tv AB Cs World News With Charles Gibson ABC August 11, 2009 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
welcome to "world news." tonight, hard sell. president obama hits the road for health care reform, accusing opponents of resorting to scare tactics. eunice shriver. the kennedy sister who campaigned the mentally disableded, has died. madoff's man. bernard madoff's man admits he knew all the time that he and his boss were bilking investors out of billions. good to go. a look at all the electric cars being developed. how does 230 miles a gallon sound? and, a $65 million jewel heist, carried out in broad and, a $65 million jewel heist, carried out in broad daylight. captions paid for by abc, inc.
good evening. the rhetoric has been getting louder, more heated, more inflammatory by the day on the issue of health care reform. there has been talk of rationed care, socialized medicine, even death panels. well, today, the president pushed back, hitting the road, receiving reform and promising to separate fear from fact. he used a town hall meeting in new hampshire to press his case, and to charge his critics with trying to scare the public. jake tapper is at the white house tonight. jake? >> reporter: good evening, charlie. well, more than 200 million americans have private health insurance, and president obama this week is tailoring his message at them, talking about companies holding americans hostage by denies themselves coverage or dropping their coverage. president obama, as you said, talked about some of the charges being made about health insurance that aren't true, serving as a sort of fact checker in chief. in new hampshire, the president was selling health care reform to americans with insurance.
>> insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage because of a person's medical history. >> reporter: outside, crowds were raucous. some angry. inside, the crowd was friendly with chants of "yes we can." >> yes we can! >> reporter: nothing like those town hall participants members of congress have faced in recent days. >> a board that would kill off the elderly and the handicapped. how do you call that improving medical care? >> reporter: but the president took on many of those questions. >> where we do disagree, let's disagree over things that are real. not these wild misrepresentations that bare no resemblance to anything that's actually been proposed. >> reporter: for instance, the obama death panel rumor former governor sarah palin wrote of. >> "death panels" what will
basically pull the plug on grandma because we've decided that we don't -- it's too expensive to let her live anymore. >> reporter: the intention, the president said, was to provide voluntary counseling to seniors. >> the intention of the members of congress was to give people more information so that they could handle issues of end of life care when they're ready, on their own terms. >> reporter: the president also explained a page on the white house website inviting americans to e-mail the white house questionable claims about health reform. >> i'm one of the people that turned myself in on the white house webpage the other day for being a skeptic of this bill. >> forward us the e-mail and we will answer the question. suddenly, on some of these news outlets, this is being portrayed as obama collecting an enemy list. >> reporter: president obama made some misstatements of his own, saying that the aarp was on board with health care reform legislation when the group has not endorsed any bill. the president said that health
care reform will be achieved without adding to the deficit, while independent budget experts find that claim questionable. charlie? >> jake tapper, thank you. and one of the president e' selling points is a phrase he repeats often. if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. well, we're fact-checking the key aspects of health care reform. tonight, abc's david wright on whether you would be able to keep your current coverage. >> no obamacare! >> reporter: opponents of health care reform insist the proposed changes would put private insurance companies out of business. that's false. >> if anything, this expands private health insurance for people. >> reporter: but at contentious town hall meetings across the country, the issue keeps coming up. >> we want people to stay in their insurance. that's our goal. >> bull! that's not true at all! >> reporter: this is really a crucial question, because polls show that most americans are perfectly happy with their own
doctor, and they're wary that any reform might force them to make a change. the president has been unequivocal. >> if you've got health insurance, you keep your plan. you keep your doctor. i don't want to take it over. >> reporter: his opponents quote chapter and verse to challenge that. president obama says you can keep your doctor. do you believe that? >> not from page 16. page 16 effectively regulating out private insurance. >> reporter: what page 16, section 102 of the house bill actually says is that insurance companies have five years to comply with new government standards. for instance, banning discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and prohibiting caps on coverage. today, the president hit his point hard. >> if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. >> reporter: and that's true for 95% of people. according to the congressional budget office, an estimated 9 million people who currently have insurance through
