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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 31, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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monday night, winter not going anywhere soon. on this sunday night, the final countdown. neck and neck polls and high stakes less than 24 hours before iowa voters caucus. the top democrats in a dead heat. the frontrunners praying for victory, making church a campaign stop today. tonight it's all about the ground game. turning out supporters and surviving this first lap of the race to the white house. late word that a college student accused of murdering a 13-year-old girl in virginia may have had an accomplice. the front line, we're in brazil with those working to stop the spread of the zika virus as the risk spreads to other countries. tonight, world experts gather for an emergency meeting. noble acts. wave after wave of desperate migrants make it to the greek islands.
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the push for those who have helped and embraced them to get the recognition they deserve. show of diversity. the pointed message to the people behind the oscars including why diversity should not a trending topic. "nightly news" begins right now. >> this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. reporting tonight from des moines, iowa. >> good evening. everything up until this point has been jockeying for position at the starting gate. 1500 rallies, 60,000 tv ads and countless handshakes. but now the real race for the president begins. the iowa caucuses 24 hours from now. a late poll has the democratic race clinton versus sanders as a tossup. as for the republicans, it's trump and then cruz with the rest of the pack needing to make up a lot of ground and getting out the vote is where this first in the nation battle will
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be won. our team is in the thick of it tonight. let's start with nbc's kristen welker. >> lester, good evening. tonight, both campaigns tell me they're expecting this to be close. there have been tens of thousands of tv ads, phone calls, and door knocks. now it come down to turnout and the final pitch from the candidates. it's the homestretch. hillary clinton and bernie sanders blanketing iowa. a fight for the number one spot in a race likely to be a photo finish. >> monday night could be an historic night for this country. we can make history. >> let's start a storm of movement toward the future that we want to make together! >> reporter: with just hours before voters caucus, clinton and sanders in a statistical dead heat. 45 to 42%. getting people out to vote tomorrow is today's top priority. teams of volunteers and organizers knocking on doors one last time. making sure every supporter knows two things -- where their caucus location is and how they'll get there.
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and the clinton campaign allowing nbc an exclusive look at their specially developed app which is like a caucus night calculator, helping them keep close tabs on caucusgoers and how they're voting tomorrow night. >> it allows us to streamline the process and help the precinct be able to move more quickly through the process. so they're spending more time calculating and less time persuading. >> reporter: and clinton averaged 125,000 door knocks alone. team members are in place. and sanders ground team equally impressive. 76,000 door knocks, over 15,000 volunteers. today, clinton still playing defense on her private e-mails when she was secretary of state. >> i just have to point out that the timing and some of the leaks that have led up to it are concerning. >> reporter: sanders who's been reluctant to engage in the e-mail issue today weighed in on "meet the press." >> i think this is a serious issue.
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i am not going to attack hillary clinton. the american people will have to make that judgment. >> reporter: with the clock ticking voters are now ready to have their say. >> who are you supporting? >> bernie sanders. >> why hillary clinton? >> i honestly think that she has the most experience. she can do the job. >> reporter: sanders could win iowa if young voters turn out in force. one campaign official telling me tonight win or lose, sanders is in this race for the long haul. lester? >> all right, thank you. the margin a bit wider in iowa among the republicans though donald trump is only leading by five points in the latest polling with ted cruz working hard today to close that gap. hallie jackson has the gop field covered for us tonight. >> reporter: in the final crunch before the caucuses, even church becomes a campaign stop. >> i pray that god's will be done. >> reporter: but the signs of peace giving way to the battle on the campaign trail. >> donald trump supports expanding obamacare. to make it full on
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socialized medicine like bernie sanders. >> look, ted cruz is a total liar. i am so against obamacare. i'm going to repeal and replace obamacare. >> reporter: trump looking strong still suitably starting to tamp down expectations. arguing he doesn't have to win this state. >> i'd like to win iowa. i'm doing really well with the evangelicals in iowa. >> reporter: they both know that christian support can be the deciding factor. 6 in 10 caucusgoers identified as evangelical the last couple of cycles. if the same number turns out tomorrow, it will be a dead heat. what's going to be important for you in that caucus room? >> i think what's most important to me when i go to the caucus, i want somebody who obviously shares the same values that i have. as a christian, as a bible believer. >> reporter: pastors at new hope church clear on what they want from a nominee and what they don't. >> i'm disappointed that people will tell us when they get to washington they're going to do this.
