tv AB Cs World News With Charles Gibson ABC August 12, 2009 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
welcome to "world news." tonight, red ink rising. massive amounts of government spending send the federal deficit soaring to a stunning record. marine assault. u.s. forces go on the offensive in afghanistan, storming a taliban-held town and facing heavy enemy fire. over the limit. a devastating crash puts the focus on a growing problem. women driving drunk. four-wheel bob. the mountain climber using his chair to take him where his legs cannot. and, highest honors at the white house today, for 16 and, highest honors at the white house today, for 16 extraordinary individuals. captions paid for by abc, inc. good evening. the signs are there.
the country, it would seem, the beginning to pull out of the long recession. but today, we got the bill. from t.a.r.p. to bailouts, similar lus checks to cash for clunkers, the government has been spending furiously to combat the crisis, and that's helped push this year's federal deficit to a record $1.27 trillion. 1, 2, 7 and ten see roes. that is the highest ever, and there are still two months to go in the budget year. those numbers are part of what's sparking a backlash concerning health care reform. jake tapper is at the white house. >> reporter: last month alone, the government added $180 billion to the deficit, bringing the total to more than $4,000 for every man, woman and child. in the latest abc news poll, 49% of the american people disapprove of president obama's handling of the deficit.
the highest level of disapproval of any of the items we asked about. and this mounting debt is one of the reasons members of congress find themselves on the defensive in town hall meetings about health care. >> social security is bankrupt, medicare is bankrupt, the post office is bankrupt. how am i, as a proud american, going to trust you people to do the right thing? >> the initial cost is over $1 trillion for a down payment. my children and grandchildren are going to pay for this bill. >> reporter: some supporters of reform respond by saying health care costs are a huge part of the deficit problem, reform is necessary to tackle the issue. >> health care reform that brings down the growth rate of health care costs will help our children and grandchildren in affording health care and having less debt. >> reporter: the president makes that argument, too, and has made
this promise. >> first of all, i said i won't sign a bill that adds to the deficit or the national debt. okay? so this will have to be paid for. >> reporter: but some budget hawks worry congress, so far in drafting the ledge slargs, is avoiding tough decisions on controlling costs. >> from what we're seeing so far, it doesn't look like they're tackling the real cost drivers of health care. and that means if they don't do it, it will make the deficit situation worse. >> reporter: charlie, right now, there is no actual health care reform legislation for the congressional budget office to analyze and determine its impangt on the deficit. charlie? >> jake tapper, thank you. and our chief medical editor, dr. tim johnson is joining us again tonight. and tim, at these meeting, people are saying, they don't want government involved in their health care. >> reporter: but in fact, the government is very much involved. medicare being the classic example. the government acts as an insurance agency. they pay the bills for citizens over age 65. now, the delivery is private.
a medicare people can choose whatever doctor and hospital they want. they may have more choices than private insurance companies. medicare is a 45-year-old program that's worked very well. >> and people also say, well, you members of congress, you have your plan, and we would like to have insurance as good as you got. >> reporter: the congressional plan, interestingly enough, is not an insurance plan. it is a program, where the government now acts as an employer, and negotiates with private companies, insurance companies, on your behalf, as a federal employee, including members of congress. so, you get a list, now, from the government, that's vetted these plans, it says, they will provide what they say they will and cost this much and you get to choose. they do a lot of hard work there. very good employer for the federal employees. and it sounds very much like the national insurance exchange that president obama is talking about, from which we could all choose. >> and the public option that may or may not be involved in a
bill, if it gets through congress, the public option, would that be like medicare, where you, where you get the government collecting the money and dispernsing inin inin inin congressional plan? >> reporter: the administration has not come up with its own plan, but it sounds like medicare. there will be a government insurance plan, one of the options with other private plans you can choose from. >> okay, tim johnson, thank you. some of the things being discussed at the town meetings. and those who support or oppose health care reform are fighting to win public support. and to that end, both sides have launched an advertising blitz. so far, supporters of reform are outspending opponents about two to one. we're continuing to fact check the arguments in this debate, and tonight, abc's kate snow examines the ads. >> reporter: you would think it was a presidential campaign. >> do you trust washington with your life?