their job would change their insurance plans, but not necessarily change their doctors. >> you're going to have some people shifting over because they want to, because it's more attractive, or their employers say there's a federal plan out there, i'm not paying for yours anymore. you're on the federal plan. >> my question is, how are you going to keep my employer from stopping offering insurance and forcing me onto the public option if that's cheaper for their bottom line? >> reporter: that is a common concern. the facts are the bill includes tax breaks and other incentives designed to prevent a mass exodus from the current employer-based system. but finding the facts in the midst of the noise can be difficult. david wright, abc news, maryland. and we will continue from time to time fact-checking health care reform. overseas next. taiwan mounted a huge rescue effort after the powerful typhoon that hit the country sunday. the storm dumped more than six feet of rain, causing taiwan's
worst floods in 50 years, and mud slides that buried whole villages. 70 people are confirmed dead, at least 100 are missing. nobel peace prize winner aung sun sue key had her house arrest extended today. president obama condemned the new conviction, calling for her unconditional release, and as clarissa ward reports, an american was sentenceded along with the myanmar's opposition leader. >> reporter: pro-democracy leader, aung san suu kyi, a nobel prize laureate, has spent nearly 14 of the past 20 years in detention. the court said she allowed this man, american john yettaw, to spend two nights in her house, after he swam across a lake, uninvited, claiming he wanted to protect her from assassins. yettaw was also sentenced today, receiving seven years, including
four years hard labor. international reaction to the verdict was swift. >> she should not have been tried and not convicted. we continue to call for her release from continuing house arre arrest. >> reporter: critics say the regime wants to prevent her from taking part in elections next year. her party won an overwhelming victory in the last election in 1990, and she is still viewed as a symbol of democracy for millions of burmese, and as a threat by myanmar's government. >> they made their point clear that she will not be part of the 2010 elections, which is totally contradicted to what they've been telling to the international community. >> reporter: she was initially sentenced to three years, but the military immediately commuted it to a year and a half. an indication, analysts say, that the regime was actually trying to appear lenient to the rest of the world. charlie? >> clarissa ward, thank you.
back in this country, eunice kenne kennedy shriver died this morning. reporter: eunice kennedy shriver was one of nine children. it was the boys who got most of the attention, but eunice was still a force to be reckoned with. >> president kennedy used to say that if eunice had been a man, she would have been president instead of jack. >> reporter: their sister rosemary was developmentally disabled and would leave a lasting impact on eunice. when john kennedy was elected president, it was eunice who pushed him to take action on behalf of the disabled. in 1962 she invited 100 special needs kids to her home and started "camp schriver," a camp to help kids excel through physical activity. it was a model for other communities, and in 1968, the international special olympics were born in chicago. today, the special olympics serve nearly 3 million people with intellectual disabilities.
she did not have an easy life. >> eunice and three of her four children are among the visitors at the grave. >> reporter: as a kennedy, she has known tragedy. her husband was diagnosed with alzheimer's in 2003. in better times, he said this of his wife -- >> she's not real guts. she's got a terrific jaw, maybe you noticed that. it comes from both her mother and her father, who are people of great, great character. >> reporter: eunice and sargent shriver were married more than 50 years. he was the founding director of the peace corps. they had five children together, including california's first lady, maria shriver. >> the best mother-in-law -- best mother-in-law in the world, thank you. >> reporter: a friend said, "with eunice, it was all about family, religion, and causes." her legacy will be the cause of the special olympics. >> i think she has done more in that field than any other single human being alive.
>> these special olympians have thrilled us on the playing fields of the world. you have taught us that what matters is not power or politics, weapons or wealth. what truly counts is the courageous spirit and the generous heart. >> eunice kennedy shriver's husband, five children and 19 grandchildren were at her side when she died. she was 88. and still ahead on "world news," he and others helped bernie madoff steal billions and now he's ready to name names. a car that gets 230 miles a gallon? that's the claim. and it will be in showrooms soon. and, the big heist. jewel thieves get millions in a daring london robbery.