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i'm disappointed that the republicans and democrats can't work together to make better laws that reach across the aisle and that benefit all americans. >> reporter: that frustration one of the biggest factors fueling outsiders like trump and cruz here. >> very frustrated with both parties. although i have faith that it can be corrected. >> reporter: that's gary warm bure at a marco rubio rally today. all ready for a race that could last long past iowa. the starting line now just 24 hours away. >> the real poll that matters is tomorrow night. the poll that matters is what we actually do, right? not necessarily what all the media tells us to do. >> reporter: and late today, a memorable moment on the trail when cruz's bus got stuck in the mud.
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they hope that's not a metaphor for tomorrow night. and new polling shows nearly half of likely republican caucusgoers could still be convinced to change their mind, lester. and if they do, it's ted cruz who stands to benefit the most. >> hallie jackson, thank you. andrea mitchell has been following the twists and turns of this election thus far and is here to walk us through the candidates starting with the democrats. >> it's an election that you have outsider democrats drawing big crowds but big questions on whether they can deliver the crowds on the caucuses. on the democratic side, hillary clinton had a big head start on organization but she's fighting off that bernie sanders surge. the polls now show 83% of the clinton supporters have made up their mind compared to 69% for sanders. clinton will be using the playbook that barack obama used to defeat her eight years ago. everything will depend on turnout. campaign insiders say if only 170,000 people were to vote, then she wins. if more than 200,000
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show up, as they did for obama, then sanders would carry the day. there's a lot at stake. if sanders were to win here, he would have big momentum going into new hampshire where he's already way ahead and that would be a real crisis. >> the republican side has the trump surge been real? how will the ground game play out? >> the question is whether that surge is real. he now leads cruz by five points. it's clear his attacks on cruz have taken their toll since cruz was leading trump a month ago. again, the issue is organization. trump has the bigger crowds, but the polls don't suggest a ground swell of new voters. cruz has been on the road more in iowa and by tomorrow night he will have gone to all 99 counties if he gets that bus unstuck. the party leaders are in a near panic about a trump victory because it will give him a huge start to the nomination. they worry about cruz who has been fighting with the party establishment so top republicans, lester, are privately hoping that marco rubio could come in a strong
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third. >> going to be a big day. by the way, there could be snow. a strong -- yeah, the campaigns are closely watching the weather here in iowa. because it could impact caucus turnout. so a swath of snow is in fact heading directly to the state. not expected to hit until late monday night, but iowa is one of 15 states under winter storm advisories. tonight, 3 million people are under blizzard watches or warnings with up to a foot of snow forecast across parts of the plains and the midwest. there's late word in the second arrest of the murder of a 13-year-old girl. two virginia tech students are being held without bond in connection to her death as questions swirl about the motive. kristen dahlgren has details. ♪ >> reporter: in blacksburg, virginia, sadness and shock. >> everybody is still just trying to wrap their mind around the news. >> reporter: news that two virginia tech students are now being held in connection with the murder of 13-year-old nicole lovell. freshman david eisenhauer is charged with abduction and first-degree murder.
