tv CNN Newsroom CNN December 19, 2012 9:00am-11:00am PST
the vice president of the united states. it's what's being called the announcement of an entinteragen to develop new processes in the wake of this terrible tragedy in newtown, connecticut in which 20 children and six adults were massacred in an elementary school. a mother was massacred in her bed and a killer killed himself. it is an unprecedented action. it seems by the federal government at the time to pult into context how the response can be from the government to try to incorporate some kind of gun initiative, perhaps education initiative, mental health initiative. we're waiting to get the details. as we await the president and vice president, i turn the baton over to my colleague suzanne malveaux with the newsroom. suzanne. >> thank you, ashleigh. this put guns back on the national agenda, and today we're getting a two-minute warning. that means the president will arrive very shortly in the press
briefing room to explain, to talk about his role and the government's role. he was moved by what he saw in connecticut, and he says that he wanted to make this a priority in his administration. so we're waiting for those remarks. we want to bring in wolf blitzer to talk about this. we know there are some things that the president can do and other things he cannot do. he clearly has it to work with congress if he's going to move forward on gun legislation, but he can also carry out executive orders and short-term measures that he can take. what do we expect in terms of the strength, the robust nature of these remarks that something really will be done and he's got the political will behind it. >> i think we'll hear strong words from the president right now, and he's express his outrage over what happened in newtown, connecticut and earlier in the country. we heard some of those strong words at the memorial service sunday night in newtown. then he'll aannounce that joe biden will lead this committee, commission, whatever you want to call it to come up with specific
ideas, some specific legislation that he can push forward. >> the president is at the podium. >> good morning, everybody. it's now been five days since the heart-breaking tragedy in newtown, connecticut. three days since we gathered as a nation to pray for the victims. today a few more of the 20 small children and 6 educators taken from us will be laid to rest. we may never know all the reasons why this tragedy happened. we do know that every day since more americans are died of gun violence. we know such violence has terrible consequences for our society. if there is even one thing that we can do to prevent any of these events, we have a deep obligation, all of us, to try. over these past five days, a discussion has re-emerged as to what we might do not only to
deter mass shootings in the future but to reduce the epidemic of gun violence that plagues this country every single day. it's encouraging that people of all different backgrounds and beliefs and political persuasions are willing to challenge old assumptions and change long-standing positions. that conversation has to continue, but this time the words need to lead to action. we know this is a complex issue that stirs deeply held passions and political divides, and as i said on sunday night, there's no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. we're going to need to work on making access to mental health care at least as easy as access to a gun. we need to look more closely at a culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence, and any actions we must take must begin inside the home and inside our hearts.
the fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. the fact that we can't prevent every act of violence doesn't mean we can't steadily reduce the violence and prevent the very worst violence. that's why i've asked the vice president to lead an effort that includes members of my cabinet and outside organizations to come up with a set of concrete proposals no later than january, proposals that i then intend to push without delay. this is not some washington commission. this is not something where folks are going to be studying the issues for six months and publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside. this is a team that has a very specific task, to pull together real reforms right now.
i asked joe to lead this effort in part because he wrote the 1994 crime bill that helped law enforcement bring down the rate of violent crime in this country. that plan -- that bill also included the assault weapons ban that was publicly supported at the time by former presidents including ronald reagan. the good news is there's already a growing consensus for us to build from. a majority of americans support banning the sale of military-style assault weapons. a majority of americans support banning the sale of high capacity ammunition clips. a majority of americans support laws requires background checks before all gun purchases so that criminals can't take advantage of legal loopholes to buy a gun from somebody who won't take the responsibility of doing a background check at all. i urge the new congress to hold votes on these measures next year in a timely manner.
considering congress hasn't confirmed a direct of atf in six years the agency that works most closely with state and local law enforcement to keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminal, i suggest they make this a priority early in the year. look, like the majority of americans, i believe that the second amendment guarantees an individual a right to bear arms. this country has a strong tradition of gone ownership hand pd down from generation to generation. obviously, across the country there are regional differences. there are differences between how people feel in urban areas and rural areas. the fact is the vast majority of gun owners in america are responsible. they buy their guns legally, and they use them safely. whether for hunting or sport shooting, collection or protection. you know what? i am also betting that the
majority, the vast majority of responsible law-abiding gun orns are some of the first to say we should keep an irresponsible law breaking few from buying a weapon of war. i'm willing to bet that they don't think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas. that an unbalanced man shouldn't be able it to get his hands on a military style assault rifle so easily. that in this age of technology we should be able to check someone's criminal records before they can check out at a gun show. if he we work harder to keep guns out of the hands of the people there would be fewer atroscities like the ones in newtown or any of the lesser known tragedies in small towns and big cities all across america every day. since friday morning a police officer was gunned down in memphis leaving four children
without their mother. two officers were killed outside a grocery store in topeka. a woman was shot and killed inside a las vegas casino. three people were shot inside an alabama hospital. a 4-year-old was caught in a drive-by in missouri and taken off life support just yesterday. each one of these americans was a victim of the everyday gun violence that takes the lives of more than 10,000 americans every year. violence that we cannot accept as routine. so i will use all the powers of this office to help advance efforts aimed the at preventing more tragedies like this. we won't prevent them all, but that can't be an excuse not to try. it won't be easy, but that can't be an excuse not to try. i'm not going to be able to do it by myself.
