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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  September 28, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST

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afford it. get california working again-for all of us. >> couric: tonight, losing ground. the dramatic impact of the recession, americans making less than a decade ago, living in homes that have fallen in value. i'm katie couric. also tonight, can president obama recapture the magic? in 2008 he inspired the young to vote in droves. can he get them back to the polls in november? and faith and knowledge in this one nation under god, many americans know surprisingly little about religion. >> we're a nation of religious illiterates. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> couric: good evening, everyone. the recession may be officially over, but it has left the confidence of americans badly shaken.
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and numbers just out from the government today show why. since the recession began, household incomes have fallen nearly 3% to just over $50,000. adjusting for inflation, americans are making $4,000 less than they were a decade ago. and their biggest investment, their home, has lost nearly 6% of its value. the recession has not only affected our wallets but our hearts. young people are putting off marriage. over a three-year period, the number of americans under 35 who were married fell 3%. but behind all these numbers are real people with real stories. here's our senior business correspondent anthony mason. >> you know, unless it was an air bubble.... >> reporter: in south salem, new york, 53-year-old chuck tater has been working overtime at the garage he owns but still earning less money. >> between shop work, answering the phone, and you know, answering tech questions on the internet, i put a good 70 to 80 hours in. doesn't work very well that way.
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>> reporter: tater says he's barely keeping his head above water. >> yeah, the middle-class has been taking the brunt of it. that's what it seems like to me. >> reporter: across the country, americans are losing ground. the new census data shows median household income dropped in 34 states last year and rose in only one: north dakota. and the disparity between rich and poor is growing. >> most people thought that inequality would decline in a recession, it didn't. it's still ticking up. >> reporter: the top 20% of earners in the country now make more than half of the income generated in the u.s. that's up from 49.7% in 2007. and the poorest 20% earn only 3% of the country's income. the great divide is a college degree. the unemployment rate for college graduates is less than 5%. for those with just a high school diploma, it's more than 10%. and according to another study, the median income for a college grad-- nearly $56,000-- is more
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than double that of workers who finished only high school. >> low-skill labor is really in trouble in this economy. the demand for their services is shrinking like crazy. the traditional ways that they moved into the middle-class-- manufacturing, construction-- are dead in the water. >> reporter: and that income gap may only grow wider even as the economy recovers because the top end usually recovers faster than the bottom. katie? >> couric: anthony mason, thank you, anthony. and jobs are the big issue in the midterm elections. election day, by the way, is five weeks away, but early voting is already under way in seven states. with control of congress at stake, president obama hit the campaign trail today. chip reid is in wisconsin tonight and, chip, young people were critical to the president's victory in 2008. can he get them to vote in november? >> reporter: well, katie, he's certainly giving it the old college try. but it's not going to be easy because many of those students behind me, are simply not
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focused on election day. >> i don't know about you, but i'm fired up. >> reporter: the president is planning a campus blitz for the final weeks of the campaign hoping to recreate some of the energy and excitement of 2008. when adoring throngs of college students helped propel him to victory. but talk to college students today and they'll tell you this time something is missing how is it different now compared to two years ago? >> less excitement. >> reporter: the reasons are many. >> he had a lot of empty promises. >> reporter: but political science professor john coleman says the main reason is simply that president obama-- still popular among young voters-- is not on the ballot. >> students don't have the connection with those candidates that they have with barack obama. they feel a personal investment in his 2008 win. >> reporter: with the tea party generating intense excitement on the political right, the president is under increasing pressure to fire up the liberal base. in an interview in this weeks "rolling stone" magazine, he lectured apathetic democrats.
