tv CBS Evening News With Katie Couric CBS July 14, 2009 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
her republican critics were respectful but tough as they zeroed in on her most controversial comment that's been hanging out there since president obama nominated her to the supreme court. today, wyatt andrews tells us she finally got a chance to explain it. >> no words i have ever spoken or written have received so much attention. >> reporter: it's the most controversial thing she said and she faced it right away. what did she mean in her 2001 speech to hispanic law students at the university of california that "a wise latina woman would reach a better conclusion than a white male." >> i was trying to inspire them to believe that their life experiences would enrich the legal system. >> reporter: as for reaching a better conclusion than a white male, essentially the judge took that back. >> the words i chose, taking the rhetorical flourish, was a bad
idea. i do not believe that any ethnic gender, or race group has an advantage in sound judging. >> reporter: sotomayor did not back down, however, from her belief that a person's background impacts judging. >> life experiences have to influence you. we're not robots. >> reporter: that led to a tense series of challenges from ranking republican jeff sessions. >> do you think there's any circumstance in which a judge should allow their prejudices to impact their decision making? >> never their prejudices. i do not permit my sympathys, personal views or prejudices to influence the outcome of my cases. >> reporter: on other crucial subjects, sotomayor revealed she does think that "roe v. wade"-- protecting a woman's right to choose an abortion-- is the law of the land. >> that is the precedent of the court. >> reporter: on her ruling against the white firefighters in new haven, the judge argued she had no choice. >> the city's decision in that
particular situation was lawful under established law. >> reporter: and on the issue of gun rights, she told the nation's gun owners she gets the second amendment. >> i understand that how important the right to bear arms is to many, many americans. >> reporter: the judge even showed some independence from the president who once famously said that 5% of judging comes from the heart. sotomayor, whose mantra this week has been her strict adherence to the law, disagreed saying the heart should not be driving law. katie? >> couric: wyatt andrews. wyatt, thank you. meanwhile, jeff greenfield is our senior political correspondent. jeff, day two. where do you think things stand for the judge right now? >> i think the conservatives on the panel have made the case to their base and their supporters that this is someone who brings identity politics into the law where it doesn't belong. that she puts her gender, her ethnicity front and center. we've heard that in the speeches. we saw lindsey graham of south
carolina very pointedly and conversationly saying to her "if i'd said such things about the superiority of a caucasian made i'd have had my head handed to me." so they laid out the reasons why conservatives would not be happy with a sotomayor confirmation. >> couric: and be comfortable not voting for her possibly? >> yes. >> couric: having said that, as the aforementioned senator graham said yesterday, unless she has a complete meltdown, she'll be confirmed. do you still think that's the case? >> i think so. i think key here is they were not able to find, except for the ricci case-- a smoking gun in her decision. an appeals court in california once said "under god" had to be stricken from the pledge of allegiance. if she had written that, which she didn't, that would be a smoking gun. so is she going to get the kind of votes when justice roberts did when half the democrats voted for him? is it going to be more like samuel alito when 42 of the 46 democrats voted against him? i don't think we know yet. i think the hands of orrin hatch and lindsey graham lies whether
or not all of republicans are going to be moving against her or not. we don't know where they stand yet. >> couric: to be continued. jeff greenfield. as always, jeff, thank you. getting judge sotomayor confirmed figures to be a lot easier than another white house goal: reforming health care to ensure everyone while reining in soaring costs. health care in this country is expected to cost more than $2.5 trillion this year alone, or nearly 18% of the national economy. house democrats rolled out a plan today as the president made a push to get something passed. here's chief white house correspondent chip reid. >> reporter: in michigan today, the president said the time is now for health care reform. >> we have no choice but to change the health care system because right now it's broken for too many americans. (applause) >> reporter: in washington, house democrats responded with a thousand-page bill to overhaul the health care system. >> this legislation is landmark legislation, and this is a defining home for our country. >> reporter: major provisions