ultimately, if this effort is to succeed, it's going to require the help of the american people. it's going to require all of you you. if we're going to change things, it's going to take a wave of americans, mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, pastors, law enforcement, mental health professionals, and, yes, gun owners standing up and saying, enough on behalf of our kids. it will take commitment and compromise and most of all it will take courage. if those of us who were sent here to serve the public trust can summon even one tiny iota of the courage those teachers, that principal in newtown summoned on friday, if cooperation and common sense prevail, then i'm convinced we can make a sensible, intelligent way to make the united states of
america a safer, stronger place for our children to learn and grow. thank you, and now i'm going to let the vice president go and i'm going to take a few questions. he i will start with ben phillips. >> reporter: thank you, mr. president. i'd like to ask you about the other serious conditions. haven't you betrayed some of the voters who supported you in the election by changing your positions on who should get a tax increase and by including social security benefits now into this mix and mother broadly there's a deepening seven that negotiations aren't going very well right now. can you give us a candid update. are we likely to go over the cliff? >> well, first of all, there's no reason why we should. remember what i said during the campaign. i thought that it was important for us to reduce our deficit in a balanced and responsible way. i said it was important for us to make sure that millionaires
and billionaires paid their fair share. i said that we were going to have to make some tough cuts, some tough decisions on the spending side, but what i wouldn't do was hurt vulnerable families only to pay for a tax cut for somebody like me. what i said was that the ultimate package would involve a balance of spending cuts and tax increases. that's exactly what i've put forward. what i've said is that in order to arrive at a compromise, i am prepared to do some very tough things, some things that some democrats don't want to see and probably there are a few republicans don't want to see either. the only way that we're going to be able to stabilize the economy, make sure we've got a platform for long-term economic growth, that we get our deficits under control, and we make sure
that middle class families are protected is if we come up with something that members of both parties in congress can support. and that's the plan that i've put forward. i have gone at least halfway in meeting some of the republicans' concerns, recognizing that even though we campaigned on these issues, even though the majority of americans agree with me, that we should be raising taxes on the wealthiest few as a means of reducing the deficit, i have also said that i'm willing to identify some spending cuts that make sense. frankly, up until about a couple of days ago, if you looked at it, the republicans in the house and speaker boehner, i think, were in a position to say, we've gotten a fair deal. the fact that they haven't taken
it yet is puzzling, and i think, you know, a question that you're going to have to address to them. i remain optimistic, though. if you look at what the speaker has proposed, he's conceded that income tax rates should go up, except right now he only wants to have them go up for millionaires. if you make 900,000 somehow he thinks you can't pay a little more in taxes. the principal that rates are going to need to go up he conced conceded. i said i'm willing to make some cuts. what separates us is probably a few hundred million dlollars. the idea we would put our economy at risk because you can't bridge that gap doesn't make a lot of sense, so i'm going to continue to talk to the speaker and other leaders in congress. ultimately, they have to do their job. right now their job is to make sure the middle class taxes do
not go up and that we have a balanced, responsible package of deficit reduction. it is there for all to see. it is a deal that can get done. it is not going to be -- it cannot be done if every side wants 100%, and part of what voters were looking for is some compromise up here. that's what folksme want. they understand they won't get 100% of what they want, and for some reason that message has not yet taken up on capitol hill. when you think about what we've gone through over the last couple of months, a devastating hurricane, and now one of the worst tragedies in our memory, the country deserves folks to be willing to compromise on behalf
of the greater good and not tangle themselves up in a whole bunch of ideal logical positions that don't make much sense. so i remain not only open to conversations, but i remain eager to get something done. i'd like to get it done before christmas. there's been a lot of posturing up on capitol hill instead of just going aahead and getting stuff done. we've been wasting a lot of time. it is the right thing to do. i'm prepared to get it done. they're going to have to go ahead and make some adjustments. i'll just give you one other example. the speaker is proposing what he calls plan b. so he says, well, this would raise taxes only on folks making a million dollars or more. what that means is an average of a $50,000 tax break for every millionaire out there.
at the same time, we're not providing unemployment insurance for 2 million people who are still out there looking for work. it means a tax increase for millions of working families across the country at the same time as folks like me would be getting a tax break. that violates the core principals that were debated during the course of this election and that the american people determined was the wrong way to go. so my hope is that the speaker and his caucus in conjunction with the other legislative leaders up there can find a way to make sure that middle class families don't see their taxes go up on january 1st, that we make sure that those things that middle class families count on like tax credits for college or making sure that they're getting some help when it comes to raising their kids through things like the child tax
credit, that that gets done, and that we have a balanced package for deficit reduction, which is exactly what i've put forward. >> reporter: will you give more ground if you need to, or are you done? >> if you look at the package i put forward, it is a balanced package by any definition. we have put forward real cuts in spending that are hard to do in every category. by any measure, by any traditional calculation, by the measures that republicans themselves have used in the past, this would be a -- as large a piece of deficit reduction as we've seen in the last 20 years. if you combine that with the increased revenue from the the wealthy paying a little bit more, then you actually have something that would stabilize our deficit and debt for a decade.
for ten years. now, the notion that we would not do that but instead the speaker would run a play that cut -- keeps tax cuts for folks making 500 or 700 or 800,000 a year and gives more tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires and raises taxes on middle class families and then has no cuts in it, which is what he says he wants, doesn't make much sense. i mean, let's just think about the logic for a second. they're thinking about voting for raising taxes, at least on folks over a million, which they say they don't want to do, but they're going to reject spending cuts that they say they do want to do. that defies logic.
there's no explanation for that. i think that any objective person out there looking would say that, you know, we put forward a very balanced plan, and it's time for us to go ahead and get it done. that's what the country needs right now, because i think folks have been through some wrenching times. we're still recovering from a very tough recession. what they're hoping for is a sense of stability, focus, compromise, common sense over the next couple of years, and i think that we can provide and this is a good test for it. carol lee. >> thank you. just a follow-up. what is your next move? are we in aa position to wait for the speaker to make a move? >> i'm going to reach out to all the leaders involved over the next couple of days and find out
what is it that's holding this thing up? what is holding it up? if the argument from republicans is we haven't done enough spending cuts, that argument is not going to fly because we've got close to a trillion dollars of spending cuts. when you add interest it's more than a trillion dollars in spending cuts. if the argument is that they can't increase tax rates on folks making 700 or 800,000 a year, that's not a persuasive argument to me, and it's certainly not a persuasive argument to the american people. it may be that members of their caucus haven't looked at exactly what we've proposed. it may be that if we provide more information or there's greater specificity or we worked
through concerns we can get some movement there. what would violate my commitment to voters is if i ended up agreeing to a plan that put more burden on the middle class families and less of a burden on the wealthy in an effort to reduce our deficit. that's not something i'm going to do. what would violate my commitment to voters would be to put forward a plan that makes it harder for young people to go to college. that makes it harder for a family with a disabled kid to care for that kid. there's a threshold that you reach where the balance tips even in making compromises that are required to get something done in this town where you are hurting people in order to give another advantage to folks who don't need help.
we had an extensive debate about this for a year. not only does the majority of the american people agree with me, about half of republican voters agree with me on it this. so, you know, at some point there's got to be i think a recognition on the part of my republican friends that, you know, take the deal. you know, they will be able to claim that they have worked with me over the last two years to reduce the deficit more than any other deficit reduction package. we will have stabilized it for ten years. that is a significant achievement for them. they should be proud of it. they keep on finding ways to say no as opposed to finding ways to say yes. i don't know how much of that just has to do with, you know, it is very hard for them to say
yes to me. but, you know, at some point they've got to take me out of it and think about their voters. they can think about what's best for the country, and if they do that, if they're not worried about who is winning and losing, did they score a point on the president, they extract that little little concession, did they -- you know, force them to do something he really doesn't want to do just for the heck of it, then they focus on actually good for the country, i think we can get this done. >> reporter: you mentioned the 700 and 800,000, are you willing to move on any kind of level, and are there specific things -- >> i'm not getting into specific negotiations here. my point is simply, carol, that if you look at speaker boehner's
proposal and my proposal, they're pretty close. they keep on saying that somehow we haven't put forward real spending cuts. actually, you know, there was a graph in the "new york times" today that showed it. they're the same the categories, right? there's a little bit of tweaks here and there and a few differences, but, you know, we're right there. on the revenue side there's a difference in terms of them wanting to preserve tax breaks for folks between 250 and a million that we just can't aafford. keep in mind, i'm in that income category. i'd love to, you know, not pay as much in taxes, but i also think it's the right thing to do for us to make sure that people who have less, people who are working and striving, people who, you know, are hoping for their kids that they have opportunity. that's what we campaigned about.
that's what we talked about. this is not a situation where i i'm, you know, unwilling to compromise. this is not a situation where i'm trying to, you know, rub their face in anything. i mean, i think anybody who looks at this objectively would say that coming off my election i have met them at least halfway in order to get something done for the country. and so i notice that there were a couple of headlines out there saying, you know, oh, we're now in the land of political posturing. it's the usual he said atmosphere. look at the facts. look where we started. look at where they started. my proposal is right there in the middle. we should be able to get this done. let's get it done. we don't have a lot of time. kerry. there you are. >> reporter: thank you, mr. president.
