tv Today NBC December 18, 2012 7:00am-11:00am EST
good morning. breaking news. nbc's richard engel and his crew freed overnight after a dramatic firefight in syria. they had been kidnapped and held for five days. this morning, they are with us live and will tell us what happened. everyday hero. she was principal who laid down her life for her students in the tragic school shooting in connecticut. what her daughter wants the world to know about her mother. and a deal in sight this morning. republicans and democrats could be closer than ever to an agreement on the fiscal cliff today. tuesday, december 18th, 2012.
from nbc news, this is "today," with matt lauer and savannah guthrie. live from studio 1a in rockefeller plaza. and good morning. welcome to "today" on a tuesday morning. i'm savannah guthrie. >> i'm david gregory in for matt this morning. we've had some terrible news to cover recently. we have such great news this morning that we can share with everyone. our friend and colleague richard engel and his team have been freed unharmed and there they are. we look forward to talking to all of them to find out about their ordeal. >> a lot of us are exhaling this morning. of course, we'll get the latest from newtown, connecticut. natalie morales is there this morning where two more funerals for the victims of the shooting will be held today. we'll get to her, but we'll give you the latest developments. sandy hook elementary school remains closed today, but newtown's other schools are reopening this morning for the first time since the shooting. >> as for the investigation,
police hoped adam lanza's computer would provide some clues about a motive, but they say it has been badly damaged and so far those efforts have been unsuccessful. we're also learning that lanza had been assigned a psychologist when he was a student at newtown high school. we'll have much more on all of these developments coming up. we want to begin with the news we just received this morning. nbc's richard engel and his team were freed from captors in syria where they were held for five days. richard joins us now from turkey along with his photographer and producer. gentlemen, may i be the first to say it is so good to see your faces. richard, can you take us through and tell us what happened? >> yes, and it is good to be here. i'm very happy that we're able to do this live shot this morning. we were driving in syria about five days ago in what we thought was a rebel controlled area. we were with some of the rebels. and as we were moving down the
road, a group of gunmen just literally jumped out of the trees and bushes on the side of the road, there were probably 15 guen, they were wearing ski masks, they were heavily armed. they dragged us out of the car. they had a container truck positioned waiting by the side of the road. they put us into that container truck. we were with some gunmen, rebels who were escorting us. they executed one of them on the spot. then they took us to a series of safe houses and interrogation places. and they kept us blindfolded, bound. we weren't physically beaten or tortured. it was a lot of psychological torture. threats of being killed. they made us choose which one of us would be shot first. when we refused, there were mock shootings. they pretended to shoot him several times. when you were blindfolded. and then they fired the gun up in the air. it can be a very traumatic
experience. at the end of this, we were being moved to yet another location in the area, around 11:00 last night local time. as we were moving down the road, the kidnappers came across a rebel check point, something they hadn't expected. so we were in the back of what you would think of as a minivan. as we were driving along the road, the kidnappers saw this check point, started a gunfight. two of the kidnappers were killed. we climbed out of the vehicle and the rebels took us. we spent the night with them. we didn't get much sleep. and we came right here and we just got into turkey a short while ago. i still have on me -- i think these guys do as well -- the bandages in our pockets. these are the clothes we were wearing. >> made from our bed sheets. >> yeah, they were torn from the bed sheets we were in. it was a traumatic experience. we're very happy to be here. we're in good health.
we're okay. everyone was great. nbc was fantastic in informing our families and keeping up to date, keeping this story quiet. we're obviously very happy, there are many people who are still not at liberty to do this kind of thing, still hostages, still people who don't have their freedom inside syria. we wish them well. >> richard, it's david. let me just add, it is so great to see you and your team and to hear from you this morning. can you take us a little bit more through who you think this was? did they seem experienced? you and your team have been throughout syria. what clues were you getting along the way about what they wanted? >> yeah, i think i have a very good idea of who they were. this was a group known as the shabiha. this is a government militia. they are loyal to president assad. they are shiite.
they were talking openly about their loyalty to the government, openly expressing their shia faith. they are trained by iranian revolutionary guard. they are allied with hezbollah. we were told that they wanted to exchange us for four iranian agents and two lebanese people and other members had been captured by the rebels, they captured us nin order to carry out this exchange. that's what they were hoping to do. they were going to bring us to a hezbollah stronghold inside syria right now. we were on our way there when we ran into this rebel check point. and we had this escape and freedom. >> and richard, i know you are all very experienced. but i wonder how you are feeling this morning, how you're doing, and how you're processing what must have been an absolutely
terrifying experience. >> gazi, you want that? >> well, to be honest, when we first got captured, it was -- for me, at least, it was a bit of a moment of disbelief. with those guys a long time in harsh environments. we work with each other very well. that i was captured with heath ledger -- with them because we kept each other's spirit up. there were moments of dispair for me about my family. it did help a lot that we were together. i must say, we were freed yesterday with the rescue by the rebels. one of the happiest moments of my life. i must say that. >> we had talked about that today. you find a happy spot.
i, for one, found a very happy spot and i stayed there. but during the ordeal, i made good with my maker, made good with myself. i was prepared to die many times. >> moving was the hardest part. >> it was disconcerting the move blindfolded from house to house. >> and you think they're going to take you outside to execute you. >> for five days. >> but we did find that happy spot. >> we passed messages to each other. >> we joked around. we weren't allowed to speak, but if you sort of look -- kind of peek underneath the blindfold, you can see if maybe there's a guard in the room or not and we tried to joke a little bit back and forth and keep our spirits up. >> well, richard, john, and gazi, we are profoundly grateful to see you this morning. i think we can take a moment and say how beloved you are by this
organization and how thankful we are that you're here with us. i know we'll be talking a lot more soon in the coming days. thank you, be well, get some rest. >> we will, guys. >> thanks. >> amen to that. now we want to turn to the other big story we're following this morning and that is the tragedy at sandy hook elementary. natalie morales is at newtown this morning. natalie, good morning to you. >> reporter: good morning, david. with exactly a week to go until christmas, the christmas tree here at the center of the town behind me is now a growing makeshift memorial. you see balloons, you see the teddy bears, you see the emotional messages, all a touching tribute tohe young victims of the tragic shooting at sandy hook elementary school. today, two more young children will be laid to rest. on monday, the first of the victims was remembered by this community overcome by its grief. hundreds gathered on monday to say goodbye to 6-year-old jack pinto. a little boy who loved sports, idolized the new york giants'
victor cruz, who remembered pinto sunday. his father called the loss unimaginable, and said most of all, jack loved to play with his friends and keep up with his big brother. many of those friends attended the service. much too young to say goodbye. >> they were being comforted, and yet protected. a message of you're being secure now, because the worst is over. >> reporter: not far away, mourners remembered 6-year-old noah pozner, the little boy with a perpetual smile, described as a smart, funny child, who loved to eat tacos and loved animals. pozner's mother spoke at the service, calling noah her little man. noah's twin sister ariel survived the shooting in another classroom. near sandy hook elementary, messages of hope surround the ever growing memorial to the victims. as the town tries to cope, investigators are searching for answers. on monday, atf agents verified that nancy lanza and her son had
visited local shooting ranges to practice firing weapons, though they hadn't done so in recent months. police say adam lanza was carrying hundreds of rounds of ammunition when he arrived at the school on friday. at newtown high school where adam lanza attended class, former teachers say a psychologist was assigned to help protect him. family friends say he struggled with a mild form of autism. and a former school official says lanza had another disorder. he was insensitive to emotional and physical pain. mental health experts say both conditions have no clear connection to violence. >> i've been asked so many times, was he bullied? i can say it's impossible because we all watched him so closely. >> reporter: on monday, moving trucks arrived at sandy hook elementary, now a crime scene. wednesday, students will return to class, but at a different school with plenty of help to make it through. >> the overwhelming support from the community and seeing the
town come together like this is amazing. i'm proud to say that i'm from here. >> reporter: on monday, police confirmed that two adults who were also shot at the school miraculously survived. police say they will question them as soon as they are ready. they are now recovering from their injuries. david? >> natalie, thank you very much. we want to get a check of the morning's other top stories. we've got tamron at the news desk. >> good morning, everyone. with less than two weeks to go until the fiscal cliff deadline, new signs of progress in our nation's capital. chuck todd has the latest. chuck, good morning. >> reporter: good morning, tamron. they're very close. 24 hours after speaker boehner delivered a counteroffer to the president that talked about raising rates on people that made a million dollars or more, the white house came up with their own counteroffer. they would like to raise tax rates on those that make
$400,000 or more, which sup from the original demands of $250,000. overall, the president is looking for $1.2 trillion in tax cuts. he believes they proposed $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, if you will, a total package of $2.4 trillion when it comes to deficit reduction. boehner's folks over there, the republican speaker, they questioned some of the math that the white house came up with, particularly on the spending cuts side. tamron, today is going to be a big day because the rank and file of both the democrats in the house and the republicans in the house get more details about these various counteroffers, how they react to it could dictate how negotiations go over the next 24 hours. but as it stands right now, tamron, it does feel like a deal, or at least the framework of a deal is within reach and we may see it maybe before thursday. >> all right, chuck, thank you very much. medal of honor recipient
daniel inway of hawaii has passed away. the world war ii hero is being remembered for his influential role in the watergate scandal. the first japanese american to serve in congress was third in the line of presidential succession. he was 88 years old. nbc's "the voice" paid tribute last night to the victims of the school shooting at sandy hook elementary. ♪ hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah ♪ >> that, of course, "hallelujah" by leonard cohen. you could see they were holding up the names of each of the victims. it was such a powerful moment. another one that we've seen. >> a stark reminder just how many victims there were, indeed. we'll take a turn and get
our first check of the weather, al. >> we've got a big winter storm going out west. you can see we've got blizzard warnings, winter storm warnings and blizzard watches stretching from nevada all the way into wisconsin. we are looking at a lot of snow really getting itself together later this afternoon. snowfall amounts -- basically we're talking about in some of the mountainous areas, one to two feet of snow in the central rockies. in the northeast, a big storm up into new england and snowfall amounts in parts of maine up to a foot of snow. we'll get your local forecast right after this message. ♪ ♪
>> good morning i'm tom kierein. on on the storm team 4 radar, we're gett getting sprinkles in west virginia and parts of western mar maryland a dis a disturbance that will pass over over us the middle of the day, perhaps around 10:00 a.m. or 11:0 11:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. with with may get some sprinkles otherwise we'll get sunshine fro from time to time and temperatures climbing into the upper 50s this afternoon. th then tomorrow, lots of sunshine and and lighter wind. that's your latest weather. savannah? >> all right, al, thank you. we're learning more this morning about adam lanza and his family history. today national investigative correspondent jeff rossum is here with that story. >> we've heard a lot about adam lanza and we've heard a lot about his mother, but now we have new information about his relationship with his father,
peter. a source close to the family tells nbc news adam had cut off communication with his dad, even refusing to see him. in the chaotic hours after adam lanza's rampage, a local reporter showed up at his father's doorstep to break the news. >> his face went from patient to surprise to horror. it was pretty clear to me that he was surprised that somebody he loved was involved with what was happening up in newtown. >> reporter: peter lanza is a successful finance executive at ge, part owner of nbc universal. a source close to the family says in 2001, he separated from adam's mother, nancy, but he still saw adam every week. in 2009, the lanzas officially divorced. adam was 17. >> they were the type of parents, even when they were married as well as being separated, if the kids had a need, they would definitely fill
it. >> reporter: but the source says by 2010, peter lanza was dating a new woman who he later married and adam suddenly cut his dad off. despite his father's attempts to see him. peter lanza hadn't seen or heard from his son since then. now nbc news has obtained the divorce documents between adam's parents. peter and nancy agreed on joint legal custody of adam. he lived full-time with his mom in this spacious connecticut home. adam's dad was fully supporting them. this year, more than $289,000 in alimony. peter also volunteered to pay for adam's college, car, and medical insurance. eric broder is a connecticut divorce attorney. >> it was a very friendly divorce. the parties represented themselves and they seemed to reach an agreement that they both found fair and equitable. i would ten take clients like this any day, nice and easy. >> reporter: according to their
divorce mediator, adams parents were concerned about his needs and nancy didn't like to leave him alone. the source close to the family tells nbc news adam's father never saw any violent behavior from him. >> when the parents divorced, those children feel lost. >> reporter: psychologist and nbc news contributor jeff gardere. >> you look at these court papers. this divorce seemed pretty imkabbalai cabable. >> they tend to feel guilty. they tend to feel that maybe they did something that contributed to that divorce. but they also see that the foundation that they've had in their lives, the stability is being torn asunder. >> of course, right now, no one knows exactly what caused adam's violent spiral. his father has not spoken publicly yet, just releasing a statement saying he cannot comprehend what has unfolded. he is saddened and struggling to
still ahead, how the tragedy in connecticut has heated up the debate over guns in america. should assault rifles be banned? we'll get into that. also, our friend maria shriver will join us live to talk about dealing with grief. but first, these messages and a check of your local news and weather. [ laughter ] smoke? nah, i'm good. ♪ [ male announcer ] every time you say no to a cigarette, you celebrate a little win. nicoderm cq, the patch with time release smart control technology
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good morning, damp and chi chilly around most of the region an and we're in the 40s to near 50 de degrees. pa patchy fog and areas west of i-95. mi mid day, gusts to around 30 mil miles an hour and highs reaching the the upper 50s and tomorrow, lots of of sunshine, wind and rain like likely on thursday afternoon and into the evening and then windy and colder weather friday through the weekend and first part part of next weekend. dane danella? >> >> this car was turned on its side and it's back ready to be to towed but the ramp is blocking
7:30 now on this tuesday morning. it is the 18th of december, 2012, as we look at one of the touching tributes in newtown, connecticut, to to victims of the shooting at sandy hook elementary school. good morning, everyone. anywhere you go in that town, there are signs, there are flowers, there are teddy bears. the whole town just has an outpouring of support for those who were lost. >> it's going to be that way a long time, i imagine. coming up, the man who lives across the street from the school and sheltered young survivors who escaped. he will join us to scare his own emotional story. a lot of parents want to
know, how do you talk to your kids about the difficult topic of death? we'll get into that with maria shriver. she's written a children's book as a starting point for parents on this issue of grieving and loss. >> even talking about this incident. we were discussing it's very difficult. we'll also talk about therapy dogs. they have traveled from far away to help people in newtown heal. we'll have that story. we want to begin this half-hour with one of the faces of this tragedy. principal dawn hochsprung ran to confront the gunman. one of her daughters, erica lafferty, is with us now along with her fiance. good morning to both of you. i want to offer our deepest condolences for the loss of your mom. she sounds like she was a wonderful person. and we're just so sorry. how are you doing this morning? >> a loud truck. sorry. hanging in. it's been tough.
but to say she was a wonderful person is the understatement of the century. >> and that's part of the reason we wanted to hear from you this morning, because sometimes when you lose someone, you want the world to know how special they were. what would you want people to know about your mom? >> she put her life into making everyone else's lives so much better. her smile just lit up every building she walked into. she made an impact on everyone that she's ever come across, every adult, every child. especially the kids. the light of her life. >> out of this awful tragedy, erica and christopher, we have heard amazing stories of heroism, and your mom is really at the center of that, as we mentioned, she ran toward the gunfire, she confronted the gunman. when you heard that did you think to yourself, that is just like the woman i know?
