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tv   American Politics  CSPAN  January 9, 2011 9:30pm-11:00pm EST

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>> thank you again for coming. the doctors will be available for interviews. will have another medical bulletin tomorrow at 10:00 at the same location. we'll keep you apprised of any changes in the condition of any of the victims. we will keep this very open and transparent to all of you and share the information with you. at this point we are very happy to say that we have one critically injured person left and the rest of the patients are doing better. we will see you tomorrow, and if there are any questions, the doctors will be available. thank you for coming. >> fbi director robert mueller was said to head the
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investigation. at a news conference today he said it is premature to determine a motive of the suspect in custody. joining him at this briefing is that pima county sheriff. >> good morning. i think i spoke to most of yesterday. >> it is my pleasure to introduce to you director mueller from the fbi. as we told you yesterday, not only our two agencies, but all state and local agencies and balls have not -- agencies involved, have not only been working hand in hand, but are joined at the hip. the investigation is progressing smoothly. at this time, i would like to introduce director mueller from the fbi. >> thank you, sheriff.
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good morning, everyone. first, i would like to express my condolences to the friends and family of gabrielle giffords, judge john roll, and the other victims of this tragedy. there was a child who was there to learn more about how our government works. other members of the community where meeting with their elected officials for the first time our work running errands on what would have been an ordinary weekend. this was an attack on our institutions and our way of life. as you know, jared loughner, was subdued by brave quick thinking people on the scene. he is now in federal custody.
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formal charges are expected this afternoon. federal agents and deputy sheriffs are working to learn as much as possible to gather the facts to determine why someone would commit such a heinous act and if anyone else was involved. while we do not yet have all of the answers to these questions, i can assure you that teams of professionals are working toward a single ball. that is to -- single goal. that is to find the facts and ensure that justice is done. given this tragedy, all logical precautions are in place to best insure the safety of other public officials.
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but i will say and emphasize that there is no information at this time to suggest any specific threat remains. for those of us on the ground and for all of us, the work goes on. we will continue to dedicate all necessary resources to every level of this investigation and do everything we can to insure that our elected officials and the citizens we serve are safe. with that, i would be happy, and the sheriff would be happy to answer any questions you have. stand up. yes, sir. >> i wanted to know about the motive regarding the shooting. >> the investigation is barely 24 hours old. it is a little early to speculate on those motels. there will be a filing in federal court this afternoon --
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on those motives. there will be a filing in federal court this afternoon. that me go to the next person. yes, ma'am. [unintelligible] >> i will not comment on those particular laws. in this particular case, we have information that he purchased weapons in november of last year. we have been falling up along with atf on that. yes, sir. [unintelligible]
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>> as to the first question, it is quite obviously something we are closely looking at. we are pursuing all leads. we have put out a photograph of an individual who appears to be entering the safeway with the suspect, with these subjects. we are hoping to identify that individual. -- entry the safeway with the subject -- entering the seventh wave with the subject. we have put out that photograph. the second part of the question -- i do believe he will be charged with the assault on the congresswoman, with the killing of judge roll and the assault of the other staffers.
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there may be additional charges filed. yes, ma'am. [unintelligible] >> i cannot get into the details of the time in custody. the next step will be the filing of a complaint, probably this afternoon. after that, an initial appearance. i am not certain when that will occur. [unintelligible] >> i am not sure that has been scheduled yet. [unintelligible] >> again, i cannot get into the details of the action with him after he was arrested by the sheriff's deputies. [unintelligible]
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>> i think i indicated it was purchased in november of last year, 2010. it was a glock 9 millimeter. [unintelligible] >> the direction was to come and assure that the investigators, whether it be share of -- sheriff investigators, that they are conducting an investigation as needed. we have been working closely together out of one command center since late yesterday afternoon. his concern was that everything be done to ensure that the individual or individuals are brought to justice and no stone remains on turned to that end --
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unturned to that end. [unintelligible] >> will additional charges be expected in state court for the other victims? >> there was a discussion with the united states attorney as to how you would outline these charges. i would refer to them about charges that may be brought in federal or state court down the road. yes. in the back. [unintelligible] >> correct me if i am wrong sheriff. i do not know where you heard that. we did say there was a nine- year old girl who had been shot. where that information you are talking about came from, i have
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no knowledge. [unintelligible] >> that is not correct. >> yes, ma'am. [unintelligible] >> we do not believe so. >> what city was begun purchased in? >> it was a gun shop and we can get you the city information afterwards. yes? [unintelligible] >> the package to which you refer did not contain any explosives. it is premature to determine that it is not related to the circumstances relating to congresswoman giffords.