what is your level of confidence if you reach a comprehensive deal with the speaker he can bring his numbers on board and get it passed? essentially, do you still trust speaker boehner in this process? >> there is no doubt that the speaker has challenges in his caucus, and i recognize that. i'm often reminded when i speak to the republican leadership that the majority of their caucus's membership come from districts that i lost. all right? so sometimes they may not see an incentive in cooperating with me in part because they're more concerned about challenges from a tea party candidates or challenges from the right
cooperating with me may make them vulnerable. i recognize that. but goodness, if -- if this past week has done anything, it should just give us some perspective. if there's one thing we should have after this week, it should be a sense of perspective about what's important. i would like to think that members of it that caucus would say to themselves, you know what? we disagree with the president on a whole bunch of things. we wish the other guy had won. we're going to fight him on a whole range of issues over the next four years. we think his philosophy is all screwed up. right now what the country needs
is for us to compromise, get a deficit reduction deal in place, make sure middle class taxes don't go up, make sure that we're laying the foundations for growth, give certainty to businesses large and small, not put ourselves through some sort of self-inflicted crisis every six months. allow ourselves time to focus on things like preventing the tragedy in newtown from happening again. focus on issues like energy and immigration reform and, you know, all the things that will really make a determination as to whether or not our country grows over the next four years, ten years, 40 years. if you just pull back from the immedia immediate, you know, political battles, if you kind of peel off the partisan war paint, then we should be able to get something
done. and, you know, i think the speaker would like to get that done. i think an environment needs to be created within not just the house republican caucus but also among senate republicans that say the campaign is over, and let's see if we can do what's right for the country. at least for the next month. then, you know, we can reengage in all the other battles they want to fight. >> reporter: if you don't get it done, republicans say they would try to use the debt limit as the next pressure point. will you negotiate with nem in that context? >> no. i've been very clear about this. this is the united states of america. the greatest country on earth, the world's economic superpower. the idea that we lurch from crisis to crisis and every six months or every nine months that
we threaten not to pay our bills on stuff we've already bought and default and ruin the full faith and credit of the united states of america, that's not how you run a great country. so i've put forward a very clear principle. i will not negotiate around the debt ceiling. you know, we're not going to play the same game that we saw happen in 2011, which was hugely destructive. it hurt our economy. it provided more uncertainty to the business community than anything else that happened. you know, i'm not alone in this. you know, if you go to wall street, including to talking to a whole bunch of folks who spent
a whole lot of money trying to beat me, they would say it would be disastrous for us to use the debt ceiling to try to win political points on capitol hill. we're not going to do that. that is why, i think, that part of what i hope over the next couple days we see is a recognition that there is a way to go ahead and get what it is that you've been fighting for. these guys have been fighting for spending cuts. they can get some very meaningful spending cuts. this would amount to $2 trillion, $2 trillion in spending cuts over the last couple of years. in exchange they're getting a little over a trillion dollars in revenue. and that meets the pledge that i
made during the campaign, which was, you know, $2.50 of spending cuts for every revenue increase. that's an approach that i think most americans think is appropriate. i will not negotiate around the debt ceiling. we're not doing that again. >> reporter: i want to ask a question. >> i have david jackson. >> reporter: getting back to the gun issue, you alluded to the fact that washington commissions don't have the greatest reputations in the world. what makes think this will be different? >> this is not going to be a commission. joe is going to gather up some key cabinet members who have an interest in this issue. we're going to reach out to a bunch of stakeholders. we're going to be reaching out to members of congress who have an interest in this issue. it's not as if we have to start
from scratch. there are a whole bunch of proposals that have been fought about and debated, but hopefully also some new ideas in terms of how we deal with this issue. their task is going to be to sift through every good idea that's out there and even look at bad ideas before disposing of them. and come up with a concrete set of recommendations in about a month. i would hope that our memories aren't so short that what we saw in newtown isn't lingering with us, that we don't remain passionate about it only a month later. as soon as we get those recommendations, i will be putting forward very specific proposals. i will be talking about them in my state of the union, and we will be working with interested members of congress to try to
get something done. you know, the idea that we would say this is terrible, this is a tragedy, never again, and we don't have the sustained attention span to be able it to get this done over the next several months doesn't make sense. i have more confidence in the american people than that. i have more confidence in the parents, the mothers and fathers that i've been meeting over the last several days all across the country from all political persuasions including a lot of gun owners that say, you know what? this time we've got to do things differently? >> reporter: what about the nra? >> well, the nra is an organization that has members who are mothers and fathers. i would expect that they've been impacted by this as well, and
hopefully they'll do some self-reflection. here's what we know. that any single gun law can't solve all these problems. we're going to have to look at mental health issues and look at schools. there's a whole range of things that joe's group looks at. we know that issues of gun safety will be an element of it. you know, what we've seen over the last 20 years, 15 years is this sense that anything related to guns is somehow an encroachment on the second amendment. what we're looking for is here a thoughtful approach that says, we can preserve our second amendment. we can make sure that responsible gun owners are able to carry out their activities,
but that we're going to actually be serious about the safety side of this. that we're going to be serious about making sure that something like newtown or aurora doesn't happen again. there is a big chunk of space between what, you know, the second amendment means and having no rules at all. that space is what joe's going to be working on to try to identify where we can find some common ground. i've got -- i'm going to take one last question. go ahead, jake. >> reporter: it seems to a lot of observers that you made the political calculation in 2008 in your first term and 2012 not to talk about gun violence. you had your position on renewing the ban on semi-automatic rifles that then
senator biden put into place, but you didn't do much about it. this is not the first incident of horrific gun violence of your four years. where have you been? >> well, here's where i've been, jake. i've been president of the united states dealing with the worst economic crisis since the great depression, an auto industry on the verge of collapse, two wars. i don't think i've been on vacation. so, you know, i think all of us have to do some reflection on how we prioritize bha what we d here in washington. as i said on sunday, you know, this should be a wake-up call for all of us. to say that if weren are not getting right the need to keep our children safe, then nothing else matters. it's my commitment on to make
sure we do everything we can to keep our children safe. a lot of things are involved in that, jake, so making sure they have decent health care and a good education, making sure that their parents have jobs. those are all relevant as well. those aren't just sort of side issues. there's no doubt that this has to be a central issue. that's exactly why i'm confident that joe is going to take this so seriously over the next couple months. thank you, everybody. >> president obama at the white house making a statement announcing a new agency but statement turns into a full-blown press conference there in the pressroom. i want to bring on my colleagues here, wolf blitzer as well as candy crowley and our senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin. wolf, i'll start off with you. seems the president in one sentence tied together two important story, the negotiation over the fiscal cliff and the
school shooting. he said it if the past week has done anything it has given us perspective on what is important here. tell us a little bit about the details. what struck you about what specifically he wants to do when it comes to gun policy. >> i was impressed that he said that joe biden has a month basically, by january, by the end of january to come up with a plan. this is not a long commission that will spend six months or a year going through some sort of -- all these witnesses coming forward studying it and coming up with ideas that nobody pays attention to. the president made it clear he doesn't want that commission. there's so many of them in washington over the years, suzanne, as we well-known. biden, the vice president, has a month toj up with the plan to deal with issues and assault weapons and mental health related problems and high capacity ammunition clips the president is talking about. they're not starting from
scratch. joe biden is a former chairman of the senate judiciary committee and very familiar with gun-related issues and has expertise and a lot of experience. there's going to come up with specific ideas right now. you're right, when the president said begin what the country has gone through over these past few days, you know, he did make the connection between the guns and the fiscal cliff. you know what? we have a lot of problems in the country right now. we got to deal with them and keep it in perspective, and i was also struck by that one line he said, suzanne. he said for some republicans he said it is very hard for them to say yes to me. he says i understand that. he says take me out of it. just do what's right for the country. so there's a lot of politics here but a lot of substance. the guns, the fiscal cliff. this is a critical moment in u.s. history right now. let's see if it goes forward in the right or wrong way. >> candy, i want to bring you into the discussion, because na struck me as well, the fact he
almost was really if you will suggesting that republicans are playing politics with all of this with the fiscal cliff, and that it really is all about him, taking him out of the equation. it's not common that you have the president there holding a full-blown press conference 13 days outside of this deadline here. it seems like there definitely was a political tactic, if you will, on his part to come out and take questions and to lay his case, make his case before the american people directly. >> sure. i mean, you know, the interesting thing here, of course, is one man's policy is another person's politics. so i can assure you you will hear republicans going, wait a second. we're trying to do what's best for the country, too, in terms of the fiscal cliff. obviously as president you command that pullbully pulpit o guns and the fiscal cliff. it's hard it to kind of squeeze the politics out of policy as the president and republicans well know.