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some here say they're ready for the president to fire them up. >> i was really excited to vote for the first time and i voted for obama, but i'm hoping to be, like, re-engaged. >> reporter: even many supporters of the president say some of the thrill of voting is gone. >> people have this intense idealism that they thought about him back in those days and that's kind of faded away and he's just become another politician. >> reporter: katie, it's not just the university of wisconsin. this rally is being simulcast to more than 100 other colleges and universities across the country and there are more college and university rallies to come. katie? >> couric: all right, chip reid report reporting from madison, wisconsin tonight. thanks, chip. meanwhile, ohio is often a bellwether in national elections, kind of a microcosm in the entire nation. so perhaps it's not surprising that a cbs news/"new york times" poll out tonight finds about
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three out of four ohio voters are angry or dissatisfied with washington. national correspondent dean reynolds looks at how that might play out al the polls. >> reporter: near cincinnati today, republican gubernatorial candidate john kasich spoke of the sputtering state economy. >> we're going to work together to fix it! >> reporter: it's a republican refrain across the state where the jobless rate is 10% and where 56% of ohioians in our new poll think the jobs lost are never coming back. >> we have some serious, serious problems going forward. >> so this is going to be a long hard slog, this isn't going to be easy. >> reporter: in ohio's 15th congressional district-- which includes columbus and its suburbs-- freshman democrat mary jo kilroy is running in a close rematch against republican steve stivers. she's hoping to reverse an enthusiasm gap and the finding that only 29% of ohioians say their congressman deserves reelection. >> there's no reason for democrats to be demoralized and
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as far as this g.o.p. energy, i think a lot of it is astroturf. that means it's not real grass- roots. it's phony grass-roots. >> i'll work hard to make you proud. >> reporter: stivers says kilroy's support for president obama will hurt her. >> she can't defend her record on jobs, and she can't defend her record on spending. >> reporter: obama won the state two years ago but now 58% of ohioians are disappointed in his presidency. >> i think unemployment has dominated everything. and a frustration that, you know probably all of us feel. >> because it's all about creating jobs in ohio. >> reporter: that could be why kasich is neck in neck with democratic governor ted strickland and republican senatorial candidate rob portman leads democrat lee fisher. there are 35 days until the election but early voting started here today and both sides know that two years ago john mccain got more votes here on election day but obama won the state with the lion's share of early voters. >> early voting is a critical part of our strategy. quite frankly, you can lose an election in ohio before election
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day. >> reporter: now, our poll gives the democrats something of a back handed compliment. whereas only 28% of ohioians like that job the democrats in congress are doing, only 22% like what the republicans are doing. katie? >> couric: dean reynolds reporting from columbus, ohio, tonight. meanwhile, jeff greenfield is our senior political correspondent. jeff, they may not be happy with either party in congress but clearly ohio voters are very unhappy with the job president obama is doing. why is that so significant? what does it tell us? >> i think ohio is as representative a state as any in the country. it's got everything: big cities, small towns, minorities, blue- collar, catholics, evangelicals. it's been with the winner in every presidential election since 1960. so the numbers that show that obama is in negative territory on job approval reflect, i think fairly, a broader national dissatisfaction. >> couric: we should note this is especially troubling for democrats since they have of late made real progress in the buckeye state.
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>> reporter: ohio was a major democratic success story. they took almost every statewide office in 2006, took a senate seat. obama won the state comfortably in 2008. they had real hopes of a senate seat take away this year. so this dissatisfaction clearly centered in the economy is another indication that the high hopes of four years and two years ago are now looking very troubled for democrats, indeed. >> couric: jeff greenfield, as always, thanks so much. in other news, a chilling flashback at the university of texas near the scene of one of this country's worst shooting rampages. a 19-year-old sophomore opened fire today with an a.k.-47 in front of the u.t. tower. at least six shots were fired but no one was hit. the gunman then ran into a library and took his own life. the police would not speculate on a possible motive. in 1966, a u.t. student fired shot after shot from the top of that tower. 16 people were killed and three dozen others wounded before police killed the shooter. now turning to the war in afghanistan.
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u.s. forces have dramatically escalated their attacks just over the border into pakistan which has been a safe haven for al qaeda and the taliban. today a c.i.a. missile reportedly killed four militants in south waziristan, that makes at least the 21 drone attacks this month a record. for american troops, the threat from pakistan is a constant one. chief foreign affairs correspondent lara logan on assignment for "60 minutes" was with them on the border and under fire. >> we've got to move, guys, i'm getting pinned down from both sides. >> reporter: the ambush was well timed, hitting u.s. soldiers at the most vulnerable spot in this remote canyon a few miles from the afghan border with pakistan. they made it out safely by running from rock to rock through the gun fire. but very often in this hostile border area, they don't get so lucky. their enemy is a mix of afghan's al qaeda and the pakistani taliban, the same group behind the attempted bombing in new york's times square last may.
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you're fighting afghan taliban but you're also fighting pakistani taliban? >> yes. >> reporter: lieutenant colonel joel vowell commands a forward operating base less than five miles from the pakistani border. you lost eight soldiers in your first 30 days? >> that unfortunately woke us up from a deep sleep, i think. that's when i picked up on the fact that there's a deliberate thought process from pakistan taliban to go after us in a much more concerted, intense way. >> incoming, incoming, incoming! >> reporter: vowell says the fights may be in afghanistan, but the war is being run from pakistan. how powerful are those taliban shadow governments that are operating from pakistan? >> they're effective enough to resource, train, and get these soldiers for jihad to come across the border. >> reporter: they announce operations? >> uh-huh. >> reporter: they help to finance, train, and recruit? >> they have to. it doesn't come out of thin air.