include federal subsidies for low-income americans to help them buy health insurance. penalties for large companies that refuse to provide insurance. penalties for individuals who refuse to buy it. and a government health insurance plan to compete with private ones. republicans condemned the bill. house leader john boehner called it = criminal malpractice." >> the so-called public option is going to force millions of americans out of their private health insurance into a government-run plan. >> reporter: the bill seeks to ensure coverage of 97% of americans. experts say it will cost at least a trillion dollars over ten years. how to pay for it? cost savings, including long-term cuts in medicare and a new tax on families earning more than $350,000 a year. passing the bill won't be easy because about 40 conservative democrats-- enough to kill it-- say they'll oppose it unless the cost is brought down dramatically. >> i wouldn't say the health care bill is in jeopardy at this point, but it's a long way from passing the house.&
>> reporter: today house... president obama praised house democrats for introducing this bill, but that does not mean that he necessarily supports everything in the bill. he has made very clear that he's open to whatever changes are necessary to get this bill through congress and to his desk. now, he said he wants the house and the senate to pass their initial bills before they home for the august recess, but it is unclear at this point if he's going to get his wish. katie? >> couric: all right. chip reid, chip, thank you. and we'll have much more about the battle over health care tomorrow as our dr. jon lapook talks one on one with president obama. now to that florida murder case that has shocked the nation. the victims, a wealthy couple who adopted 13 special needs children. authorities announced more arrests today and said robbery was the primary motive. a well-planned robbery, the sheriff said, that spun out of control. here's terrell brown. >> reporter: with the dead couple's daughter at his side, the sheriff today promised
justice for the billings family. >> i asked you if there was anything i could do for you and your response back to me was "sheriff, find the people who did this." it is my honor today to tell you ashley, and your family, we have found them and they are in custody. >> reporter: with three more arrests today, police now have seven people in custody, including a 16-year-old boy, all charged in the murders of the billings couple. police say the group knew each other through jobs and day labor at least two of them had worked at the billings home. >> i am not guilty of the crimes for which i'm being charged. >> reporter: police believe the ringleader was this man, 35-year-old leonard patrick gonzalez, jr. described by friends as a loving husband and father, his passion: teaching caratti to young children. just last month he won an award from an community organization for service to mankind. >> he was not a bully type guy that went out looking for trouble. >> reporter: gone less, swrr, also once served in the national guard and it was that experience that police say helped pull off
the attack with military-like precision. surveillance cameras captured two teams covering front and back exits. authorities say that in the four minutes the suspects were in the house, they shot and killed the couple and stole a safe. police say several of the nine children in the house during the attack saw their parents' killers. one went next door for help. >> the children are with family members. i've state misdemeanor times they are in a safe, loving, and secure environment. >> reporter: the motives behind the attack: a simple robbery. thefts committed by men whose crimes extend beyond pensacola, the state of florida, even the country. >> when you get the ties of these individuals, again, having nothing to do with this murder, you will then see at that time why this case has gone in so many different directions. >> reporter: police would not say where those different directions lead. but say the path to justice will be swift. terrell brown, cbs news, florida. >> couric: now, imagine how
terrifying this would be: you're on a plane in mid-flight when suddenly you hear a loud noise as a hole rips open in the cabin. it's not supposed to happen, but it did aboard a southwest jetliner with 131 people on board. and today the airline said it's just inspected a third of it fleet as it tries to figure out how it happened. nancy cordes has more. >> reporter: the fuselage ripped open right above passengers' heads, a brief briefcased-sized hole captured on this cell phone video. steve hall heard a loud pop then a prolonged wooshing sound as the cabin depressurized. >> when the oxygen masks dropped after the noise, we had extreme pressure in the cabin, like being deep under the sea, if you will. >> reporter: the packed baltimore-bound southwest flight in the sky above kentucky diverted to the nearest airport 20 minutes away in charleston, west virginia. when the boeing 737 landed, the flap of fuselage was still
clinging to the hull just in front of the tail. investigators will examine whether corrosion or fatigue could have caused the tear. both were factors in this 1988 aloha airlines accident, a huge swath of fuselage ripped off over hawaii, pulling a flight attendant out of the cabin to her death. just last year, southwest found cracks in half a dozen of its 737s and was fined $7.5 million for overdue inspections. >> southwest has got a very challenging schedule. their planes fly longer, land and take off more often than other air carriers. it puts a lot of stress on the equipment. they need to be maintained. >> reporter: this particular plane was 15 years old and southwest says the very spot that ripped open had been inspected in january. nancy cordes, cbs news, reagan national airport. >> couric: and still ahead right here on the "cbs evening news," this town's not waiting for uncle sam.
