tv ABC 7 News at 600 ABC September 23, 2009 6:00pm-6:10pm EDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. on the "newshour" this wednesday: the lead story: president obama and other world leaders address the u.n. general assembly. margaret warner is in new york. >> warner: the president said other countries should step up to the plate to help the world deal with issues like nuclear weapons, climate change and global poverty. >> lehrer: then, come the other news of the day, including a report on the orange cloud of dust enveloping parts of australia. a paul solman preview of the economic summit in pittsburgh beginning tomorrow. a gwen ifill debate on state secrets and re-authorizing the patriot act. and a jeffrey brown look at overdraft fees for debit cards.
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u.n. general assembly. saying the u.s. wants to work with others not on its own. but he also insisted america's critics show good faith. margaret warner has our lead story report. >> it is my honor to address you for the first time. >> reporter: president obama came before the u.n. general assembly this morning with a blunt call for greater cooperation and engagement at what he called "a pivotal moment" for the 64-year-old world organization. >> no longer do we have the luxury of indulging our differences to the exclusion of the work that we must do together. the time has come for the world to move in a new direction. >> reporter: mr. obama acknowledged america has not always lived up to its ideals. but he said he's made concrete moves in a new direction-- from outlawing torture and the to re-engaging on middle east peace and arms control. now, he said, it is time for other nations to answer the call. >> make no mistake: this cannot
be solely america's endeavor. those who used to chastise america for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for america to solve the world's problems alone. we have sought, in word and deed, a new era of engagement with the world. now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges. >> reporter: he laid out what he called four pillars essential to the future of the planet: nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament; the promotion of"= peace and security; the preservation of the planet; and a global economy that works for everyone. among the specifics, the president made a plea for help in advancing middle east peace. nations aligned with both israel and the palestinians must offer more than lip service, he said. they must be willing to say publicly what they often acknowledge in private.
>> the united states does israel no favors when we fail to couple an unwavering commitment to its security with an insistence that israel respect the legitimate claims and rights of the palestinians. and nations within this body do the palestinians no favors when they choose vitriolic attacks over a constructive willingness to recognize israel's legitimacy, and its right to exist in peace and security. >> reporter: on the nuclear front, mr. obama called for a support in restraining two nations with nuclear ambitions. >> if the governments of iran and north korea choose to ignore international standards; if they put the pursuit of nuclear weapons ahead of regional stability and the security and opportunity of their own people; if they are oblivious to the dangers of escalating nuclear arms races in both east asia and the middle east, then they must be held accountable. the world must stand together to
demonstrate that international law is not an empty promise, and that treaties will be enforced. >> reporter: also in the hall, libyan president muammar qaddafi. he followed president obama to the podium, and delivered a rambling 96 minute address charging that the u.s. and other permanent members of the u.n. security council treat smaller nations as "second class, despised" countries. president obama did not stay in the hall to hear it. afterwards, some of the delegates and visiting heads of state gave their reaction to what they heard from the u.s. president. tono eitel, the former german ambassador to the u.n. >> i think he is right there too, of course. it's not that everybody else is perfect and it's just the u.s. who have to-- i don't know-- change or improve.
no, no. we all have. there is no doubt. >> reporter: but venezuelan president hugo chavez had a different reaction saying he saw two obamas. >> ( translated ): there is the obama of his speech of today. and it was an excellent speech and that is the obama we applaud. but there's another reality. >> reporter: and russian president dmitri medvedev had his own informal, reaction. >> good speech, excellent. >> reporter: late in the day, president obama met with medvedev. aides said the number one topic was forging a common approach on dealing with iran's nuclear program. >> our task is to allow iran to
speech, and the foreign minister replied with a smirk, "did he say something?" >> woodruff: so, margaret, i gather the speaker who followed the president presented a very different side of the united nations? >> yes, judy, kind of the old side. this was muammar qaddafi the libyan leader, and the hall, after president obama spoke, everyone sort of got up and they were all milling around and greeting hillary clinton and everyone on the floor. finally everybody settled down and most people went back to their seats because there was great anticipation for qaddafi but he got up there and began this long, rambling rant. he clearly didn't have a script. he would pause for long periods,
looking forring? his notes. he talked about everything from his complaints about the u.n., you know, political system internally to suggestions that israel was behind j.f.k.'s assassination, to his own personal sleep habits. after about 10 minutes, i was sitting up above with the press, you saw people quietly taking their earpiece off and putting it down and finding a moment where they could just get up and walk out. it really was the old, you know, rhetorical posturing, at least that's the way it appeared to many, many delegates in the hall just from talking to them afterwards. >> woodruff: so back on the president's speech, is there any evidence, margaret, the specific support for the issues the president raised? >> judy, let's talk iran and