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we have that package. we will be running it through our laboratories to determine whether dna fingerprints -- whether dna or fingerprints were left. yes, sir. right here. >> can you discuss the images and the posting that he put on youtube. but i can tell you with regard to the record -- >> i can tell you with regard to the record a little bit. i have seen postings that were
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obtained by the media. we will be looking at every one of those postings and any activity he had, whether it be e-mail or other communications. we will be looking at his phocion -- looking at his associates to see if they continue to be a threat. >> was he involved in any type of hate group? >> i have seen some allusion to that in the media. that is something we will look at and focus on in the course of the investigation. >> could you find in history where he had contact with the congresswoman or attempted to contact her? >> we have indication he attended a similar event in 2007. the specifics of that will come out in the course of the legal proceedings.
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yes, sir? >> is the agency getting more threats because things on both sides of the political aisle are causing this? >> we do not know the motivation of the suspect. whether it is international terrorism or domestic terrorism, the ubiquitous nature of the internet means hate speech and other insightful speech is much more readily available to individuals that it was 10 or 15 years ago.
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that represents a chance -- a challenge for us, particularly when it results in a lone wolf or loan offender undertaking attacks. right here. >> what type of website day live at? was it an extreme political website? >> we are still looking at that. [unintelligible] >> it appears that the target was the congresswoman. >> does he have a lawyer yet? >> have you ruled out that the
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other person had any part in transporting the suspect or was involved in being a getaway person? >> we want to identify him to determine what he may have seen or if he has any secondary role as an accomplice. [unintelligible] >> that i am not certain about. yes. in the back. sorry. i could not hear. [unintelligible] as we have shown in the photos we put out, it shows the individual in safeway near the individual who has been detained. yes, ma'am? >> since judge roll was a member of the judiciary here, what possibility with there be
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that [unintelligible] >> i am not sure about that. >> we have time for two other questions. we have people from the sheriff's department and the fbi. >> members of congress, we have these types of events. can you talk about the security that gabrielle giffords had? will security in the future change? >> i can assure you that that is an issue that is being discussed in the halls of congress.
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how can we increase security against such threats that we see here? at the fbi, when we are referred complaints from the members of congress, we pursue them until we are certain that the individual or individuals do not constitute a continuous threat. i know that capitol police, the sergeant at arms, are working with congrressmen and senators to inform them about the investigation and what steps will be taking in the -- will be taken in the future. [unintelligible] >> not that i am aware. let's see. someone who has not asked. [unintelligible] >> the charge is expected to be filed today are based on the shooting of the congresswoman
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and the killing the judge john roll. i will not preclude that additional charges will not be brought as the investigation continues. thank you. [unintelligible] >> excuse me. i am david gonzales, united states marshal for the district of columbia. [unintelligible] >> any questions pertaining to the actual shooting, i would lead to the sheriff and the fbi. my role is the protection of the judiciary and to determine if there was any organized plot on the judge or any other judges in arizona or judges nationally.
