tv CNN Newsroom CNN December 21, 2012 6:00am-8:00am PST
skillful john boehner is, whether it's a majority, half and half or a number, see if he tries or can do it and see if nancy pelosi is able to keep that unbelievable iron grip on hers. >> more democrats are divided on taxes, republicans are unified. we're seeing the two parties reversing roles. you may see the same things on immigration and gun control, it's a different democratic coalition and providing for more unity while republicans are caught between exactly what john says, local politics and national politics. >> ceos are angry because we're going to go over the fiscal cliff, looking like it, people trying to deal with their tax refunds they're going to be angry. i would not want to be an elected official holding this bag, that's why i'm not in politics. >> and merry christmas. >> with that we say happy holidays. time for "cnn newsroom" with carol costello. we're off for the next couple weeks. see you when i'm back from holiday. good morning. >> hi, soledad. a mess as people try to get
away for the holidays, massive pile-ups and thousands without power. >> i just heard a boom! real loud, and then the tornado was like over my house whirling over my house and my whole house was just i mean shaking. plus a strong storm damages homes in alabama, now the digging out and cleanup begins all across the country. from newtown to your town, americans pause this hour to remember those killed in the school massacre. we'll tell you how the tribute could echo through your community. the nation's most powerful gun lobby the nra speaking out today one week after violence rocked that small community in connecticut. and devastating implosion, the end of the world? nope, it is not the apocalypse, it's what people are saying about the fiscal cliff. after speaker boehner's plan b falls flat, what's next? "newsroom" starts now.
good morning to you. thank you so much for being with us. i'm carol costello. this hour a nation pauses to honor the victims of last week's horrifying attack at a connecticut elementary school. many americans including president obama will take part in a moment of violence at 9:30 eastern. that marks the moment one week ago that the gunman burst into sandy hook elementary school. church bells will toll across the country 26 times to remember each of the children and educators killed, and after being noticeably quiet for the past week, the national rifle association holds a news conference next hour. the gun rights groups will comments on the shooting as it faces impassioned calls for tighter gun control. poppy harlow, jason carroll are in newtown on this somber morning. poppy is the at the town's memorial. good morning, poppy. >> reporter: good morning, carol. let's look at what has become this small makeshift memorial that began the day after the
horrific shooting, has grown into something beautiful, it is blocks long, it is across the street and people will gather this morning and across this town to remember the 26 lives that were lost one week ago at 9:30 a.m. as you said church bells will toll 26 times for the victims, also the president and the white house will take that moment of silence. 28 governors from across this country have asked residents of their state to participate in moments of silence. people will wear green in memory of the victims, that's the school color of sandy hook. the governor here in connecticut saying they we will never know the pain and anguish these families feel we can stand next to them in this moment. not only the country but the world will stand with all the people here. >> i think you're right about that. the first lady sent a message to newtown this morning, what did she say? >> reporter: she did. it was a moving letter, spoke
about the anguish she feels in her heart as a mother of two daughters herself. i want to read you an excerpt that stood out, it is in the local paper here this morning that people are waking up to "i have been awed and inspired by newtown's heroes, the first responders who risked their lives at a moment's notice, the educators whose devotion to their students shown brightest in one of our nation's darkest hours, the children who comforted each other despite their fear, the families coming together to support each other as they grieve," and carol, i want to leave with you a moment i experienced here this morning in the deli down the road i met a father and he knew we were part of the media, i said how are you doing? he said "i have two twin 8-year-old girls who went to sandy hook elementary and he said there is no moment like this that is more fitting than to say there really are no words, so in this moment of silence there will be no words for the victims lost but everyone here and around the world is going to remember them. >> absolutely, poppy harlow
thank you. let's go to jason carroll at the newtown united methodist church. that church has provided a spir out tether of sorts for a community awash in grief. what role does this church play today? >> reporter: well very important role this morning and this is where the church is going to be ringing the bell 2 times. everyone in the community is going to be listening as that happens. it's an ancient ritual that's taken place over decades. it used to be traditionally a call to worship but today as you know it's a call to remember. three pastors will take turns ringing the bell 28 times. i spoke to one of the pastors, past oor jane sibley. this is very personal for her. it's especially personal to pastor sibley, her family is directly connected to the school
and she had an important message she wanted to get out to the survivors living here in newton. >> my grandsons give me the joy of being able to laugh for a moment and i'm refusing to allow that -- >> reporter: chase kowalski, one of the little boys who died in the shooting, went to this church here and his mother apparently, carol, has been a rock throughout all of this. that's what the pastor says, she's been very strong and she had a message as well, she said that life, she's hoping that her son's life would serve some sort of a purpose, if it brings us to a place of love and care for others and making sure that something like this does not happen again. that's another message that the pastor wanted to get out from chase kowalski's mother this
morning. >> something you said struck me, jason. most churches across the country will ring the church bells 26 times. you said at the church where you're standing they're going to ring the bell 28 times, they're going to include the shooter and nancy lanza as well? >> reporter: that is correct. and i think from the church's point of view, it's not about getting into a debate about how many times a church bell should be rung. this is simply a day for remembering, remembering those who are hurting, for a loss, whoever that may be. >> jason carroll reporting live from newtown, connecticut, this morning. on a day when church bells will toll for the victims of newtown the nation's most powerful gun lobby is speaking out after releasing a paper statement earlier this week the nra will unveil what it calls a major contribution to the gun debate in this country, so what is that? tom foreman is in washington to
speculate. good morning. >> reporter: hi, carroll. we don't know what that means. there's been speculation it will have something to do with mental health issues because certainly at a lot of local levels people talked about that on the republican side. people on the conservative side saying that has to be addressed as much, perhaps more than the gun issue itself. so we're expecting that may be the direction to go but the truth is we don't really know. what we do know is that the nra was quiet immediately after this. they often are after such incidents and they usually say as they did this time out of respect for the community and the family involved but now that a little bit of time has passed what we would certainly expect here is that there would be a clear message to the white house and to others which is be careful about overreacting at this point because the nra will push back and certainly they have proven that politically they have the power to do it not only nationally but certainly at the state level. carol? >> tom foreman reporting live from washington. also happening minutes from now, secretary of education
arouarne duncan will talk about protecting children from violence in schools. he's president of the task force on gun violence headed up by vice president joe biden. on to hard core politics, the plan b, supposed to force president obama to deal on the fiscal cliff didn't work because it's dead. house speaker john boehner wanted fellow republicans to vote on a bill to raise taxes on millionaires and no one else. the drama was intense as the speaker tried to convince conservative members of his party to vote yes but in the end the votes were not there, and the speaker pulled the bill from the floor. in short, as republican representative steve latourette said the effort was embarrassing. >> it weakens the republican majority, it's the continuing dumbing down of the republican party and we are going to be seeing more and more as a bunch of extremists that can't get a majority of our own people to
support policies we're putting forward. if you're not a governing majority, you're not going to be a majority party. >> as our own dana bash put it on twitter, "holy wow." bottom line taxpayers will pay more because lawmakers can't seem to get it together. we may go off the fiscal cliffs. we'll talk to dana later. also house speaker john boehner will hold a press conference live at the top of the hour. across the midwest people are trying to clean up from the first blizzard of the season, blinding snow being blamed for this 30-car pile-up on interstate 35 near ft. dodge, iowa. two people died in this accident. the storm cut power to 20,000 in iowa this morning, a half a foot to a foot of snow has fallen across the midwest. wisconsin has declared a state of emergency and the storm is moving toward ohio, pennsylvania and the northeast and it all comes as holiday travelers begin their journey home for christmas. be careful out there. guns in schools in the wake
of the connecticut shooting. more states talk about putting weapons in the classroom. just ahead we'll talk to the superintendent of one school district that already allows its employees to carry guns. [ male announcer ] this december, remember -- you can stay in and share something... or you can get out there and actually share something. ♪ the lexus december to remember sales event is on. this is the pursuit of perfection. the lexus december to remember sales event is on. oh,this is jucier than i thought. we actully keep track of how many times this kid picked his nose? tongue's out, hair pulls, stink eyes, man we see eveything. oh, it's the old man. hold on, i gotta send something out. you can have two apps open at the same time? how'd you do that?