i thought what was interesting, suzanne, about this gun commission, although he doesn't want it to call it a commission, this panel coming up with ideas within a month is it is a really tall order. the one thing that really perked up my ears was the president saying it really should be, uyo know, at least as easy to get access to mental health care as it is to get access to gun. it is a huge order. it's music to the ears to the families that bang their heads against doors trying to get in to get a loved one some help. also, that's a long way from happening. so i think this panel is, you know, so many people want this holistic approach, but i think this is something that's going to be years in the making. it's one thing to pass a bill to ban assault weapons again and they may well do that. they talked about culture and
mental health. there's a lot of things to take years. >> jeff, weigh in on this. i thought -- i was kind of surprised how specific the president was when he talked about the things he's pushing forward. the assault weapons ban and a limit on high-capacity ammunitions and a background check for all gun purchases. what kind of position is he in to push this forward? there's been so little political will on either side to do any of that. >> i was struck how he said, joe biden is the perfect person to do this, because biden was the person who led the assault weapons ban fight in congress in 1994. that's certainly true. it is also true that that crime bill and particularly the assault weapons ban was considered a political disaster for the democratic party, especially for the democrats in the south and in the west who were really wiped out in the 1994 midterm elections.
so, yes, it is true biden has the expertise, but he knows what a political risk it is for democrats like, for example, kay hagen, who is running for re-election in north carolina. let's see what she thinks about this. it's a very tough vote for her, and the republican house of representatives, whether they can be brought along on issues that they are well established. they have well established positions where they disagree completely with this philosophy of gun control at all. that strikes me as a very difficult political challenge even in a post-newtown environment. >> all right. jeffrey toobin, wolf blitzer, candy crowley, thank you very much. appreciate it as always. the entire narc is trying to come to terms with what happened at newtown, we want to look at how other countries are dealing with gun control. our christiane amanpour will weigh in on that next. [ male announcer ] this is sheldon, whose long dy setting up the news
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i'm ber i'm willing to bet they don't think using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas. that an unbalanced man shouldn't be able to get his hands on a military style assault rifle so easily. >> we want to welcome viewers from around the world here. here in the united states we're not the only ones that have dealt with the heart break of senseless gun violence. last year in norway a gunman killed people at a camp. in 1996 in scotland a man shot to death 16 kindergartners and their teacher. we've seen it in australia, germany and canada and brazil. give us a sense or perspective here in terms of how does the
united states hold up? how do we compare to some of the violent acts here and around the world? >> suzanne, you know, the world has been looking on in real shock and grief and horror at what happened. it is instructive, despite the difference of various culture and despite the difference of, you know, second amendment rights and things like that to see how the rest of the world has tackled these incidents. you mentioned dunblane in scotland in 1996. children of the same age who were mowed down in sandy hook elementary were killed then. within a year and a half, the government banned the private use and ownership of handguns. there was stiff penalties, and there were even jail sentences if these bans and if the law was breached. they had a strict buy-back and amnesty plan, and do you know what? it worked. it didn't work immediately, but between 2003 and 2011, the
number of gun-related crimes in great britain dropped off 44%. then you look at what happened in australia that same year. there was a massacre in australia. so many people were killed there, and the government sprang into action. it banned the possession, the import, the sale of semi-automatic weapons. it also made it, obviously, illegal to have them. then again, the crimes dropped off, really plummeted. a study by harvard shows that before that there was some 13 massacres in australia and after that law none. so there is cause and effect when you put in these laws and punitive measures. now, of course, i thought it was interesting that president obama obviously is not talking about a total ban on guns and made very specific mention of the second amendment and also made specific mention of how the 4 million people who belong to the nra are
by and large responsible, law-aabilaw-a law-abiding and don't want to see the same kind of irresponsible or dangerous few having access to the most dangerous weapons, which frankly i've seen operate on the battlefield and those kind of slaughters i witnessed from sarajevo and somalia and syria and not the kind of weapons that should be on the streets and schools of any community. >> the president is trying to suggest that's it's the responsibility of the government and lawmakers and also a larger societal problem within american culture and our communities, our homes as well. christiane, thank you very much for your perspective. really appreciate it. what's the difference between a mass killer like the newtown gunman and a suicide bomber working for al qaeda? my next guest says there is very little difference. we'll dive deeper into the mind of a killer. [ male announcer ] when ziggy the cat appeared at their door,
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these men also committed mass violence on american soil, but in the name of islamic extremism. well, this week in the "new york times" adam langford of the university am alabama argues that these eight men are more alike than we might think. he writes for years the conventional wisdom is suicide terrorists are radical actor while suicidal rampage shooters are loners but they have more in common than recognized. it caused a lo of debate and discussion here. you write these killers share three key characteristics. what are they? >> well, the first one is mental illness. despite major misconceptions to the contrary, suicide terrorists i've looked at 130-plus cases, suicide terrorist are, in fact, suicidal in the clinical sense.