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>> have you determined if that is the case? can you determine -- can you talk about what position he was in in relation to the shooter? >> i will leave that to the sheriff. >> the director addressed the question of the weapon. i would like to amplify a little bit on the weapon and how it was secured. there were three people. i do not have the names of the people involved. wendy gentleman ran out of ammunition from his first magazine -- when the gentleman ran out of ammunition from his first magazine, a woman went up and grabs the magazine and tore it away from him. while he was trying to put
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another magazine in, he was successful in doing that. it also had 31 bullets in it. there would have been a greater catastrophe had he been successful in doing that. fortunately, the spring in the magazine failed. the two gentlemen were able to get it away from him and subdue him until the law enforcement people arrived. >> there is some confusion about the number of casualties. do you have a definitive number? >> the information we have now is that there are six deceased and a total of 20 people shot, including the six victims. >> howard dean pronounced his name? -- how do you pronounced his name?
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>> the polish pronunciation is loughner. >> he is changing out of his spent cartridge and he tries to assert another one. >> he is able to insert the other one, but it does not fire. two men were able to get the weapon away from him and throw it away. [unintelligible] >> she was also wounded when she did this. [unintelligible] >> she was trying to get the gun away from him. >> there were indications he was saying goodbye to friends. was he planning on getting arrested or getting away?
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>> when the investigation is completed, we will be in a better position to answer that question completely. >> can you talk about the timeline leading up to the shooting? >> i think the shooting began around 10:00 a.m. >> so he went from his house there? >> we do not know how he got there. [unintelligible] >> you can probably call most murders a hate crime. >> what is the current you on this person up interest? >> we are still searching for this person of interest. we are more satisfied that this person may not have been involved in this incident. we still need to talk to him to verify that.
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[unintelligible] >> when you say documented, exactly what is your question? >> has he ever been committed? >> i do not know the answer. [unintelligible] >> i cannot answer that question at the moment. [unintelligible] >> i think there is no question about that. as the director mentioned, there will be meetings taking place, not only about the people in washington and how they are protected in what today, but as most of you have come to the conclusion, unless there are some specific requests for specific intelligence that
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there may be a problem, they are not aware of the numerous appearances by elected officials that take place every day. >> can you give us a timeframe? have these threats been in recent months? >> yes. >> he said jared loughner had been at a similar event in 2007. >> that is correct. [unintelligible] >> it did. >> regarding the woman. can you describe her in any way? >> i cannot. we can make that information available to you after the conference.
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>> are you now saying that jared loughner was the only person involved in this? >> i am not say that. officers had some collaboration about this. we decided to release this picture as a person of interest. based on information we have developed, it would appear to us that the person may not have been involved at all. we still need to verify that. we are still actively seeking this individual. >> the other event. was that here in tucson? do you know anything about that? >> what i can tell you is that there was some correspondence between different offices and him about a similar event.
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he was invited to attend. >> the office invited him to attend? >> yes. 2007. [unintelligible] >> i do not know. do not know. [unintelligible] >> was the federal judge who was killed supposed to be under u.s. marshals protection? >> no. he was not. he had some issues he wanted to discuss with the councilmen. she was nearby where he lived. he took the opportunity to discuss some business with her. >> do you now know who he is or who he might be? >> we do not.
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[unintelligible] >> i am not in a position to address that right now. [unintelligible] >> he was nearby gabrielle giffords. [unintelligible] i do not know the answer to that. >> can you talk about the surveillance tapes you are in the process of reviewing? >> i am not at liberty to talk about that. [unintelligible] >> tell us a little bit about your personal feelings. >> i vacillate between extreme sadness and sorrow and shock and extreme anger.
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[unintelligible] >> can you ask the question again please? [unintelligible] >> i think that when the rhetoric about hatred, about mistrust of government, about how government operates and you try to inflame the public on a daily basis 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that has an impact on people, especially those who are unbalanced personalities to begin with. [unintelligible] >> i do not know. [unintelligible] >> i do not know the answer to that question. [unintelligible]
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>> i think we are the tombstone of the united states of america. >> is that a reference to the john? >> i have never -- -- is that a reference to the town? >> i have never been a proponent of letting people carry weapons whenever they want. the legislature at this time is proposing that students and teachers be allowed to have weapons in schools and college. colleges ought to be run by the college presidents, not the arizona legislature. that is the 3 digit -- the ridiculous state we have come to. and we have one more question. [unintelligible] >> yes, she was shot before grabbing the weapon. >> what about the mental health laws and the treatment of the mentally ill?
