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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  July 13, 2009 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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couric is next. tonight helping veterans pay for a college education. join derek for thonly lo cal newscast at 7:00. don't forget. we will see you later! >> couric: tonight, sonia sotomayor answers her critics about the kind of supreme court justice she would be. >> the task of a judge is not to make law, it is to apply the law. >> couric: i'm katie couric. also tonight, exclusive cbs news video. u.s. and afghan forces fight to take back a town overrun by the taliban. in florida, the parents of 16 children murdered. three suspects are under arrest, and the police are looking for as many as five more. and an unwelcome visitor to summer camp. the h1n1 flu forcing some camps to close.
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captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> couric: good evening, everyone. the judge raised her right hand today and swore to tell the truth. even among republicans, the betting is the next time sonia sotomayor takes an oath, it will be as an associate justice of the u.s. supreme court. but as the senate judiciary committee opened confirmation hearings today, much of the public is not sure how they feel about the judge. in a cbs news poll out tonight, only 23% have a favorable opinion, down ten points since president obama nominated her. nearly three times as many say they are undecided. sotomayor's 23% favorable rating is seven points higher, by the way, than samuel alito's and lower than john roberts when their confirmation hearings began. meanwhile, a little over half the people we polled believe it's important an hispanic be on the us supreme court.
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wyatt andrews now with day one of the hearings. >> reporter: after waiting seven weeks to defend her record, sonia sotomayor, the nation's first hispanic nominee to the supreme court, began by giving credit to her mother. >> i am here, as many of you have noted, because of her aspirations and sacrifices for both my brother juan and me. >> reporter: in a day confined to speech making, democrats and republicans revealed very different approaches to judging the judge. to democrats, it's all about her 17-year record on the federal bench. a record the non-partisan congressional research service said defies categorization along ideological lines. >> if the number-one standard that conservatives use and apply is judicial modesty and humility they should vote for judge sotomayor unanimously. >> reporter: but republicans plan to focus on her speeches, not her judicial rulings, arguing her speeches hold the key to what she really thinks. >> i just... it bothers me...
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>> reporter: especially her famous remark that a wise latina woman would reach a better conclusion than a white male. >> i think your experience can add a lot to the court, but i don't think it makes you better than anyone else. >> reporter: sotomayor did not address the charges specifically but made it obvious she plans to define herself. >> many senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy. simple: fidelity to the law. >> reporter: the hearing marked the first spotlight moment for former comedian now senator al franken who cast himself as new but ready. >> i may not be a lawyer, but neither are the overwhelming majority of americans. >> reporter: and there was one moment of raw candor as republican lindsey graham analyzed the judge's chances. >> unless you have a complete healthdown, you're going to get confirmed. >> reporter: now, a complete meltdown is not likely to come from this seasoned federal judge but if any heat gets generated
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by these hearings, that could come tomorrow when the questioning begins. katie? >> couric: wyatt andrews. wyatt, thank you very much. bob schieffer is our chief washington correspondent and anchor of "face the nation." bob, as we saw, some republicans didn't really treat her with kid gloves. if she's heading for confirmation, what do you think their objective was? >> well, i think... i guess they don't want the folks back home to think they're potted plants, for one thing. but the other part is they have been very care to feel strike this along philosophical liness. they want to make sure that they got the comment from her that they got today when she said on the berj she will apply the law she will not make the law. but i tell you, in the end, lindsey graham is right, katie. it's going to be very hard for senators to vote against this wonderful life story that this woman has who was raised by a widowed mother and went on to be the first hispanic woman to be nominated. >> couric: and they want those
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hispanic voters, too. we can't forget that. bob, let's go back to our latest cbs poll. president obama's overall job approval approval rating is down six points since june. his approval rating for handling the economy is nine points. i'm curious, what do you think is behind these declining numbers. >> i think it's all about the economy, katie. one of the findings in our poll says nearly 70% of people in america are worried about losing their jobs, at least what what somewhat worried. when people are in that kind of mood, the president's popularity is going to go down. they want to see some results. he's launched all these programs now they want to see that the programs are having some impact. >> couric: all right. bob schieffer in washington. bob, thank you. good to talk to you. president obama made another nomination today. he chose regina benjamin, a 51-year-old doctor from alabama, to be the next surgeon general. benjamin has devoted her practice to caring for the poor, including many immigrants from southeast asia. she's been a leader in the fight to make sure everyone has access to good health care.
