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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  December 19, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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>> i think we are forever changed. but we have to move forward. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening. president obama today promised what he called real action right now to reduce gun violence after the school massacre in newtown, connecticut. he put vice president biden in charge of a government-wide effort, but gave him only until january to recommend new laws and executive orders. mr. obama pointed to assault rifles like the one used in the sandy hook attack to access to mental health care and to what he called a culture of that glorifies violence. major garrett is at the white house for us tonight. major?
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>> reporter: scott, gun control has never been an obama administration priority. it is now, and the clock is ticking on vice president joe biden's gun violence task force. mr. obama wants to announce new initiatives before his state of the union address in late january. >> 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're going to 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. >> reporter: after congresswoman gabrielle giffords and 18 others were shot in arizona and 12 were murdered in a colorado movie theater the president offered up words but little else. now words appear to be yielding to action and impatience. >> i will use all the powers of this office to helped advance efforts aimed at preventing more
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tragedies like this. we won't prevent them all but that can't be execute not to try. >> reporter: biden wrote the 1994 crime bill that imposed the first-ever ban on assault weapons. that ban expired in 2004. mr. obama noted former president ronald reagan supported that ban and said the newtown massacre changed minds. >> 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. >> reporter: the president wants biden to build support for legislation to renew the assault weapons ban, ban the sale of large-capacity ammunition clips, and subject firearm sales at gun shows and through private dealers to a federal background check. >> it will take commitment and compromise and most of all it will take courage. but 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, and newtown summoned on friday, if cooperation and
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common sense prevail then i'm convinced we can make a sensible, intelligent way to make the united states of america safer, stronger place for our children to learn and to grow. >> pelley: the president also said he is reflected on his past inaction on gun control and, scott, this new agenda and the tight deadline surrounding it suggests he didn't like what he saw. >> pelley: major, thank you. as you saw, mr. obama was in the white house briefing room, which we were reminded today is named for james brady, the peres secretary previously wounded in the attempt to assassinate president reagan. the gun used in the new town attack was an ar-15 rifle. there are at least three million of them in this country. a little bit later in the broadcast, we'll talk to some of the people who collect them. in newtown today more children and a teacher were laid to rest. elaine quijano has their stories. >> reporter: firefighters from
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across the northeast came to honor seven-year-old daniel barden. he wanted to be a firefighter someday. eddy bowles is from new york city. >> firefighters are here in tribute to this young child and all the souls lost in this community. >> reporter: sandy hook's fire department also stood at attention for caroline previdi's funeral. she loved to draw and dance. family friend joseph secola. >> it's heartbreaking when you see a small casket. the girl is six years old but she was a lovely girl that gave joy to people and that's what they have to hold on to. >> reporter: charlotte bacon, the seventh student to be laid to rest since the shooting, was remembered for her love of animals and the color pink. and at teacher vicki soto's funeral the crowd was so large people stood outside. inside singer paul simon performed "sound of silence." ♪ the sound of silence...
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>> reporter: there's still no clear evidence as to what triggered adam lanza's rampage but, scott, the medical examiner is bringing in a geneticist to see if lanza might have had a medical condition that could have played a role at the shooting. >> pelley: at his news conference today the president said after all we've been through recently, including the shootings and superstorm sandy, the country deserves folks in washington willing to compromise on behalf of the greater good. he was talking about a budget deal to avoid the fiscal cliff and he said he wanted it by christmas. nancy cordes is on capitol hill for us tonight. nancy? >> reporter: well, scott, it now looks like that is in doubt. aides on both sides today told us that the talks, which had been moving so quickly over the weekend, have slowed to a crawl and the president and speaker boehner traded ultimatums today. never a good sign this close to
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the deadline. >> and i hope that the president will get serious soon about providing and working with us on a balanced approach. >> reporter: house speaker john boehner warned today there will be no deal until the president agrees to more spending cuts. the president said he's cut enough. >> if you look at the package that i've put forward it is a balanced package by any definition. and we have put forward real cuts in spending that are hard to do in every category. >> reporter: mr. obama's most recent offer includes roughly $850 billion worth of spending cuts and raises about $1.3 trillion in new tax revenue. primarily by allowing tax rates to rise for households making more than $400,000 a year. >> at some point there's got to be i think a recognition on the part of my republican friends
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that, you know, take the deal. >> reporter: but boehner argues taxes and cuts need to be equal and he is moving ahead with a vote tomorrow on what he calls plan "b"-- a republican bill that would prevent income taxes from going up on january 1 for anyone making less than a million dollars a year. >> then the president will have a decision to make: he can call on senate democrats to pass that bill or he can be responsible for the largest tax increase in american history. >> reporter: tonight speaker boehner's plan "b" is in jeopardy because some conservatives in his own party say they won't vote for any bill that allows taxes to go up on anyone, even if it's just millionaires. scott, if boehner's bill fails tomorrow, negotiators will have lost two days watching to see how this all plays out. >> pelley: nancy, what if the bill does fail? what does that do to boehner's negotiating position?
