for that. >> south into mississippi, the river has forced river boat casonoes to close, an economic setback sure to be felt, and prompted this dog rescue. six dozen pets, some found wandering alone, have been gathered up in memphis. and been put in a mobile shelter. >> we have a series of weather services that will be working through the region. that means it will bring some rain at times. we're not expecting significant rain, but the damage has already been done. it's going to be weeks of major and even record flooding. >> reporter: today, the coast guard closed a five-mile stretch of the mississippi in missouri to all barge traffic for the
next eight days. they're trying to keep that water from flowing over the flood walls in that city. there the crunch time begins. we'll be watching. ron mott in memphis. when we come back, the other side of the story. a place where folks are desperate for water. they depend on it. right now, it's not there for them. and later, an honor for an ex-president, and a proud part of his past you may not know about.
well, we just saw ron mott in memphis with water rising behind him. it seems especially cruel with all this news of flooding in the midwest that the next story is about a drought, a bad one making life hard in a place where they could really use water about now. janet shamlian is in cedar creek, texas, tonight. >> this is the sound of a thirsty texas. so brown and barren that ranchers are having to provide feed for their cattle at great
expense because there's simply nothing to graze on. >> we have been in business since 1971, and we have never had an april like this, never. and may is starting off the same way. >> reporter: more than a quarter of the state is in what is called exceptional drought, the most severe category, and it's grown worse over the last six weeks. the red and dark red showing the hardest hit areas, not just in texas but throughout the region. the lone star state is the epicenter, fields parched, withering, and bone dry. tommy works for the department of agriculture. >> it's crunching below our feet and every. and you can look right here. these cracks in the ground, we shouldn't have this this time of the year. this is our wet season. >> these fields will yield no corn and will be plowed next week to be used for feed. he will plant cotton but is not optimistic. >> we have to plant it in the next two to three weeks for the insurance purposes. and then if it doesn't rain, it will be -- you know, it will be a total loss.
>> financial losses are hard to predict. they're expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. >> it's extraordinarily dry at this point. the crop losses are going to be tremendous, and we won't see a trend in the pattern. it's unlikely that much changes into summer. >> reporter: with no sign of desperately needed storms, drought reigns in a region yearning for relief. and if the impact on agriculture and livestock isn't bad enough, these conditions are the perfect tinder for the wildfires that have been ravaging the state. brian, they have claimed something like 2 million acres here so far. >> on an otherwise beautiful night in texas, janet shamlian. it's tough to watch. when we come back here tonight, a week after the big royal wedding, another high profile couple has decided to get hitched.
paul mccartney is off the market. he's announced he's getting married. he's marrying his longtime girlfriend, nancy shevell. her second time, his third. mccartney's 68. she is 51. a live web cam in one of our greatest national parks may have prevented a disaster. specifically, thanks to someone in wisconsin watching the live feed of old faithful in yellowstone. the camera showed tourists too close to the mouth of the geyser which remember, sprayed steaming hot water at regular intervals. the web cam viewer contacted park service rangers who moved the people back, disaster averted. and of course, if you have been there, there are signs all over the park warning visitors to stay back. up next here tonight, what you need to know about a former ball player from michigan who went on to make it big.
then nixon resigned and ford becb became our 38th president. all the while, all he wanted to be was the speaker of the house. now visitors can see evidence of how beloved he was in the house and in his home state, and tom has our report tonight. >> reporter: it's often said gerald ford was
the right man at the right time for a wounded nation reeling from watergate. >> our long national nightmare is over. >> being the right man at the right time started early for gerald ford. in 1934, he was a starting center for the university of michigan football team and close friends with the only black player on the team, a gifted athlete named willis ward. >> back there, then, you suffer suffered through being ostracized if you became too
involved with blacks. that was a test to jerry despite that, he was a man although he was only 17 years old. >> reporter: in 1934, the visiting georgia tech team refused to take the field if michigan started ward. steven ford, the president's youngest son, says his father was outraged that michigan would bench his friend. >> he wrote his father ungrand rapids, said he was going to make a stand sphnot play in the game. >> but ward persuaded him to take the field anyway. >> he went to my dad and said, you're captain of the team. i'll sit out, i appreciate what you're doing, the stand you're making, kwinlsed dad to go back on the field, and that was the only game they won that year. >> the would inform his support decades later for civil rights. even that legacy wasn't nch to get around the rule that own each state is only allowed two statutes in the hall of the
capitol. chandler was an ardent abolitionist and richly deserved his spot in statuary hall, an awkward situation until willis ward's grandson buzz thomas weighed in. >> it was time to stand up like he stood up for my grandfather. i felt it was time to stand up for him. >> reporter: tuesday's unveiling, an occasion for ford friends and family to remember. >> it's full circle generationally. i'll never forget the day they retired dad' jersey at the university of michigan. we're standing on the field, sort of soaking in that 110,000 people -- >> big house. >> big house, and dad's got tears in his eyes, and as we left the field, a man pulled me aside and he looked at me, and he says, you know, son, do you know what character is? character is what you do when nobody is watching. and nobody was watching your
father's life as a young, 20-year-old kid at the university of michigan back in 1934, willing to make a stand for his good friend, willis ward. >> reporte our thanks to tom brokaw, and chandler friends should know his statue is back at the state capitol in michigan. thank you for being here with us. programming note, tomorrow they run for the roses. kentucky derby ng