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inside that will provide the details that madoff refused to divulge. >> reporter: been an investment firm that claimed $65 billion in investments, frankdy pal cally was an odd choice as madoff's right hand man. but what he admitted in court today that he did have was a criminal mind. in pleading guilty to the ten felony counts, dipascali described his role in carrying out the ponzi scheme for two decades. he said all the transactions he recorded were fake. quote, it was all fictitious. it was wrong, and i knew it at the time. >> i believe that frank knew as much as bernie did. as time went on, i noticed that they spent more and more time together in the office, and frank was always intertwined with bernie. he would call me to check his calendars to see who was coming in. >> reporter: dipascali was paid
$3 million a year. he had a sprawling estate in suburban new jersey. a huge yacht with a captain, paid for by the company, and a corporate american express platinum card on which he charged thousands of dollars in personal items, including plane trips to the bahamas for his son and college friends. >> reporter: as he lived the good life, he admitted today it was his job to help madoff outwit federal investigators and keep the scam running, destroying thousands of lives. he apologized to his victims and said his fault was following madoff to loyally since 1975. as their new star witness, federal prosecutors agreed to let dipascali stay home until sentencing next year, but the judge rejected that, saying with his facing 125 years in prison, he is so much of a flight risk, and he ordered u.s. marshals to take him to jail immediately. and that's where he is tonight,
charlie. >> all right, brian ross reporting, thank you. and ahead on "world news," general motors hopes for a jolt from the volt. and we'll look at all the electric cars soon to be on sale. it slow me down. et i go down to the pool for a swim... get out and dance... even play a little hide-n-seek. i'm breathing better... with spiriva. announcer: spiriva is the only once-daily inhaled maintenance treatment for both forms of copd... which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. i take it every day. it keeps my airways open... to help me breathe better all day long. and it's not a steroid. announcer: spiriva does not replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms. stop taking spiriva and call your doctor if your breathing suddenly worsens, your throat or tongue swells, you get hives, or have vision changes or eye pain. tell your doctor if you have glaucoma, problems passing urine or an enlarged prostate, as these may worsen with spiriva. also discuss the medicines you take, even eye drops. side effects may include dry mouth, constipation
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in detroit today, general motors unveiled the chevy volt. it's a hybrid it says will go 230 miles on one gallon of gas. the volt runs on batteries for about 40 miles of gas-free driving and then a small gas engine kicks in to keep the batteries charged. the volt goes on sale late next year for around $40,000. so, electric cars may be the future. but as bill weir reports, they are also the cars of the past. >> reporter: in the beginning, electric cars outsold all others. henry ford's cheaper model t changed that. but a century later, the electric renaissance is on. from akron, home of the three-wheeled myers, to spokane, where they make the tango perfect for splitting gridlock. >> no oil changes. no preventative maintenance. >> reporter: britain has a line of electric trucks called smith. warren buffett invested a quarter billion in china's byd.
and coming soon, norway's think city. this is made of plastic. how safe is a plastic car? >> the safety structure is in the frame, and this has a high strength steel frame. >> reporter: next year will bring the nissan leaf at around 30 grand and the chevy volt for around $40,000. and whether it is the tesla roadster or bmw's mini e, the first thing you notice is the quiet. >> is it on? >> reporter: the second is the instant power. i do love that torque. but now that several hundred of these are on the road, the so-called pioneers who pay 850 bucks a month to lease them are discovering the hassle of the charge. >> full of hurdles, full of hurdles unless you're on top of it. >> reporter: the best batteries are still expensive and limited to around 100 miles, and they take 23 hours to charge on a standard wall socket. a higher voltage garage box will fill 'er up in three, but so far, the cars seem easier to get than the cords and boxes.
>> a utility is completely prepared for what's required to install an electric driver, but an electric car is somewhat different. >> reporter: a company called better place plans to build a chain of automated battery swapping stations. >> everyone is jumping in the game to show the public that these cars aren't science fiction. they can really be part of their future. >> reporter: a future when extension cords will replace gas cans. a change, enthusiasts say, is well worth the growing pains. bill weir, abc news, new york. and we have an update to a story we first reported last week about plans in congress to use taxpayer money for the top of the line private jets to carry members of congress. facing outrage over the so-called jets for junkets, house leaders now say they plan to scrap their proposal, to spend more than half a billion dollars on the fleet of new jets. and ahead on "world news," a daring jewel heist in the heart of london, complete with gun
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finally tonight, to catch a thief. or try to. in this case, it's actually a couple of thieves. two well-dressed men showed up at one of the fanciest jewelry stores in london and got away with a fortune in gems. it sounds like something out of the movies. so, what did they do and how did that do it? here's miguel marquez. >> reporter: they hit one of the world's most exclusive jewelers in broad daylight. a heist hollywood would love. as daring at "the thomas crown affair." >> how did he do that? >> reporter: as well planned as "the italian job."
43 exquisite pieces of jewelry. from diamonds to pearls to watches. it's the biggest gem theft in the history of great britain. police say the two men were in this store only about two minutes. they walked out with $65 million in jewelry. these two guys, the robbers. police believe they were working with two others, the get away men. here's how it went down. late afternoon the pair arrives in a normal london black cab. >> they were let into the jewelry shop. two smartly dressed men. >> reporter: their escape minutes later, not to be believed. the pair left the store, fired two shots on a busy london street and drove off. in less than a half mile, they switched cars three times, crashed one, and gave police the slip. this cell phone video captured it. >> it must be a pretty planned operation, i guess. they must be fairly hard core. but with you have a gun in your
face, you're not going to argue with them. >> reporter: the bad guys so far have gotten away. but probably aren't sitting as pretty as those guys from "ocean's 11." at least not yet. a massive man hunt is underway. miguel marquez, abc news, london. and that is "world news" for this tuesday. i'm charlie gibson, and i hope you had a good day. for all of us at abc news, have you had a good day. for all of us at abc news, have a good night. captions by vitac