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>> it definitely weakens his position, scott, which is why he and other republican leaders are scrambling to come up with a second bill, a big package of spending cuts that the house can vote on as well tomorrow to try to sweeten the deal for conservatives holding out on plan "b." >> pelley: nancy, thanks very much. three state department officials resigned today after a blistering report on security lapses at the u.s. consulate in benghazi, libya. an attack there last september killed four americans, including the u.s. ambassador chris stevens. margaret brennan is at the state department. >> reporter: the state department's chief of security, eric boswell, deputy charlene lamb, and an official in the near east division that overseas libya all resigned. the report called security at the u.s. post in benghazi "grossly inadequate to deal with the attack." career diplomat thomas pickering ran the review board. >> frankly, the state department hadn't given benghazi the security, both physical and
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personnel resources it needed. >> reporter: the investigation found senior state department officials ignored requests for ambassador stevens for more guards and security upgrades at the benghazi compound. the report also says the state department didn't have a clear picture of the security situation in benghazi and should have realized the compound was a target. and it criticized libyan militias who were assigned to protect the post. they disappeared when dozens of armed attackers approached on september 11. other failings include an inadequate number of state department security agents and a lack of technical staff. boxes of security cameras sat unused because no one knew how to install them. admiral mike mullen co-chaired the investigation. >> the buildings at benghazi did not mean department standards for office buildings in high-
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threat areas and in a sense fell through cracks bureaucratically. >> reporter: he said it was not reasonable for secretary of state hillary clinton to have knowledge of the specific security arrangements in benghazi. secretary clinton released a letter saying she accepted all of the panel's 29 recommendations. following the benghazi attacks she has already sent hundreds of marine guards to u.s. posts and is requesting more funding from congress. tomorrow two of secretary clinton's deputies will answer questions from congress about the review board's findings. secretary clinton will not be at the hearing. she's at home recovering from a concussion and stomach illness. lawmakers say they still want to hear from the secretary in january. >> pelley: margaret, i wonder, did the report say anything about whether ambassador stevens was concerned about security before he was killed? >> reporter: scott, ambassador stevens did have security concerns but he did not ask for the mission in benghazi to be shut down after resources were denied. investigators made clear stevens had responsibility for deciding what security was necessary on the ground. >> pelley: margaret, thank you.
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the u.s. army said today it will seek the death penalty for the staff sergeant accused of the murders of 16 civilians in afghanistan, nine of them children. no date was set for the court- martial of robert bales, who is charged with the attacks on two small afghan villages last march. his lawyer said bales suffered the post-traumatic stress disorder after four war zone tours. a severe storm that dumped snow in the rockies is making things tough across the midwest and great plains. and why is the weapon used in the newtown massacre so sought after among gun owners? when the "cbs evening news" continues. so now i can be in the scene. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator
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>> pelley: former senator phil graham of texas said "i own more shotguns than i need but not as many as i want." a lot of gun owners feel that way but we wondered why so many owned the kind of assault rifle used in the newtown massacre. so we asked ben tracey to find out. >> reporter: this is one of four ar-15s that gene hoffman owns. the internet entrepreneur has 11 other guns in his home south of san francisco. >> if you ask a golfer why he needs 15 clubs when you get away with seven he'll tell you, well, certain shots i like to use that other putter. >> you can kill someone with a golf club but it's hard to kill
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20 people in a couple seconds with golf clubs. >> look, the right to firearms, the civil right to firearms is dangerous, and that's why it's a right. this is not something free or easy. there will always be people who misuse their rights. >> reporter: the ar-15 is often called the barbie doll rifle because it has so many accessories. >> you can buy one and a lot of different parts for it and hunt with it, you can target shoot with it. >> reporter: a survey by the firearms industry found 49% of gun owners who bought it did so for target shooting. 23% for hunting and 28% for protection. more than three million americans now own an ar-15. >> the ar-15 is kind of the mainline rifle these days. it's the most popular selling firearm. it's like talking about a chevrolet. >> reporter: these weapons have become stars of cable t.v. shows and popular video games. gun makers heavily market them to men. overall, production of military style weapons and rifles increased 75% in eight years. in your opinion, what is reasonable gun control? >> there are lots of things we can do to make sure that only the right people have firearms.
