Nightly News | May 21, 2012
>>> in chicago the nato summit wrapped up without the fight we saw yesterday between protest rs and police in the streets of chicago . a smaller march to boeing head quarters came off without incident today. and a news conference from the president who was host here who showed off his hometown even as most residents of chicago kept a very low profile . our coverage begins tonight with nbc's john yang who is with us from chicago 's famous michigan avenue . john, good evening.
>> reporter: good evening, brian. the world may have come to chicago , but today it seemed like nobody was there to welcome them. the loop was a virtual ghost town . rush hour a fraction of what it is normally. it had the feel of a sleepy, peaceful day. but yesterday? not so much. the scene was quite different just 24 hours ago as police and protesters clashed two blocks from the nato summit . after a larger peaceful march, a small group tried to crash the meeting, pushing past police license, throwing buckets and metal barricades. protesters swung sticks, police swung batons. 45 people were arrested, half the three-day total of '90. the head of the police department praised the department's performance.
>> asking them to put themselves in harm's way knowing they will get assaulted a e eed and stand there and take it, they were amazing.
>> reporter: the march to boeing's headquarters was peaceful and at times festive. the only people who came to work downtown today wore blue uniforms. normally packed commuter trains were empty.
>> the 5:15 came and went here and no one got on board.
>> reporter: chicagoans were urged to work from home fearing traffic and security nightmares. even the city's most powerful citizen had to alter his plans.
>> nobody would let me go home. i was thinking i could sleep in my own bed but they said i would cause worse traffic, so i stayed in a hotel.
>> reporter: just another chicagoan hoping to get back to his normal routine. john yang , nbc news, chicago .
>>> this is chuck todd where the serene scene inside the summit contrasted sharply with what took place on the downtown streets. the president brushed off the disruptions and had nothing but praise for his former white house chief of staff turned mayor.
>> this is a city of big shoulders. rahm, his team, chicagoans proved this world class city knows how to put on a world class event.
>> reporter: as for the business of the summit it was about dotting the i's and crossing the t's of the president's pledge of ending the combat mission in afghanistan by the end of 2014 . today a promise to speed up the transition even further, by the summer of 2013 .
>> afghan forces will take the lead for combat operations next year.
>> reporter: similar to the agreement president obama signed with afghan president hamid karzai three weeks ago, nato agreed to keep security forces in the country after the 2014 deadline -- just not combat troops.
>> we are ready to lead a new training, advising and assistance mission.
>> reporter: the one piece of unresolved business convincing pakistan to open a key supply line on the border for troops. the president met briefly with president zadari about the dispute. the president is on his way to joplin, missouri, where he's scheduled to give the commencement address at the graduation ceremonies for joplin high school . it is expected to be pretty emotional. it's nearly one year to the day when those deadly tornadoes hit that -- what is turning into a resilient city.
>> all right. chuck todd , part of our team at the summit in chicago .