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in other news tonight, former vice president dick cheney finds himself in a familiar situation: in the middle of controversy. it involves a secret c.i.a. operation to wipe out al qaeda's brain trust following 9/11. the problem is, congressional leaders were never told about it tonight nancy cordes reports some of them say it's time the full story came out. >> reporter: the c.i.a. never briefed congress on a sensitive counterterrorism plan because former vice president dick cheney told the c.i.a. not to. that's what democrats say c.i.a. director leon panetta told them when he met with intelligence committee members last month right after he learned about the program and killed it. >> can't have a vice president, a president, or senate say "don't follow the law." >> reporter: cheney's direct involvement is fueling calls for an investigation. >> this can't stand. to have something operating for almost a decade with not one
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member of congress ever having been informed. >> reporter: government sources say the on again-off again secret c.i.a. plan was conceived after 9/11 but never got off the ground. it reportedly involved taking out major al qaeda figures at close range. >> i'm sure that there's a lot of programs that we've never been briefed on that an administration may have thought about doing but never implemented. >> reporter: he's one of many republicans who say democrats are manufacturing their outrage to provide cover for house speaker nancy pelosi who came under fire when she said this about waterboarding. >> the c.i.a. was misleading the congress. they mislead us all the time. >> reporter: if vice president dick cheney did say to the c.i.a. "don't tell congress," is that against the law? >> it's probably skirting the law. the question is, what do you do with that? i don't think there's going to be any will on congress to prosecute him. >> reporter: potentially more serious is a criminal probe being considered by the attorney general who says he'll decide
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soon whether to investigate the bush administration's harsh interrogation tactics. katie? >> couric: nancy cordes reporting from the capitol tonight. now turning to the war on terror in afghanistan. the taliban has launched a new offensive to destabilize the country and intimidate voters forehe tl upcoming august& elections. after the taliban captured one small town in eastern afghanistan, u.s. and afghan forces engaged them in a dramatic fire fight to take it back. s cbws has anxcs vesiklu e loo at the operation as mandy clark reports from the front line. >> reporter: this is the battle for barge matal. it started at dusk yesterday. insurgents high on ridges, pouring fire down at this exposed u.s. position. hundreds of taliban overran barge matal a week ago, the largest town in the eastern
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province. a hundred u.s. troops from the tenth mountain division backed by the afghanistan army are now fighting to win it back, as you can see in this exclusive video shot by cbs news. this battle lasted an hour. one u.s. soldier was killed along with ten insurgents. u.s. medics treated an insurgent who said he worked for a notorious taliban leader, accused of a series of attacks on coalition forces. a small arsenal of taliban weapons were found at the local hotel. 1,700 a.k.-47 rounds, more than 30 rocket-propelled grenades and explosives. the taliban takeover of barge matal was a message to villagers that the taliban will not tolerate voting in next month's elections. 88 voting registration cards from villagers were found on one dead insurgent. they were taken from villagers by force. >> so the taliban has made a concerted effort over the last
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month simply targeting the voting sites. they are marginalizing the government, trying to ensure that they can't participate in the election. >> reporter: the taliban may be gone for now, but if they manage to scare people here from streeting in the election, it will be a blow to afghanistan's efforts to build democracy here. cbs news, barge matal. >> couric: here in this country, the double murder that shocked the florida panhandle and the nation. the victims, a couple who opened their home to more than a dozen children, were shot to death in their own home. three men are under arrest and now the police say as many as five others may be involved. and there is still this unanswered question: why would anyone do this? the latest now from mark strassmann. >> reporter: byrd and melanie billings lived to love. wealthy, their real treasures were their 17 kids. a dozen of them had special needs, all adopted by the couple over the years.
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>> to our mom and dad, their children were perfect. >> reporter: which is why police call their cold blooded murders chilling and shocking. last thursday, security cameras showed two cars pulled up to their nine-bedroom house. a dodge van in the front, an escalade in the back. five masked gunmen dressed ninja-style went inside. less than five minutes later, the couple was shot dead. >> it leads me to believe that this was a very well-planned and methodical operation. >> reporter: nine children also inside the home were unharmed. police believe robbery was one of several motives. >> it will be a very long time, i believe, before we piece together the truth as to why this family was selected. >> reporter: 35-year-old leonard ezgoalnz, jr., aalnd 41-year-old wayne cold iron face murder charges. police say that's gonzalez in the middle buying clothing at a local wal-mart with two other possible suspects. >> mr. gonzalez, you've been charged with tampering with evidence. >> reporter: today leonard gonzalez, sr., was the first to be arraigned.