>> i had a really hard time not being mad about it. but that's who she was. you know, she faced every single problem that she ever had in her life head-on. you know, my cousin referred to her as a bull yesterday. you know, there's no stopping dawn when she has a mission. she gets it done and she gives it everything she has. >> christopher, i know you and erica are engaged. i've heard that dawn treated you basically like you were already a son-in-law. you must be incredibly proud of her and what she did. >> yeah. for some reason, dawn loved me and it's my job now to just be there for her daughter. and i accept that job with open
arms. and i'll be there for her any way possible. >> and erica, i understand that your mom used to write you letters, which she called "just because" letters. she wrote you just because. which is a wonderful thing to do and a great thing to have now. can you tell me about those letters? >> yeah. i actually have one that i found last night when i was looking for pictures. this one i think was sent the first time that i moved out, i went back and forth a couple times because i was a momma's girl and always needed her close. but this one is, today i stopped and thought what a wonderful daughter i have, and i thought i'd tell dearest erica, you wil forever be my sweet baby girl. you possess a piece of my heart and soul and i will never be
complete without you. remember this in your darkest times, you are never alone, your mom. be safe, be well, be happy, no one deserves it more. >> erica, i'm so glad you have that letter. i know you'll be treasuring it. thank you for coming on and telling us more about this amazing woman. and our best to you and to you, christopher, as well. >> thanks. >> thank you very much. and we will take a turn now. we're going to get another check of the weather from mr. roekero. >> thank you so much, savannah. as we look at this storm system, it's bringing warmer than usual temperatures in front of it. wichita, 58. mi midland texas, temperatures 18 degrees above normal. behind it much colder air. 35 35 in med foord. reno reno, 15 degrees cooler with a high of 31. as we show you the storm system it will bring heavy snow to the
ro rockies. rai rain in the pacific northwest. icy icy and snowy conditions. and and on into the upstate new york and and central new england. that's what's going on around the country, here's what's happ happening in your neck of the woo woods. >> still mostly cloudy and we ha have some patchy fog west of i-95. sp sprinkles of rain in the mo mountains. tho those may make their yay as far east as the metro. ahead of that we're in the 40s to ne to near 50. it it will climb into the 50s by lat later this afternoon and the win winds will increase as well. gu gusting to around 30 miles an ho hour. to tomorrow, sunny and lighter winds and a bit chillier and rain likely thursday afternoon and evening and windy and colder and that's your latest weather. you need your weather any time of the day or night, go to the weather channel or weatherchannel.com. still ahead, we'll talk about who might be this year's
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coming up on 7:40 now. the massacre of so many at sandy hook elementary has sparked a new discussion about gun violence in america, even among people who have previously not supported any gun control regulation. nbc's tom costello is in washington with that part of the story. good morning, tom. >> hi, david. picking up on the discussion from "meet the press" over the weekend, we're talking about the assault weapons ban that congress allowed to expire in 2004. this morning, there is a growing chorus of voices, including some nra members calling for a new assault weapons ban to prevent any more tragedies. just four days since the massacre at sandy hook, signs of movement in the decades-long gun control debate. it began with president obama. >> are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom? >> reporter: by monday morning,
joe scarborough, now an msnbc host, came out forcefully against assault weapons. >> it is time for congress to put children before deadly dogmas. it's time for politicians to start focusing more on protecting our schoolyards. than putting together their next fundraiser. >> reporter: then, one of the biggest pro-gun senators. >> as your senator, i'll protect your second amendment rights. >> reporter: joe manchin of west virginia announced he too is changing his mind. >> i don't know of anybody, those hunting with an assault rifle, i don't know anybody that needs those types of multiple clips as far as ammunition. >> reporter: mark warner of virginia agreed. then the mayors of chicago -- >> it's time we as a country have a solid ban. >> reporter: and new york. >> this is just ridiculous. this is an outrage. we are killing each other, and we're the only industrialized country in the world doing it. >> reporter: mayor bloomberg is among gun regulation advocates
who have long called on congress to enact a new assault weapons ban to replace the one that expired in 2004. a ban on high capacity ammo clips and to close gun show loopholes and demand background checks of anyone who buys a gun. bloomberg also promised to use his own vast personal wealth to take on the gun lobby if necessary. >> shame on the nra. shame on the nra. >> reporter: with protesters outside its washington office -- >> i'd like to think that we're in the beginning of a fire being started under the american people. i think it's time. >> reporter: the nra has remained silent since the massacre, but amid the talk of new gun laws, many gun stores have reported a surge in sales. in florida, they were running 450 background checks an hour. >> will it stop somebody that's a convicted felon? will it stop somebody that has prior arrests? yes, it will. >> reporter: this week, florida will issue its one millionth concealed weapon permit.
dick's sporting goods says it is suspending the sale of certain kinds of semiautomatic rifles from its chains nationwide following the shooting. and walmart has pulled the bushmaster rifle from its website. the bushmaster was the weapon used in the massacre. david? >> tom costello in washington for us this morning. republican congressman jason chavitz of utah is with us. where are you on this? the last few days, people who think like you do, democrats who are gun rights activists who believe something's got to give. do you believe that? >> my wife and i have three kids. if there's anything we could do to make sure that this never, ever, ever happens again, of course, i would support it. but unfortunately, i don't know that this is necessarily the right direction. what i do believe is common ground, that we should attack. this intersection between the use of lethal weapons and the access to lethal weapons and those that are mentally ill.
particularly those teenagers who are having a difficult time making that transition into adulthood. we wipe their record clean, we've got parents who feel powerless because now they're 18 years old and they can't do anything. teachers in schools that know that this child has a problem. and yet suddenly because they're magically 18 years old, we've got to protect their freedoms. >> no question mental health is a huge issue that comes out of this. everyone has a role here. if we can stipulate to that. my question is do you not see any room for stricter gun regulations to at least mitigate the potential for these kinds of scenarios? >> well, look, i'll have an open mind. i want to be one of those people that's reasonable and will listen to anything. we did have an assault weapons ban for ten years. the crime rate was going down before it, the crime rate, when it was lifted, continued to go down. assault weapons account for less than 2% of the murders in this country. if you're in that 2%, believe me, i understand that. but if you're going to attack
the bigger, broader part of the problem and the challenge, i don't think that this country has necessarily addressed the mental health issue. >> do you believe that if assault weapons are banned, that the government is going to come after your guns? >> i don't believe that the government will necessarily come after my guns. >> so what is the argument against an assault weapons ban other than if you do that, it's a slippery slope? i've tried to understand that before. >> well, i'm a concealed carried permit holder. i have a handgun. i have a shotgun. i believe it's my constitutional right to do this. i'm not part of the problem. we've got to make sure that those that have criminal backgrounds, that have a propensity for doing this, that have mental health issues, i still think we haven't done enough to this. and if you look at some of these mass murders and some of these horrific kill thaings that are happening across the country, that's a huge part of the equation that has not been addressed. >> quickly, congressman, do you think on school campuses across the country, do you think armed guards?
do you think carrying weapons could do more to lessen the danger? >> you're going to have to deal with that school by school. in utah, we do allow that to a degree. we don't want these schools to become fortresses where you can't -- it's not palatable. but if you have somebody who's comfortable carrying a gun, i feel comfortable with that as long as they pass the proper background checks. but you don't necessarily want to arm teachers and try to get them to do something. guns aren't for everybody, necessarily. but those that are comfortable carrying it, that are properly trained, that go through this background check, i do feel comfortable do that. >> debate will continue. thank you so much this morning. >> thanks. coming up next here, a first look at the short list for "time" magazine's person of the year.
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will you marry me? [ female announcer ] the visibly brighter leo diamond. handcrafted by the master diamond artisans at leo schachter. at kay, the number-one jewelry store in america. yes. ♪ every kiss begins with kay "today" is brought to you by mercedes-benz, engineering some of the most advanced vehicles on the road today. and this morning, who will be "time's" person of the year? back in 2011, the protester graced the cover. >> in a moment, we'll have an exclusive first look at this year's short list of nominees, but first, we asked some other big names who they would pick. >> my person of the year is
lawrence diprimo, the new york city policeman who bought a pair of shoes for a man with bare feet on a freezing cold day. he reminds us of how important random acts of kindness are. >> president obama, because we're facing some of the biggest challenges in his ability to unify the country or not. it's going to make all the difference in the world. >> the latino american will be the largest minority in this country by year 2020. you cannot win an election in this country anymore without the latino-american. >> the unemployed american worker. just about every single aspect of the president's domestic agenda will deal with unemployment and that group of unemployed voters. >> malala. you have this 15-year-old girl really right in the heart of darkness. as a beacon of light. >> my choice for person of the year is aung san suu kyi. >> curiosity, the mars rover,
not just because we are distantly related. >> hillary clinton. she has worked extremely hard and effectively to maintain a sense of calmness and good will around the world. >> i am going to go with a bunch of boys by the name of one direction. ♪ baby you light up my world like nobody else ♪ they're the talk of the world right now. and it's not depressing. so i hope it's them. ♪ that's what makes you beautiful ♪ >> okay, those were good choices but who will "time" pick? let's get to our exclusive look at the magazine's short list. first up, malala, the 15-year-old pakistani girl shot after speaking about her simple wish to go to school. >> that's a pretty interesting choice. then there's president barack obama. he was "time's" person of the year back in 2008. the only group on the list, the undocumented american. something larry king was talking about. talking about latinos.
that would include some illegal immigrants as well. >> bill and hillary clinton also on the list, along with egyptian president, controversial person as well, mohamed morsi. >> and then the revolutionary discovery of the god particle made the list, as did apple's new ceo tim cook. >> and then finally, a high-profile working mom, yahoo!'s ceo marisa meyer. a lot of people were watching her because she went back to work after having her baby within a couple weeks. so she certainly stirred some controversy. so who should be "time's" person of theyear? you can weigh in on today.com. we are going to reveal -- we are going to reveal the actual winner tomorrow on "today." coming up here, maria shriver on dealing with loss. first, your local news. [ engine revs ] ♪
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>> 7:56 is your time now on this this tuesday, december 18th, 2012. a new problem on the beltway right now. danella has your first 4 tr traffic. it's at the exact spot as before and another accident was bloc blocking the right lane as you app approach 355 outer loop of the beltway. they they moved it over to the sho shoulder lane and delays on the oute outer loop, eight miles. an an eight-mile backup. we'll we'll show you the delays at georgia avenue. heav heavy on the brakes the entire way. cros crossing over the 14th street br bridging with that multivehicle crash blocking the center lane it' it's out of the roadway but you' you're jammed on the beltway. >> >> >> a look at your fo
good morning, we have areas of fog outside the metro area and and temperatures in the 40s to near near 50 and later today. into into the mid-to-upper 50s and could get some mid day sprinkles and blustery winds this an. to tomorrow, sunshine and chillier an and rain likely thursday afte afternoon and evening and then win windy and colder weather moving in in for friday through the weeke weekend and first part of next we week. >> >> tom, thank you. another news update in 25 mi minutes. ba back to the today show.