13 minutes past the hour. nato says syria is firing more scud missiles in an attempt to quash rebel gains. nato secretary-general calling the action "acts of a desperate regime approaching collapse." these pictures from syrian activists claim to show damage from one of those attacks. cnn of course cannot independently verify that claim.
in north korea, a united states citizen has been arrested. state media reported today that pae jun ho has been arrested for unspecific crimes against the country. the state news agency says pae entered the country november 3rd as a tourist and has confessed to the offense and will face legal action. general motors recalling 118,000 trucks because of a problem with a latch that could cause the hood to fly open. the recalled models, the colorado, the canyon from years 2010 to 2012. gm will notify owners in mid-january and repairs will be done for free. also happening right now, secretary of state arne duncan is about to give remarks on protecting children from gun violence, at an elementary school in washington, d.c., you see the ceremony is just starting up. duncan is expected to call for comprehensive change in policies to avoid future tragedies like the one that happened in
newtown, connecticut. secretary duncan is president of president obama's task force headed up by the vice president joe biden. the nra also expected to talk about guns in america in just over an hour, it's the first time the powerful lobbying group will speak publicly about the gun culture in this country. before we hear from the nra and arne duncan, a look back at how we got to this point. today, exactly a week ago at 9:30 in the morning, the unthinkable happened. >> there were several fatalities at the scene, both students and staff. >> reporter: a man armed with a semiautomatic rifle opened fire inside sandy hook elementary school. >> there were police with rifles and handguns, they were on the roof, they were surrounding the school, they were going in through the roof. >> reporter: the emotion, the passion was unlike anything the country had experienced since
9/11, perhaps it was because of the target and the victims, a school with children barely older than babies and the teachers who were caring for them, and it wasn't long before questions arose about guns in this country and whether a man like adam lanza should have had access to a military style assault we on. >> should be more gun control yes. >> reporter: why do you think that? >> guns are in the wrong hands are very dangerous. >> guns don't kill people, people kill people. >> definitely should be gun control, shouldn't be no guns out there, a lot of crazy people don't know how to handle guns. >> i don't think taking guns out of civilians who are good contributing members of society are the answer. >> reporter: for days the most powerful gun lobby in the country, the nra, has remained virtually silent. no official statements, nothing on twitter, its facebook page inactive. enter the president and a plea that something had to be done. >> the nra is an organization
that has members who are mothers and fathers, and i would expect that they have been impacted by this as well and hopefully they'll do some self-reflection. >> reporter: still the nra remains silent until wednesday when it said it was shocked, saddened and heartbroken over the tragedy insisting it wanted to make meaningful contributions to the gun debate in this country. perhaps it was feeling pressure from its supporters including senator joe manchin from west virginia. >> it's changed me. i don't know of anybody that goes hunting with an assault rifle. i don't know people that need 10, 20, 30 round clips. >> reporter: it's still unclear what the nra means by the words "meaningful contributions" but we know in the past the nra has been loath to support any kind of gun control legislation. in the past few years it supported legislation that pushed through some of the most permissive gun laws this country has ever seen. you're allowed to carry a gun into a national park. you can transport a gun on amtrak and the nra fought the
handgun ban in the nation's capit capital, but today it feels different. this time the nra might not be able to exert its powerful influence over lawmakers, because as we've heard so many times, after newtown, it feels different. and in just abouty remember the victims in newtown, connecticut, and then talk of how to prevent such tragedies. this is one idea a lot of people have, to arm our children's teachers, several states are taking up that debate, ten to be exact, but one school district in texas, the staff there has been armed for years. the superintendent of that district will join us next. we're all having such a great year in the gulf, we've decided to put aside our rivalry. 'cause all our states are great. and now is when the gulf gets even better. the beaches and waters couldn't be more beautiful. take a boat ride or just lay in the sun. enjoy the wildlife and natural beauty.
20 minutes past the hour. happening right now secretary of education arne duncan is about to give remarks on protecting your children from gun violence. he'll give those remarks at an elementary school in washington, d.c. you see students are gathered, teachers are gathered awaiting arne duncan's comments. he's expected to call for changes in policies to avoid future tragedies. the task force on gun violence headed up by vice president joe biden. one idea to protect children in our schools is to arm teachers. ten states considering proposals to allow teachers to have guns inside the classroom. there are already schools that do that, a school district where all employees, not just teachers can carry concealed weapons. all staff employees in haarrold,
texas, can carry a weapon. haarrold is located in a rural area, there is no local police department and the sheriff is 30 minutes away. david thweed is the superintendent of the haarrold independent school district and joins us now. welcome sir and thank you so much for being here. >> thanks for having me, carol. >> tell us how it works. so teachers carry concealed weapons in the classroom? >> our policy addresses all employees in the school district. there are 25 employees in our district, including myself, and it really addresses employees. it has core components, they have to have a chl in texas and they're approved by the board and they undergo further training and they have to use basically our policy in a nutshell. 'not all teachers. it's those that meet the criteria. >> so are you carrying a gun right now? >> we don't answer that,
anonymity is key to an effective program. >> those teachers who carry guns the students never really see the weapons, right? >> no. and reality we are not really doing anything new. we're just kind of supplanting an old idea. what i basically supplanted was an idea of having one armed security guard or two and have multiple individuals trained in the same way or even better actually and then have them peppered throughout the building, and so that you have some protection for an -- well we have a pretty extensive camera system. as a matter of fact i rarely got in any school district that has as many cameras as we have but we have external magnetic locks. question lock down the building from our administration offices with one button and we have, they have access through one
door during the day. so we've done everything we can passively, carol, but you know, we had some issues with the pennsylvania amish shooting, we had issues with protecting and as you said before we're 30 minutes from law enforcement, that can be a long time with help coming. >> are you saying you've had problems with people trying to come in with guns? have you had problems. is this why you had a state of the art system? >> rural people have a tendency to consider themselves their own first responders. when you're 30 minutes from any law enforcement, we protect our self and we've had some issues. i think there's a misnomer about rural america in general, drug use especially meth is on theish
crea increase. we had one individual a few years ago that was sold some bad drugs and couldn't find the guy that sold them so he came looking for the guy's brother and that happened to be one of our students and just kind of walked into the door, before our security system and we started considering things. so i think there is a misnomer that we don't have barney fife and andy taylor in our communities. it's a changing demographic and not a safe one. >> the teachers union is against arming teachers, they say if you arm the teachers it will make children more afraid, they'll feel less safe because they'll always be aware there's a need for a gun in school. >> well, you know the israelis have been doing this for years. i disagree obviously with their opinion. i do not believe that having people armed does anything that changes the environment except for the fact that our parents are very glad we have this policy in place.
while all the other schools across the nation were in lockdown, we were not. >> david thweatt, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts this morning. we appreciate it. >> thank you, carol. ? a few minutes, remembering the victims at the newtown shooting. we're back in a minute. we're at walmart with the simmons family.