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19-year-old natalie keepers with improper disposal of a body and accessory after the fact. lovell was last seen on thursday, a massive search scouring the area for the teen. a liver transplant recipient, dependent on daily medication to stay alive. police said that search led them to eisenhauer from virginia. and then, lovell's body, about 100 miles from home. according to police, eisenhauer and the young teen knew each other before her disappearance. >> eisenhauer used this relationship to his advantage to abduct and then kill her. keepers helped eisenhauer dispose of nigh -- nicole's body. >> reporter: today, state police searched a pond on the virginia tech campus. this weekend lovell's father posted on facebook, i'm still in shock. i have nothing more to say. i'm broken. a father's unspeakable pain as an entire community now comes together to mourn. kristen dahlgren, nbc
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news. in the next 24 hours the world health organization will come together to make a major decision about zika and whether to declare it a global public health emergency. in brazil ground zero for the outbreak the government is struggling to protect and educate people about the virus. our rehema ellis talked to one trying to help protect residents. >> reporter: in a park in haditha, texas native dennis dowling is on a mission. working with poor families here in brazil for 30 years. his focus now is on educating them about the zika virus. how hard is it to communicate this message to protect yourself? >> it's very difficult. a lot of times they don't know what the consequences are, what the dangers are. >> reporter: for 19-year-old anna payola, the message hits home. two months pregnant she had zika-like symptoms. a fever, rash and body aches. she said she's worried the virus that's been
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linked to birth defects and brain damage in infants could affect her baby and doctors told her to use insect repellent and protective clothing. but no trousers, no long sleeves. not surprising in this land of sun and skin. now preparing for carnival later this week. part of the festivities constant reminders to beware of mosquito. this 13-year-old is learning about zika in school. to the north of brazil, colombia is also fighting to stop the spread of zika. fumigation trucks are going street to street in the especially hard hit northeast corner of that country. colombia reports more than 20,000 cases of zika. among them, 2,100 pregnant women. the government is urging women there to delay pregnancy. the news comes before the world health organization convenes
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for a rare emergency meeting tomorrow. to decide whether to declare a global public health emergency. back here in brazil, the epicenter of the zika outbreak, life goes on, but many families worry about the virus and what it means for the future. rehema ellis, nbc news, brazil. when "nightly news" continues on a sunday night, why some people think living on the greek islands and the eye of the refugee storm should get a very important recognition. plus, we'll show you what happens when a woman turns the tables on a police officer and pulls him over for speeding.
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now the ongoing migrant crisis playing out every day often with tragic consequences in the waters off the greek isles. this weekend, 37 syrian men, women and children drowned, making the journey. each time a new wave of migrants tries to make it to shore, residents risk their own lives to rescue and welcome them. as bill neely reports, that's caught the attention of a lot of people. >> reporter: overloaded with syrians fleeing war, another boat lands on lesbon, the island in the eye of the refugee storm. their relief is clear. safe in the arms of islanders whose compassion is now in line for a global prize. the freezing winter temperatures aren't deterring these people. 50,000 people have come ashore already
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this month. a quarter of a million in the last three months. many owe their lives to the island people who rescued these men from their sinking boat and those who see tragedy too. >> bodies -- >> yes, many accidents. >> reporter: they have seen many drown, others dying from extreme cold. >> it's almost like a war zone that we're in. we have had lots of people that have not made it. >> reporter: another rescue, this one a boat load full of children under 12. volunteer medics rush babies to the clinic where the island's doctors despair of a war without end. >> i feel very sad and i'm very angry about this. >> reporter: everyone here has been deeply affected. >> people just walking their dog on the beach don't expect to find the body of an 18-month-old child in the morning on a dog walk. it's not good. >> reporter: for their courage and sacrifice, the islanders are now being nominated for
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the nobel peace prize. >> when they make such an honor, that means a lot. >> reporter: but not everyone on the island is celebrating their nomination. >> we need to stop this. i don't want the people to be dying this way. >> reporter: the island's lifeblood, tourism is dying too. they fear the nobel prize won't bring that back. you're afraid? nothing but a peace prize will stop them, rescuing the victims of war. bill neely, nbc news. when we come back, how diversity made a comeback in hollywood last night.