8:00 now on this tuesday morning. it's the 18th of december, 2012. we stepped outside to say hello to the fine folks who come out here to rockefeller plaza. a little bit of a drizzly day. they're here to check out the beautiful rockefeller christmas tree as we are one week away from christmas day as we speak. as we say good morning to them, we say good morning to you. i'm savannah guthrie alongside david gregory, who's in for matt, and al roker. just ahead, it will feel good to smile a little bit. we've got the right guest for that.
billy crystal is here. he's got a new movie with bette midler. it's his grandparent movie. >> i've already got my plans to see this. also we'll talk a little bit more about sandy hook and the tragedy there. a really interesting story about a man who actually lives near the school, a psychologist who came upon some of the kids outside who were able to get away from the school and talk to them and comforted them. he's got his own emotional story. we'll talk to him coming up. and everybody who's got kids has been really grappling with. how do you talk to your kids about grief and loss? our good friend maria shriver wrote a book about that, a children's book called "what's heaven" and she's going to help us sort through it all. it's always good to see maria. we have a quick programming note. tomorrow on "today," jenna bush hager sits down with first lady michelle obama and they talk about something both of them know about, which is christmas at the white house. we're going to have their conversation tomorrow on "today." but we will begin this half-hour with the latest from connecticut, where the funerals
are starting for some of these victims. let's get to natalie morales, who's got the latest. natalie, good morning again. >> and good morning to you, savannah. two more young children will be laid to rest again here today. now with a week to go until christmas day, this tragedy really hitting, as you see, right here. the christmas tree is now just covered. it's a makeshift memorial with balloons, messages of hope, christmas trees set up here, and flowers everywhere you look, and these makeshift memorials pretty much cover all of the town here. it's so hard to think of the 20 young lives that were taken here and the six staff members of sandy hook elementary school as well. we did learn more about adam lanza, the 20-year-old shooter who took those lives. we've learned that according to school psychologists at his high school, he had been assigned a psychologist who was overseeing his treatment and care. we understand as well that he did have a disorder, he had some
sort of aspergers type disorder, although mental health experts say that is not a reason for violence in this case. we know as well that his parents were divorced and that he was, in fact, in his mother's custody since that divorce in 2009. but again, police are trying to piece together what could have motivated him to go to that elementary school and to take those children and those adults' lives, and yet they still have not been able to ascertain a motive. they did recover hard drives from his home, but unfortunately, the hard drives were so destroyed and badly damaged, they were not able to come up with anything there as well. so investigators still trying to put all the pieces here together. but again, today the story -- throughout the week, it's really more about the funerals and beginning to move forward and heal as the community buries those who have lost their lives here. >> natalie morales in newtown
for us. thank you. a lot of other news to get to. tamron hall is in for natalie while she is in newtown. and she's got a check of those stories. >> our nbc colleague chief foreign correspondent richard engel and his crew are safe this morning in turkey after they were kidnapped and held inside syria for five days. they were freed last night with a harrowing story to tell. engel said they were taken at gunpoint following a deadly fire fight while traveling with syrian rebels last week. >> they kept us blindfolded, bound. we weren't physically beaten or tortured. it was a lot of psychological torture. threats of being killed. they made us choose which one of us would be shot first. when we refused, there were mock shootings. they pretended to shoot gazi several times. when you were blindfolded. and then they fired the gun in the air. it can be a very traumatic experience. >> richard says he believes his captors were members of a militia loyal to syrian
president assad. he and his colleagues were freed after another firefight last night while they were being transported and came upon an unexpected rebel check point. john boehner and president obama have moved a step closer to a fiscal cliff agreement. the president is now offering to hike taxes on incomes above $400,000 instead of $250,000. boehner has proposed a $1 million fresh hold. president obama has also dropped his demand for permanent borrowing authority, asking for a two-year limit instead. a federal judge has refused to ban u.s. sales of three samsung smart phones, even though a jury decided in august that the models made illegal use of apple technology. that jury also ordered samsung to pay apple more than $1 billion. the judge said monday that apple's demands to ban the phones was too broad of a punishment and that doing so would harm the public. now for a look at what's happening on wall street today, let's go to the new york stock exchange. good morning, kayla. >> good morning, tamron.
the economic calendar is slowing, the focus has sharpened on washington. the markets cheering what appears to be a deal coming closer, even though economists say that growth still will be sluggish in the u.s. at the beginning of next year. meantime, corporate america shelling out cash in preparation of big tax hikes. some $35 billion already paid out in dividends straight to investors. tamron, back to you. a computer hacker who broke into online accounts of christina aguilera, scarlett johansson, and dozens of other women was sentenced monday to ten years in prison. the judge in los angeles listened to a tearful videotaped statement from johansson before sentencing the 35-year-old man. he illegally obtained intimate photos of the actress and posted them online. it is now 8:06. back to al with a check of the weather. "today's" weather is brought to you by jared, the galeria of jewelry.
a truly unique selection to help you find the perfect ring. that's why he went to jared. >> it is one of best signs i've seen in a long time. willie geist used to babysit you? >> he did. richwood, new jersey. >> really? what was he like as a babysitter? >> um, pretty unattentive. >> unattentive! let you run around with scissors? >> i believe so. >> very nice. wow. okay. turned out all right all right f wil willie. our our picture today, san antonio, sunny, warm, 80 degrees. don't know if it's true or not but but i like the sign. you can see we've got a lot of wet wet weather making its way into new e new england and snow in some of up up thor reaches of maine. we' we've got another big system out west where it's going to be dum dumping a ton of snow. we're talking about the rockies, look looking at central rockies, rain through the southwest
pacific northwest as well. snow showers around the western plains and look for plenty of sunshine. we have more vision tors here. what's your name? >> carmen. >> happy birthday, today's your birthday? >> how old? >> 9. >> you say everything together all the time? >> no. >> okay. here you go. you just did. that's what's going on around the country. here's what's happening if your neck of the woods. good morning, this morning a lot of cloudiness and we have still, patchy dense fog west of i-95 and some sprinkles here in the mountains and those may make their way farther to the east over the next few hours and perhaps later this morning and noontime. chilly in the 40s to around 50. later today, we'll be climbing into the 50s and a wind will get rather blustery too this afternoon and die down. tomorrow, sunshine, chillier weather and rain likely thursday afternoon and evening and windy and colder after that and that's your latest weather. mr. gregory?
>> mr. roker, thank you very much. next up, maria shriver will join us, how do you talk to your kids about grief and loss? she joins us after this. oh, thanks. he went to jared. the ballet slippers? i used to dance. suitcase? anniversary trip. hearts? it's called the red hot love bead... ♪ oh. ...i've said too much. [ female announcer ] celebrate life's unforgettable moments with a fabulous selection of pandora charms and bracelets at jared. telling her life's story with just a turn of the wrist. soccer ball? soccer mom. [ female announcer ] that's why he went to jared, the galleria of jewelry. mcdonald's tender, juicy chicken mcnuggets in spicy buffalo and creamy ranch sauce. just $4.99 for 20 of your favorite chicken mcnuggets.
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try a free sample at eucerinus.com. back now at 8:12 with a question a lot of people are facing in the wake of the tragedy in connecticut. how do we cope with such tremendous loss and grief? our friend maria shriver is the best selling author of the children's book "what's heaven" and she joins us to talk about some of these issues. good morning, it's good to see you. >> nice to see you, thank you for having me. >> unfortunately, you and your family know all too much about this subject of loss and grieving. i just wonder what your thoughts are, certainly for the families and those most directly dealing with this but also the larger community that really feels this and is really hurting right now. >> well, i think we're hurting as a nation. i think we are a grief illiterate nation. one of the reasons i wrote "what's heaven" is because i grew up and people didn't talk
about death. they didn't talk about these kinds of things. and i think what children need and what adults need and what we all need is a safe place to begin this conversation and have it over and over again. we don't really have a culture in how to talk about grief and we don't understand what are the appropriate questions to ask, what are the appropriate questions not to ask, how long does the process take, and i think the more we talk about it, the easier it is for people to begin that kind of conversation and to know that there is no set time to get over something like this, and that we should know as a nation that this will not "go back to normal." we're now dealing with a new normal for all of these families and for this community. >> you talk about how hard it is for so many people to talk about grief and their feelings of loss, and that a conversation needs to be started. what does that conversation entail? >> well, i think it's different for everybody. the book i wrote, many people came back to me and said i never got past the first page because
my child just started talking and talking and talking. and i think what everybody has told me and what i've learned over the years is that we need to provide a safe place for people to really talk. they need time and they need to process it in their own way. people have all different schedules for this. adults talk about it differently than kids. but i think the most important thing for children to understand is that their parents or their care giver or someone in their family will listen to them. and will be there for them. and will provide a safe place for them to have this conversation. >> there's an aspect to this that you are, unfortunately, so familiar with, and that is grieving in the public eye. for the people in newtown, for the families directly affected, does that make this impossibly sad situation even harder? >> well, i think in some ways it makes it harder because you have the media there asking you questions and it's a very
private situation. in other ways, it makes it actually better because someone is being kind to you, someone is being empathetic with you. someone is being compassionate. there are millions of people who go through this grief process alone and nobody is kind to them. i think what's important to know is that the entire nation, every single day people wake up and are suffering loss and dealing with loss, and nobody reaches out to them and asks them how they're really actually feeling. i think one thing for the media is that we so often pay attention to these stories and then we leave these families and we never check back in with them again. and i think it would be really important for us to stay on the stories, stay with these families, check in again with them in six months, find out how they're doing, because when they go back the school in january, they won't be okay. in may, they won't be okay. and they need to know that that's okay. that this process will take years and however they go through it is the right way for them to go through it.
>> i think that's one part of this, that people might find surprising, that often when you are out there and you are meeting some of these people who are in the worst possible times of their lives, sometimes they do, in fact, want to talk about it. they want to tell the world because they want the world to know the magnitude of the loss that they feel. >> i've been so impressed and so humbled by so many of the families that have spoken out, particularly mr. parker, when he reached out to the suspect's family and mentioned in his comments about his own daughter that his heart and his thoughts were with their family as well. i think that that to me was so inspiring. and i think the tone of this. people like him can set a tone for how we should all talk to one other, how we can talk to our own families, how we can talk to our own children. this is a conversation that's not just happening in that community, that should be happening at kitchen tables all across this nation. i thought the president did a great job of saying that we can't accept this as routine.
that there's something that each and every one of us can do right now in our own homes, talking to our adult children, talking to our brothers and sisters, our own parents. and our own children about how to handle this and whether they're grieving about something that we may not know about. >> maria shriver, it's always good to talk to you and to see you. thank you so much for being with us. >> thank you. and coming up next, the sandy hook elementary neighbor who took six young and scared survivors into his home in the middle of the chaos. we'll have his story right after this. ♪
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days after the tragedy in connecticut, we're still learning new stories of hope and survival. gene rosen lives across the street from sandy hook elementary. he was finishing his morning routine on friday when he noticed a group of children sitting at the end of his driveway. they ended up being the survivors of vicky soto's first grade class. mr. rosen is with us now. good to see you. thanks for being with us. >> thank you for having me. >> tell me a about -- i just mentioned who the children were, as you came upon them. tell me what happened. you talked to them. they obviously had just come -- had survived the gunfire in the classroom. tell me about your initial contact with them. >> i had no idea why these children were there. i looked down and i saw these six kids and they seemed fine. and then i see a man talking to them in a loud voice saying it's
going to be all right, it's going to be all right. i had no idea. i went down and they were mortified. they were crying. they were upset and there was a school bus driver with them. so i took them into my house and they came into my house and there were two boys and i think four girls. they were very upset. the two boys just start talking -- i had no idea what happened. and they said we can't go back to the school. we can't go back to the school because our teacher is gone. and i could not believe that. i could not take that in. they kept saying that. and one of the boys said he had a big gun and a little gun. i could not fathom what they
were talking about. and then they talked about mrs. soto. >> right. >> our teacher. she's gone. >> gene, i know you're a psychologist. and it's so obvious that this is so raw for you still and so difficult to talk about, which we can all understand. but as a psychologist, how were you able to comfort them in those initial moments of so much grief? >> i comforted them because i'm a grandfather. and my grandson and my granddaughter have taught me how to be with children. and i was so happy that i went upstairs to my grandson's toy box and i brought down all these stuffed animals and i gave one to each of the children and i asked them if they wanted some juice. i wanted to read to them, but they were too upset. but they started calming down.
it was my grandchildren who taught me how to be with these children. and i am so thankful for that. >> well, i know everybody in the community is thankful that a voice as gentle as yours and a person as kind as you are was there to help comfort them in such a difficult time. gene rosen, thank you very much. >> can i just thank the people of sandy hook and the sandy hook volunteer fire department and our first selectmen who puts us to bed and says good night. i want to thank the president who came here as a parent. and all the children here and all the parents and the kids of the helen plain elementary school and their teachers and their parents. i want to thank everybody. >> all right, gene. well said. thank you very much this morning. >> thank you. >> all kinds of support pouring in from around the world for people of newtown. natalie has more on that.
natalie? >> reporter: well, david, in the midst of this unspeakable tragedy here in newtown, all kinds of offers to help have been pouring in from all over the world. and today's animal advocate jill rappaport is here with an incredible story of some helpers who come from all over to be here of the four-legged kind. jill? >> we know that animals give us unconditional love. but they also can provide incredible comfort and support when we really need it most. as we saw here firsthand from a very special group of golden retrievers. >> they help me get over how sad it is. >> reporter: these dogs are on a mission. >> thank you for coming. they are just so precious and so loving unconditionally. >> reporter: and their work goes on around the clock. well into the night. these special pooches are part of the k-9 comfort dog ministry. and they have traveled hundreds of miles in hopes of shining a
bright light on those who need it most. >> they're like furry counselors. you know, they help people to relax. they help people to be joyful. >> reporter: these comfort therapy dogs are specially trained to respond to crisis situations. >> they're furry angels from joplin, missouri, to the tristate with superstorm sandy. oh, yes. they really go wherever there is a need. >> wherever there is a need. >> reporter: their golden disposition matches their breed, and their presence was a gift to many. >> i wish i had a dog like this. >> reporter: children that have come up to the dogs that look sad and they start petting the dogs and the smile starts coming on their face. and then the parents start smiling. >> hi, luther. >> hi, luther. >> reporter: i think that it does connect the children to the innocence that has been shattered right now in the town.