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hook elementary school and changed so many lives, not just in newtown, connecticut, but all across the country. sandy hook is just an incomprehensible tragedy but this morning, church bells and a moment of silence to honor the victims. right now the governor of connecticut, dan malloy and lieutenant governor nancy wyman are standing in front of edmond town hall. shortly you'll see the bell at the trinity episcopal church, it will ring the bells at 9:30 eastern time in honor of all of those murders in newtown. right now officially 29 states will participate, covering the memorial from newtown's united methodist church which interestingly will ring the bell 28 times. here's jason carroll. good morning, jason. >> reporter: 28 times here at the church and you know the debate is sort of going back and
forth, should they be doing it for the 26 victims or should they be doing it for the 28 people who died that day? i think from the perspective from those here at the church they say this is not a time for the debate. this is a time simply to ring the bell, to remember those who lost their lives, to remember those at this point who were suffering, who are in pain, the survivors. when you speak to so many people here in the community, carol, including one of the pastors here at this particular church, pastor jane sibley, a lot of people are experiencing survivors' guilt. we're a week out people think more about why am i still here? why did my son, why did my daughter survive. these are some of the things a lot of people here are thinking about and people need comfort. >> you're right, jason. >> reporter: they're hoping that's what they get. >> we're going to pause because it's 9:30 eastern time and await
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42 minutes past the hour. checking our top stories, nato says syria is firing more scud missiles in an attempt to quash rebel gay toes. nato's secretary-general calling it "acts of a desperate regime approaching collapse." these pictures claim to show damage from the attacks. cnn cannot independently verify that. in north korea state immediatery reported pae jun ho has been arrested for unspecific crimes against the country. pae entered north korea on november 3rd as a tourist and has confessed to the offense and will face legal action. in just an hour the nra will hold its first press conference since the shooting in newtown, connecticut. the gun rights lobbying group was silent for days following
the tragedy and then on wednesday the nra released a statement saying it's prepared to offer "meaningful contributions to the debate on gun control." in money news amazon jumping into original content unveiling six pilot projects and plans to let users vote which ones actually go into production. shows range from washington politics to a cartoon featuring intergalactic warships. no word yet on when user also get to see them. and the blizzard that caused such chaos across the midwest is expected to weaken today. everybody say yeah! but look at all the cars stranded in the snow in wisconsin. the storm blamed for two deaths in a 30-car park in iowa. in illinois whiteout conditions, power outages and of course many, many school closings. huge crowds celebrates the winter solstice at stonehenge in england. more than 5,000 beat drums
during sun rise, the solstice is the shortest day of the year and marks the first day of winter. on to american politics now. members of congress will be home for christmas but they won't be bringing a fiscal cliff deal with them. the drama on capitol hill was intense last night as john boehner tried to push his plan to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff through the house of representatives. but in the end, the votes just weren't there. the speaker pulled the bill from the floor. cnn's dana bash joins us now and dana, last night you tweeted "holy wow." >> i was trying to keep my reaction g-rated on twitter. it really was a stunner, watching the whole thing go down the scramble to get votes all day long became a panic when watching republican leaders trying to get votes on plan b later in the evening.
there was an new jersey meeting of all house republicans and the speaker inside said we don't have the votes we can go home and you could hear from the outside booing and cheering for various things being said inside but there are a lot of conservatives who just could not, their arms could not be twisted because they did not think philosophically principally it was the right thing to do even to raise taxes on millionaires, people making $1 million or more, which is what the bill would do. the leadership couldn't get the votes because the democrats really held their own, everybody in line, they were not going to vote for what they called a political show vote and the lead everiship couldn't get the votes. the speaker will have a press conference in a few minutes. just yesterday making clear he thought he did have the votes and more importantly making the
political argument, carol, that this was important for republicans to do to show the american people that they do believe that 99.8% of the public should keep their taxes but millionaires could get a tax increase. >> democrats and republicans are affecting the stock market. dana bash, we'll get to you in the next hour because the fiscal drama is affecting the stock market and investors and the rest of us are getting nerve bus a deal ever getting done. alison kosik at the new york stock exchange. >> already down for the dow 117 points. kinding seeing a shift in attitude. if you see what's happening over the last few weeks wall street has been banking on a deal and you can see that in how stocks performed. the s&p 500 is up over the past month. guess what? now wall street is nervous, one analyst says this plan b vote
was a litmus test for congress's ability to work out a solution. the way wall street sees it now this is a sign of gridlock. the s&p pa 00 is up 15% so just to put that in perspective, get ready for a tough friday so it's hardly time to panic. the sell-off won't last through the end of the day so they're more optimistic. >> could a sell-off influence washington to get something done? >> a sell-off could be a wake-up call for congress, just out playing chicken with the economy and it has worked before. you look at 2008, stock sold off after the house initially rejected a bank bailout. congress came around and passed it. it may take a direct hit to give lawmakers a kick in the butt especially since we've been hearing the dire warning of a recession. companies are already cutting back on spending and the reality is it's sometimes hard for the gravity of the fiscal cliff
situation to really register in politicians' minds unless you see the swift and strong reaction on wall street when you see the dow down 129 points within the first 15 minutes of the trading day so who knows if this will resonate. can't hurt as far as maybe getting them in gear to take some action. carol? >> i'll pray at midnight mass and christmas eve. alison kosik thanks of so. still ahead in "the newsr m newsroom" interstates closed by massive pile-ups, thousands without power. the cleaning up begins all across the country. bob, these projections... they're... optimistic.