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>> reporter: major general john campbell is vowell's boss. what worries him as much as the border, is losing support for the war back home. >> if we lose the support of the american people and we have to come out of afghanistan without completing this mission, then i think our country has failed. >> reporter: general campbell has lost 59 of his soldiers since they arrived in afghanistan eight months ago. the pressure to turn this war around lies heavily on his shoulders. lara logan, cbs news, afghanistan. >> couric: in colombia, it's been raining heavily for weeks and today a mountainside gave way northwest of bogota. at least 20 people were buried in the mud slide and are presumed dead. many were passengers changing from one bus to another because a mountain road was blocked. officials say it could take a week to dig them out. and there was tragedy today in
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mexico in the southern state of oaxaca. homes were buried by a landslide. at first the authorities feared hundreds had been killed but they now say only four deaths have been confirmed and at least a dozen people are missing. and still ahead here on the "cbs evening news," a contest to win face time with some of the cutest animals on earth. but up next, don't know much about theology. in this very religious nation, some surprising gaps in our knowledge. boss: our breakout session is gonna be great. got the gecko t-shirt... "4 million drivers switched!" gecko water bottle... notebook... chamois... gecko: sir, i feel a little bit uncomfortable with all... you know... with all this. i mean, it's not about me. should be about how geico's the third-largest car insurance company in the nation. things like that. boss: oh, of course! we're not gonna get carried away. gecko: uh...yeah... all right as long as we don't overdo it. vo: geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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what soup can do.™ >> couric: the subject of president obama's religion came up again today and he spoke about it more personally than he usually does. asked at a campaign stop why he chose to become christian, he said he wanted to lead his life the way christ taught: to be your brother's keeper and treat others as you want to be treated. surveys have found this country one of the most religious in the world, but our knowledge of religion? if a pew survey out today is correct, heaven help us. here's chief national correspondent byron pitts. >> reporter: for the overwhelming majority of americans, religion is a central part of life. we wake up and watch it. >> this is my bible. >> reporter: pay tribute to it. lord knows we argue over it. but how much do americans really know about religion? >> we're a nation of religious illiterates. >> reporter: stephen prothero is a professor of religion at boston university. >> we have a lot of people who
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love jesus but don't know much about him. we have a lot of people who believe and hope that the bible is the word of god but they don't really bother to read it. >> reporter: and it shows. on average, americans correctly answered 16 of 32 religious knowledge survey questions. >> the three groups that come out on top in this survey are atheists and agnostics, jews along with mormons. >> reporter: at the bottom? >> mainline protestants, catholics and those who describe their religion as just nothing in particular. >> reporter: here's some of the results from the survey. when asked the dalai lama's religion... >> hindu? >> i'm going to say hindu. >> some sort of middle eastern religion. >> reporter: fewer than half of americans correctly answered that the dalai lama is... >> buddhist.
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>> reporter: name of the first book of the bible. >> i don't know. >> reporter: more than a third of americans don't know genesis is the first book of the bible. here's another: what day does the jewish sabbath begin? >> i'm going to say saturday. >> it begins on saturday. >> reporter: less than half know the jewish sabbath begins on... >> friday. >> reporter: reverend nancy lane associate pastor at roswell united methodist church just outside atlanta says faith without knowledge can be dangerous. >> somehow we've diluted down the gospel message where people have become more takers than their mutual givers. >> reporter: is your faith more inspiration or information? >> inspiration, clearly. >> reporter: this 55-year-old businessman says he didn't find christianity until he almost lost his life to drugs and alcohol. for him, religion is based on spirit and faith, not a fact sheet. >> can i say it's irrelevant? >> reporter: irrelevant? >> yeah. >> reporter: irrelevant knowing the history, the books, the tenets? >> has nothing to do with it. yes. >> reporter: nothing at all? >> nothing. >> reporter: because? >> because it's a matter of faith. >> reporter: religion remains a powerful inspirational force in the lives of most americans.