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police say he confessed to driving a getaway car and trying to repaint it later. they also expect to make as many as five more arrests. >> to know there are people capable of this type of violence and people with this magnitude of hate in their lives is sickening. >> reporter: police say one of the three suspects already in custody was the mastermind, but won't say which one, they're also reviewing store security videotape from several major local retailers hoping to spot more suspects buying the black clothing they went on to wear in this brutal, methodical attack. katie? >> couric: mark strassmann, a very strange and disturbing story. thank you, mark. coming up next here on the "cbs evening news," why money from the stimulus plan is landing at small airports most americans will never use. (male announcer) if you've had a heart attack caused by a completely blocked artery, another heart attack could be lurking, waiting to strike.
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impact, you might want to look up. any small planes you spot could be bound for one of the hundreds of tiny airports that scored a lot of taxpayer money. sharyl attkisson follows the money. >> reporter: in upstate new york there's a tiny airport owned by the williamson flying club. a private social club for local pilots. club president joe ebert is pleased to show off their brand new $400,000 runway paid for by your tax dollars. so this is all new? >> this is all new. >> reporter: it's part of a billion dollars in stimulus money handed out to 300 airports around the nation. >> we were looking for projects that airports in areas around the country desperately needed to be done for safety and security concerns. >> reporter: yet some of the projects hardly seem urgent and the nonprofit journalism group pro publica says taxpayers might be surprised to find... >> airports they'd never heard of in communities they will never visit are getting some of the maximum stimulus grants.
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>> reporter: in fact, more than $350 million is being spent on little-used airports or ones catering to recreational fliers, corporate jets and remote communities. that's because congress's stimulus rules don't give prior toy the most congested airportstor biggest safety problems. consider that los angeles airport doesn't have the money to install critical taxiway warning lights and a third of the nation's largest airports havedaubanstcbrdy setafetar eas for when planes veer off the runway. yet tiny purdue university airport gote y.'saf un ry. el hkels amanielof atn thvegh eouth'v outheye reported just one incident, a plane ran over a skunk in 1996. in alaska,$15 million went to the townfo of ouizinkie,irport population just 165. that's roughly $90,000 per resident. the stimulus funds were granted by the f.a.a. under the department of transportation.
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why shouldn't that cost be borne by the people who benefit from it? >> well, i mean, the community can't raise that kind of money. >> reporter: the rural airports deserve to be safe and kept up as much as other airports do. >> reporter: she also points out small airports are used by rescue aircraft and cargo haulers and the stimulus projects create jobs. but nobody would tell us how many unemployed workers, if any, were hired to pave the flying club's runway. the whole job took just five day on the bright side, all airports that get stimulus funds are open to the public. so if you ever feel like flying to a little airport, there's one in upstate new york that's happy to spread out the welcome mats on their brand new runway. sharyl attkisson, cbsew ns, sodus, new york. 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.
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>> couric: now the latest on the h1n1 flu virus. a study out today says it's very similar to the vain that caused the 1918 pandemic. researchers say this latest strain thrives in the lungs, but anti-viral medications can be effective against it. people born before 1918, we're told, are immune. but dr. jennifer ashton tells us there's concern about the very young as they go summer camp. >> reporter: kids have been coming to north carolina's blue ridge mountains for blue star camp experience for 60 years. but this year 13-year-old nikki
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jaffe experienced something she never expected. >> i had a really bad headache and i just... i felt... i didn't feel good overall. >> reporter: and 121-year-old jessica bachner said she'd never felt so bad. >> it felt different than just having a fever. >> reporter: it was, in fact, likely h1n1 or swine flu, now spreading through summer camps across america. at least 50 have reported outbreaks and the c.d.c. is urging all camps to take precautions. since is new flu is affecting people between the ages of five and 24 more than any other group campers and counselors are especially vulnerable. at blue star, two campers tested positive and 35 others were believed to be infected but none of the cases were serious. they were given anti-viral medication and isolated. >> they would come in the first day with about 101, take their tamiflu. the third day they wanted to go back to camp. >> reporter: this session blue
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star isn't taking any chances. kids showing up with fevers are sent home. at the mess hall, sharinging is out, hand sanitizer is in. >> always use anti-bacterial or wash your hands before you eat. >> reporter: are you going to be careful, mason? >> i'll try my best. >> reporter: camps for kids with health conditions like muscular dystrophy or asthma have shut down all together so as not to put more vulnerable children at risk. katie? >> couric: meanwhile, jennifer, what is the c.d.c. recommending for sleep-away and day camps. >> they leave it largely up to the camp's discretion, katie. they're recommending to educate their staff how to detect signs of flu-like illness, isolate children who may be sick for seven days and send them home at their discretion. >> couric: what about kids going to school this fall? what's in store for them? >> we'll see a potential billion dollars allot to a vaccine due out in mid-october. the c.d.c. will be recommending school-age children are at the top of that list, katie, even if they've been sick this summer.