it's come up with its own stimulus plan, and it's working. but up next, a cbs news exclusive alongside elite u.s. troops as they prepare to hunt down the taliban. (announcer) for many with arthritis pain, not treating is not an option. all prescription nsaid pain relievers, like celebrex, ibuprofen and naproxen, help treat arthritis pain and have some of the same warnings. but since individual results may vary, having options is important. prescription celebrex has been the option for millions of patients for 10 straight years. just one 200-mg celebrex (once a day,) can provide dependable, 24-hour relief for many with arthritis pain, stiffness and inflammation. based on the available data, the fda stated that for certain patients celebrex's benefits outweigh the risks.
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patients also taking aspirin and the elderly are at increased risk for .e stomach bleeding and ulcers. do not take celebrex if you're allergic to aspirin or sulfonamides. ask your doctor if you could benefit from celebrex. understand the risks. feel the benefits. and maybe some gas relievers in case you're out of beano... disaster strikes and something happens you regret forever. on second thought, just carry an extra beano. take beano before, and there'll be no gas. start taking care of my heart, but i wasn't ready to give up taste. sometimes, sacrifice... is the name of the game. honey nut cheerios cereal... tastes great and can help... lower cholesterol. i guess i can do this. bee happy. bee healthy. >> couric: even as the u.s.
sends more troops to afghanistan president obama is talking about getting out. today he said his exit strategy calls for the afghans to take more responsibility for their security and he hopes to begin that by summer's end. in the meantime, the u.s. offensive against the taliban in southern afghanistan continues and the u.s. military said today two more marines have been killed. tonight, our chief foreign affairs correspondent lara logan has an exclusive report on one of america's most potent weapons. >> reporter: these green berets are on a night mission to take out several high-value taliban leaders. every minute bringing them closer to their target. the shooting starts before they even land. the soldiers touching down in hostile territory. ful gunfire lights up the night sky. >> shift fire. shift fire. shift fire. >> reporter: but the operation
is swift and decisive. the special forces soldiers secure the area and eliminate their targets. this operation has the feel of afghanistan and the terrain is strikingly similar, but we're not on afghan soil, we're thousands of miles away in the middle of the utah desert on a special forces training mission. the enemy here is a paper target. but these soldiers know from experience that the targets and the dangers they'll face in afghanistan are very real. that's why they've chosen the reremote mountains at the dougway proving grounds for their training. this military facility is the size of rhode island and the closest you can get inside the u.s. to the conditions these soldiers face in afghanistan. we can't identify any of them for security reasons. difficult terrain to operate in? >> well, they don't send us to places that are easy. >> reporter: they execute mock
assaults on enemy compounds. and work through an interpreter to treat afghan civilians, practicing the strategy to win over the people. we spoke to a team member who served in afghanistan before. >> it's pretty much a good mock up of what we expect in afghanistan. >> reporter: it's pretty realistic to you? >> definitely. >> reporter: it needs to be. the soldiers told us the enemy they now face eight years into this war is one who knows their tactics and has adapted to stay two steps ahead. when these soldiers are not training, they're deployed. the operational tempo for special forces is relentless. and the demand for these elite soldiers is growing. their skills are rare. here we watched as they practiced parachuting for more than 10,000 feet in the dead of night. a high-altitude jump designed to bring them unseen and unheard on to a target. they can be dropped miles away then drift silently through the black sky reaching their targets
undepicted. elite soldiers at the tip of the spear in president obama's new strategy for the afghanistan war. lara logan, cbs news, dougway proving grounds, utah. >> couric: americans are not the only ones fighting and dying in afghanistan. it was a moving scene today as the bodies of eight british soldiers were flown home. thousands of mourners lined the streets as the hearses drove by, taking the fallen heroes to a hospital for an inquest before they are laid to rest. britain currently has 9,000 troops in afghanistan. the british death toll there is 184-- five more than in iraq. the rest of the body is a no brainer. doesn't your whole body deserve excedrin strength relief? excedrin back & body. excedrin. what ache? that's why i use covergirl's simply ageless makeup