>> i think americans deserve better. >> prey on the weaknesses, trying to separate the healthy from the sick. >> if all you knew is what you seen in tv, you would not have a clue what's going on. >> washington's latest health reform idea? >> reporter: the u.s. chamber of commerce today launched a multimillion dollar ad campaign in 21 states criticizing health care reform. >> with big tax increases, even on health benefits. >> reporter: true, the house bill does raise taxes. but only for families making more than $350,000 a year. that claim that your health benefits would be taxed? not so fast. senators are considering taxing the most generous benefits. but that's not in any legislation yet. this ad from a conservative seniors advocacy group plays on the fears of seniors. >> for seniors, this will mean long waits for care. cuts to mris and other vital tests. fact is, the house bill does include cuts to medicare payments to providers, to try to
promote efficiencies. >> anytime somebody talks about finding savings in medicare costs or holding down the very rapid growth costs, they get accused of cutting benefits. but it's really misleading. you can't really show that there are going to be cuts in benefits. >> we're a second generation family business. >> reporter: supporting the president, a small business coalition and a teachers union started running this ad today. >> there's a bill in congress that will lower health care costs for families and businesses. that's what we need. now. >> reporter: but it's unclear whether the savings for families will happen. reformers hope that a government insurance plan competing with private plans leads to lower premiums for all. but that's just a goal. and, will businesses have lower costs? depends on their payroll. if it's more than $250,000, the company has to help employees pay for health insurance. >> if you mandate businesses to buy insurance for employees that don't have it now, that's a big expense. >> on health insurance reform, what's in it for you? >> reporter: many democratic ads make sweeping promises.
like this one from the dnc. >> president obama's plan will end unfair insurance practices, like denying coverage for a pre-existing condition, outrageous out of pocket expenses and dropping coverage when you get too sick. >> reporter: true, the house bill does say an insurance plan cannot deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition, but they have five years to comply. a lot of these ads are frightening, and groups are making many claims that can't be proven or disproven. for a couple of reasons. congress is still working on language of the bill, as jake said. a key senate committee hasn't weighed in yet. and some claims rely on assumptions, it's impossible to know if they will come true or not. >> all right, kate snow on the ad wars tonight, thanks very much. "on the money" tonight, encouraging words from the federal reserve, which kept its key interest rate at historic lows while seeing the economy appears to be stabilizing, and that was received well on wall street. the dow closed up 120 points, and the nasdaq was up 29.
we're going to turn next oversaechs to southern aft afghanistan, where u.s. and afghan tloops have launched a massive attack. the goal, to restore control of that region so that residents can vote in upcoming elections. but the taliban were not caught by surprise. our senior foreign correspondent jim sciutto is in afghanistan tonight. reporter: it was a bold, pre-dawn raid right into the heart of taliban territory. 400 marines, 100 afghan troops, dropped behind enemy lines by helicopter. they met such fierce resistance, an eight-hour firefight, some were convinced taliban fighters had been tipped off. >> a lot of our missions have been on the defensive on our own turf, so it's good to get out here on the offensive. >> reporter: today's operation is part of a weeks-long, u.s. led effort to retake large swaths of southern afghanistan in time for next week's presidential election. the lack of security has threatened to close as many as
one in ten polling stations across the country. >> we free the local populace from the influence of the taliban. they are able to go about their daily lives without being faced with intimidation or murder. >> reporter: it's in this precarious environment that the candidates are trying to campaign. the leader, incumbent president hamid karzai, and his challengers, appearing in public only under tight security. we joined one challenger today, dr. ashraf ghani. his stump speech, like so many here, all about improving security. do you believe afghanistan can hold a free election and, if not, what will you do? how will you react? >> don't discount the will of the ordinary afghani. afghan men and women are going to rescue this failed process and make it successful. >> reporter: with today's operation, the marines are hoping to do their part to make the vote successful, by making it safe for people to vote.
jim sciutto, abc news, kabul. and one more item overseas, in taiwan, some harrowing moments for a brave rescue worker after the devastating typhoon. he was searching for survivors when his raft flipped over in raging flood waters. he was pulled downstream, but rescued. taiwan's military said its found 1,000 people alive in three remote villages decimated by the storm. and still ahead, 16 trail blazers receive this country's highest civilian honor. quite a day at the white house. a tragic crash raises a troubling question. why are more women driving drunk? it's our "closer look." and he cannot walk, but he sure can climb. the mountain climber confined to a wheelchair. my health is important to me. it's critical that i stick to my medication. i cannot be one of the 61 million americans who do not refill their prescriptions on time. readyfill at cvs pharmacy
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there was a reception at the white house toy to honor the newest member of the supreme court. president obama said the achievements of sonia sotomayor will inspire generations to come. justice, sotomayor who was sworn in last weekend asked all americans to wish her divine guidance and wisdom in her new role. the president not only chooses members of the supreme court, but one of the perks of his office is selecting those who will receive the presidential medal of freedom. the highest several yan honor this country can bestow. and 16 people were honored this afternoon.