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but it's the information at the core religion where believers and non-believers still have room to grow. byron pitts, cbs news, roswell, georgia. , roswell, georgia. ♪ i love my grandma. i love you grandma. grandma just makes me happy. ♪ to know, know, know you grandma is the bestest. the total package. grandpa's cooooooooool. way cool. ♪ grandpa spoils me rotten. ♪ to know, know, know you ♪ is to love... some people call us frick and frack. we do finger painting. this is how grandpa and i roll. ♪ and i do [ pins fall ] grandma's my best friend.
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>> couric: no nation in the world is as isolated and secretive as north korea but its
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dictator kim jong-il is in failing health and there's been speculation about who might succeed him. today his youngest son kim jong- un was named a four-star general and given a top political post. still in his 20s, some experts believe he's now in line to one day rule north korea. a health scare today for jimmy carter, the former president who's on a tour promoting his latest book. he became ill on a flight from atlanta to cleveland. an ambulance met him at the airport and took him to the hospital. a spokesman for carter says it was just an upset stomach. he'll spend the night in the hospital and resume the booker tour later this week. the former president turns 86 on friday. 38 states now ban texting while driving, but are young drivers getting the message? today a study of four states-- california, louisiana, minnesota and washington-- shows text- related accidents actually increased for drivers under 25 after bans were enacted.
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researchers suggest drivers may be hiding their phones out of view of the police and as a result averting their eyes from the road even more. in colombia, a bullfight turned tragic in a graphic episode that was caught on tape. the annual event was going well on sunday until some drunken spectators jumped into the ring. three men were killed by the charging bulls and 37 were hurt. no word on what happened to the bulls. [ rattling ] [ gasps ] [ rattling ] [ laughing ] [ announcer ] close enough just isn't good enough. - if your car is in an accident, - [ laughing continues ] make sure it's repaired with the right replacement parts. take the scary out of life with travelers. call or click now for an agent or quote.
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i know people are wondering-- now that the well is capped, is bp gonna meet its commitments? i was born in new orleans. my family still lives here. i'm gonna be here until we make this right. [ commearlier, she hady vonn! an all-over achy cold... what's her advantage? it's speedy alka-seltzer! [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus rushes relief for all-over achy colds. the official cold medicine of the u.s. ski team. alka-seltzer plus.
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in school history. next. the admissions flip flop by cal state in mid-year. at 6 the arrest of a serial >> couric: we end tonight with a reality show of sorts-- one where the prize is proximity. celia hatton reports it's a chance to get close to some of the most endangered and adorable animals on earth. >> reporter: pandas are the rock stars of the animal kingdom, drawing crowds and cameras to their every move. so it's no surprise a global competition to serve as a pambassador-- or panda ambassador-- is intense. winners get to spend a month in china working closely with these endangered animals. the contest attracted 61,000 entries from 52 countries.
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the payoff for this contest is to help preserve the wild panda and publicize its plight, but these captive pandas live a life of relative luxury. they eat bamboo for ten hours a day and sleep for an additional 12. caring for the pandas is the job of a dozen contest finalist at southern china's chengdu panda reserve. they're vying for six spots, learning how to make panda protein pies and literally showering the objects of their affection. >> this is just so amazing! dreams can come true, kids. they can. >> reporter: the only american contender-- ashley robertson-- has loved pandas since she was a little girl in alabama. >> when i came across this contest i thought, oh, my gosh, golden opportunity right here in my hands. >> reporter: the finalists have become chinese media darlings. in this country, the panda craze is as clear as black and white. there's the panda car, panda
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luxury cigarettes, and, yes, here even man's best friend is repainted as china's favorite animal. just 1,600 pandas still exist in the wild. conservationists hope the contest hoopla will draw attention to the giant bears' shrinking forest with the hope that by celebrating pandemonium in panda reserves this rare animal sibling will have a chance at a future in the wild. celia hatton, cbs news, chengdu, china. >> couric: they really are so cute. and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric. thank you for watching, i'll see you tomorrow. until then, you can get the latest news online at good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh
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your realtime captioner is linda marie macdonald. caption colorado, l.l.c. a san franci mes to a scree why should we go over the field when they step down on our neck? no, we not bringing no... >> a san francisco tradition comes to a halt. what's behind the silence of the cable cars. big losses for cal. how the school decided which sports programs to cut altogether. and for anyone who owns a luxury car, steer clear of this individual. good evening, i'm allen martin. >> i'm dana king. [ cable car bells ] for more than half a century, it was an event san francisco could claim uniquely as its own. a sure fire draw for tourists and media and a line in the history books for the proud winner bu not


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