>> couric: bernard madoff moved into his latest and most likely final home today. cameras caught him arriving at the medium security north carolina prison where he's set to serve 150 years behind bars. madoff, who's 71, will share a cell and toilet and his prison dutys will include painting and grounds keeping work. now turning to the economy and an extraordinary rebound from a meltdown. goldman sachs tops tonight's cbsmoneywatch.com update. goldman rescued last year by a $10 billion taxpayer bailout, is back in the black. it recorded a second-quarter profit today of more than $3 billion. and it's paid back the loan. still waiting for a rebound is
the job market. the president said today we'll have to wait a while longer. >> we will probably continue to see unemployment tick up for several months. >> couric: mr. obama once predicted it would top out at 8%. it's now 9.5%. and what looks like a glimmer of hope for the economy may be a mirage. retail sales rose in june, but it wasn't so much that we were buying more, we were paying more as gas prices spiked. and if you think the economy's on a wild ride, take a look at this. an old-fashioned plane was doing stunts during an air show in germany two days ago. the pilot came in way too low at the last minute. he tried to pull up but ran out of room and crashed through some hedges before slamming into a car. amazingly, no one was badly hurt. coming up next, bright spots, a stimulus plan that's really roping in results.
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so it's taking the bull by the horns, showing the kind of grit and independence that won the west. mark strassmann has tonight's "bright spots." >> reporter: in lamar, colorado, cowboy country, the wild ride began months ago. everyone wondered whether the local economy would bite the dust. >> do you guys have the program? >> reporter: so 15-year-old susie lira never imagine shed'd find work at the summer rodeo. >> i was, like, oh, i have a job my first job. >> reporter: that work was made possible by lamar's new job corps. its drive to fix up the community and its tattered economy. >> there was fear. >> reporter: city administrator ron stock had the idea. right after christmas, four downtown stores closed. this agriculture town of 8,500 needed help and they needed it quick. >> if they didn't get help this spring, i wasn't certain they were going to be here this fall. >> reporter: so little lamar created its own stimulus package. city rebate vouchers to
encourage local spending. you can use this stuff anywhere? >> anywhere within the city limits. >> reporter: in this spring, anyone spending $300 in lamar got a $30 voucher from the city good in any local store. kyle reid bought his new pickone a stereo they can hear in montana. and his vouchers paid for these new shoes. between the truck, the stereo system, and the shoes, you've done your part for the local economy. >> yes, i have. >> reporter: in all, lamar's voucher program cost the city about $25,000, but created an estimated $360,000 in new spending. lamar drew on its cowboy roots: self-reliance. instead of waiting for washington to send in the cavalry, this municipality decided to ride to its own rescue, and they're not alone. 19 states have launched or proposed their own stimulus packages. in lancaster, california, a local voucher program helped the auto mall sell 800 cars. carroll ton, texas, put people
to work sprucing up the city, just as lamar started a job corps for teenagers. >> working for the city in our community, it was awesome. >> reporter: a new enthusiasm is the biggest change here a belief they've helped their own economy land on its feet. mark strassmann, cbs news, lamar colorado. >> couric: and that is the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric. thanks for watching. see you tomorrow. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
this is "entertainment tonight" in high definition. michael jackson's toxicology report. is the cause of death about to be revealed? plus d a new reality show capture michael's final weeks on camera? then, the explosive michael jackson tell-all. >> he was always dressed as a woman and very convincingly. >> claims of a secret double life. >> he spent time with his male lo lover. >> and his two eating disorder and michael was anorexia. >> debbie rowe refutes the big