>> reporter: and these dogs definitely live to love. >> i canbig hug this morning an meet more of these dogs in a moment. it is 8:26 on this tuesday, december 18th, good morning. i'm aaron gilchrist. a messy morning on the beltway all morning especially in montgomery county. here's danella. >> i'm watching this new accident outer loop of the beltway as you make your way toward 355 wrapping up blocking the right shoulder lane by off and on your right lane was blocked. your center lane was blocked so you're staysing an eight-mile backup. about 40e minutes from 295 to i-270. it's slow. tom has a look at the forecast when we come back.
chilly and damp and we still have some patchy dense fog west of 95 and a few locations in northern virginia into maryland. west, speckles of green and light rain. that may be into the metro area. perhaps around 10:00 or 11:00 this morning right now it's chilly and only in the 40s. most of the area and it will continue to hold steady in the 40s for the next couple of hours and later today, climb into the 50s. maybe a few of those mid day sfrifls and a blustery afternoon
year? >> one of the greatest laughs of all time, seth rogen. >> we'll talk with him in a few minutes. >> we can all use a laugh this morning. the great billy crystal is here. he's got his new movie coming out. i'm so excited because i spent my adolescence imitating billy crystal doing all of his routines. >> oh, he's mad. >> was that a cue for us to ask you to do it? >> please do your impersonation of billy crystal. >> come on, come on. >> the jewish relatives. what? what am i gonna do? that kind of thing. >> thumbs up? thumbs down? no. >> he does a great imitation of you doing "meet the press." fantastic. >> he's a mime now. someone's life is going to change in a big way tonight. the winner of "the voice" will be crowned in a live finale. we're going to get a preview and hear from the coaches about
changes coming to the show next season. >> yeah, that finale -- before the finale. it was quite good last night. >> you stayed up late. you're such a rager. until 9:00 p.m. >> now i feel really uncomfortable. >> actually, we have someone to say hello to. seth rogen is here. >> hello. good to see you. >> your new movie "the guilt trip" opens tomorrow. you co-star with barbra streisand. i hope this doesn't sound weird, but the two of you have great chemistry. >> thank you very much. >> mother-son chemistry. >> yes. it's not a romantic film. that would get weird. i'm used to chemistry meaning something different. but yeah, we got along very well. >> this is not a typical seth rogen comedy. >> no, i don't play a stoned moron in this. time to branch out.
microscopicly. dan fogelman wrote it. he went on a road trip with his mother and wrote a movie about. i it's a very nice movie. take your mothers. you don't have to talk to them. >> you're filming this and you're sitting next to barbra streisand. >> i am. >> was it kind of a zen moment? like what's going on? >> to me, she's just like an old jewish lady, honestly. >> wow! so many nice things in that sentence. >> would you like to impersonate barbra streisand? >> i don't have a good impression. i wasn't like that. i respect her, but i'm also like the biggest barbra streisand fan on earth. >> you didn't bring albums for her to sign? >> exactly. i watched half of "funny girl." >> she says she brought you socks. >> she bought me socks and underwear from the gap as a gift. just like a real mother. >> was there direction from her? >> no more pressure than any
other jewish lady. >> do you feel a lot of pressure around jewish ladies? >> i do feel quite a bit of pressure. there's a sense of disappointing them in some capacity. that you're eating too much or too little. >> and barbra streisand is so famous, would you take a road trip with her? >> sure, why not? she probably has a really fancy expensive car. >> she actually likes drooik driving around a pickup truck with her husband. >> her husband is actually very sexy and rugged. >> do you feel pressure being around james
>> let's see what we've got, as far as today, look for snow through the rockies. heavy snow and wet weather through the southwest. rain here in the northeast with heavy snow up in northern new england. for tomorrow, we expect to see this system making its way to the east, a risk of strong storms in the lower mississippi river valley and more rain and snow in the pacific northwest and continues to snow no fwlooirn new england, sunny and mild in the mid-atlantic states northeast down. there's a cute baby back here having a great time on top of mom. what's his name? tobi! what a cutie. that's what's going on around the country, here's what's happening in your neck of the woods. good morning. we've got a partly cloudy sky over some patchy dense fog in some rural areas but around the metro, no fog around. we have the low clouds coming and going and we'll have them with us here this morning and sunshine in and out. and a chance of some mid day sprinkles and a blustery wind
during the afternoon from the north and west as we get to the mid-to-upper 50s. 30 tomorrow morning and low 50s tomorrow afternoon. sunny and rain likely on thursday afternoon and evening and turning colder with blustery winds friday into saturday and cold, sunday and monday, too. that's your latest weather. how would fernando introduce willie? >> you look marvelous. you do. you do. >> willard, to you. >> some candles on the cake. a little ice cream. who could ask for more? marie is 100 years old, from the great state of new jersey. she makes the world's best risotto. i love that. love it. bud and helen hare, 75 years they've been married. they stay connected and they enjoy each other, communicate.
get your computer out and say hello. and we have florence manning of long meadow, massachusetts, 100 years old. 24 years cancer survivor. is that beautiful? hello! that is the best. i love you. an inspiration to everyone. oscar dystel, new york, new york. 100 years old today. longevity secret, he says, inspiring other people. that's it. be a role model and enjoy. luberta foreman of scotland neck, in the great state of north carolina, 100 years old today. loves to garden and loves to sew. how sweet it is. and if you will take a look, please, at margaret kender, 104. her secret to longevity is eat chocolate, sweets, anything that's got sugar in it. my kind of woman. that's it. i love sweets. back to new york.
back at 8:40. billy crystal is out with a new movie this holiday season, co-starring with bette midler in "parental guidance." they babysit their grandkids while trying to adopt their daughter's new school ways. >> what's going on? we're going to be late? it's "project runway." >> i tried handling it like alice said but it's not working. >> get the other two in the car and i'll handle this. take off those shoes and i'll give you a dollar. >> 5. >> 2.50. >> deal. >> that's the way it really
works. >> negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. how are you? >> this is a really fun movie. as i understand, it kind of came out of your real life. >> i'm a grandfather of three and 2/3. another one is due in march. we had the girls, who were the older ones, for six days alone. on the seventh day, i rested. and came into the office and said all right, listen, i have an idea for a movie. old school grandparents trying to babysit for their kids while their daughter goes away, who is marisa tomei, who is fantastic in the movie, too. >> did i hear correctly that you said it will be a horror story? >> no, bette said that. it's a really fun movie that everyone can go to and feel good about. >> you mentioned bette midler. she's your co-star. you guys have been friends for years. what took you so long to work together? >> well, you know, she turned down "analyze this." she didn't want to play a gangster. this just felt like the right thing. i guess we just -- we sound alike. i don't know what it is. that people assume that we did
stuff together. but we haven't. and she's a joy to work with. she's been a phenomenal talent for so long. and i was just thrilled to work with her. >> i've seen you off camera together and i've seen you on camera together. you have this great chemistry. you guys were singing. i think she said we're the same person. >> yeah. but i can't wear her shoes. we had dinner together when we said would you like to do this movie, and we spent some time together, not a lot. when she sat down to dinner, i knew that we were married and she ate off my plate, she finished my sentences. she insisted on driving. >> did she yell at you? >> yeah. did you really want to eat that? but we just had a great time together. >> one of the things that's fun about this movie is it is all about the new way of parenting versus the more traditional ways. do you get a kick out of that? >> well, i deal with it all the time with my grandkids. trying to do everything that they want us to do. don't say don't.
never say not. but i think ultimately, we raise two great girls because we used common sense. >> there's a great scene where you go to the baseball game and you're mortified. >> yeah, everybody -- they hit until they get on base and they don't keep score. and my guy can't -- i'm a baseball announcer in the movie and i can't stand this -- you can't ruin baseball. >> it should be sacrosanct. if you look at your movie career, they represent different eras in your life. so "when harry met sally" had to do with romantic. >> falling in love, yeah. >> and you had "city slickers." >> about 40, midlife crisis. this is the grandparent movie. i shudder to think what the next one will be. >> do you like being a grandfather? >> i love it. i love being called grandpa. i've earned that. it's a great -- grandparenting is a second chance to screw
somebody up. >> you're availing yourself of that? >> i have to tell you a story, though. when we met at the lighting of the tree -- >> you and i and bette midler, too. >> it was a long day for me. i started 7:00 that morning and this was around 8:00 something at night. and we were freezing. we were right up over here. and you asked bette, what do you do for christmas? do you buy presents? she said no, i make them. i make all these crafts. i could barely hear anything. and i'm so jet lagged. and you said billy, do you? and i lied. i said yes, i make unusual robots. i don't know why i said that. >> why did i believe you? >> and you went oh good. i've never made a robot. i've never seen a robot. so everyone who's writing me for the ske mat ichematics -- i don. i don't have any robots. it was one of those -- yes, i just had to finish a sentence. >> i'm glad we cleared up this.
wait a minute, how do i know -- are you lying now about the rob robots? or are you lying then? >> i'll have to come back. >> i'm glad we had this chat. "parental guidance" opens christmas day. coming up next, will it be cassidy, terry or nicolas? we'll preview tonight's live finale of "the voice." but first, this is "today" on nbc.
♪ you don't really care for music do you ♪ back now with a touching tribute on "the voice" last night to the victims of the connecticut shooting. the coaches and kos tcontestant singing "hallelujah." here's jason kennedy. >> reporter: on monday night, the three finalists put it all on the line. pop singer cassidy pope took on scottish rocker terry mcdermott
and the soulful nicolas david, all hoping to be crowned season three winner of "the voice." >> at this point in the competition, does it really matter if you win the show? >> winning the show would be amazing and it would be such a gratifying moment at the time, but it doesn't matter years down the line if you haven't gone anywhere with your career. so all of us are focused already on the next step after the show. >> reporter: and it's not just the contestants looking forward to life after "the voice." when the chairs spin around next season, two new coaches will join the panel, r&b star usher and shakira will replace cee lo green and christina aguilera. have any of you talked with them? >> adam and i have talked to each of them individually a lot about it. and they're genuinely interested and concerned about how do we just jump right in there with two guys who have been doing this for three seasons already. i mean, how do you do that?
and my answer to them is you can't. you're screwed. >> poor shakira. >> reporter: what is shakira getting herself into? >> she's getting into a whole lot. at a certain point the guys all come together, their locker room talk was a little much. which i hear you've toned down around shakira. but i think i had to learn to be one of the guys a little bit. >> i learned new words from you, actually. >> you did. >> reporter: cee lo, why was it the right timing for you to leave the show? >> because i really wanted to be able to give some undivided attention to some other things that we have pending. i'm doing a las vegas residency in planet hollywood. shameless plug. >> reporter: during her break from "the voice", aguilera plans to go on tour and spend more time with her young son max. >> it's not going to be the same. it already isn't the same. we already shot some stuff. it's different, it takes time. but we've got to kind of embrace the newness of it with open
arms. >> everybody remains optimistic about what the future of the show will be because there's still the possibility of everybody coming back, the original four. >> i do love these guys. i know, brothers, but it's true. i really enjoy them. >> reporter: you guys have really been a part of history. this may be the last time we see all four of those judges together. >> this season, we've managed to capture an interesting tv that is "the voice." >> reporter: and after tonight's finale, one voice will reign supreme. >> you can see the new "voice" champion, live finale at 8:00/7:00 central. >> a little tom brokaw there. >> david is a little distracted because his friend billy crystal is here. >> if you're going to cough, you really have to -- no. break something up. bring 10,000 years of
oppression, bring -- like that. make an effort. >> what are the kids doing? >> ugh. >> no. no. >> you can do this. >> but i do have -- all my cousins in the bronx, you say how you doing? ugh. >> but you do do a good tom brokaw. do tom breaokaw coughing. >> thank you, again. >> busted! >> first, this is "today" on nbc.
all of us have been moved by the tragedy at sandy hook elementary. some people are showing their support with simple and touching acts of kindness. nbc's andrea canning has that part of the story. andrea, good morning to you. >> reporter: good morning, savannah. there are so many questions about friday's shooting. but one that just about everyone is asking, how do we best honor the victims? it's a question being answered in small ways in newtown, connecticut, and around the world. 6-year-old emilie parker's tiny heart was full of love and kindness. her father robert made an emotional plea for that spirit to be the legacy of this tragedy. >> let it not turn into something that defines us.
something that inspires us to be better, to be more compassionate, and more humble people. >> reporter: pouring into newtown are acts of kindness. anonymous deliveries of christmas trees from north carolina, and a day of free coffee at the town's general store from california. >> it's really nice to see. it's a small gesture, but it's huge in its impact. >> reporter: family members who could not attend monday's funeral of noah pozner wrote letters to be buried with him, to make sure they arrived in time, his aunt reached out for help. jetblue flew the letters in, tweeting we're honored to have been able to help the loving family of little noah. >> it warmed my heart so much that i'm on a quest now to pay it forward. >> reporter: and generosity is spreading beyond newtown. a pennsylvania woman found a card with money on her windshield with a message from the anonymous giver. >> how do you fight evil in this world? you fight it with good. this act of kindness is the memory of a child who lost his or her life. >> reporter: the pay it forward
spirit is spreading on social media. after nbc's ann curry issued an online call for acts of kindness inspired by the sandy hook school victims. >> imagine if everyone could commit to doing one act of kindness for every one of those children. >> reporter: using the #20acts, one woman said paid off woman's layawaybill. even from across the world, bought a helmet for a teen in indonesia driving without one. #20acts. join us in remembering the kids in connecticut. a tragedy that ended 26 lives at one school now touching so many. we heard robert parker, the father of one young victim emilie, speak to emotionally over the weekend. he released an additional statement last night, calling on everyone to use the memories of the victims to inspire us to do good and work toward bettering
our communities. savannah? >> all right, andrea canning, thank you. out of such sadness, such a great idea to do something kind for somebody else. >> pay it forward. we talk about this all the time. it's sad that tragedy reminds us. >> but that this can live on and honor their memories. >> and you do have an opportunity to elevate this kind of loss. and people i think are trying to do that. that's the best thing to try to do right now. >> best way to remember those that were lost. we are back with much more today on a tuesday morning after a check of your local news and weather. good morning. it's 8:56 on tuesday, december 18th, and i'm aaron gilchrist. d.c. drivers putting the pedal to the metal a little bit more. some roads in the district unveiled higher speed limits overnight. new york avenue from the maryland line, now as high as 45
miles an hour. north capital street from michigan avenue to harewood road from 35 to 40 and you can also go 40 miles an hour on canal road to fox hall. going on 40 is a pipe dream for some drivers. traffic is a mess, danella? >> it is. eastbound colombia pike, closed because of the earlier water main break. shut down between south wakefield street to south thomas street, so you want to make a right on and then a left on george mason drive to work around it. 66, just jammed from the beltway -- jammed from the by past to the beltway. back to you, aaron.
♪ back now with more of "today" on this tuesday morning, the 18th of december, 2012. a pretty day here in new york city. a little gray and drizzly. you look at some of the nice folks who have come down one week before christmas to get a look at that beautiful rockefeller center christmas tree. seven days -- well, six, i guess. >> seven. >> to shop? >> i believe so. >> all right. well, let's not have a fight about it. that wouldn't be the christmas spirit. i'm savannah guthrie alongside al roker, david gregory is in for matt, and willie geist. what do we got coming up?