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♪ [ male announcer ] life brings obstacles. usaa brings advice. call or visit us online. we're ready to help. today people in ohio, pennsylvania, and the northeast will have to deal with the winter blast. the midwest is probably happy to see the storm leave. the first blizzard of the season, it left quite a mess. near ft. dodge, iowa, two people died in this 30-car pileup. the iowa state patrol says blinding snow was to blame. 20,000 people in iowa don't have power. most of the outages are centered around des moines. more than a foot of snow has fallen there and also in neighboring wisconsin. but in the south it wasn't about snow, it was about a tornado. a tornado that left this damage. this ef-1 tornado hit in mobile
early thursday morning leaving a seven-mile path of destruction. >> all i know when i was laying down on the couch after i fed my baby, whatever, and all the lights just went off, and i mean when the lights just went off and i just heard a boom real loud and then the tornado was like over my house, roaring over my house and my whole house was just shaking. >> victor blackwell joins us from cleveland, ohio, with more on this wild winter weather, and, boy, it looks like a beautiful day in cleveland today, victor. >> reporter: beautiful. it's called chamber of commerce weather for the city of cleveland. it's snowing sideways. the snow is coming in from lake erie and every once in a while we get one of these gusts that force me to turn my back to that wind because it puts the big fat snowflakes right in our faces, but this city says they are prepared for what has already been an already dangerous and
deadly storm. the middle of the country is starting to dig out from a blustery snowstorm. in waterloo, iowa, shovels and snowplows are back in use after more than eight inches of snow fell. good news for many businesses after a lackluster season a year ago. >> been delivering a lot of snow blowers, a lot of equipment has been breaking. we have been fixing equipment for people to get snow removed. >> reporter: picturesque in wisconsin, good for building snowmen but a challenge for crews clearing snow. >> the snow is really wet. a lot of buildup on the front of the plows and very hard for the snow to scour off the plows. >> reporter: storm conditions have caused havoc on a lot of roadways and left thousands of residents without power in the midwest. inside airports, anxious travelers facing flight delays and cancellations. >> we're in for it. yeah, i think it will be -- hopefully if it says what it is right now, we'll just be a little late. >> reporter: in the south a possible tornado touching dwoun in mobile, alabama, damaging cars at this dealership, and in
tennessee strong winds knocked trees onto roofs ushering in winter with some extreme weather promising to bring more troubles as christmas travel gets into full swing. so let's talk about that christmas travel because i got an update not too long ago from the chicago department of aviation. they're in control of midway and o'hare, some very busy airports. yesterday there were 350 cancellations at o'hare. today thus far there have been 40. yesterday there were 150 at midway. today no cancellations so far at midway, but 12 delays of about 30 minutes. we'll get the next update at about 11:30 eastern, but, again, cleveland is up next, as this snowstorm that went across the rest of the midwest is coming across the lake, and as you can see, it's snowing sideways. no accumulation yet but we'll see, carol. >> i'm from near cleveland, so i'm kind of used to that weather, but i'm going to try to fly home to ohio later this afternoon and i just hope my mom
has some nice homemade chicken soup for me. >> reporter: it's so much fun. >> victor blackwell. >> reporter: it's a beautiful day. >> i know, but it's a beautiful city though, cleveland. thank you, victor. in just a few minutes we're expecting to hear from house speaker john boehner on where we are in this fiscal cliff mess. last night was intense as boehner tried to push his plan through the house of representatives. you know, plan b. but in the end the votes were it not there. the speaker pulled plan b from the floor. we're going to hear from the speaker in the next hour. we'll be back. what's that in reindeer-power? [ laughs ] [ pencil scratches ] [ male announcer ] chevy's giving more. get the best offer of the year -- 0% apr financing for 60 months plus $1,000 holiday bonus cash. plus trade up for an additional $1,000 trade-in allowance. hurry. bonus cash ends january 2nd. oh,this is jucier than i thought. we actully keep track of how many times this kid picked his nose? tongue's out, hair pulls, stink eyes, man we see eveything.
good morning. thank you so much for being with me this morning. i'm carol costello. we're watching four big stories in the "newsroom" right now. first, speaker of the house john boehner scheduled to hold a news conference on the fiscal cliff at any moment now. you're looking at the podium behind which he will stand. this comes after last night' devastating defeat of boehner's fiscal cliff proposal known as plan b. it was supposed to force president obama to deal on the fiscal cliff, but it did not work. we're going to take you back to washington as soon as mr. boehner begins speaking. wall street already making its opinion known about the lack of a fiscal cliff deal because take a look at the dow. it is down 1216 points so far this morning. the s&p 500 and the nasdaq also in the red. christine romans is in new york with that part of the story. not looking good. >> it would be worse, quite
frankly, if it hadn't been this quick announcement that the speaker was going to be talking to the press in just any moment. >> hey, christine, house speaker boehner is starting to speak. we'll get back to you in a second, okay? >> -- not the outcome i wanted, but that is the will of the house. so unless the president and congress take action, tax rates will go up on every american taxpayer and devastating defense cuts will go into effect in ten days. the house has already passed bills addressing the fiscal cliff. we passed a bill replacing the president's sequester with responsible spending cuts and did it last may. we passed a bill to stop all the tax hikes on the american people scheduled to take effect january the 1st, and we did that on august the 1st. and we proposed plans over and over again that democrats used to support but now they won't.
i don't want taxes to go up. republicans don't want taxes to go up. but we only run the house. democrats continue to run washington. what the president has proposed so far simply won't do anything to solve our spending problem. he wants more spending and more tax hikes that will hurt our economy, and he simply won't deal honestly with entitlement reform and the big issues that are facing our country. we need significant spending cuts and real tax reform to address our long-term debt problem and pave the way for long-term growth and real growth in jobs in our country. we'll continue to work with our colleagues in the house and the senate on a plan that protects families and small businesses from the fiscal cliff. again, i think we saw last night yet the next chapter in this saga of trying to resolve the
situation of the fiscal cliff. it is clear that our conference has been consistent in its commitment to doing something about the spending problem in washington and the mounting debt that has resulted. we stand ready to continue in dialogue with this president to actually fix the problem. i hope that we see that our colleagues on the other side of the capitol can do likewise, can get serious to try and address the real problem of spending so we can get on about the business of growing this economy and get people back to work. >> mr. speaker? >> andrew. >> mr. speaker, a lot of the argument that you made in favor of the bill that you pulled last night, the multitrillion dollar tax cut, rescue all but a fraction of taxpayers from a tax increase also would apply to the president's proposal. are you willing to give the president's proposal a vote?