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>> that is an everyday issue for the entire united states for the entire world. we have serious problems in this community. .
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>> thank you. is everybody ready? a phone call with more than 800 participants. they included congress, their spouses, chiefs of staff, all who have been certainly caught
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up in the events of the last day, and certainly our thoughts and prayers and hearts go out to the victims. i earlier this afternoon had an opportunity to go over and speak with gabrielle giffords' staff who obviously, like all of us, concerned certainly again with the death of gabe zimmerman and our other colleagues being injured. the tragic loss of life with a judge, a little girl, and certainly the condition of congresswoman gabrielle giffords.
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as has been said by so many and as was expressed on this conference call, such an incredible, gifted, talented, incredibly gifted individual to -- certainly this is the kind of senseless thing that leaves everyone aghast and wondering why. i especially want to commend the leadership of speaker boehner in taking all appropriate action, and working with leader pelosi. i spoke with mark kelly today, and his words and her conveying that to the members of congress
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was certainly extraordinarily helpful. also to hear from gabrielle giffords chief of staff who is out there in arizona, and we felt appropriate, as well, to make sure we had staff members, who are such an integral part of our daily life, and someone who gave his life in the duty and serving of his country. it gives us all pause. we did hear from sargeynt livinggood and chief morse, and we also heard from the attending physicians office. we heard from dr. christina
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valciani who talked in technical terms. we -- majority leader highwayer and congressman cantor went over the schedule this week. we appreciate the sensitivity in dealing with this issue and the expression and concern that there won't be votes this week. there will be tributes for those who have lost their lives and the continued hope and fervent prayers and well wishes for gabrielle and all the victims as well with regard to their recovery. we will be holding a joint caucus on wednesday that the speaker has called for. and again we thank him in this great time of need for the house
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, the people of arizona, and the country. i think all members on the phone conversation and subsequently hopefully, out of this tragic circumstance, the greater comity in the house and camaraderie we hope will ensue in a way that we're all in this together will improve the lot of the lives of the people that we're sworn to serve. with that, i'll take a few questions, and then we'll go. >> is there going to be an uptick in security when congress returns?
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>> the sergeant of arms did go over some safety material. we will be printing that out. again, they will be reviewed at the combined conference. one of the things we're especially concerned about is spouses, to make sure they get the information. and also, we have quite a few -- a number of new members who congress who were not here during the anthrax scares or 9/11 circumstances, and we want to make sure spouses know how to connect. the sergeant of arms did an excellent job talking with the local organizations. we heard how we should go about that. very specific recommendations for members, what to do. that will be outlined and detailed for them, and again,
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passed out on wednesday. >> what are some of the specific recommendations that he brought up? >> the primary thing is to make sure all members are coordinating their efforts with local police officials, which ai lot of members do routinely. but also designating as you know, because of the procedures as they regard to evacuation, since september 11, every office has a specific coordinator for that. one of the suggestions, and more will emanate. they did for members and from leadership about specific he can suggestions as to what we can do.
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her staff was, pretty much, if you heard the latest medical bulletin, but the discussion from her staff was hopeful. so clearly these are -- i'm not a medical doctor. again the attending physician's office, the doctor did an extraordinary job of explaining those details. this is a day-by-day, and what tea did say is that there will be daily updates with respect to all of the people involved. but certainly there is obviously keen interest.