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>> couric: dr. jennifer ashto jennifer, thank you. we'll be right back. e always be. we even both have osteoporosis. but we're active. especially when we vacation. so when i heard about reclast, the only once-a-year iv osteoporosis treatment, i called joni. my doctor said reclast helps restrengthen our bones to help make them resistant to fracture for twelve whole months. and reclast is approved to help protect from fracture in more places: hip, spine, even other bones. (announcer) you should never take reclast if you're on zometa, have low blood calcium, kidney problems. or you're pregnant, plan to become pregnant or nursing. take calcium and vitamin d daily. tell your doctor if you develop severe muscle, bone or joint pain or if you have dental problems, as rarely, jaw problems have been reported. the most common side effects include flu-like symptoms, fever, muscle or joint pain and headache. nothing strengthens you like an old friendship. but when it comes to our bones, we both look to reclast. you've gotta ask your doctor! once-a-year reclast. year-long protection for on-the-go women.
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and blood disorders have occurred. before starting enbrel, your doctor should test you for tuberculosis. also ask your doctor if you live in an area... with a greater risk for certain fungal infections. don't start enbrel if you have an infection, like the flu. tell your doctor if you're prone to infections, have cuts or sores, have had hepatitis b, have been treated for heart failure, or if, while on enbrel, you experience persistent fever, bruising, bleeding or paleness. help bridge the gap. ask your rheumatologist... if enbrel is right for you, and about our co-pay and financial support programs. a sailor found dead in the barracks at ft. myer right near the pentagon. the lasted on the investigation coming up next on your -- only local newscast at 7:00. >> couric: finally tonight, a famoussh elingman once said "all the world's a stage" and proving a point, the brits have opened a
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new one, on top of a pedestal for a statue in downtown london. as for the shore, as mark phillips tells us, it ain't exactly shakespeare. >> reporter: in london's trafalgar square they've had a problem for 141 years-- ever since they built it to commemorate horatio nelson's victory over napoleon's navy. one pedestal has remained empty because no one could agree what to put on it. now they're putting anybody on it. one person per hour round the clock for the next three months, 2,400 people, living sculpture, it's charitably called. >> i think it's absolutely right that we start putting an individual hero up there that can demonstrate we can all be heroes. >> reporter: the problem is some heros are more interesting than others. steven stockton just stood there. others have tossed purple hearter airplanes, performed with puppets, supported their favorite causes. to the artists who developed the
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concept, it's a portrait of modern britain. >> the composite picture of s that it's going to tell us something about the nature of the u.k. now. >> reporter: or the nature of u.k. installation art now. anybody can apply to beç a plint the winners are chosen by lottery. in evidentbly, the expression has been "someday your plinth" will come, which many think is the only thing amusing about it. there are lessons for the plinthers here, 15 minutes of fame may be better than a whole hour and keep moving before the birds of trafalgar square deliver the same verdict they have on you that they have on the real statues. mark phillips, cbs news, lon london. >> couric: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric. thank you for watching. see you tomorrow. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs liaptiedy b media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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from the first local station with news and high definition. this is 9 news now. good night. in your only local news at sphp, death on base. the navy investigates after a sailor's body is found in the barracks at ft. -- myer. no delay. a judge denies the request to push back a trial of a woman accused of killing her own four daughters and making up the rules. questions about the safety of pedicabs after a woman dies in a ride in san diego. but first, we begin with the latest on that sailor found dead at ft. myer. i am andrew stack in arlington. investigators found the both of a female sailor here at the henderson hall barrack located at fort myer early this morning. just a stone's throw from the pentagon, ncis investigators got to work on the case early this morning. after the female sailor failed to report for duty

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