tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC February 20, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
workweek. no real signs of rain over the next five days. >> wow. >> "nbc nightly news" is next. more local news at 6:00. phone t the republican showdown in south carolina. with some on this night fighting for survival. final farewell. the funeral of supreme court justice antonin scalia. ripple effect. thousands of students at public universities worried about their futures, caught in the middle of one state's politics. race for equality. he won olympic gold in nazi germany. now a new film about jesse owens reminds us of the enduring struggle. "nightly news" begins right now.
>> announcer: decision 2016. this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening to our viewers on the west coast. it is great to be with you on this saturday. voting day in two key presidential contests. let's get right to the republican primary. in south carolina, where the polls closed a short time ago. nbc news now projects donald trump will win that primary with what appears to be a decisive victory over ted cruz and marco rubio who are in a battle for second that is too close to call. the other race today, the democratic caucuses in nevada where nbc news projects hillary clinton defeats bernie sanders. clinton able to hold back sanders's surge following his big win in new hampshire, his loss tonight complicating his path to the nomination. we've got it covered in both states tonight. we start with the race in south carolina. katy tur is there. katy? >> reporter: lester, this is a massive win for donald trump. right now he could potentially win all congressional districts here, if he
does that it means he wins all 50 delegates for the state, meaning the race for second and third is just for show at this point, they won't come away with any delegates, and essentially only for fundraising. the exit showing terror a major issue among voters, as well as the muslim ban. south carolina is where he introduced his muslim ban, where he talked about water boarding not being tough enough in the fight against senator. he talks about dipping bullets in blood and shooting terrorists with them, all meant to prove that america isn't tough any longer and he's the man to make it tough again. south carolina voters seem to agree with that. now he has all the momentum going into the south and proof he is electable. the longer he stays in
this race the more proof he has that he over somebody like marco rubio or ted cruz is actually electable. >> hallie jackson is also in south carolina following the cruz campaign. they're watching the numbers very carefully to see about the second place finish. hallie? >> reporter: like all of us, lester, the campaign tell us they're watching the results roll in, cautiously optimistic that they'll perform here in the top tier, where they want to finish. being able to finish in the top tier in south carolina will give them the momentum they need heading into the march 1st southern primary states, places were donald trump also looks strong. at this point the cruz campaign also looking over to marco rubio. all week long the campaign has been pushing a narrative that rubio has not won a state yet and that is what we are hearing from the campaign tonight, essentially
pointing to the scoreboard and saying rubio has not yet won a state even if he were to perform in the top tier here in south carolina. it's essentially like looking over and calling the scoreboard right now. as we head into these march 1st states, the cruz campaign wants a two-man race. it looks clear that moving out of south carolina, it's at least a three-man one. >> marco rubio is the third man hoping to do well in south carolina. dave gutierrez is following his campaign there. what's the scene there, dave? >> reporter: hey there, lester. the marco rubio campaign says they got what they wanted, this is now a three-man race and they're very optimistic heading into nevada and super tuesday. they came off a devastating fifth place finish in new hampshire. they're hopinged th this can erase it. the key is several key endorsements in this state. senator tim scott, and perhaps most importantly, governor
nikki haley. together with rubio, they campaigned throughout the state, calling themselves the new faces of conservativism. what the rubio campaign says they hope will happen is that republican candidates, as they drop out, that the establishment will coalesce around marco rubio to take on donald trump. now the question will be exactly how strong is their finish here against ted cruz and what happens when they head to nevada next week. lester? the other big story tonight, the democratic caucuses in nevada and a big win for hillary clinton over bernie sanders. kristen welker is in las vegas tonight. kristen? >> reporter: lester, good evening. it's quiet here right now. but it was electric here earlier when secretary clinton was delivering her victory speech. the crowd was chanting "hillary!" there was a lot of concern amongst her supporters and within her campaign that she would lose this pivotal state. it was a nail-biter until the end but
secretary clinton successfully court eed african-americans and union workers and will now have momentum moving forward. here's what she told supporters earlier this evening. >> tens of thousands of men and women with kids to raise, bills to pay, and dreams that won't die. this is your campaign. and it is a campaign to break down every barrier that holds you back. we're going to build ladders of opportunity in their place so every american can go as far as your hard work can take you. >> reporter: this is a significant loss for senator sanders. it raises serious questions about his ability to win these larger, more diverse states. but he told his supporters tonight not to give up. take a listen. >> a little while ago
i called up secretary clinton and congratulated her and her staff for the victory here in nevada. they ran a very aggressive, effective campaign, and i applaud them for their efforts. >> reporter: and now both candidates are moving on tonight. senator sanders heads to south carolina. secretary clinton heading to texas for a big campaign rally there. and then she'll spend two days there raising money in california to try and match some of the millions that senator sanders has raised online, lester. >> kristen, thank you. the outcome in nevada setting the stage for what's next for clinton and sanders. andrea mitchell joins me for that. what's the path to the nomination look like tonight? >> it looks tougher for bernie sanders. he's got to prove by super tuesday that he can start winning. he's not even mentioning south