>> the president and i had a series of conversations. i told the president on monday these were my bottom lines. the president told me that his numbers, $1.3 trillion in new revenues, $850 billion in spending cuts, was his bottom line, that he couldn't go any further. and so we see a situation where because of the political divide in the country, because of the divide here in washington, trying to bridge these differences has been difficult. if it were easy, i guarantee you this would have been done decades before, but we have to find a way to address this significant spending problem that we have and we need to find a way through tax reform to begin to grow our economy in a way that will create more jobs in our country. >> so what is the path forward? are you going to be speaking
with the president further and let me reinforce this question, are you ruling out putting on the floor for a vote the bill that passed in the senate to extend all those tax rates for those -- >> there is no senate bill that's come to the house. as you all know, the senate bill had a blue slip problem and it continues to sit in the united states senate so we don't have a senate bill. we do have a house bill that sits in the senate that extended tax rates for all americans, and we've been waiting since august the 1st for the senate to act. if the senate wants to act on that bill, we'll certainly take a look at it. >> what is the path forward? have you spoken to the president? are you going to be speaking to the president in negotiations forward? what are we going to do now? >> i'm interested in solving the major problems that face our country, and that means house leaders, senate leaders, and the president are going to continue to have to work together to address those concerns. >> the budget control act,
there's a provision where after the sequester ordered on january 2nd the majority leaders in both bodies can bring up a privileged resolution to shut off the see tess ter. considering the dire nature of these circumstances, is that an option at this point and have you given consideration to that? >> i have not given consideration to it. we have a spending problem and we have to address it, and we're not going to address it by kicking the can down the road, which is what you're suggesting. >> speaker boehner, mr. cantor has suggested that the house would stay here until this job was done. they're obviously going home for christmas. are you giving up on your conference? are you quitting? >> absolutely not. list be, i'm proud of our members. they do a great job on behalf of their constituents and frankly on behalf of our country, but what mr. cantor outlined last night is that the house would come back if needed. and we're prepared to come back if needed. >> mr. speaker, it sounds like
you're walking away from talks with the president. >> no, no, no. listen, i did not say that. nobody out to read anything into this. we've got differences, but the problem -- the country has got big spending problems, and we've got to get serious about addressing them. >> but this isn't the first time that something like this has happened during talks with the president. why should he have faith that when you negotiate with him, that your members are behind you? >> lisen, the president knows i have always been able to deliver on any promise i have made with him. the concern that i had is that time was running short, and the idea that taxes ought to go up on every american taxpayer i thought was wrong. trying to address the tax issue i thought was very important to do it now so that we don't have taxes going up on every american and hurting our economy. >> sir -- >> mr. speaker, you said here yesterday and expressed
confidence that you were going to pass -- >> sure did. >> -- that bill. what went wrong? >> there was a perception created that that vote last night was going to increase taxes. now, i disagree with that characterization of the bill, but that impression was out there, and we had a number of our members who just really didn't want to be perceived as having raised taxes. that was the real issue. now, you know, one of my colleagues the other night had an analogy of 100 people drowning in a pool and that he was the lifeguard. and because he couldn't save any of them, does that mean he shouldn't have done anything? and his point to them was if i can go in there and save 99 people that are drowning, that's what i should do as a lifeguard. but the perception was out there, and a lot of our members did not want to have to deal with it. >> mr. speaker, given that you
clearly do not have the votes to raise tax rates, are you willing to pass a bill which the majority of democratic support at this point. >> as i said, the house has passed a bill to extend all the current tax rates. we did it on august 1st. it's been sitting in the senate. we passed a bill to replace the sequester. at some point the united states senate has to do something, and what we were trying to do this week was to basically jump start and try to kick into gear some action by the senate to avert these tax increases going into effect on january 1st. >> mr. speaker, with all due respect, what impact do you think bringing up a bipartisan grand bargain that you could strike with president obama would have on the future of our speakership? >> well, listen, at some point we're going to have to address the spending problem that we have, but we can't cut our way to prosperity. we need real economic growth,
and many of us believe on both sides of the aisle the fundamental reform of our tax code will help us get our economy moving faster and put more americans back to work and more americans on the tax rolls. how we get there, god only knows. all i'm telling you is that eric and i and our team here are committed to working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, both sides of the capitol, and the white house to address that. >> last question. >> mr. speaker, last week i asked you if you were concerned about losing your speakership, and you said you were not. in light of what happened last night, if you're not concerned, shouldn't you be? >> no, i'm not. listen, you have all heard me say this, and i have told my colleagues this. if you do the right things every day for the right reasons, the right things will happen. and while we may have not been able to get the votes last night to avert 99.81% of the tax
increases, i don't think -- they weren't taking that out on me. they were dealing with the perception that somebody might accuse them of raising taxes. merry christmas, everyone. thank you. >> and to all a good night. christine romans is in new york. dan lothian, our white house correspondent, is at the white house right now. but christine, i want to start with you and the bottom line. i mean, political posturing aside, if we go off the fiscal cliff, everybody's taxes are going to be raised an average of what, between $3,000 and $4,000 and if the stock market continues to tank, no one will be able to retire until they're 92 years old. >> merry cliff-mas, to all a good night. i don't see a path forward here. that's what's so interesting about what you have here. we're right where we started. it's like ground hog day only the movie was funny. this isn't funny. this is two sides who can't get
together, and you've got one side talking about spending cuts, the other side talking about taxes, and we're just right where -- we are literally right where we started, carol, and you've got payroll processors who say it's already too late. the irs saying 30 million people could pay higher amt and 100 million people are going to have tax refund delays. the fiscal cliff is already here and the politics are just maddeningly playing out in washington. >> okay. so let's head to dan lothian because we heard john boehner say that, you know, everybody is going to go home for christmas and celebrate christmas, but, hey, he'll still be open and ready to work if need be. what about the president? >> reporter: that's right. well, you know, white house spokesman jay carney is saying that the president wants to make sure and his top priority is to ensure that taxes don't go up on the majority of americans and a majority of small businesses and that the president will meet with congress and is willing to meet with congress in order to get some kind of bipartisan
solution here, but as you've been talking about, there's not a lot of time left here to come up with any kind of bipartisan plan that will prevent the effects of the fiscal cliff. the white house still believes that this offer that they have on the table is the best offer because the president came off of that $250,000 limit that he had for extending those bush era tax cuts, raising that to $400,000. they still believe that that is where you work from. so we will be watching to see what the next strategy is, how the white house responds to this latest development up on the hill. >> let's head to alcohcapitol h and dana bash. john boehner is the main gaucher with president obama. it's not clear he can negotiate anything even with his own party. what does this say about any deal down the road? >> reporter: [ inaudible ]. >> i think your battery in your microphone is dying. that's what it sounds like to me. we're going to get back to you. we will be right back with more
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16 minutes past the hour. live this hour in just about 30 minutes, the national rifle association delivers its first on-camera comments on the school shooting rampage in connecticut. the gun rights group has been noticeably quiet in the week since the man armed with an assault rifle killed 20 children and 6 adults. the tragedy has inflamed the debate over gun control. we'll have more on that coming up. we expect that nr a presser to begin in about 20 30 minutes. cnn's heavy hitters are on hand. wolf blitzer provides the analysis, jessica yellin the view from the white house. tom foreman is standing by in washington. he will be inside the press conference. as we await the nra's comments a look back at how we got to this point. >> reporter: exactly a week ago at 9:30 in the morning the unthinkable happened.