>> well, we're going to go back to newtown and talk about the tragedy there. we'll talk to natalie in a few minutes, but also look at some of the gentle acts coming out of there, including some comfort dogs that have been brought in from chicago, just so kids and other people can pet them and feel a little bit better this week. >> we'll talk about the acts of kindness that people are doing as well just ahead in our take three. >> and speaking of take three, jenna bush hager will be joining us. she herself having been a teacher. we'll share some thoughts about that. and then we're going to take a turn toward the holidays. we've got three amazing gingerbread homes. these are more than homes. these are incredible structures. >> gingerbread mansions? >> some mansions. one is a cathedral. >> i've been nibbling at those all morning. is that wrong? >> i know. i wanted to speak to you about that. three finalists competing in our quest for the best competition. how will the cookie crumble? we'll find out.
also, if you still have christmas shopping, we have some must-have tech gifts for you from old school pacman, ghost lamp, the a remote controlled angry bird. >> we're calling it "tech the halls." >> i like that. did you just come up with that? >> yeah. not really. but first, we want to get the latest on newtown, connecticut. let's go to natalie morales. good morning again to you. >> good morning. with just a week to go until christmas, you see the christmas tree in the center of town is now growing into a makeshift memorial. it's covered in flowers, balloons, teddy bears, all in tribute, a touching tribute to the victims of the tragic shooting here at sandy hook elementary school. on monday, two of the victims were remembered by this community overcome by grief, and today, two more children will be laid to rest. hundreds gathered on monday to say goodbye to 6-year-old jack pinto. a little boy who loved sports, idolized the new york giants' victor cruz, who remembered
pinto sunday. his father called the loss unimaginable. and said most of all, jack loved to play with his friends and keep up with his big brother. many of those friends attended the service. much too young to say goodbye. >> they were being comforted, and yet protected and sent a message of you're being secure now because the worst is over. >> reporter: not far away, mourners remembered 6-year-old noah pozner. the little boy with a perpetual smile, described as a smart, funny child, who loved to eat tacos and loved animals. pozner's mother spoke at the service, calling noah her little man. noah's twin sister ariel survived the shooting in another classroom. near sandy hook elementary, messages of hope surround the ever growing memorial to the victims. as the town tries to cope, investigators are searching for answers. on monday, atf agents verified that nancy lanza and her son had
visited local shooting ranges to practice firing weapons, though they hadn't done so in recent months. police say adam lanza was carrying hundreds of rounds of ammunition when he arrived at the school on friday. at newtown high school where adam lanza attended class, former teachers say a psychologist was assigned to help protect him. family friends say he struggled with a mild form of autism, and a former school official says lanza had another disorder. he was insensitive to emotional and physical pain. mental health experts say both conditions have no clear connection to violence. >> i've been asked so many times. was he bullied? i can say it's impossible because we all watched him so closely. >> reporter: on monday, moving trucks arrived at sandy hook elementary, now a crime scene. wednesday, students will return to class, but at a different school with plenty of help to make it through. >> the overwhelming support from the community and seeing the
town come together like this is amazing. i'm proud to say that i'm from here. >> reporter: on monday, police confirmed that two of the adults who were shot at the elementary school survived. they're now recovering from their injurs and investigators say they will question them as soon as they're ready and able to. willie, back to you. >> all right, natalie, thank you very much. for the rest of today's top stories, we want to send it back inside to tamron hall at th news desk. >> our nbc colleagues, chief foreign correspondent richard engel and his crew are safehis morning in turkey after they were kidnapped and held inside syria for five days. they were freed last night with an incredible story to tell. engel said they were taken at gunpoint following a deadly firefight while traveling with syrian rebels last week. >> they kept us blindfolded, bound. we weren't physically beaten or tortured. it was a lot of psychological torture. threats of being killed. they made us choose which one of
us would be shot first. and when we refused, there were mock shootings. they pretended to shoot gazi several times. blindfolded -- and then they fire the gun up in the air, it can be very traumatic experience. >> during the ordeal, i made -- i made amends with my maker. i made good with my maker. i made good with myself. i was prepared to die. >> richard says he believes his captors were members of a militia loyal to syrian president bashar al assad and that they were planning to use him and his crew in a prisoner exchange. all were freed after anoth firefight last night while they were being transported and came upon an unexpected rebel check point. with less than two weeks to go until the fiscal cliff deadline, new signs of progress in our nation's capital. republican leaders are taking the white house's latest proposal into consideration, including in the plan a $2.4
trillion deficit reduction package and tax hikes on incomes over $400,000. this is the first time that the obama administration has changed its stance on raising rates on incomes of $250,000 and up. medal of honor recipient and longtime senator daniel inouye of hawaii has passed away. after a 50-year career in the senate, the world war ii hero is being remembered for his influential role in the watergate and iran contra scandals. the first japanese american to serve in congress. was third in the line of presidential succession. he was 88 years old. south carolina's governor has chosen congressman tim scott to fill the senate seed vacated by jim demint. scott is a conservative elected to congress two years ago on the wave of the tea party movement. when he is sworn in next month, scott will be the only african-american in the senate. a federal judge has refused
to ban u.s. sales of three samsung smart phones even though a jury decided in august that the models made illegal use of some apple technology. that jury did order samsung to pay apple more than a billion dollars. however, the judge said monday that apple's demands to ban the phones was too broad of a punishpunis punishment and that doing so would harm the public. the u.s. government has fined toyota a record $17 pn.4 million for failing to quickly report a safety problem and delaying a recall. toyota has agreed to pay the penalty without admitting that it broke any laws. the fine stems if a june recall of lexus suvs because the drivers side floor mats can trap the gas medal. it is the fourth fine against toyota in the past two years for similar infractions. hasbro will start marketing a gender neutral version of its popular easy bake oven and use boys in the ads for the toy. a new jersey girl -- yes, a girl, she gathered signatures in
her online petition, urging hasbro to make the change. she was inspired after trying to bake an easy bake for her little brother and found them only in purple and pink. hasbro says the new black, silver, and blue easy bake should be in stores next summer. pretty cool. it is now five minutes after the hour. back to al with a check of the weather. you're a good cook. imagine how good you could have been if you'd had an easy bake as a kid. >> i had a susie homemaker oven. >> oh. >> i don't like to admit that. but i did. i don't have any issues about it. look at this cutie. who is this? >> this is mattie. >> how old is mattie? >> she's 15 months. >> where are you guys from? >> ohio. >> nice to see you. what a cutie. ohio. let's check it out for you. and we've got coasts. first of all, we've got the big storm, winter storm warnings and watches and blizzard watches from nevada all the way to wisconsin. snow as you see, getting itself together. as we move into the evening,
pushing into the rockies. dropping a bunch of snow anywhere from one to two feet of snow in the mountains of the rockies! northern rockies, i should say. and then in the northeast, we've got more snow and wet weather. icy conditions in new england. parts of northern new england will see another foot of snow up to caribou. that's what's going on around the country, here's what's happening in your neck of the woods. >> good morning. storm team 4 meteorologist, tom kierein. clouds around and some patchy fog north and west of the metro area and some sprinkles out of the mountains. they may make their way around the metro area around the next couple of hours and later, a blustery wind will develop gusting to around 30 miles an hour out of the northwest as we reach the 50s. and then, tomorrow morning the 30s and afternoon highs, low 50s and lighter wind tomorrow. cloudy on thursday, rain likely afternoon and evening. windy and colder friday and through the weekend. and that's your latest weather. >> all right, al.
thanks. coming up next, some furry friends providing much needed comfort and support in the wake of the terrible shooting in connecticut. we'll have that story right after this. [ male announcer ] no matter what city you're playing tomorrow. [ coughs ] ♪ [ male announcer ] you can't let a cold keep you up tonight. vicks nyquil -- powerful nighttime 6-symptom cold & flu relief. ♪ aunt sally's singing again. it's a tradition, honey. [ singing christmas carols ]
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time now for "today's" "take 3" when we give our take on the stories that have us talking. joining the bench today, contributing correspondent jenna bush hager. >> hi, you guys. >> we're going to get your take on some of this stuff. acts of kindness. in the midst of all that tragedy in newtown, connecticut, all kinds of offers of help pouring in from across the country. one in particular we want to highlight, a very special group of helpers. we'll check in with today's animaldvocate jill rappaport to tell us about these dogs, jill. good morning. >> reporter: hi, willie. as you can see, i'm truly surrounded by real fur angels. these are the canine comfort dogs. they're a little tired because they have been working from the early morning hours way into the
night. and i'm here with the president of the organization, tim hechler. these dogs have really made a difference. it's the mission of their heart and they've touch sod many hearts here. >> yes, they have. they're here to bring unconditional love and comfort and compassion to people. >> and you have been to various schools and gone through town, and what is the response you're getting from people? >> the response is for -- it helps them cope with their grief and they smile when they pet the dogs. it's like a big furry counselor. >> reporter: enlast night as we were walking through the town, people would come over and they saw the dogs and immediately came over to them and started petting them. one woman said to me in between crying and looking down, she said it feels so good to smile. >> yes. >> and really, they're therapy. >> they're here to -- they love to be petted and they love to love. and they love everybody. and that's the beauty of the
dogs. >> anything that they can do now really can make a difference. especially for little children who are so happy to see these dogs. well, tim, bless you and your handlers for everything that you're doing. of course, these fur angels -- i'm afraid to tell them they have a very long day ahead of them. they look a little exhausted now. >> how long will the dogs be there in newtown? >> reporter: they will be here through friday? yes. and then they're on the road. they're constantly on the road. they go where they're needed. >> what a wonderful gesture there. jill rappaport in newtown, connecticut this morning. thanks so much, jill. i wanted to get your take on all this. you were a schoolteacher for five years, including a classroom of third graders. when you heard this news and began to hear some of the stories about what the teachers did in their final moments, how did you feel? >> i couldn't even really think about it. it's hard for all of us to think about it. but of course i called and e-mailed and texted all my friends that are still teachers. because i think that's one of the things we don't think about, is teachers.
we expect so much for teachers to raise our kids and, you know, to teach them. but keeping them safe. that was their number one priority. all of the teachers that day did what i think all teachers would do. i hope in some ways it elevates the conversation about teachers in our country and their role and how really grand it is. i mean what we can do. so it's hard for me to even talk about. and i'm just so proud of all of the teachers that were there that day and the ones that are still teaching. >> because other than a family member, i think all of us can point to a teacher who made a difference in our lives. some of us lucky enough, one or two or three. >> there's no more demanding job. i do this and this is really great and i love it, but there's no more demanding job than teaching and i miss it. i just applaud -- can you imagine being a teacher going back to school tomorrow morning? >> no. >> i love when the teachers refer to the kids as "my kids." you hear so many of the teachers
say i went in and i got my kids. it just warms your heart. they are the protector, they're the counselor. they're everything. when you are 6 or 7 years old, outside of -- to your point -- your parents. it's the most important person in your life. >> one of my friends texted me and said i am so grateful for every one of my kids. you'd think her kids would be grateful for her, but that's really where it lies. >> it strikes me that the word hero has become so cheap. we talk about athletes as heroes and movie stars. but think about -- i think we all like to think in our best moment that we would be able to do what they did. but i don't know that. hide your children and literally take a bullet for a group of children. that's heroism. we also want to acknowledge how grateful and thrilled and pleased and relieved we are that our friend and colleague richard engel and his crew are all safe this morn after they were kidnapped and held for five days in syria. richard, his photographer john
and producer gazi all safe. we heard from them a little bit this morning. richard said he had a idea who this group was, a government militia loyal to president assad. savannah, we're just glad he's back safe. >> yeah. this is something that a lot of us knew about the last few days and just were so torn up with worry, so to hear this morning that he was across the border, it's just an incredible relief. it speaks to the danger that our colleagues face every single day. the producers, the crew, john, one of our producers, we know from around here, a new york-based photographer, and to hear them talk about it was really moving. because while thank god they were not physically harmed, they went through hell and i'm just so thankful that we could see their faces this morning and i can't believe they're still smiling. >> when john said i prepared to meet my maker -- >> i made amends. >> i was like oh, my god. it's something you just don't
think about. but probably something these folks deal with day in and day out. >> good for even us to pause as we sit here in air-conditioned studios in new york city and be so grateful for the people in our own news division and all the news divisions who go out into the most dangerous parts of the world to bring these stories. >> we should mention nbc news worked with a lot of different partners to try to find them and is very, very grateful. and the help that it received. >> richard is incredibly close to his mother and we know they all have families who were on pins and needles so their families have them this holiday. >> so great to see their faces. and our last take 3, happened to notice a sign. i saw a guy, he was holding a sign that said "willie geist used to babysit me." there it is. >> there it is. >> and here it is. >> and they both look so young, so we said somehow this possible that willie geist could have babysat -- >> what's your name again? >> my name is david. and this is my wife christine.
>> are you in the witness protection? >> after being babysat by willie. >> david lived two doors down on gateway road in new jersey. he had a sister who was a good friend of my sister, allison. and the key point is that i moved off of gateway road when i was 10 years old. >> why, did something happen? >> that's another story. which means i was babysitting you when i was about 8, 9, or 10 years old. who made that appointment? >> i'm 30. about to be 31 in a week or so. >> so i'm six years older than you. >> so you were like 2. >> and i was 8. >> it wasn't that different. >> it wasn't the '50s. >> were you scarred by him? that's the main question. >> i think i turned out okay. the one thing i do remember is that you were very into darrell strawberry at the time. >> okay. that was the '80s.
>> everybody was. >> no lasting scars? >> no. you were the cool kid on the block. that's what i remember. >> what kind of a block was that? >> cool kid. >> i have to confess, i didn't recognize you because you were 2 the last time i saw you. but it's good to see you, say hi to your family. >> and willie is still available for babysitting duties. >> i have my own bay -- babysitting. coming up, the quest for the best gingerbread contest. who will twin trophy? find out after these minutes. the usual, bob? not today. [ male announcer ] bob has afib: atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem, a condition that puts him at greater risk for a stroke. [ gps ] turn left. i don't think so. [ male announcer ] for years, bob took warfarin, and made a monthly trip to the clinic to get his blood tested. but not anymore. bob's doctor recommended a different option: once-a-day xarelto®.