carolina tonight. that's the next race. she has a lot of strength there. he says they're going to move on to virginia. he has to prove he can win in texas or georgia or some of the big states of super tuesday. he has yet to prove he can win in the more diverse states. hillary clinton has stabilized her campaign. this is a big moment for her tonight. >> andrea mitchell, thank you. let's bring in political director and moderator of "meet the press" chuck todd. he's been looking at the polling of voters in south carolina and nevada. what stands out, chuck? >> let me start out with nevada. we saw the same generational split. this is the new divide in the democratic contest. sanders won big with younger voters, clinton won big with older voters. look at this one, union households. only one in four caucusgoers were in a union household but she won them by a significant
difference. this was essentially the establishment striking back. let's move to south carolina and explain why donald trump was able to win. i look at it by ideological breakdown here. among very conservative voters, ted cruz won. that's a good, solid start. that means he had that evangelical support. but donald trump won in the other ideological categories. somewhat conservative voters, that was a big trump win. and among moderate voters, also a trump win. so the first state where he's won both. what does that mean, lester? if this is what he does, somewhat conservatives and moderates down the road, it's the same coalition mitt romney used to win the nomination, john mccain in '08, george w. bush in 2000. it's how you win nomination. a funeral was held today for justice antonin scalia, who died one week ago in texas. several thousand people attended the service in washington. we get more from our justice correspondent pete williams.
>> reporter: justice scalia wanted a simple funeral in a parish church. as it turned out, more than 3,000 came to the massive basilica of the national shrine of the immaculate conception. the mass was celebrated by his son paul, a catholic priest, part of the notably large scalia family. >> he's the father that god gave us for the great adventure of family life. sure, he forgot our names at times, or mixed them up. but there are nine of us. >> reporter: like scalia himself, the service was deeply spiritual but marked with humor such as the story of the time justice scalia got a surprise before confession. >> he found himself in my confessional line. [ laughter ] and he quickly departed it. as he put it later,
like heck if i'm confessing to you. >> reporter: justice clarence thomas read from scripture. >> god proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners, christ died for us. >> reporter: among the mourners, vice president joe biden representing the white house, and ted cruz, who criticized president obama for not attending. the president and first lady paid their respects on friday. the other seven of the court's remaining justices were there today, as were two retired justice, stevens and souter. as for a successor, the white house made a point friday of showing president obama walking with a binder of background materials assembled by his staff. but this was a day of remembering a man devoted to the law,
his faith, and his family. pete williams, nbc news, washington. fiji was battered today by one of the most powerful cyclones on record. kelly cobiella is following the storm and has this report. >> reporter: cyclone winston crashed into fiji with deafening winds, torrential rain, and gusts of 186 miles an hour, lifting steel roofs like pieces of paper, leaving tourists and locals terrorized for hours. >> this cyclone was terrible. it was terrifying everyone. how can you sleep when you have a monster that's over your house? >> reporter: the spanish rugby team, in fiji for training, played defense, protecting a beach resort with a line of sandbags. the monster storm is one of the strongest ever reported in the southern hemisphere, a
category 5 cyclone. tropical cyclone winston is so massive that it is the first ever category 5 to hit fiji. there are reports of homes flattened. but people are already out clearing away the worst of winston's wrath. the government has declared a month-long state of emergency to assess the damage. kelly cobiella, nbc news, fiji. when "nightly news" continues this saturday, thousands of college students on edge as a drawn-out budget battle threatens funding for their schools. and the women's soccer team fighting for a spot in the summer olympics.
in the middle of the semester, thousands of college students in illinois have an added worry tonight -- whether they'll make it through the school year and beyond. that's because the public university system in that state is caught up in a budget crisis that has gone on for eight months now. blake mccoy has our report from chicago. >> reporter: charles preston is a senior in african-american studies. but this year he's getting a crash course in politics. >> i feel like my government has failed me. >> reporter: preston and his classmates are in limbo, caught in the middle of a state
budget battle, unsure if they'll be able to graduate. this year university hasn't seemed a dime from the state. neither have the state's other public universities. >> this is a tremendous distraction. a level of irresponsibility that i haven't seen in my year. >> this is horrible to me, my future, this community. i'm not the only one in this. i'm fighting for their future as well. >> reporter: preston has led heated demonstrations from chicago to the statehouse, where the government is deadlocked. a new republican governor wants to cut spending and weaken units. on the other side, a democratically controlled legislature, wanting to raise taxes and protect unions. the result, illinois has gone without a budget for eight months. would you call this a crisis for illinois? >> it's beyond a crisis. yes. the state has been damaged.