>> there were several fatalities at the scene, both students and staff. >> reporter: a man armed with a semiautomatic rifle opened fire inside sandy hook elementary school. >> there were police with rifles and handguns. they were on the roof. they were surrounding the school. they were going in through the roof. >> reporter: the emotion, the passion was unlike anything the country had experienced since 9/11. perhaps it was because of the target and the victims, a school with children barely older than babies, and the teachers who were caring for them. and it wasn't long before questions arose about guns in this country and whether a man like adam lanza should have had access to a military-style assault weapon. >> should be more gun control, yes. >> why do you think that? >> well, you know, guns are in the wrong hands are very dangerous. >> guns don't kill people. people kill people. >> definitely should be a gun control issue and be no guns out
there, you know, a lot of crazy people don't know how to handle guns. >> i don't think that taking guns out of civilians who are good, contributing members of society are the answer. >> reporter: for days the most powerful gun lobby in the country, the nra, has remained virtually silent. no official statements, nothing on twitter, its facebook page inactive. enter the president and a plea that something ha to be done. >> the nra is an organization that has members who are mothers and fathers, and i would expect that they've been impacted by this as well and hopefully they will do some self-flexion. >> reporter: the nra remained silent until wednesday when it said it was heart broken over the tragedy insisting it wanted to make meaningful contributions to the gun debate in this country. perhaps it was feeling pressure from its supporters, including democratic senator joe machine chain fr -- manchin from west virginia. >> it's changed me.
i don't know anybody that goes hunting with an assault rifle. i don't know people that need 10, 20, 30-round clips. >> reporter: it's unclear what the nra means by the words meaningful contributions, but we know in the past the nra has been loath to support any kind of gun control legislation. in fact, in the past few years it's supported legislation that pushed through some of the most permissive gun laws this country has ever seen. you're allowed to carry a gun into a national park. you can transport a gun on amtrak. and the nra fought the handgun ban in the nation's capital. but today it feels different. this time the nra might not be able to exert its powerful influence over lawmakers because as we have heard so many times, after newtown it feels different. >> more on today's nra news conference. wayne lapierre will be speaking. he's the executive vice president and ceo of the national rifle association. he began working for the group in 1978, took over the top post
in '91. lapierre has been a hardliner on gun rights once saying bill clinton had blood on his hands for supporting gun control measures. tom foreman, cnn's tom foreman, covering the news conference. he's on the phone because they just went through a security sweep in the room before people entered the room where wayne lapierre will begin speaking. tom, tell us what that's like. >> reporter: hi, carol. we just had a security sweep here. we're all getting re-established in the room and we're expecting not only wayne lapierre but a business of a surprise guest, the nra won't say who. i will note a short while ago the president of the nra, dave keen, who is one of the most astute and involved political players for the nra and has been for many, many years with top players in washington, he's one of the point men on any sort of political debate about new gun legislation, he came out promptly at 9:30 and asked
everybody in the room to join in that moment of silence with the nation for the victims in connecticut. so we're not sure yet what the nra is going to say here. we don't know what their meaningful contributions will be as they've described it, but everybody is quite eager to hear and clearly the nra is girding itself for what could be a very long, protracted political battle going into the new year, at least for the time being could be competing with for headlines with the fiscal cliff. >> i know you have done some reporting on this. does anyone have any idea what the nra means by meaningful contributions to the gun control debate in this country? >> reporter: people have a lot of guesses. i don't know if that constitutes a good idea, but the guess is it tends to run along the idea of what we have been hearing on the state level. a lot of talk about if you're going to address these notions of violence it needs to be a more comprehensive view of that looks at mental health and poverty, not just guns. we don't know that, but that
seems to be where the smart money is in terms of which direction the nra may go with what they have to say today. >> tom foreman reporting live from washington. we understand the nra has postponed its news conference until 11:00 a.m. eastern time so just about in 45 minutes wayne lapierre will take the stage with his surprise guest. the nation hasn't seen this kind of momentum for gun regulation for years. just look at the cnn/orc poll taken after the newtown shooting. a majority of people, 52%, say they support major restrictions on guns or making all guns illegal. that is a change from the last three years. and up 5% since august. in new york now is dan gross. he's the president of the brady campaign to end gun violence. dan, welcome. >> hi, carol. >> you are a gun control advocate. i want to make that clear for everyone. what do you expect the nra to say today? >> yeah, i don't think we know what they're going to say, and i don't think it's the right thing
to kind of just speculate. i think we should talk about what we do know, which is that the overwhelming majority of americans, including the overwhelming majority of gun owners and nra members support sensible restrictions. you know, you just showed a poll that said the number of americans that support strict gun control, that's not the conversation. the conversation is around specific measures like criminal background checks on all gun sales. 74% of nra members support criminal background checks on all gun sales and our message today is really to them, to the nra members, you know, like president obama said, nra members are mothers and fathers, too, and we all grieve over this terrible tragedy and we all grieve over the 32 to 34 murders that happen every single day in our country, and there are things we can do about it and that's what we hope the nra is going to focus on as well, but it's anybody's guess. >> it's been a long fight for you, and, frankly, you guys have
not been very successful in getting gun legislation passed, and i think one of the reasons is that there's this fear that organizations like yours want to ban all guns, and most americans are certainly not for that. >> yeah. the nra, that's one thing they have been very effective doing, and, you know, we'll see if they continue trying to do that at this press event is painting anybody who wants to have a sensible conversation about what we can do -- every time president obama has talked about this issue, every time i talk about this issue, we talk about the fact that the second amendment has nothing to do with things like criminal background checks. the second amendment can co-exist with sensible solutions to this problem. there was a poll that showed that 87% of nra members agree that the second amendment -- >> i understand that but, dan, let me ask you this. we know what the message has been from the nra. but what about your message? is there something wrong with the message you're giving people that they don't understand and should your message change?
>> no. our message has been very consistent, especially over the last several months as this conversation -- as we have been convening this conversation among the american public, that this is a conversation that the american public wants to have. the american public is in support of these solutions, including the overwhelming majority of gun owners and nra members and it's time that we start looking at this whole issue as, you know, what can we do as a nation to make this a better safer nation we need to be. this is our message, the only place where this is a partisan political debate is in the halls of congress and we have to expose that disconnect that exists between what the american people want and what our elected officials are doing about it, and that's our message. and so what we intend to do is take the voice of the american people to the halls of congress. to that point that disconnect has been allowed to exist. this is casting such a strashg spotlight on that disconnect that it's going to change things. >> dan gross from the brady campaign. thank you for joining us.
we appreciate it. >> thank you. >> and, of course, we're keeping an eye on washington where the head of the nra will speak in about a half hour. and just by the way, we did invite several gun rights activists to come on our show. some declined, some did not respond to our request, including the nra. we did have a gun rights advocate on in the 9:00 hours of "newsroom." just wanted you to know. we're back after a quick break. but i'm still stubbed up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't unstuff your nose. what? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus liquid gels speeds relief to your worst cold symptoms plus has a decongestant for your stuffy nose. thanks. that's the cold truth! thanks. santho, ho, ho!anta! santa! want to see some magic? watch this! merry chr... (crash) ow! i landed on my keys. did you get that? oh yeah. that was amazing. here you go. that was a fun trick! see? santa's okay. walk it off santa.
this is cnn breaking news. >> my goodness, we have an abundance of breaking news this morning. we have just learned that president barack obama will nominate senator john kerry to be his secretary of state. so let's go to a man who really knows about these things, our own wolf blitzer. good morning, wolf. >> it's not a huge surprise. we've been expecting it now for the past few weeks, especially since susan rice, the u.s. ambassador to the united nations, withdrew her name as a possible secretary of state. hillary clinton is going to be leaving in january. she's moving on. she wanted one term and now the chairman of the senate foreign relathions committee, john kerr will be nominated. probably early in the afternoon
the president will have a formal announcement asking that the senate confirm john kerry as the secretary of state. the hearings will take place in january. they would very much like to have john kerry in place as the new secretary of state around the time of the inauguration, january 20th, and they would then be able to go forward. for all practical purposes john kerry will certainly carry forward the foreign policy initiatives put forward by hillary clinton. they're on the same page on a lot of these issues but the president of the united states, as you know, carol, he determines u.s. international policy, national security, and john kerry will now have that mission. it opens up the senate seat in the state of maof massachusetts there's already been speculation that scott drown, the republican senator who was defeated by elizabeth warren in his bid for re-election, that scott brown will be the republican nominee.