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if a mental health professional decides they are dangerous, they'll lose their gun rights for ten years or life. >> reporter: hoffman plans to add two more guns to his collection, bringing his total to 17. ben tracy, cbs news, san francisco. >> pelley: a powerful storm is blowing across the midwest and the great planes tonight. blizzard conditions are expected across at least half a dozen states, making travel hazardous. some places could get as much as a foot of snow. a state of emergency has been declared in wisconsin. the storm dumped four feet of snow in the rockies and skiers in colorado took advantage of it. the hunt is on for fugitives who used bed sheets to escape jail. that story is next. next. me... thwas the vial and syringe dad used. and me... discovering once-daily levemir® flexpen. flexpen® is prefilled. doesn't need refrigeration
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stories down from their high- rise jail cell yesterday. a $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to their capture. remember robert bork? he first came to fame in 1937 when he was the u.s. solicitor general. bork carried out president nixon's so-called saturday night massacre, firing the watergate special prosecutor. payback came when president reagan nominated bork to the supreme court. the democratically controlled senate rejected the arch conservative after one of the most contentious confirmation hearings ever. this is part of senator ted kennedy's opening statement. >> robert bork's america is a land in which women would be forced into back alley abortions. >> reporter: bork denied that and while he didn't make the court, he did make the dictionary. "bork" means to attack a nominee for political reasons. robert bork died today at heart disease. he was 85.
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thousands of fans of the popular mexican american singer jenni rivera gathered together at a memorial in los angeles where she was born 43 years ago. on the stage, a red casket was covered with white roses. rivera was killed ten days ago in a plane crash after a concert in northern mexico. her records sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. the school suspect tells us how newtown will move forward after the tragedy. next. ♪ you are my sunshine, my only sunshine ♪
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classrooms except those at sandy hook elementary. and today, we asked her how she's helping the children and the teachers take the next steps forward. >> there is a team of counselors assigned to every school. they're with that faculty. they're with those students. we have a parent room manned by a counselor at every school. we have a room for students. and we have one for teachers. we understand that people are going to react in different ways and maybe unexpectedly, when they think they're doing fine, something will trigger that emotion and they need to talk about it. >> when do you think the new school for the sandy hook kids and teachers will be open, and when do you think they'll return to class? >> we're planning for right after the holiday break that january will be a fresh start. >> what do you think at this point is going to happen to the building, sandy hook elementary? >> you're asking the question that i'm asking myself at 3:00 in the morning when i can't
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sleep. the teachers and the parents have been telling me they can never re-enter that school, that it's -- it would just be beyond them to do it. one teacher said, i will quit teaching before i go back in that building. >> these are very early days. but how do you move forward? >> these are early days. and i think we are forever changed. [ pause ] >> but we have to move forward. [ voice breaking ] >> we -- it is good for kids to know that we are strong and that, as a community, we support them. and i have been moving to get
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some regular routine for students. i know that's in their best interest. and all of us as adults are -- we need that, too. and i know once schools start like yesterday, the adults -- the kids are therapy for the teachers. the kids want the routine. they're happy. and once the teachers start teaching and interacting with their kids, it helps them heal and move forward. these kids have their futures ahead of them. the survivors need to have -- we're responsible to see that good things happen for them. i can't take away what happened already. >> newtown school superintendent janet robinson. and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night.
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>> your realtime captioner: linda marie macdonald good evening, i'm ken bastida in for allen martin. >> i'm elizabeth cook. five days after the tragedy in newtown, connecticut a call to action from president obama. he is demanding immediate and specific strategies to keep all americans safe from gun violence. and cbs 5's grace lee tells us he is promising that this time washington will do more than just talk about it. >> reporter: during the election the president was repeatedly criticized for being all talk and no action. for now, he seems to be taking a very strong stance. he is not just calling for gun control. he wants a well-rounded solution and wants the answers soon. he wants them by january. >> we may never know all the reasons why this tragedy happened. we do know that every day since, more americans have died of gun violence. >> reporter: five days after
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the sandy hook shooting in newtown, president obama says our country needs more than gun control. we need a solution to stop the violence. that's why he's creating a new interagency task force led by vice president biden. >> this is not some washington commission. this is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue 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. >> reporter: much of the political focus so far has been on gun legislation. >> we have failed at the most basic task of keeping them safe. >> reporter: today, senator barbara boxer is suggesting a different route, beefing up school security. >> what it would do, it would help schools use the existing cops program to provide schools with more resources to install
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