i hope not irreparably. but damage that's going to last for many years by this political dysfunction. >> everyone is nervous. it's not just the students. it's the faculty. >> reporter: back at chicago state, ebony brown is set to graduate this december. >> i've worked so, so hard. >> reporter: and you're so close to graduating. >> and i'm so close to graduating. and i just can't afford to start over again. >> reporter: a cloud of uncertainty over a state of dysfunction. blake mccoy, nbc news, chicago. up next here tonight, celebrating the life of an olympic trailblazer. we'll look at the new film about jesse owens.
the scene last night in houston. the u.s. women's soccer team playing against trinidad and tobago in a qualifying tournament for this summer's olympics. for the americans it wasn't much of a contest. they secured a place in the rio games with a 5-0 victory. the u.s. will be going for its fourth straight olympic gold medal. it was another summer olympics eight decades ago when a young american caused a sensation that reverberates to this day. not only did jesse owens win four gold metals in track and field, but in doing so he made a powerful statement about race. this weekend, a new film opens about the life and times of jesse owens. and we get more tonight from ron mott. >> jesse owens was the fastest human of his day. >> reporter: this summer marks 80 years since jesse owens
dominated the 1936 olympics, the focus of of a new biopic called "race." >> you want to win a gold medal? >> sure. >> you want to do it inner about learn? >> reporter: his four gold medals stunned his host, adolf hitler. >> we're very glad to come out on top. >> reporter: while his record breaking performance made headlines, for many, owens was the wrong color. >> your friends will have to use the service entrance. >> reporter: the actor who plays him, stefan james, says the movie is much more than black and white. >> people look at him and say, if he can do what he did at a time and place where he did it, there's really no excuse for me not to be great myself. >> reporter: "race" not only highlights the athletic prowess of jesse owens, it also shows his humility and grace against racial injustice and his commitment as a family man, something his daughters say was most
important to them. >> it had had to make it in about the true story of my father and all of the things that we went through after the olympics and how he survived them. >> the expectation was that we would finish school, go to college. no, not go to college. go to ohio state. >> reporter: before cassius clay rows to prominence at mohammed ali, or joe lewis reached his pinnacle, there was jesse owens, blazing a trail for others who followed in his tracks in the race to greatness. ron mott, nbc news, new york. up next here tonight we'll meet some people who did something today that hadn't been done in years. they'll tell us why they voted.
finally tonight, as we have seen, this presidential campaign has energized some voters looking for alternatives to candidates they consider mainstream. as kerry sanders reports from south carolina, they include voters who had pretty much dropped out. >> reporter: today 51-year-old laurie bins road. her return to the voting booth for one reason: donald trump. >> i felt good. i felt like i was
voting for somebody who would do what they say they were going to do for a change, or at least try to. >> reporter: one in ten voters who went to the polls in south carolina today is a so-called lost voter. apathetic americans who had given up on the process until now. who was the last president you remember voting for? >> uh, ronald reagan. >> reporter: that was 36 years ago when 64-year-old charles parish was a firefighter. indifferent since president reagan left office, parish says he's now back, involved in politics because of donald trump. >> the man is a billionaire. so what is it really for him to gain? you could say more power, perhaps. maybe. but the man is already powerful. so to me he's more apt to do the right thing for the country. >> reporter: surveys show 27% of the lost voters break for trump, while rubio draws only 4% and cruz even less. experts say because
voters are drawn to trump's outsider status. >> because of the nature of his campaign, because of the nature of his appeal, most of these lost voters we believe are coming back in and will vote for donald trump. >> reporter: the trump effect among lost voters may explain what could be a record turnout today. a wild card, yet to be fully calculated. kerry sanders, nbc news, columbia, south carolina. before we sign off, a quick update on tonight's election results. donald trump the projected winner in south carolina's republican primary. cruz and rubio in a very tight race for second. and jeb bush just announcing that he is now suspending his campaign after a poor finish tonight in south carolina. i'm lester holt for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night.
they may never go home again. good evening, everyone, i'm terry mcsweeney. >> i'm peggy bunker. we will get back to that story. first, we're following breaking news tonight out of south carolina. let's th less man 15 minutes ago republican presidential candidate jeb bush dropping out of the presidential race. >> nbc news reporting bush received about 8% of the vote in today's primary in south carolina. he has been doing about that in the polling all along. bush received a lot of funding but couldn't sway voters. we'll have more on the presidential race coming up in just a few minutes. and it has been more than a year now since a fire burned through a three-story building in san francisco. that apartment complex is on mission and 22nd street. tenants had been open to move back in once repairs were made to the building but now that could change. nbc bay area's christie smith is live in front of this building. pretty bad news for former tenants. it's been a year now. what's happened to them? >> reporter: well, you know, i spoke with one former resident. he tells me his plan all along se