that special election i think is scheduled for around june of this year and there's already been a few democratic potential candidates who are thinking of challenging scott brown assuming scott brown runs for that senate seat, whether deval patrick, the governor of massachusetts, congressman ed markey, the long serving democratic congressman from massachusetts. there's been some other names mentioned as well, but it's going to have a political fallout as well as international fallout, but the bottom line is the president has decided to nominate john kerry as the next secretary of state. >> it is interesting, too, that the republican scott brown came out for gun control legislation, some form of gurn control legislation, which we have not heard from many sitting republicans. >> scott brown's position has evolved since the fallout a week ago of what happened in newtown, connecticut. he favored an assault weapons ban if done by states. he didn't think the federal government should get involved, but now for first time he's
saying in the aftermath of the massacre in that newtown elementary school he's now saying, yes, it's time for the federal government to impose a ban on assault weapons which is a shift for scott brown and sort of an indication of where he suspects the people of massachusetts are. he's going to run for that senate seat that would be vacated by john kerry, that's probably a smart political move on his part. >> exactly my thinking. thank you so much, wolf. so senator john kerry has been around forever, but what do you really know about him? his background? what qualifies him to be secretary of state? here is kate bolduan. >> thank you very much, mr. secretary. >> reporter: his senate colleagues have joked about his ambition. what many regarded as the worst kept secret in washington. even in recent senate hearings, john kerry already sounded like he was looking ahead to his future job and the anticipated battles over the state department budget with congress. >> that must change, and in the next session of the congress, i hope it will. >> reporter: he wasn't the
president's first choice. u.n. ambassador susan rice took herself out of the running after republican backlash. >> it was unjustified to give the scenario as presented by ambassador rice. >> reporter: senator kerry knows himself about being torpedos by attacks. accused in his 2004 presidential run of lying about his military record in vietnam. >> john kerry has not been honest about what happened in vietnam. >> reporter: and criticized for his 1971 testimony opposing the vietnam war. >> how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in vietnam? >> reporter: kerry was painted a flip-flopper and out of touch, unable to grasp the struggles of regular americans. but candidate kerry did put president obama, then an unknown politician, on the national stage at the democratic convention. >> john kerry believes that in a dangerous world war must be an
option sometimes but it should never be the first option. >> reporter: following the loss, kerry immersed himself in foreign policy. >> we stand adjourned. >> reporter: now the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, he's been an unofficial envoy for president obama helping ease tension with president karzai in afghanistan and helping mend strained relations with pakistan after the killing of osama bin laden. >> we are strategic partners with a common enemy in terrorism and extremism. >> reporter: but kerry is not totally in sync with obama. he has supported limited military intervention in syria, something the president has resisted. over his 30-year career, kerry has built deep relationships with many foreign leaders. >> there are very few people in our country with greater experience over a longer period of time in foreign policy than senator kerry. >> reporter: perhaps kerry's biggest challenge to date is not his confirmation hearings on capitol hill, but, rather, following in hillary clinton's
footsteps, who has become one of the most popular officials in the obama cabinet, both here and abroad. kate bolduan, cnn, washington. >> and we're lucky enough to have kate bolduan in the flesh this morning. tell us more about senator kerry. he must be ecstatic. this is what he wanted for a long time. >> this is one of the worst kept secrets in washington. this has long been an ambition for him. as you see that profile piece, it's been kind of a long and winding road getting to this point, especially in recent memory. susan rice, as we know, many believed to be the top choice for president obama to take the seat of -- take the vacated position of hillary clinton when she steps down, when she retires, if you will, from being secretary of state, and now john kerry is obviously going to be the pick. i was just looking back just to kind of refresh my memory, when hillary clinton, when her confirmation came before the
senate, she was confirmed some 94-2. so overwhelmingly confirmed by the senate. from what we hear on capitol hill, john kerry has many supporters on both sides of the aisle who think he would be a very good fit for that position, a very different kind of response from his colleagues than we heard in terms of the hypothetical of if susan rice had been nominated for secretary of state, but now we can see that these on ficonfirmation hes will likely begin very quickly because they want to get him in place. then the big question on capitol hill is who will take over for the vacated see of senator kerry, and that will be a very interesting political fight. as we know, republican scott brown just lost in a re-election battle. we could see him trying to win this senate seat when the special election does come. first of all, the governor of massachusetts, he will put someone in place to fill the temporary slot before the special election happens, which is possibly mid-june. that will be a very interesting political story to be watching going forward.
>> oh, yeah. kate bolduan, thanks so much. let's head back to washington and check in with jessica yellin. she broke that story, and dana bash, our congressional correspondent, she will talk a little bit about this, too. let's head to you first, jessica. john mccain pushed for john kerry, so the president finally has an idea that everybody seems to like. >> reporter: this should be be a easy confirmation for the president and that will be a relief on both sides of pennsylvania avenue because the city could use something easy right now, i'll tell you that. and so could the nation. but, carol, this is also a person the president has come to know and trust over time. senator john kerry not someone the president was necessarily close to heading into his administration, but for the reasons kate pointed out in that piece, he has sent kerry overseas to meet with world leaders during crisis points, especially after the afghanistan
elections when it was a very tricky situation. he had to convince president karzai to agree to runoff elections and in a delicate situation senator kerry did it. after the osama bin laden raid, senator kerry was dispatched to pakistan to try to smooth relations there. and then, of course, in the debate prep, senator kerry played mitt romney very effectively according to all sides, and that was a bonding experience for the two men, and so they've come to know and respect one another, and i'd also point out he's won the bronze star, the silver star, the purple heart. he has a history working in the military and foreign affairs, so he has real credibility on these issues and it's something he has personally aspired to for many years in his life. so this is a real, i'm sure, satisfying moment for him. one thing i can add on the news front, carol, i am told that john kerry will be nominated alone today, just to be clear.