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and rarely may lead to death. you are likely to bruise more easily on xarelto®, and it may take longer for bleeding to stop. tell your doctors you are taking xarelto® before any planned medical or dental procedures. before starting xarelto®, tell your doctor about any conditions, such as kidney, liver or bleeding problems. ready to change your routine? ask your doctor about once-a-day xarelto®. for more information including cost support options, call 1-888-xarelto or visit goxarelto.com. for more information including cost support options, maybmaybe you can't.re; when you have migraines with fifteen or more headache days a month, you miss out on your life. you may have chronic migraine. go to mychronicmigraine.com to find a headache specialist. and don't live a maybe life. just unroll it, fill, top, bake, and present. that must have taken you forever! it was really tough. [ female announcer ] pillsbury pie crust.
let the making begin coming up, the hottest gadgets for the holidays. >> there's something for everyone on your list. >> after your local news and weather. looks like your bags didn't make it. we'll send them to your hotel. [ sad music playing ] this is fun. [ sad music continues ] [ knock on door ] your bags, sir. thanks. both: finally! one taste, and you'll understand. enjoy delicious dunkin' donuts coffee anytime. best vacation ever! pick some up where you buy groceries. america runs on dunkin'. ♪ i got it made, i got it made ♪ ♪ i got it made fresh at subway ♪ ♪ breakfast made the way i say ♪ [ male announcer ] at subway, you got it made. try a steak, egg white & cheese, tricked out any way you want. subway. eat fresh.
i'd like to thank eating right, whole grain, multigrain cheerios! mom, are those my jeans? [ female announcer ] people who choose more whole grain tend to weigh less than those who don't. i'm keith are you skel and we're following breaking news at 9:26. several streets in northeast d.c. are closed while police tend to a suspicious package found on blatantsburg road near the cemetery. straight to danella with the impact it's having on this morning's commute 123450 they are closed between montana avenue and new york avenue and i hear that this road closure should be clearing any moment now. they're working to get the cars out of the roadway. so that's good news. keep in mind, new york avenue as you get to montana avenue have a report of bicyclist struck in that area so you're seeing
good morning. sunny in the metro area and temperatures are near 50 degrees. most of the fog is gone that we had earlier and we'll have blustery winds later this afternoon as we climb into the 50s. keith? thanks, tom. don't forget to tune in tomorrow at 4:28. [ female announcer ] here's to a whole world of happier holidays. time to enchant, delight and amaze. safeway will help you gather everyone round. a smoked, shank half ham is only 99 cents a pound. get breyer's ice cream for $2.48 and dessert will surely shine. make it a grand finale with starbucks just $6.99. turns out this season less is really so much more. so make your holiday merrier than ever before. safeway. ingredients for life.
we're back more with "today." we've got a lot ahead this half-hour. we want to get right away to our toy drive. >> we are so touched. so many people have been contributing to our drive. tim is here from mattel. good morning. what do you have for us? you guys have always been so great. >> thank you. we're very proud to be able to participate again this year. we're donating over a quarter o a million dollars of toys this year. barbie, hot wheels, all part of what we're donating this year. >> as a father of an 8-year-old girl, that's pretty cool. >> it's a digital camera that you take pictures and whatever
picture you take shows up as a fashion on her shirt. >> very cool. >> i'll take onef those. i know it's a toy drive. i'll give it away after i play with it. >> this is not how it works, tamron. >> it's so cool. >> you still have time to help. our toy drive ends on friday. please donate in person or online at amazon.com/today. >> thanks, tim. appreciate it. and now we have a check of the weather. >> let's show you what we've go northeast. heavy snow and northern new england, heavy snow in the rockies at well. wet weather in the pacific northwest with snow showers on the northeastern sboor year staets. tomorrow, sunshine along the even seaboard. warm to mild and strong storms in the lower mississippi river valley. wet and snowy weather in the pacific northwest. heavy snow making its way to the upper mississippi river valley and back to the rockies and more snow left over in northern new england tomorrow. here's what's happening in your neck of the woods. good morning. we have sun around the metro you're now and farther to the
west we've got cloudiness over the mountains where there are a few sprinkles showing up and later today. foirts and near 50. and the wind will then increase to a -- gusts of 25 to 345 miles an hour and slight chance of sprinkles mid day. sunny and cooler tomorrow and then on thursday, rain likely afternoon and evening and windy and colder weather moves in on friday and saturday and lighter winds but still cold on sunday and monday. and that's your latest weather. >> thanks, al. coming up next, the best gingerbread house. gingerbread mansion. >> struck chumpl. >> right after this. get into b. this is a story about jingle the husky pup. >> right after this. t. >> right after this. r. >> right after this. u. >> right after this. c. >> right after this. t. >> right after this. ur. >> right after this. e. >> right after this. ruff! ruff! ruff! ruff! ruff! jingle! let's read the book to him. jingle, stay. and jingle did.
ruff! ruff! [ female announcer ] hallmark interactive story buddies. when you read key words, jingle responds. cheese plate? cheese plate...nope. i made something better. ♪ you used the oven? boom ♪ [ male announcer ] pillsbury crescents. let the making begin. and getting more. that's value sense. introducing the scott shared values program. get free movie rentals, music downloads, and more. use your value sense. sign up at scottbrand.com.
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plus a 50% annual bonus on the cash you earn. it's the card for people who like more cash. what's in your wallet? it's the card for people who like more cash. dazzler, on. wow! dirt dazzlers let me clean and work out at the same time. shame, shame, shame. ooh, slippery, ooh! uh, let's ditch the cha-chas and get down to business. pine sol - a real clean. no gimmicks.
best gingerbread houses in america, with a little karate kid backing music. we asked you to send your obscenely elaborate homemade houses. it's clear not all cookies are made for eating. these are works of art. we narrowed it down to three finalists. john learner from snow, ohio. laura morrisette from arlington, massachusetts. and jennifer roth from mount taber, new jersey. here to judge the whole thing, award-winning chef and baker hans rockenbagger. his latest masterpiece, a replica of new york city's flat iron building. good morning to you all. >> good morning. >> hans, what are you looking for generally here, as you take a peek at three pretty different gingerbread houses. >> they are all sody. i'm flabbergasted. originality, creativity, execution is key.
>> fan out behind your houses. john, tell me about this victorian brick home. >> this house has three of the hardest candies to find. fruit gum, wrigley's doublemint you can find in buckle loads, but fruit stripe not so much. and the hardest thing to find, white candy canes. white on white. >> so rare candy is your secret. and by the way, you're a dentist? >> i tell my patients to surrender all the candy to the proper authorities. >> that's how he keeps his livelihood. >> what do you think, hans? >> i think it's pretty amazing. i also understand it's 85 pounds, so no one is beginning to steal it so fast. >> these were all driven here so that they could be kept intact. we're going to let that one sink in a little bit. let's move over to laura with an ecofriendly cottage. what makes this ecofriendly, exactly, laura? >> well, i knew i was going to be building this house for display in a window in the town that i live in, arlington.
and we had just done a big initiative for solar. so we have solar panels on the roof. and then we have on the minute man bikeway, one of most used bikeways in the united states. so we've got the bicycle out front ready to go for commuting or for just going down to get something. and then recycling. >> i don't know if you can pan in, but the shingles are actually made of shaved almonds. do you know what it takes to put these on? this is a labor of love. >> it is a little time consuming. >> talk to me about the electricity. is that an advantage for her? >> i don't see it as actually an advantage right now because the solar panel is actually not feeding the lighting. >> you're right. and we don't have double pane windows. >> i love the stained glass windows. it's beautiful. >> old world craftsmanship with those almonds. let's move over to jennifer. this is majestic.
i'm just going to use that word right now. notre dame. tell me about it. >> well, we went to paris last summer for my 40s birthday and really inspired by the architecture. architecture and baking my two greatest loves. my mom and my daughter, my 8-year-old daughter sophia worked on with it us. we had a fantastic time. >> how long does an effort like that take you to put together? >> we calculated about 80 hours and that's from building the model, baking the gingerbread -- >> and this was a family effort, right? this was a family effort, which is a great thing nowadays. now you want to spend time with your kids and put something together. you've got a little icing, you got a cookie. you can't go wrong. >> right. and go off the board with a church, not necessarily a house. we're going to let you look one more time here, hans, and then we have an important announcement to make and a trophy. take one last peek, hans, as we look at these incredible gingerbread houses. one from jennifer, laura and john. >> it is so hard.
but first of all, any one of you has a job at rockenwagger bakery. santa monica, california. but, you know, after all, i grew up in hansel and gretel, i have to say, laura, you stole my heart with the shingles. congratulations. >> thank you very much. >> laura, how do you get your winning gingerbread home home? >> well, we will pack it back in the car and it will go back in the store window. >> it's amazing. >> and we'll raffle it off on the 20th and people will pick it up on the 23rd and have it for christmas eve. >> very cool. >> and they'll have a very famous gingerbread house. >> you guys are all artists. congratulations. great job. well-done, everyone. right now, we'll launch our next quest for the best contest. you warm up those voices, tune your instruments. we're looking for the best today show jingle. solo acts or groups of up to three are allowed.
go to today.com to submit your original diddy about our show. three finalists will win a trip to new york city and a chance to compete live in studio for the title of "today's" best. up next, high-tech for the holidays. but first, these messages. when i'm out with my kids, my daughter's like, "mom, wait up!" and i'm thinking, "shouldn't you have more energy than me? you're, like, eight!" [ male announcer ] for every 2 pounds you lose through diet and exercise alli can help you lose one more by blocking some of the fat you eat. simple. effective. advantage: mom. let's fight fat with alli. have a healthier holiday at letsfightholidayfat.com.
[ woman #2 ] it's the real deal! [ man #1 ] turn it around! turn it around! [ woman #1 ] over here! over here! [ woman #2 ] turn around! turn around! [ woman #1 ] i love you! i can't believe it's not butter! neither can i. turn the tub around! show us the back! [ man #1 ] turn the tub around! [ female announcer ] with zero grams of trans fat per serving, i can't believe it's not butter is a superstar! ♪ turn the tub around, and become a believer.
♪ many hot dogs are within you. try pepto-bismol to-go, it's the power of pepto, but it fits in your pocket. now tell the world daniel... of pepto-bismol to-go. "today's" holiday gift guide is brought to you by target. dream big, save bigger. >> this morning on "today's holiday gift guide," must have gadgets from ufos to personal pie makers. katie is here to help us tech the halls. i like it. >> and i brought you a custom light up santa hat with my light-up dress. >> your mom made this dress. >> she sure did. >> very impressive. >> we kick it into high gear. so let's get this going here. >> what else do we have? >> let's start with the hovering ufo with programmable leds. this is great for a secret santa
present. automatically -- try to get going here. you can put your own little light message on here. you can customize up to 21 different messages. and it just takes off. it's pushing down the santa. >> oh! >> next up, this is like the portable speaker that nine out of ten tech experts can agree on. it is the jam speaker. it comes in six different flavors of jams. >> is it wireless? >> it's wireless. typically bluetooth would cost about $500. this is $50. i hit my max limit at best buy. big fan. >> they think you've got a jam speaker problem. >> i do. >> i love this. >> this is great for the traveler. this is a silicone fold-up keyboard, so if you know somebody that has an ipad, you just roll this up -- >> blue teeth? >> bluetooth again. picture keeper.
here's an interesting one. for anyone who has a computer, what's the most important thing on there? all your photos. now for anyone that's not overly tech savvy, automatically you hit one button, it will save all of your photos for your instantly. 8,000 photos. >> it takes some time to begin with, but once you've set it up, only the new ones. personal pie maker. >> love me the pie maker. my mom got me obsessed with this. i can even make a hot pocket. i can make four pies. you can make chicken pot pies. cherry pies, apple pies, in ten minutes. >> is this bluetooth? >> this is not bluetooth. you have to plug this in. big fan. >> tea stuff. >> if you're a tea fan -- we have mr. tea here. >> that's disturbing. >> he sits right inside there. last but not least this is the deep tea diver. for the tea enthusiast. >> pacman lamp. >> 16 different colors on this pacman lamp. you can change the color.
you can make it dim. this is like perfect for setting the mood vintage style. >> bluetooth? >> not bluetooth. >> next? >> plushy stuffed animal. for kids afraid of the dark. has a flashlight in its head. >> finally, angry birds. >> this is an angry birds swimmer. it comes with a full-on kit. you put some helium in it -- >> hold on a second. let's let him go. >> yeah, let him go, al. break the string. >> let him go! >> that's not what it's supposed to do. >> oh! >> you turn him on and he flies across the room. >> go, angry bird! now you just need some pigs. katie this is fantastic! "tech the halls"! whoo! gorgeous holiday tables, but first this is "today" on nbc.
"today celebrates the holidays" is brought to you by silky smooth dove dark chocolate. this morning on "today celebrates the holidays," decorating your holiday table, whether you're inviting over the entire family or just celebrating with a few friends, having a festive table set s th tone for a great event. here to show us the right way, colin cowell. you have so many beautiful tables. what's the number one thing to remember? >> come up with a big picture. each one of these is a different theme. in this one, we went very organic and natural. >> i love it. >> this one is $7 a yard. these are also very beautiful, these wooden chargers. >> and these are beautiful. you can use over and over. i love that. >> use this year round. not just for the holidays.
i love the plate. the plates come from a great organization called gifts that give. every time you purchase from gifts that give, 20% of that purchase goes to charity of your choice. >> fantastic. >> it's about giving back. >> what about the pears? are these edible? >> the only perishable thing that's on the table. i like the idea of balancing the energy of the table. a good way to meet people so there's not that guessing moment when you sit at the table. >> perfect. this is lovely. >> the candles -- there's no such thing as too many candles. >> candles strike a nice blend. >> makes you look like you've just come back from somewhere fabulous. >> an emerald table. green is my favorite color. >> our foundation here, i found these that are clear. >> these are mirrors, right? >> these are mirrors. a great foundation. a little bit of jewelry from the table. working with the emerald green throughout. i love the idea of the oil candles, all the different
heights make its beautiful. >> what about the macaroon tower? >> we take the macaroons, put them on toothpicks, and these are decorative. it gives a beautiful beautiful centerpiece. >> and they're edible. >> edible dessert. love the gold goblet at each place setting. and of course, white chrysanthemums. not a popular flower, but i love the way we use it. >> the artichoke for the nameplate. i love that. >> isn't that cool? >> and moving on, this table. it just takes my breath away. >> this is beautiful. it's like traditional meets today. i love the idea of working with the two different plates, as we can see. the rose bowl in the middle. >> how important are table runners or table cloth? >> we just use these -- it's real easy to make. once again, used a piece of fruit. >> i love that. and of course, we need a great
it's 9:57 on your tuesday morning. i'm keith russell and it's been an ugly morning on the roads. straight to danella sea lock on the morning rush. eastbound colombia pike closes between south wakefield street to south thomas street with eastbound lanes blocked by the water main break. to get around make a right on south four mile run and then, a left on george mason drive.
a live look at the beltway. the outer loop still sluggish. earlier accidents are again. delays remain. take you about 21 minutes from i-95 to i-270. now let's check the forecast. sunshine around the metro area and as we look at view from space we have cloud cover and in the mountain region and a few sprinkles of rain. that sprinkle activity is generally drying as it comes close. we might have a few scattered sprinkles around in the next couple of hours. reagan national, 56. mid 50s in areas south of us and maybe near 60 later today. just a slight chance of sprinkles this afternoon. sprinkles this afternoon. coldyou know how much grandma
we will always be together for christmas. [ male announcer ] being together is the best part of the holidays and cheerios is happy to be part of the family. you just ate dallas! captions paid for bypy to nbc-universal television from nbc news this is "today" with kathie lee gifford and hoda kotb. live from study yoi 1a in rockefeller plaza. >> hello, everybody. we're so glad you're with us today. it is booze day tuesday. it's december 18th. hoda and i were just saying sometimes it's hard to get up in the morning and go to work and you sort of want to give up on the world, and then hoda said you can't today. it's booze day tuesday. >> how could we? >> plus, there's hope in the world. we're going to show you some hope in our show today.