so they actually want to die, and they sometimes suffer from depression, schizophrenia, all sorts of other sorts of mental illnesses that make them want to die and take others with them. the second factor is perceived victimization. on the one hand you had the suicide terrorists who believe they've been victimized and oppressed and persecuted by western infidels or by the israeli government or israeli soldiers. on the other hand, you have the rampage shooters who believe they've been persecuted and oppressed by school bullies or by their parents. you have workplace shooters whobl the boss has been persecuting them. there's a deep sense that their psychological pain is not their own fault. >> you mentioned this as well. you talk about the four school shooters we mentioned earlier, and you say this. you say if they were born in
gaza or west bank shaped by terrorist organizations, hateful propaganda, wo they have strapped bombs around their waists and blown themselves up? you say i'm afraid the answer is yes. do you feel like there's nothing you can do to stop a person from committing a horrible act of violence? >> oh, there's absolutely things we can do to stop them. frankly i break that down in three different major things you can do. you can stop them from getting weapons. you can stop them from having access to targets. or you can identify them based on their intent. >> adam, how do you do this? how do you do take aware the desire? there's a great desire for fame and glory for a lot of folks that do this, and even the terrorists are celebrated as martyrs. how do you draw attention? how do you have a public conversation about these kinds of people and mass killings without glorifying or encouraging others who might
shoot? >> frankly, one of the problems is there's this kind of fascination with these killers that a lot of average, you know, good people have, but we need to be a little bit more disciplined than that. the parallel i would make in terms of changing how we operate is with the way the u.s. handles people who run on the field in a baseball game or football game. television networks have made the decision that if that happens, they do not show that individual specifically because they know that individual wants attention. they say we're not going to give these people the fame and glory that they want. >> all right. thank you. appreciate it. very interesting article, and kind of the assessment that you made, the studies you've had. thank you. appreciate it. another major issue on the president's desk right now beyond gun violence and, of course, what to do about the tax hike that almost all americans could face in less than two weeks if washington and congress and the president do not act.
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second hour. the funerals are part of the good-byes in newtown. also today president obama announces the first steps towards changing gun policies and other issues raised by the newtown tragedy. he's appointing vice president biden to work with cabinet departments and outside groups to come up reforms. the president wants to move fast on reforms. he gave the vice president one month to come up with recommendations for gun control and mental health. listen.
>> i'm also betting that the majority, the vast majority of responsible law-abiding gun owners would be some of the first to say that we should be able to keep an irresponsible law breaking few from buying a weapon of war. i'm willing to bet that they don't think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas. that an unbalanced man shouldn't be able to get his mans on a military style assault rifle so easily. >> we'll bring in candy crowley. we were both watching the president moments ago. he called for congress to compromise. he said if this past week has done anything, it should give us perspective on what is important. do you think the president's message and this agency, this task force he has developed, do you think that is going to convince lawmakers to sit down and actually work out and compromise something as controversial as an assault weapons ban? >> it will be interesting to see
how controversial an assault weapons ban which was in place for ten years before all of congress, republicans and democrats, let it expire. it's interesting to see if that isn't an issue whose time has reappeared. you know, i don't think we have time to take the pulse. right now a lot of folks are caught up in a lot of back and forth. i think you may see that in congress there is some willingness at least to look at this as part of a whole concept of mental health along with the culture, et cetera, et cetera. remember that there are a lot of things the president can do on his own. he's president. he's got all the agencies, the department of education, health and human services, the firearms and tobacco agency, all of those things. he can pour money into things that might help in mental health for school safety. he can do any number of things, and i suspect that's what he's
looking for now. he's going to need congress in terms of gun control, and congress just takes a wild look at these things, which sometimes is okay because they're complicated subjects and sometimes the public is looking for something on a faster track. >> yeah, i was heartened by that, candy. he said i'll give you one month to come up with concrete ideas, and that this was not a commission taking six months or so. do you think that's realistic? when you look at the timetable there, you have the fiscal cliff negotiations and state of the union coming, a whole bunch of things right around the corner and congress loves to go on vacation on recesses. what do you make of the timetable? >> i think the timetable for coming up with ideas and putting those ideas on the table, a month, certainly there are -- everybody you talk to for mental health with the cultural things and school safety and gun control say we could do these things quickly.
it's not that hard to come up with ideas. it will it be harder to come up with ideas that you can then put into legislative language and get passed. again, there are a lot of things they can pinpoint for the president. you know, we know he's talked to the education secretary and he's talked to the head of health and human services and said what can we do? those are agencies specificallialspecifically for education and health. they can do it without dealing with congress. gun bans, no, that has to be on capitol hill. >> candy, thank you. appreciate it. the president, as you can tell, the shooting in newtown putting the gun debate front and center. that is something that we will continue to talk about as well as the second amendment saying that we have the right to bear arms. we're going to take a break, and we'll be right back.
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call... and lock in your rate for 12 months today. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? . the president talked about the standoff with republican it is over the debt dealing. in 13 days there's more than tax hikes as well as spending cuts that kick in unless the president and house speaker, john boehner, reach a deal.
right now they're at a standoff, and they're still speaking but the speaker will move forward on his own holding aa vote on a proposal called plan b. it calls for raising taxes on income on more than $1 million a year. it was unthinkable for republicans a couple of months ago. it might be unthinkable for many conservatives in the house. we want to bring in dana bash on capitol hill. first of all, the president talked about this just moments ago, and what struck me here is when he said that it is very hard for them to say yes to me. at some point they have to take me out of the equation accusing the republicans of playing politics and trying to get back at him to score points and using the negotiations of the fiscal cliff to do that. >> reporter: that's part of it. the other side to that same coin suzanne is the president signalling that he understands the politics of this and understands how hard it is for many of these republicans to vote for something that the president has signed off on even
if their own republican speaker was the other signator of that deal. let's listen to what the president said, because it was very interesting. >> at some point there's got to be a recognition on the part of my republican friends that, you know, take the deal. you know, they will be able to claim that they have worked with me over the last two years to reduce the deficit more than any other deficit reduction package. that we will have stabilized it for ten years. that is a significant achievement for them. they should be proud of it. they keep on finding ways to say no as opposed to finding ways to say yes. i don't know how much of that just has to do with, you know, it is very hard for them to say yes on to me.
>> reporter: now, as the president was speaking, suzanne, i got an e-mail from a spokesman for the speaker responding saying that the reason the speaker jeekted the latest offer is because they simply do not see it in the balanced way that the white house is framing it. they still see it as way more in tax revenue than spending cuts. it's not the quote-unquote balanced way that the president promised in the campaign. look, the bottom line is that this is definitely at a -- it's always been delicate, but it's at the climax of delicacy because of where we are on the calendar. it's just 14 days, but we're getting so close to christmas and the time is shrinking for them to do something legislatively. it's always possible. they can do what the will is to do here, and they can move things quickly, but i would not be surprised if we hear from the speaker to respond. we heard extensively from the
president in a way we haven't where his point of view is on these secret negotiations. >> he's effective in taking his message to the american people which is part of the plan. read the tea leaves if you could for a moment. the president said two things. he said he was puzzled that republicans were not on board with his plan. he was puzzled, but he also said he was optimistic and he thought we could get this done before the holiday. do you think that that is something that is actually be worked out? >> reporter: well, according to sources in both parties, there has not until right before the president's press conference at least been active real negotiations. there have been discussions, but no negotiations. of course, there's a difference on a staff level. you know, with some republicans here on capitol hill have suggested to me is that perhaps the motions need to be gone through what the speaker is putting forward in this vote tomorrow on tax rates staying where they are for people making a million dollars or less
because maybe republicans in particular have to see where the votes are, meaning yes, it could pass the house but it won't pass the senate. to get that flushed out of their system so that people can realize, okay, the only way to avert the fiscal cliff including big spending cuts that happen is to get a deal done. one other interesting note i want to point out is that as we were talking, grover norquist, who is a pretty powerful guy with republicans, he's gotten most of the house republicans to sign a pledge vowing not to raise taxes. he said officially that he does not believe that this vote that the speaker is pushing tomorrow to keep tax rates where they are for people making a million dollars or less is -- would break the pledge. he gave conservatives a pass or cover, which is a big deal because of another subplot has been whether or not the speaker can even get enough of his own party to vote for taxes to go up for people making a million dollars or more. so that's interesting. >> all right. all the back behind the scenes workings as well.