there will not be other nominees announced with him, just some special attention focused on him. also, wouldn't want to complicate it with some other trickier nominations the president might have to make. >> so refreshing. jessica yellin, thanks so much. let's head to congressional correspondent dana bash. it's just intriguing that jessica was saying that, you know, john kerry, he's a war hero, but you remember when he ran for president he was swift boated. there were call kinds of questions about his valor in the vietnam war. i guess bygones are bygones? >> reporter: i think for the most part when you're talking about this kind of position, the answer to that is yes. particularly because, as has been mentioned, he's a member of the very elite club of the united states senate and he's going to have to be confirmed by this very elite club of which he is a member. so that is definitely a big plus, particularly since we are hearing from -- literally as i was coming up to get on with
you, i bumped into a republican senator and i said i assume you're a yes and he just looked at me like duh. of course we're yeses. i want to bring a little color about what's been going on behind the scenes in the senate. first of all, it had been just frankly awkward when susan rice was thought to be the front-runner and then she had problems and so the questions were being asked of john kerry and his colleagues about whether susan rice was right for the job particularly when reporters like me had to ask john kerry about susan rice. he kind of looked at us like are you asking me this because it was weird because it was clear he wanted the job. then over the past week after susan rice took her name out, every day we would see kerry in the subway that runs underneath here or the elevator saying, hi, mr. secretary, congratulations. he would say not yet, not yet. so he's kind of been in an odd waiting game, waiting for the official news, and even this morning my understanding is his
senate office didn't know officially this was going to come today. so there definitely has been -- there's a feeling this is a long time coming for senator kerry, and that's why for a number of reasons it's pretty clear that he's going to be confirmed. >> he canning loud and proud now. dana bash reporting live from capitol hill. thanks so much. also happening now in washington, lawmakers are saying good-bye to hawaii senator daniel inouye. there's a special memorial service. the senate chaplain will deliver a sermon and you see president obama wiping tears from his eyes. he was the second longest serving senator in history. he served hawaii since 1959. that's where president obama grew up so he's well familiar with daniel inouye. he was awarded medal of honor after losing an arm in world war ii. it was at a hospital in recovery
all right. we are awaiting the first news conference since the newtown tragedy from the national rifle association. of course, a powerful lobbying group for gun rights. wayne lapierre, the executive vice president, expected to speak in just about ten minutes. originally that press conference was going to take place right about now, but the nra has postponed it for just about 15 minutes because of everything going on. we'll get to it live as soon as it happens. there are more and more lawmakers who want to consider arming teachers in the classroom. in fact, according to the national conference of state legislatures, five states allow firearms on campus. oregon, utah, colorado, wisconsin, and mississippi. but there are 300 colleges and universities that want guns
banned. in an open letter they are asking lawmakers and the president to oppose legislation that would allow guns on campus. they want the gun show loophole closed. they want safety standards like locks for all guns. two college presidents behind this are lawrence shaw and elizabeth keish. they join us live. thank you for coming in. bereally appreciate it. so what prompted the letter, president shaw? >> sunday night i think along with the rest of america was watching the service in newtown, and afterwards i lay in bed and tried to get to sleep and i couldn't fall asleep and was haunted by president obama's challenge i think to us, to all of america that we could do better. so i got up and i started to write, and took about an hour and i put something together and the next morning i sent it to some friends who were also
presidents, elizabeth being one of them, and we got a pretty positive response, and so we thought we'd send it out to others. you know, i grew up thinking that people need to take personal responsibility for these kinds of challenges, so when the president challenged all of us, i thought what might i do. >> some people might ask since gun violence has been a problem on college campuses, virginia tech being one example, why university presidents haven't spoken out with such force and in such great numbers until now. >> i think maybe there's something particularly powerful and emotionally wrerve lly wren this tragedy. for me personally, i was not a president at that time of the virginia tech tragedy. i thought as an educator responsible for young people's safety, i have to speak up on this issue. and i think others feel the same way. >> universities like in colorado
allow students to carry guns on campus. maybe students feel safer that way. we don't know how many students opt to do that. but what's wrong with that? >> it's interesting. my first draft of my letter did not have this piece in it. when we began to send it out to other presidents, almost everyone said, you know, we need to include this, and lots of comments from different presidents about different sections of the letter, but on this one i think over 300 presidents are uniformly behind this idea that our campuses, we don't need this on our campuses. we have our own security forces on campuses. we rely on the authorities that are around us to protect us. >> and yet you have a particular problem because, you know, for example, the theater shootings in colorado, that young man went to a university. the university knew that young man had problems. it threw the kid off campus, but there are people on college
campuses who are dangerous right now. and i hear what you said, but how do you really keep kids safe from people who are not right? >> well, there are no perfect solutions here certainly, and i do think and the letter addresses this, that there needs to be action on mental health issues as well and we as college presidents have to be part of that effort. but, you know, ultimately we will be safer, i believe, and i think our signatories believe, if, for example, these kind of assault-style weapons are taken out of private citizens' hands. >> thank you both for joining us this morning. we sure appreciate it. >> happy holidays. >> happy holidays to you, too. so the nra, we are awaiting that press conference to begin. when wayne lapierre, the executive vice president of the nra, takes his place behind the podium we'll take you back to washington live.
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at the top of the hour we will hear from the national rifle association, the gun rights group holding its first news conference since the sandy hook shooting rocked the town of newtown, connecticut, and the nation. cnn will have complete coverage. wolf blitzer is in our washington bureau, jessica yellin is at the white house and dana bash is on capitol hill. the nra says it's going to talk about meaningful contributions to the gun debate. what do you suppose the nra means by that. >> i would be anxious to see if they're open to discussing the specific steps the president put forward the other day when he asked joe biden, the vice president, to begin a little review over the next month to come up with some legislative ideas to deal with stricter gun control. high capacity ammunition clips, for example, what to do about that, the assault weapons ban, how to revive that, background checks because there are so many loopholes, especially at gun
shows. anybody could go out and buy these kinds of weapons, so i'm interested to see if wayne lapierre, the head of the national rifle association, if he's open to discussing those three specific areas that the president laid out. >> and jessica yellin, i want to ask you about the president's efforts. he's been criticized so much over this issue because the best time for him perhaps to get legislation through congress was his first two years in office when the democrats controlled the house and senate. >> reporter: that's true. and, you know, you heard the president argue that he was inundated with economic crises at the time and that, you know, was a priority. but there's no question that they are feeling the regret of that now and an urgency to take some action. the question is how long does that urgency last. not just here but around the nation. we know how short attention spans can be and how organized some of the efforts to fight these actions can be.
we have seen it in the past. but vice president biden is leading this effort, and he has also tried to champion the first assault weapons back in 1989 through 114. it took him that long to get it done, and he did get it done. they say they will be able to make some headway again. we'll see if the nra works with them. >> dana bash, a question for you, senator dianne feinstein says she's going to introduce gun control legislation but not until after the first of the year. why wait? >> reporter: because that's really when the new congress is starting. the business here is pretty much over except for that tiny issue of the fiscal cliff. so that's the main reason why. but i think what i'm going to be looking for is what the nra says as it pertains to whether or not what dianne feinstein is going to propose can actually pass and get the support of many of her fellow democrats. that's something we're definitely going to be watching. about a half a dozen senate democrats up for re-election in 2014 who are from relatively red states, gun rights states.
so if the nra gives them cover or gives them a pass for supporting any kind of gun control legislation, that will be a huge win for die ann fi-- feinstein and people like her. the question is, is the nra still powerful? the answer is yes. >> that's right, they have 4 million members. thank you so much for adding analysis. we appreciate it. again, the nra, wayne lapierre, the executive vice president, expected to speak at the top of the hour. my colleague done lemon will handle that. we're going to take a break and we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] this is sheldon, whose long dy setting up the news
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