>> this is a chance for me, and for the united states of america, to say thank you to some of the finest citizens of this country, and of all countries. >> reporter: among those fine citizens, stephen hawking. senator edward kennedy, whose failing health prevented him attending. his daughter accepted for him. >> tennis battle of the sexes. >> reporter: billie jean king, for her contributions for gender equality. >> civil rights drive. >> reporter: the reverend joseph lowery, a leader in civil rights. >> the reverend joseph lowery is a giant of the moses generation of civil rights leaders. >> reporter: sandra day o'connor, the first woman to sit on the supreme court. >> her perspective employer asked her how well she typed. i cannot know how she would have fared as a legal secretary, but
she made a mighty fine us tis of the united states supreme court. >> reporter: and sidney poitier, transcendent in so many movies. >> consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. >> reporter: then, desmond tutu, who fought apartheid in south africa, and never lost the twinkle in his eye. and dr. joe medicine crow. the last living plains indian war chief, an amazing span to his life. he once talked to a survivor of the battle of the little big horn, and stole horses from the nazis in world war ii. each one of these honorees called an agent of change. and secretary of state hillary clinton's visit to africa brought her to nigeria today, and talking about their problems with rigged elections, she
brought up an election in the u.s., in 2000, she said, our -- >> in 2000, our presidential election came down to one state, where the brother of the man running for president was the governor of the state so, we have our problems, too. >> aids said she was not being editorial, she was simply making a point in how candidates should accept election results. and still ahead, a troubling trend. why are more women drinking and driving? ong but even with calcium, vitamin d, and exercise, i still got osteoporosis. i never thought i could do more than stop my bone loss. then my doctor told me i could, with once-monthly boniva. boniva works with your body to help stop and reverse bone loss. studies show, after one yer on boniva,, nine out of ten women stopped nd reversed their bone loss., i know i did. severe kidney disease or can't sit or stand for at least one hour. follow dosing instructions carefully. stop taking boniva
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we're going to take "a closer look" tonight at a disturbing trend. a surge in the number of women driving drunk. it is a fact, more women are abusing alcohol. for example, 39% of young women, now engage in binge drinking. that's an increase of 30% since 1979. and despite groups, more women who drin rk getting behind the wheel. it's a problem that's been thrust into the spotlight by a recent tragic crash here in new york that killed eight people, four of them children. here's sharyn alfonsi. >> reporter: it's friday night, outside of boston. >> deep breath in. >> reporter: and state police are looking for drunk drivers. >> every step. four. >> reporter: law enforcement
officers here, and across the country, are noticing a disturbing new trend. more and more, those arrested for drunk driving are women. men still drink more than women, and are responsible for more drunk driving cases. but the gap is narrowing. the number of men arrested for dui is going down. the number of women? up nearly 30%. some addiction experts say the spike may be a surprising side effect of more equality in the workplace. >> as women have jobs that resemble the jobs men have, as more women start having the same entertainment patters as men do, along with that comes more drunk driving. >> reporter: he says other women are simply stressed. trying to balance work and family and self-medicating. >> the whole idea of expecting the mother to do it all really has to change, because it is simply not possible. >> reporter: and sometimes when those women take the wheel drunk, they have their kids in
tow. diane schuler who caused the head-on collision in new york had five kids in the car. four were killed in the accident. police say the suburban mom was stoned and drunk. are women better at hiding their drinking problems than men? >> absolutely, absolutely. >> reporter: law enforcement determined to shine a light on the problem, before it's too late. sharyn alfonsi, abc news, new york. >> our "closer look." and, a study out tonight challenges some conventional wisdom for breast cancer survivors. for years, they were warned that weight training could cause painful arm swelling. new research shows that's not the case, that weight training results in better muscle tone, and fewer arm problems. still ahead, talk about reaching new heights. the mountain climber, confined to a wheelchair.
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finally tonight, a story about determination on wheels. in california, there is an avid adventurer who goes by the name of four-wheel bob. a mountain climber who happens to face more of an uphill fight than most. here's laura marquez. >> reporter: bob cooper calls this wheelchair hiking. it's his version of a walk in the park. severe osteoporosis forced cooper into a wheelchair 19 years ago. the bones in his legs so brittle, they can shatter just by putting weight on them. are your feet of any help going up the hill? >> they are pretty much blocks, so, they don't push.
>> reporter: an avid athlete all his life, cooper thrived in the outdoors. he still does. just from a different vantage point. >> makes it all worthwhile coming out here and seeing these guys. >> reporter: they don't seem too concerned about us. >> no. i'm sure one of them is bringing up the rear. if you want to stay safe, always hike with someone slower. >> reporter: cooper, nicknamed four-wheel bob, chronicles his adventures in a monthly magazine column. his exploits earned him presidential recognition. for this hiker, small rocks on a trail might as well be bolders. ruts, deep chasms. >> by design.
there are times i think about what could have been, and i just have to keep reminding myself that looking back ward isn't going to change anything. it's looking forward, and living each day as if it's your lost. i have to go six feet. >> reporter: as four-wheel bob will tell you, sometimes the journey is more important than the destination. laura marquez, abc news, mt. diane low state park. >> determination with a capital d. and that is "world news" for this wednesday. 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
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