>> it was kind of cool. if you were at home watching the boys last night, which was the finale, they started off with this really, really moving tribute. there have been a lot of terrific tributes, but this one was really striking, i think. all the coaches and the participants sang a beautiful song. let's take a listen. ♪ i heard there was a secret code that david played and it pleased the lord but you don't really care for music, do you ♪ ♪ and it goes like this, the fourth, the fifth ♪ ♪ hallelujah ♪ hallelujah ♪ hallelujah ♪ i did my best and it wasn't much, i couldn't feel so i tried
to touch i told the truth, i didn't try to fool you ♪ ♪ even though it all went wrong i stand before the lord ♪ ♪ hallelujah >> just beautiful, wasn't it? >> standing in for that person that was lost. >> it was really beautiful. >> it was powerful. the finale has come down to three singers. team cee lo and team blake has two. terry mcdermott and cassidy hope. >> it's going to come down to the final -- >> the other two don't have anybody in. >> no, they don't. now, we are going to pick the winner, the two of us right now. let's take a look. ♪ lean on me when you're not strong and i'll be your friend i'll help you carry on ♪
♪ i know what love is i want you to show me ♪ ♪ i want to feel what love is ♪ if you cry a little cry just a little you're feeling a little ♪ >> okay. we've already picked the winner. we have picked the winner. >> now to tonight -- >> i said it weeks ago, and i haven't even been watching the show. i'm right. we don't know. we'll know tonight. >> we are going to guess that the winner is cassidy pope. >> having not watched it, watching that first gentleman that was playing the piano and singing reminds me so much years and years ago there was a guy that i dated for a while named
buster. now, i don't remember his last name, but my daddy didn't like buster. every time that buster would come, my daddy would sort of close the door on him and come in and go it's buster at the door. i'm thinking buster was such a sweet guy, but that guy looks like buster at the door. >> i know my mother -- my father had no idea what buster wanted with me, you know? >> all right. >> i'm really actually kind of rooting for buster. >> there have been a lot of people who have been doing some really kind things lately, and we're going to talk about some that have been as a result of the shooting, but there was also this police officer, and he was driving down the street, and he pulled the guys over who his registration was expired. >> license plates, right. >> he says to the guy, you know, your registration is expired. he said, look, i had to make a decision between getting my registration and for my kids and stuff. >> feeding my family.
>> i guy said i'm sorry i have to write you a ticket. he wrote the ticket anyway, and inside the police officer slipped $100 bill, and he handed him the ticket, and the guy opened up and saw the cash in there, and just felt like he was renewed, like somebody -- >> somebody helped him. he said he believed in god again because somebody had reached out in kindness. first of all, so many times all we hear about are the problems with our police, but my gosh, they are 90% or 99% of them, they're amazing. >> they really are. >> they really are. they're certainly not in that business for the money, you know? >> no. >> they really serve the public, so i'm always happy when there's a great policeman story like that. >> me too. >> the other nice thing that has happened is that they sent ten comfort dogs into newtown. i don't know if we have some video that we can go to. these are all german shepherds. >> i think they came 800 miles. >> golden retrievers. >> golden retrievers, that's right. from when, hoda? >> illinois.
>> they're starting this up in more and more states because it works. they just are so loving and they're a safe place for people. >> really cool. >> look at those faces. ah. >> we were saying one of the problems with this -- there are a million problems with what happened in sandy hook, but people want to help and do something. we kept saying we know how frustrating it is because you don't -- it's not like a hurricane where you can give clothes or money or help, pull out drywall or something, but people are starting to do this thing where they're doing an act of kindness, and there's a thing going on twitter and -- >> paying it forward. >> people are paying it forward, and a woman said she was in line at starbucks. she bought a coffee. she handed it to the guy behind her, and the man behind her said thank you, and she said i'm a teacher, and he hugged her, and she cried. or another lady called the general store in newtown i think from california and said i want you to give a free cup of coffee to every single person who walks into the general store today on me, and so each person who walked in totally anonymous from california, and so i think
everyone -- sometimes it's a little thing. you do something small for someone, like one guy just wrote on twitter, i held the door. i know that should be a normal thing, but the person behind appreciates it, and i think it's something -- so there is something you can do. >> there's always something you can do. >> like what can i do? >> you may not be able to change the world, but you can always change somebody's world. >> always. >> talk about some good news today, you guys. >> yeah. >> richard engel is an nbc -- he is our chief foreign correspondent. >> brilliant reporter. >> he was snatched really in syria, i think it was on wednesday, so there have been several days where he had been missing, and i know his -- >> his camera crew and producer, right? >> right. they kept it -- they were really trying to keep it sort of quiet so they could get this thing resolved. the good news was he was ultimately released, and what he went through sounded -- he and his crew sounded so harrowing. they were taken by who we think is bashar al assad's guys.
they were blindfolded, and they were bound, and all this kind of stuff. richard describes a little bit about what happened. let's take a listen. >> they kept us blindfolded, bound. we weren't physically beaten or tortured. there was a lot of psychological torture. threats of being killed. they made us choose which one of us would be shot first, and when we refused, there were mock shootings. they pretended to shoot gazi several times when you were blindfolded, and then they fired the gun up in the air. it can be very traumatic experience. >> who knows how this could have turned out. this is one of those unbelievable experiences where they just happened upon a -- >> there was a checkpoint, i think, and they were with the rebels. >> rebel checkpoint. >> apparently there was a shoot-out, and two of the guys who took richard and his crew captive were killed, richard said, and they just kind of made a run for it, and that was -- >> blindfolded and bound?
that's -- we'll get the full story eventually, but anyway there's some good news. there's some good news. >> so it is -- you know, it still is -- >> let's say it. >> it still is booze day tuesday. so we do have something for you to lighten -- >> somebody wanted us to do it again. we don't like to disappoint people. >> we don't like to do that. this is a wine sampleer that's $24.94. >> don't misrepresent. 94 cents. >> $25. how about if i round up? you just open it. here's a way. i'll take a red. >> that's -- that is -- that's your -- >> that's white. >> pinot noir. no, it isn't? jerry. >> here. here it is. >> jerry, have you been drinking on the job? do you know how wrong that is? >> oh, anyway -- >> have you no shame, jerry?
why are we doing this again? >> because we want to. coming up, this is a really funny movie. it's something for mothers and sons. actor sel rogan is going to talk about the movie "guilt trip" with barbara streisand. >> look how cute he looks. help me. popular tv stars saying good-bye while others welcome a baby. we've got all your hollywood buzz. guess who is in town? >> who? [ male announcer ] it's simple physics... a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation. plus, in clinical studies, celebrex is proven to improve daily physical function so moving is easier. celebrex can be taken with or without food.
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the rich dark chocolate. york peppermint pattie get the sensation. how much is your current phone bill? four sixteen seventy six a month! okay, come with me -- we're gonna save you money. with straight talk at walmart, you get unlimited talk, text and data for only $45 a month per phone. would we get the same coverage? same coverage on america's best networks. you saved $146.76 by switching to straight talk. awesome! now you can afford to share your allowance with me. get the season's hottest smartphones like the samsung galaxy s2 and get straight talk with unlimited data for just $45 a month -- from america's gift headquarters. walmart. ♪ this reduced sodium soup says it may help lower cholesterol, how does it work? you just have to eat it as part of your heart healthy diet. step 1. eat the soup. all those veggies and beans, that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. to say get well to your loved ones.
♪ this came for you, mommy. [ female announcer ] but it takes the touch of kleenex® brand, america's softest tissue, to turn a gesture into a complete gift of care. [ barks ] send your own free kleenex® care pack... full of soothing essentials at kleenex.com. kleenex®. america's softest tissue. in his new film funny man seth rogan hits the road with his unlikely partner barbara streisand, and they hit some bumps along the way. >> "the guilt trip" is about a mother-son relationship that takes on an adventurous life of its own. take a look. >> if you want to come on my trip with me, mom. >> you want to drive cross-country with me? >> yeah. no. you know, we won't be gone long. it's only eight days in the car
together. >> wait a minute. i want to make sure that i'm hearing you correctly. you want to spend a week in a car with your mother. >> more than anything in the world. >> that was convincing. >> and he is with us. we feel like we see -- >> we have a new movie coming out every six weeks. >> yeah, i'm in "les mis." i was good, and i sang live on set. no one knows that. first one ever to do that. >> how cool was this, seth, working with, first of all, such an icon? >> it was cool. honestly. >> she said no for a couple of years. you had to wait for her. >> she said no. she was kind of working on whether or not she wanted to star in another movie. meanwhile, i made other movies. i think i literally made two movies while she was deciding whether or not to make this movie. >> and she wasn't sure she wanted to play yet another mother like she had with "the fockers." >> she didn't know if she wanted to play another jewish mother, but i said i hate to say it, but
that's what you're playing, that's what you got. >> was she fun on the set? what's it like? >> she was fun. she was feed me a lot. she would always look for excuse to eat in the scene. oh, our ice cream day is coming. we eat ice cream all day. yeah. she's like a jewish mother. she feed you a lot, and then she criticizes you for eating too much. >> apparently because she is a real life jewish mother to her son jason gould, he was the one that talked her into it. they read the script together, and i guess he was recovering from some surgery. >> he had back surgery, so he couldn't escape, i guess, and she cornered him and sat down with him and made him read the script with her, and then, yeah, i think that was one of the things that was one of the deciding factors, i guess. >> what prompts your character into inviting his mother to go on this long road trip across country? >> she's overbearing and she's single in the movie, and i find out that there's this guy that she used to date before my
father and who she was really in love with, and i'm trying to reunite her with this guy. >> because she's widowed now. >> i'm trying to reunite with her with the guy so some of the focus will not be on me anymore. it will be on this other dude. pawn her off on someone. pawn her off. exactly. >> i know you do quite a bit of comedy yourself. did you get to have some fun here? >> i did. i wasn't sure, you know -- you hear barbara is kind of specific in how she likes things done, so i wasn't sure how loose she would be, but she improvised all the time, and i have a terrible memory and can't remember things, so i just pretend improvaz because i don't remember what i'm supposed to be saying. we had a very natural dynamic. i'm a son. she's a mother. she knows what it's like to annoy people, and i know what it's like to be annoyed by people. >> now, is it true that she -- because she didn't particularly want to do this movie and had to be talked into it that she said there are things that i'm not going to agree to. >> yeah. >> i'm not going to travel, even though this is a cross-country
trip. >> the cross-country road trip movie. >> i'm only going 45 minutes away. >> it was shot in malibu. it was shot in malibu. the grand canyon, thas -- it's remarkable what they can do if you don't want to leave malibu. yeah. it's like really amazing. >> we wish you great luck with this movie, seth. >> thank you. >> it opens, i believe, tomorrow. >> yes, wednesday. >> in theaters everywhere. >> everywhere. >> everywhere. have a good holiday. >> i will. thank you so much. >> coming up next, a brave young girl whose wish list for santa is fulfilling the dream of little kids just like her. right after this. ♪ [ woman ] too weak. wears off. been there. tried that. ladybug body milk? no thanks. [ female announcer ] stop searching and start repairing. eucerin professional repair moisturizes while actually repairing very dry skin. it's so powerful you can skip a day... but light enough you won't want to. dermatologist recommended eucerin.
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every christmas kids around the world pour their hearts into their letters to santa claus. >> for one family those letters to santa claus are creating a different kind of christmas magic. >> yes, virginia, there is a santa claus, and is he going to be really, really busy this year sorting through all that mail and granting wishes. all thanks to a 9-year-old girl named gabriella miller. ♪ >> what do you want for christmas? >> iphone 5. >> i want a new camera. >> reporter: it's an operation even the elves at the north pole would be proud of. ♪ rudolph the red nosed reindeer ♪ >> reporter: a santa letter writing campaign helping make the wish of one little girl come
true. >> gabriella. >> that's 9-year-old gabriella miller, a small girl with some big ideas. >> it should be stubborn. >> she's a good kid. she's always thinking about others. >> reporter: recently gabriella and her parents mark and ellen faced some difficult news. gabriella was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. >> how is she feeling? >> the effects of the radiation are accumulative. she's doing well. she's got this amazing spirit. >> reporter: the family was told gabriella was eligible to participate in make a wish. her dream? to visit paris. something the family plans to do this spring. ♪ >> reporter: that wasn't enough for gabriella. she also learned that macy's was making a pledge to make a wish. they would donate $1 for every letter written to santa claus up to $1 million.