dana, thank you. good to see you. long-time gun control add v voe indicates say the time is it to act now. carolyn's husband was killed. she said the elementary school shootings in newtown were a turning point. >> there is always sadness after a mass the shooting. there's public mourning. but the anger from the american people, they are fed up with the gun violence that we're seeing in our country. anger from people are fed up with the gun lobby, the tactics they use down here in washington. the anger from the people to be very honest with you fed up with the lack of courage, the lack of courage here in washington to take a stand, to do something. >> mccarthy says this time is different, because president obama is standing behind efforts
to strengthen gun control policies. as you can tell, the shooting in newtown putting the gun debate front and center. the second amendment says we have the right to bear arms, but should we? >> america is not the wild west that you are depicting. we only have the problem in our cities and unhappily in our schools where people like you have been able to get laws put on the books that keep people from being able to defend themselves. i honestly don't understand it. ♪ ...could end with adding a close friend. the lexus december to remember sales event is on. this is the pursuit of perfection.
one of the many emotional debates after the shooting is whether teachers in schools should carry guns. piers morgan talked with the head of the group, gun owners of america. >> it seems so obvious that since we have concealed carry laws in all of our country now, people can get a concealed firearm, and yet we have laws that say not in schools. so in the very places that have been sought out by monsters such as the murderer of these adults and children, we're saying no, we don't want you to defend yourself. it's better that you just sit there and wait to be killed.
we find that morally incomprehensible and deeply disturbing that the desire to defend life has been so cast aside into whatever political correctness views guns as the ultimate evil. evil is in our hearts, not in the guns. >> tom fuentes is here. he's a former assistant fbi director and fbi firearms instructor. tom, you heard that position. there are some who feel strongly now that teachers, if they had guns, would have been able to stop that school shooting. does that make sense to you? >> suzanne, frankly it does not. during my six years as a police officer, i was a firearm instruct instructor, during my 30 years in the fbi i was a firearm instructor and s.w.a.t. team member. i know what it takes to train someone to be proficient with pistols, shotguns, rifles, assault weapons. it taking many, many hours. what police officers and federal agents go through, hundreds and
hundreds of hours, and they continue that training throughout their career. the idea we could take 7.2 million teachers in this country from preschool through university and train them to be proficient, the hundreds of hours it would take, it would be too much of a daunting task, i think. the second thing is that i hate to bring this up, but also six of the adult staff members in sandy hook were female. i know from my experience in the fbi and on the police department, it's very difficult for female plain clothed officers or agents to basically hide a gun. you know, the men can wear jackets and hide it under the jacket and have a sidearm on the belt, but for women it's a difficult issue. many choose to carry it in a purse. where would that purse be during the school day when the teacher is in front of the classroom. it's locked in a closet. if it's under a desk, a kid
could grab it and misuse it. the idea of weapon security proficient spr proficient see and the ability to go anything with the gun would be impractical. >> i talked to dennis richardson about this, because he has this idea. he believes you could set it it up like an air marshall system where instead of the teachers you have a volunteer trained at the school who was armed and every school had someone like that. do you think that's a good idea? >> from a manpower standpoint that may be difficult to staff in the long run. we have about 100,000 schools in the united states. many of these schools are operating from 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning when the first students arrive. in the case of many of the schools that have after school and evening activities, you need people on hand from early in the morning until 10:00, 111::00 at night especially with high schools with football and basketball games. people are in that school.
not only a former law enforcement officer but i was a school janitor for three years working through college and am familiar with how many hours people are within the school building from early in the morning until late at night. so to have somebody there trained whether it's a police officer -- again, these volunteers, where would they come from? would they have the requisite training that police officers and federal agents get that are hard to staff? right now in the united states there's approximately 800,000 sworn police officers and federal officers. now, by "sworn" that means gun-carrying law enforcement officers. if you have 1 hundred 00,000 sc multiple buildings especially in universities and high school campuses, the shear numbers of people it to put on hand would be overwhelming. then again -- >> tom, i want you to listen here. the president spoke about this. he drew a clear line between those that own guns responsibly and those who don't.
listen to what he said. >> okay. >> the vast majority of gun owners in america are responsible. they buy their guns legally and use them safely, whether for hunting or sport shooting and collection or protection. you know what? i'm also betting that the majority, the vast majority of responsible law-aabibiding gunn would be the first to say we should keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few from buying a weapon of war. >> would you consider the weapon, the very specific type of rifle used in the connecticut shooting to be a weapon of war? >> absolutely, absolutely. it fires a bullet that's three times faster than a bullet coming out of that glock or sig sauer, which is the normal law enforcement used weaponry. it's an aextremely powerful weapon. the argument there's no gun control, we have gun control. it's on a continuum.
you can't buy a m-16 or ak-47 fully automatic. at least most of the people can't unless you're licensed through the procedures that are in place to get a federal firearms license to be able to own it and have the weapon registered with the government with atf. the idea there's no control, there is control. it's whether or not we want the control to stop at a certain point where you have pistols or a shotgun or hunting rifle. after you fire the gun you put another bullet in. it's not capable of accurately shooting hundreds of rounds per minute the way an assault rifle is. >> okay. tom fuentes, thank you. we appreciate it. renewed gun control debate coming on the heels on the school massacre in newtown, connecticut. one teacher lauren rousseau died while protecting her students. her boyfriend speaking out about her. >> when i wake up in the morning
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secretary of education arne duncan tweeted this earlier. on my way to newtown today to pay respects to principal hochsprung. duncan met on monday with president obama to discuss how to respond to this tragedy. ho hochsprung was killed friday when she tried to stop the gunman in her school. police are now scouring the gunman's home to get his computer, looking for a motive behind this, anything, an explanation. deborah feyerick is is following all the investigation. you're outside of the home. do we have any new activity we're seeing or anything we learned that is new that can help us understand how or why this happened? >> reporter: well, you know,
suzan suzanne, there's a heavier presence here today of connecticut state police as well as local police and federal investigators. we saw just a few minutes ago them bringing out a box of what we believe to be evidence. they brought back the major crime scene lab, and they're using that not only to put evidence there but they can run preliminary tests on whatever it is that they're looking for, whatever it is they're discovering. they're really pursuing the angle of what was going on inside his head, the psychiatric component in terms of what adam lanza was thinking about. that's an area they're concentrating on. there are eight folks inside going back over the home to look for evidence. we don't know quite what it is, but we know that, in fact, over the last couple of days they've tamped it down and ramped it back up. whatever it is inside the house, they're spending hours sorting through it to get additional evidence. we can tell you that the university of connecticut, there are reports that they brought in
a genetist. the medical examiner wants to look at asperger's than the gunman is alleged to have had, but they want to see whether there's an underlying psychiatric component as well. we're told the body of nancy lanza, the mother, has still not been claimed. nobody has come to claim that body, so we're not clear as to what arrangements are made. take a look up there. an investigator is coming back down. again, there's not a lot going on, suzanne. we're sort of here waiting for any sort of word, any sort of movement of what's going on inside. we also do know that once they're done with this home, a man was sent out here and tells us they plan on boarding up all the windows once the investigation and analysis of everything inside is complete. suzanne. >> do we know if it was just the mother and the son who lived in that house? did anyone else live there with them? >> reporter: those are the only two on record as having lived in the home.