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the reason i pulled you over today
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-- >> a turning of the tables in miami when a driver pulls over a police officer for speeding. you just heard the driver in the video posted on friday. she accused the officer of pushing 90 miles an hour. for the officer, he said he was on his way to work and he wasn't speeding. both parties kindly agreed they should both set a good example for drivers everywhere and they parted on good terms. the diverse winners of the screen actors guild awards are a stark contrast. and our steve patterson tells us about the message that some sag winners had for academy winners. >> reporter: the night could be summed up with one sentence -- >> thank you, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to diverse tv. >> reporter: one of several statues awarded to the non-white nominee at this year's annual
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screen actor's guild awards. to the red carpet, this was hollywood's night to showcase diversity. >> this is what we talk about when we talk about diversity. >> reporter: all in direct contrast to this year's academy award nominees. not a single actor of color up for a win. viola davis said it's an ongoing battle. >> we are a society of trending topics. diversity is not a trending topic. >> reporter: but this oscar season it's become a viral discussion. the #oscars so white sparked for the second year in a row, now a hollywood boycott with the academy making changes to diversify its membership. >> i think the sag award winners was an absolute redubuke to the
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academy not to nominate any non-white actors. >> reporter: there's a sizable difference in voters. the sag awards have four times as many members voting. >> i think a message was being sent by the actors that they want a more diverse group of candidates and they want more diverse winners. >> reporter: last night's celebration of color added even more fuel to the fire for critics who say that come oscar night, all will see gold and white. steve patterson, nbc news, los angeles. tom brock -- brokaw joins me at the tenth iowa caucus. he meets someone who's never joined until now.
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tom brokaw is with me tonight. he's been to every iowa caucus since 1980. he's met a lot of folks along the way. tonight he introduces us to one man who's never caucused before but in this upside down year he might get out and cast his vote this time. tom? >> that's right. i have been coming here for a long time. iowans are always engaged but never as much as they are this year. typical as the small town businessman by the name of charlie good from iowa just north of here. i spent time with him recently. here is charlie good now in his own words. >> i've got a convenience store. full serve automotive repair. and with the gas i sell several different grades of ethanol. and i have been here 22 years, going on my 23rd year. if you asked me would i take anybody from washington, d.c. to come in here and run my business, no way.
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no way. because i've got something to lose. they'd have nothing to lose. they're playing with our money. so i think some of them don't even care who we are out here. they want their power. they got their power. they want their way. for iowa, not only for iowa but for the national spotlight as far as i'm concerned this is about national security, providing our own fuel, and not buying from the people who want to hurt us. i made a statement to a senator from texas two years ago when i was in d.c. and i said, i want america to be energy independent and he said, mr. good, that's a pipe dream if you ever think that's going to happen. as long as people like you are in charge, that's right. i think a lot of things we're talking about now wouldn't be talked about in a normal election, because we have some outsiders involved in the race, things are being talked about. and in my view, no matter how much you love or hate donald trump i think some of the reasons we're talking about these
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things is because he's keeping them up there. >> well, lester, obviously, donald trump is hoping there are a lot of charlie goods out there and there may be. >> people -- i sense there's a restlessness out here in the electorate. >> curiously enough, iowa is doing very well. got 3.4% unemployment, des moines is booming but typically across the country, they feel things are not working the way that they should be. and they really believe that washington is broken. and they think somebody like trump can come along and maybe shake it up. a lot of questions still to be answered. >> but we may see people who typically haven't caucused come out this time? >> i think we'll have a higher number. it's been low in past, 16% is a low number, but they think it will be higher than that. >> all right, tom brokaw. that's "nightly news" for this sunday. i'm lester holt reporting from iowa. we'll be back here tomorrow night when the first votes are cast. from all of us here at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. wild weather hitting the bay
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area. a live look at our satellite radar. right now at 6:00, wild weather hitting the bay area, a live look at our satellite radar, you see some green, you see some white, a wind advisory now in effect. thank you for joining us as we get you updated on this thunder, hail and even snow in the bay area. the weather is constantly changing today. look at this virginia from creighton in the east bay, that's hail coming down for a few minutes. high winds also appear to be the culprit in taking down these trees in san francisco. they damaged these cars. another huge tree,

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