>> gabriella went to her mom. if we write letters for santa, macy's will give money to make a wish. she called and said how do we do this? >> reporter: christina got the word out on facebook, and make a wish with gabriella was born. soon letters were pouring in from across the country. >> i heard she gets really excited when certain letters come in from different places. >> if she's tired or something, then it makes her feel good to know that other people are thinking about her. >> reporter: but it's gabriella who is thinking of others hoping more letters will mean more wishes granted for kids like her. >> a lot of children are writing letters saying, dear santa, i have everything i need. just please cure cancer for christmas. that's all i want. >> reporter: one week into their campaign, they blew past their first goal. >> oh, my god. 21,000 letters. that's when we said let's do 50,000. >> just a few days ago they passed 50,000 letters. >> it's just the sweetness and the innocence of these children
writing something down not about santa per se. it's about expressing their needs and their desires and their wishes. >> santa is merely a figure head, but you guys don't even -- >> one of our holidays is that you celebrate. it's just goodness and pure and what can we do to be kind to other people? >> you don't have to thank them for generosity and writing letters. >> it's overwhelming, and it's amazing, and we are so very filled with gratitude. >> gabriella counting the latest batch of santa letters, and in just two weeks they've collected, drum roll please, 76,330 letters. >> just amazing. >> so when the folks at macy's heard about her efforts, they said they would donate an extra $10,000 to make a wish in her name, more than enough to corps one more child's wish. can you read about gabriella's campaign at make a wish with
gabriella. >> that's so beautiful. >> all righty. >> all right. keeping with the giving spirit, we have tips on tipping. >> yeah, and how to keep -- it's important information. we're also going to keep you healthy during the flu season. >> the hollywood couple expecting their first baby in the buzz. got a big spread together. so it's gotta be big. how about the 60-inch vizio hdtv. it's led. that's big... but i got a little budget. with the walmart credit card special financing you can go big this year. that's big time! alright! [ male announcer ] get the season's hottest brands, like the vizio 60-inch led tv. and use your walmart credit card and have the choice of no interest if paid in full in 24 months. or buy a product care plan and get a credit for the plan cost. america's gift headquarters. walmart. nature valley granola thins pack the big taste of granola and dark chocolate into one perfect square, under 100 calories. nature valley granola thins.
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♪ it started with a whisper >> we are back with more of "today" on this tuesday, and it's time for today's buzz, catching you up with all of the things in and around hollywood. >> from one hot new dad to be for wedding bells for kelly clarkson. good for her. we have all the scoop to dish it all is our friend naughty but nice columnist for huffington post rob. hello, rob. >> congrats to channing tatum. >> he is expecting a baby. him and his wife have confirmed a little one on is the way. is he the sexiest man alive. >> he is one of the sweetest
guys in the world. he is so polite. >> i didn't -- he is not just a good-looking guy. he is the real deal. >> he is madly in lot of with his wife. >> they're expecting a little one in the new year, i'm sure. >> conceived in love. >> kate middleton. >> yes. >> we have been wondering how she's been. what's the latest? >> the first outing last night in britain. she turned up to present an award for the bbc sports person of the year. it sounds a little bit of a stretch, but that's another reason she probably went. the lovely david beckham is there. >> he is so little. she looked smashing in that dress. >> she's an ambassador for the british olympic team and the paralympics. she looked raident. >> can we talk about kelly clarkson and good for her. >> great news. she is engaged. she is over the moon. very excited about it. >> who is the guy?
>> it's a very interesting story about brandon, her fiance here. he is the son of her manager who is married to reba. >> norville. reba will be her stepmother? >> will be. they're keeping it in music royalty here, so that's the great news. she's so excited. he is a manager too. he is an agent, manager. >> in norville's company as well? >> she said she's so in love, and this is the guy of her dreams. she was bursting about it. >> she was talking about wanting to be engaged before this even happened, and she felt very comfortable talking about it. >> anybody in general? >> she made it clear she wanted the ring. >> a lot of people want to get married desperately, but -- >> the hobbit is killing it at the box office. >> amazing, and it's broke a record. it has now the december record, $85 million. it dominated the box office, and this is a very good thing because they've already made three, so it's a good thing that the fest one was such a hit
because they have another two waiting to come out. 60% of the ticket sales were for 3-d hobbit, so it just goes to show you that the hobbit in 3-d, people are loving 3-d movies. >> i didn't see it. did you love it? >> i did. it was fantastic. i saw "les mis." spectacular. >> moving. >> like "lincoln" made me mesmerized. i could have watched it for another hour. >> wonderful, wonderful movie. >> i will. over the holidays. >> let's talk gossip girl. it's a sad, sad day. kathie was crying. >> never once. >> after six years it finally came to an end last night. this is why this tv show is so important. it had a huge impact on fashion, but really the star of the show -- >> a lot of stars. >> -- was new york. >> a lot of household names. >> when they started filming this, they insisted on doing it here in new york. a lot of people told them they wouldn't get permits, it would be difficult.
they ened up shooting in grand central station, everywhere. >> new york was the star. >> new york was the star of the show. not since sex and the city since it was such a love letter to new york. >> thank you, rob. >> have a lovely day, darling. if the mad holiday rush is making you feel rundown, we have the cool truth to keep your family from getting sick. >> what you need to know about cold and flu season. we're going to play a game, i heard. a rumor. right here. >> winner. ♪ i am titanium wow, the samsung galaxy s3.
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>> getting sick is a real holiday spoiler, but it seems everybody is walking around sneeze and hacking something. how do you know if it's the cold or the flu? here to help us separate the myths prosecute the facts is sacha degarsdorf. editor of "women's health magazine." >> we're going to play a little game. >> let's kick it off. a cold has the same symptoms as
the flu. >> myth. >> both correct. it's a little bit of a trick question because some of the symptoms are actually the same. runny nose, sneezing, coughing, but the flu is much more severe. we're talking high fever, muscle weakness. you feel like you can't get up, the shakes. maybe even vomiting or nausea. >> and diarrhea. >> yes. very pleasant symptom. yes. >> all right. >> have a nice day. >> moving on. number two. you should feed a fever, starve a cold or vice versa? >> i never get this right. >> or vice versa in. >> feed a fever, starve a cold. >> i say you feed a cold and starve a fever. that's a fact. >> it's actually another sort of trick question because they're both wrong. you shouldn't ever be starving anything. when you are sick, your body needs great nutrients to make you feel better, so i think this came from people don't want to eat when they're sick. >> you feel terrible. >> you feel terrible. you want to make sure you're getting enough nutrients. most important, you want to drink tons of fluids.
keep drinking. >> any kind of fluids or just healthy stuff? >> water, water, water. not that kind of -- >> what's the score? >> 2-1. >> i'm not going to get cocky, because i know pride comes before the fall. >> here is your chance. echinacea fights cold and flu? >> myth. he saw it on the news. >> you are correct. it has not been proven. we've seen a lot of studies in "women's health" but nothing conclusive, so we're calling it a myth for now. number four, to help prevent colds and flu, walk in the sun. >> i think it feels right, but i'm going to say -- >> then i'll go the other way around. >> correct. >> who is correct? >> kathie lee. here we go. >> this has a double whammy. physical activity and vitamin d. both can boost your immune system. both can help. >> i get on the treadmill and run so that i sweat out the toxins. sfwoo is that true? >> i think -- >> hey, it's my --
>> exercise is key, for sure. absolutely. here's an interesting one. >> okay. >> you can catch a cold through your eyes. >> fact. >> both correct. yes. this is super interesting. so your tear ducts lead into your sinus cavities. >> don't touch your eyes. >> keep your hands out of your eyes. >> also your nose. stop picking your nose or you're going to get a cold. >> wait. this is our last one? >> here we go. antibiotics help fight the cold and flu. >> myth. >> myth. >> both right. are you great this morning. >> antibiotics -- wait. when we get to the last one, letmen. >> antibiblgts do not world war i. they are anti-bacterial, not anti-viral. keep that in mind. >> this is a tie-breaker. >> we have to decide. it's the deciding question. come on. >> the final question. the flu shot guarantees you won't get the flu. >> myth. >> both correct. are you on this morning. >> i bet a bunch of crummy
stuff. >> you are going home with dayquil. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> a nedi-pot. this is the nastiest invention. zi love it. >> we have video of jill, remember? >> we're going to use it tomorrow. >> squirt it out. it's nasty. >> so much fun. >> can we please do it tomorrow? >> no. >> from your man to your hairstylist, how much should you tip? >> your giving guide for the holiday. >> give me my neti-pot. ♪ [ female announcer ] beef, meet flavor boost.
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♪ >> it's time for today's money. with christmas just about a week ago you have just a few days to spread a little holiday cheer to all the folks who make your life a little easier every day. >> from teachers to care gives and your letter carrier, you want to be generous, but you don't want to overdo it. you would like some left when you get around to the new year.
what's the right amount and which tips should you skip? today financial editor jean is here to add her two cents. always ae word of wisdom from you. >> a lot of this is regional. in new york there are higher salaries and that kind of thing. >> more hand-outs it if you live in an apartment building. >> if you look at standards for tipping, a lot of tips are based on either the week's salary or the cost of one visit. if you live someplace where salaries are higher or the cost of the visit is higher, you're going to be tipping more. >> that sounds very, very intimidating for people that are having trouble making ends meet to begin with. >> look, a thank you note, a heart-felt goes a very, very long way. you should always tip within your budget, and you should always feel, too, that if you can't give as much as you want now, maybe you'll make it up later. maybe you'll give a birthday gift. it's not anything that you must do. these are just guidelines. >> people have a pattern of giving a certain amount. then all of a sudden this past year has been rough for people. people are expecting a certain amount from you.
>> yeah. >> and a lot of people a lot of professions really do count on it. gap folks did a survey, and 90% of the people say they are going to tip what they tipped last year. >> let's talk about some of the people and how much we should kip. what about baby-sitters, nannies, people who you are with every day. sdoo then it's one week's salary, one week's pay many general, plus, if it's somebody who is interfacing with your child, a nice little personal gift or a note from the child is a really, really nice thing to add. sometimes if you are a nurse or home health aide works for an agency, the agency has a policy against it, but you can usually get around it with a gift card that you know they'll be able to actually use. >> or you can bake cookies for them or do something like that. >> what about a hairstylist, a manicurist, a dog walker, somebody you see on a less frequent basis. do you give them money, or is a gift better? >> generally here, again, it's cash. people really appreciate cash, the cost of one visit, unless and in many cases they need it. you see them very infrequently, and then you just double your tip. >> double your tip. >> double your regular tip. >> what about the newspaper
delivery guy? that guy i -- >> these days they double bag your paper. i mean, it's really, really $20 to $30 is a very nice tip for that person. for the sanitation worker. ask yourself have they gone an extra mile for you. if you have one of those garbage workers who actually drives up your driveway so you don't have to pull the cans back down, i think you tip them more. >> the fedex guy, what about somebody like that? >> you have to be careful. >> if you know these guys well and they come to your house. >> there are company policies. the post office, fedex says don't givure workers cash. they are allowed to accept gifts of under $25 in value. be careful. i know people have been saying to me all day, well, i give my postman cash, and he takes it, and, you know, that is probably true, but that's the policy. >> for people who live in cities, doormen and handymen and all that stuff -- >> that's tough because there can be 50 people that work in a building. >> absolutely. you can give one gift and they will spread it around, but general guidelines, a doorman, a
super, $50 to $100. if you have a handyman in the building, a little bit less. $20. ask your neighbors. you know they talk. you know they talk. you want to make sure that you are in range of what people are doing if you can afford to do that just because you're expecting the same level of service in the coming year. >> okay. all right, sweetie. >> thank you, skween. >> my pleasure. >> have a great holiday. >> your holiday dinner with a portuguese influence. >> we are told it starts with a cocktail. we like that. first, this is "today" on nbc. ♪ ♪
owner of aldea restaurant right here in new york city. >> these are vodka smash cranberry vodka muddled cranberries, mint. >> sounds delicious. >> hope holidays. >> happy holidays. >> what are we making today? >> i'm putting you guys to work. >> that's refreshing. >> sea scallops that are carmalized with olive oil and zest of lemon, lime, and orange. you got to try one of these. these are great to welcome your guests to your home. sfoo hmm. >> oh, gosh that's good. what did you put on top? >> zested lime and orange. >> that's it? >> yeah. >> oh, my gosh. that's delicious. >> the scallops are really fresh, and you carmalize them in a hot pan with ove oil. they're delicious. >> what else is down there? >> this is very important. this is a classical portuguese casserole. >> this is great. >> i'm going to eat one of those myself. >> those are very good.
>> we slice these potatoes in this fancy mandolin here. this is a really cool technique that we poach cod at a really low temperature at olive oil, and you lift that off right into the paper towel. >> how long are you soaking it in there or poaching it? >> about ten to 12 minutes, and the oil is about 180 degrees. really, really low. >> okay. you'll be able to -- >> really? >> you're iffing to be able to just flake the cod. just take a fork and it falls apart. >> what's going on there? stop it. >> we're going to end up using all of it. >> that looks really delicious. >> so far i have worked a lot more than hoda. >> exactly. >> just saying. >> good job. they're cooking by themselves. >> what is this now? >> these are onions. >> of course, they are. >> thinly sliced with fresh bay leaf, garlic, and you saute them in olive oil. >> okay. >> cod casserole. >> look what's happening down here.
it dates back to 19th century portugal where you get port wine from. >> we love port wine. >> come on. >> now what do we do? >> have one of these. >> bring the potatoes already sliced. have one more scallop. >> was a please implied? >> you just keep layering potatoes like so to cover and then you put the onions down. >> once again, please was implied. >> yes. please, hoda. >> thank you. >> you're doing a fabulous job. >> thank you. >> okay. then you keep layering it and layering it and layering it. where does the cod go? >> the cod is going to go in next? you're going to do this here. >> i have to do everything. >> you didn't get all your onions in there? >> it's a layer. >> it's not equal though, hoda. >> it's a team effort here. let's go. come on, guys. >> i was just going to say -- >> we don't have much time here. >> you pout put more of that on top. >> more cod. then more potatoes. >> yes, yes. keep going with the cod. >> let's taste it.
>> portuguese people survived on cod. >> i want to give everybody a little slice. >> is that like a national dish? >> olives. >> then you baky? >> then it goes into a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes. >> all right. we have to taste it because we just have a few seconds. >> amazing. thank you. >> we love you. looks delicious. actually, that's -- >> tomorrow's performance by richard marks. how to handle sibling rivalries during the holidays, and have an awesome booze day tuesday. [ female announcer ] here's to a whole world