again, it's just so unclear as to what he was doing in the home, how he was spending his time. that's one of the frustrating things about this. there's so little information about how he spent the last three years after he left school. >> all right. deborah feyerick. the family of a teacher killed in the rampage is speaking out about her life as well as her death. 30-year-old lauren rousseau was a substitute teacher at sandy hook elementary. her father says because she was a sub she didn't have keys to lock her classroom from the inside. he said the gunman killed his daughter immediately and opened fire on her students. her boyfriend told us the reality of what happened still is hard to accept. >> it doesn't seem real. it doesn't seem permanent and finite. >> reporter: you think you might see her again? >> i'm convinced i'll see her again. i have like a little squish pillow, a little pillow for your
head that she had that smells like her. it smells like her perfumes and stuff. >> it still does? >> yeah. when i wake up in the morning, i can smell my girlfriend's perfume and it makes me cry. >> more of that interview tonight on anderson cooper "360." to help those affected by the shooting, visit cnn.com/impact. there is much you can do. up next, we look at mental health concerns and gun violence in our culture. >> stop the guns. get them off your streets. protect your kids, love them. do something. it's sad. [ female announcer ] what if the next big thing, isn't a thing at all?
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make some tough cuts and tough decisions on the spending side, but what i wouldn't do was hurt vulnerable families only to pay for a tax cut for somebody like me. >> president obama called on republicans to compromise on tax hikes to get this debt deal nailed down. he spoke at length about the debt standoff at a news conference about an hour ago. the main sticking point still between the president and house speaker john boehner, who will get a tax increase and who is not? the president wants a rate hike on the income of more than $400,000 a year. boehner supports a tax boost on income of more than a million dollars a year. mark is joining us from westchest westchester, pennsylvania. thanks for being here. break it down for us, twot plhe plans and how it would impact the american people. we have a different threshold and 400,000 and the president and $1 million and above for
boehner. >> obviously, a lot fewer people would be affected by the boehner plan. it's only those who make over a million dollars and very few of those and very few over 400 k. my sense is there's middle ground here, and the middle ground is 500,000 in income. when we get a deal, my guess is people that make over 500,000, will see a tax increase. if you make less you won't see a tax increase. about 1% to 2% makes over 500k, so the vast majority of americans won't feel the impact of the increase in marginal tax rates. >> what about small businesses? if you tax people more it hurts small businesses who end up employing folks. >> yeah. i don't think that's a strong argument. yes, there are small business owners that are in that top tax bracket and they will be affected, but most small businesses, at least the most
that people think about, the folks that run the corner grocery store or the dry-cleaning or the local hardwa hardware store, they're not in the income group and aren't affected by that. most small business owners aren't affected by the tax increases discussed here. >> mark, you said you don't believe we'll go over the fiscal cliff and deal with big, big tax increases and severe spending cuts because it would have such a broad impact, negative impact on our economy. are you still confident that that is the case? >> well, suzanne, it's hard to be confident about anything when it comes to politics in washington. yeah, i think odds are we'll get a deal because it's in the interest of both the democrats and republicans. most fundamentalally it's in the interest of american people and our economy we get a deal. if it's not exactly by december 31st it's by inauguration day. much beyond that it will do
significant damage, and i don't think policymakers want to go down the path. >> we hope you're optimistic and confident. we're trying to be here on this end as well. thank you. president obama has a new title, "time" magazine's person of year. we'll look the at why he was chosen and who he was up against. make a wish! i wish we could lie here forever. i wish this test drive was over, so we could head back to the dealership. [ male announcer ] it's practically yours. test drive! but we still need your signature. volkswagen sign then drive is back. and it's never been easier to get a jetta. that's the power of german engineering. get $0 down, $0 due at signing, $0 deposit, and $0 first month's payment on any new volkswagen. visit vwdealer.com today. a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain
so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation. plus, in clinical studies, celebrex is proven to improve daily physical function so moving is easier. celebrex can be taken with or without food. and it's not a narcotic. you and your doctor should balance the benefits with the risks. all prescription nsaids, like celebrex, ibuprofen, naproxen, and meloxicam have the same cardiovascular warning. they all may increase the chance of heart attack or stroke, which can lead to death. this chance increases if you have heart disease or risk factors such as high blood pressure or when nsaids are taken for long periods. nsaids, including celebrex, increase the chance of serious skin or allergic reactions or stomach and intestine problems, such as bleeding and ulcers, which can occur without warning and may cause death. patients also taking aspirin and the elderly are at increased risk for stomach bleeding and ulcers. do not take celebrex if you've had an asthma attack, hives, or other allergies to aspirin, nsaids or sulfonamides.
get help right away if you have swelling of the face or throat, or trouble breathing. tell your doctor your medical history and find an arthritis treatment for you. visit celebrex.com and ask your doctor about celebrex. for a body in motion. president obama is "time" magazine's 2012 person of year. in explaining the choice "time" notes his popularity among young people, minorities, hispanics and college educated women and calls the president a siymbol ad architect of the new america. >> we think about the news of the year, and the year ahead. we also are thinking about the legacy of the person of the year archive. we want a choice that will stand up to the test of time, and we felt strongly that president obama would do that. >> "time" recognized malala who
was shot in the head by the taliban who survived. steve cook and mohamed morsi was the runner-up on the list. blistering report blames systemic failures at the state department for that deadly terrorist attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi. now is the fallout. three department officials have resigned. the attack killed four americans including ambassador chris stevens. an independent review board concluded that security at facility was grossly inadequate. we're hearing from senator john kerry. listen. >> i think the department has taken a huge step forward to address lessons learned from benghazi, which are important to everybody. there are 70,000 employees over there. there are 275 different posts. people are at risk. it's a dangerous world we're in.
i think that this report is going to significantly advance the security interests of those personnel and of our country. >> elise, you have this review board that says nobody violated his or her duties specifically. they didn't remedies palestinian naer action against any one person. why the resignations? >> reporter: well, why they didn't say anybody willfully was in dereliction of duty, suzanne. they said there was a deficit and a he real inadequate leadership at senior levels of the state department bureau of diplomatic security and the near east affairs bureau. that's why the diplomat mattic secretary eric boswell resigned. his deputy charlene lamb that testified at this hearing of the oversight committee several months ago, she was the one that denied all of those requests. what they're saying, what the board is saying is that the at
this level the assistant secretary and the kind of bureau level is where the rubber meets the road. these are the bureaus that are supposed to implement security for the state department and there were a lot of questions at this briefing we just had by tom pickering and admiral mike mullen who led the arb, the advisory review board. they said secretary clinton really is not to blame here because the staff, if there were problems in security, they should have brought it up the chain of command to her attention. >> so they're sefkally saying she didn't know about it and she didn't know they didn't have adequate security there? >> exactly. >> what about this issue of money? obviously, security comes at a cost. is there some responsibility congress bears in not having that kind of adequate security there. >> reporter: very much so, suzanne. there were several recommendations, 29, in fact, that the panel asked the state department to implement such as tighter security, looking better
at the intelligence threats because they really didn't -- they missed the security deteriorating situation on the ground. they also said that congress bears a lot of responsibility here. the climate of no when officials would ask for additional security really came from shrinking budgets, and they say that congress really has to expand the resources for the state department to make sure that these posts get the security that they need, suzanne. >> all right. elise, thank you. after a lengthy discussion from the president today about the looming fiscal cliff, now house speaker john boehner has announced he'll have a press conference of his own at 2:15 p.m. eastern to respond to all of that. we're going to take that live as soon as it starts. we're also following the other story, the tragedy in newtown and the aftermath. it's brought up a lot of tough, tough questions and issues. we're talking about gun control, violence in the media. there's one fact that we can't get around , the children that
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those who survived the sandy hook school shooting have to live with the memory of that horrifying event. the loss of friends and even siblings. elizabeth cohen talked with two young men coping. >> i saw some of the bullets going past the hall. >> we heard yelling and put your hands up, don't shoot. we heard lots of scary stuff. >> reporter: these innocent eyes have witnessed unspeakable horrors. >> everybody was like crying. >> reporter: images that could haunt them forever. >> she walked past the body. she saw the principal and blood. >> reporter: physically they escaped, but how will they do mentally. >> a very serious situation at the north valley jewish
community center. >> reporter: these boys know what it's like to face the nightmare. 13 years ago the boys were at summer camp in los angeles when a gunman stormed and shot them. ben was five. what do you remember happening around you? >> screaming, tons of screaming. >> josh was 6. >> he came in, and he shot all the way around and the next thing i remember, i was just getting up and running the as fast as i could that way. >> the boys survived but were never the same emotionally. >> i didn't live a normal childhood. in no means did i have a normal childhood. >> the shooter, buford furrow, had robbed them of their security. when you were dropped off at school, you wondered, am i safe? >> yes. >> reporter: for how long? >> probably through middle school. >> if we heard helicopters, sirens, loud nuysoises, anythin that would startle me, the house was on lockdown. >> reporter: you would go around and lock the doors. >> every door, every window.
>> reporter: why did you lock every door and window? >> that was the closest thing i could feel to safe. >> reporter: now 19, these two young men are among the few people who experienced what the connecticut children have experienced. >> the pictures of the kids being taken out and all standing in this line and i could accidentally mistake the pictures from when i got shot. >> reporter: they worry for the newtown children. >> i think they're going to feel, you know, afraid of the dark, afraid of loud noises. >> reporter: what advice would you give to these parents in connecticut? >> listen to your kids, you know? they're a lot smarter than we take them for. and so you really have to just listen to them and be understanding to them and know that there will be times when they really do want to talk about it and there will be times when they don't. and if they don't want to talk about it, don't push them. >> reporter: elizabeth cohen is joining us now. ben and josh, that is extraordinary what they went through. how are they today? how do they cope with those memories now as young adults?
>> they would say they are a traumatized, better than when they were younger, but they have moments where they don't feel safe. in fact, both decided to stay in los angeles for college. they had other options. but they stayed in los angeles because they said when we have those moments, we want to be near home, we want to be near our family. >> what is the most important thing, you talk about what the little kids -- the memories and so many of them, like 600 people in that school, a lot of kids afected by this, what is the most important thing for them during this time? even moving forward? >> just to be there. i asked the young men that, they said just to know that the parents are always there. and they're going to need them sitting next to them at school. one of them said their parents were right there with him for a period of time after school. but later, as things got better, their parents would say, you're really strong. you survived something amazing. and ben said that his parents taught him this mantra, ben cadish can do anything. because he had been -- if you've been through that, you can get through anything. >> is there a way of knowing if your child is okay?
or if your child is really having a difficult time coping? >> it is interesting. both of them, and the third boy i talked to involved in that shooting, they got professional help immediately. their parents didn't wait to see what might develop. they got professional help immediately because sometimes a professional is going to be better at assessing if your child is in danger of becoming, you know, severely traumatized and in danger of things getting worse. >> is there any circumstance where it is better actually not to go back to school, where it is better to just stay home, to be with friends, to be with family as long as you need to be and you don't actually continue to live a normal life? >> it is interesting. each of these two young men had different experiences in that way. so josh went right back to the jewish community center day camp, as soon as he was physically able and he loved it. and he loved remembering it as a happy place. ben has not gone back. and in fact when we asked him to go back with us now 13 years ago, he decline edeclined. it was too hard for him. for josh it was important to go back and reclaim that territory. but for ben it was too much.
>> is it more difficult for very young kids to deal with this kind of trauma and tragedy if they don't understand what they have seen or it is a very basic simple understanding of what they have seen. >> you know, it is interesting. this age, 5 or 6, which is how old these men were and how old the connecticut kids are, is a particularly vulnerable age. they're old enough to understand what happened. josh was lying in his hospital bed when an image of the shooter came on and he said to his dad, that's the man who shot me, right? he knew what was going on. but he wasn't completely old enough to understand that he was safe. so he felt unsafe in his own home. so this is a particularly tough age. >> all right. elizabeth cohen, thanks so much. so many people, so many unanswered questions. thank you. to help those affected by the shooting at sandy hook elementary, visit cnn.com/impact. you can make a difference. a former newtown resident putting her heart on her sleeve, how she's raising money for the victims. hurry in and try five succulent entrees, like our tender snow crab paired with savory garlic shrimp. just $12.99.
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a father and a boat owner felt they had to do something to pay tribute to the children killed in the connecticut school shooting. take a listen. >> it is a tribute to the schools. because i have two kindergartners in school now. so there is just no words you can say for it. >> this was just one of 100 boats taking part in the annual san diego parade of lights. normally a showcase for vessels decorated with holiday displays. what happened in newtown touching people everywhere, especially those who used to live there. one woman has decided to raise money for the shooting victims' families by reviving an idea she had in high school. here is christie woolski. >> this is that carnival at st. rose of lima. me and my sister's baby. >> reporter: karen sovereign remembers a simpler time. her childhood in newtown, connecticut. >> just great town, filled with
wonderful things and wonderful people. general store, 99 cent bacon cheese, ice cream shop, everything that you could imagine out of a town that you would want to raise your kids in. >> reporter: in high school, a love of newtown enspired karen and her friends to make these t-shirts. >> we all loved newtown and we thought it would be funny, let's make a fun t-shirt to express our love for our town. >> reporter: after last friday's tragedy, karen posted this old photo to facebook and soon a fund-raising idea became reality. >> the heart is green and inside the heart will be the date 12/14/12. >> reporter: the redesigned t-shirts are being sold for $25 on the website newtownpride.com. all the proceeds can go to the victims' families. >> there is not going to be any costs except for the shipping. so it is pretty phenomenal. it was just a snowball effect of greatness out of a tragic situation. >> reporter: so far the majority of orders are
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