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i think we will continue to hold public meetings. i thought the speaker was eloquent in what he said and how he epitomized how members of congress feel about the public. >> as you probably have all witnessed in talking to other members, gabrielle giffords is a pretty extraordinary member. and when someone engenders that kind of feeling among members, i think there was just a -- such a feeling of cooperation and graciousness. judge henserling recalled the
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story of flying home with her frequently because she stopped through dallas on her way to arizona and the outpouring of concern about members, what they can do to help her staff, how we can help go into tucson during this time. it is the kind of thing to show congress at its best, to be frank. and when something like this happens, not unlike what happened in the spontaneous outbreaking of people singing "god bless america" on the steps of the capitol after 9/11. [question inaudible]
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>> after 9/11 speaker hastert was concerned with the security with the capitol that existed at that time. but, yes, there was that opportunity. i hope we build on this and build on it successfully. mostly we pray for those that lost their lives and pray for those who we want to pull through here. [question inaudible] >> there is a lot of misinformation out there, so we want to try not to feed into that. but thank you, very much.
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>> congresswoman gabrielle giffords is one of the representatives that spoke during the u.s. constitution reading on the house floor this past week. here are her remarks. yield to the the gentlelady from arizona, ms. giffords. ms. giffords: congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of
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"q&a." >> >> also on today's "washington journal" there was discussion of the shootings in tucson arizona. this is about 40 minutes. residet george w. bush. and bill press, or radio talk- show host. heard in how many radio stations around the country? guest: thousands. good morning. host: this is picking up on the comments of the house republican leader, eric cantor -- tragedy for the entire country. guest: i think he is right. i think. and creatures are the ones to put things like this in perspective. -- preachers and pundits are the
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ones to put things le this in perspective. you see the pictures of the 9- year-old girl, and theederal judge, and the congresswoman that was shot. it is a senseless act, a violent act. it does not appear to be a politically motivated acts. these things happen every day, but we are in washington when public figures get shot, it brings in more vivid way the tragedy of life. ripple effects. as a christian, you pray for the families and as the lord to bring mercy and grace during this time. host: is this part of the political discourse, bill press? guest: first, i have to agree with everything he said. i think of that 9-year-old girl, elected to the student council in elementary school, and she goes to see a member of congress in the united states of america because she is interested in
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politics and interested in learning more about government. sh is shot and killed for that very act. this is a senseless tragedy, but i was struck by what the sheriff said, that this is a time for some soul-searching on the part of all must, that particularly in arizona, the political rhetoric has been red-hot, not just in this political race, but on the immigration debate. i wrote a book about this, called "toxic talk," how the radical right has poisoned america's airwaves. how talk radio can produce violent actions. and the sheriff last night said that this rhetoric we have heard in the politics lately is free speech, but he said it does have consequences. i think that is the message for the da one of the messages for the day. host: one of the questions from
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jonathan martin and political. who in american politics deserves a slice of the blame? and what public officials find themselves with a sudden opportunities for political gain in a tragedy? guest: there is no evidence this is politically motivated. i will say a couple of things. if you go back in history of discourse in america, what we are having today is not nearly as bad as the election in 1800 between jefferson and adams. that is that a product of american political discourse in our fnding and for most western democracies. secondly, these tend to be very selective on both sides. george w. bush was called a ral coward, a loser, a liar, a war criminal, and so forth. the left said very little about it. there was a movie about an assassination of george w. bush. alan grayson, the most vitriolic
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member of the congress, he gave a speech on the floor that sa that the gop health care plan was to let people die early. to try to convert a human tragedy into politics i think is slightly sickening, especially if there is no evidence is there. the other thing i would say is that for a public official to create a situation -- in which some twisted figure can take political discourse and some doubt interpret that as a green light to kill people, i think -- and somehow interpret that as a green light to kill people, i think isbsurd. this like to be bothers me. if the republican had been shot, i would not blame alan grayson or people who are harsh critics of president bush. it is kind of depressing that this has happened. blamingi am not
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anyby but the not that shot her. one other problem that we should talk about is that this nut that shot her got his hands on a glock 19, which should never have been allowed. i think you are dead wrong on this. i am reading the letters of john and abigail adams, wonderful exchanges. it took weeks if not months for abigail to get a letter from massachusetts to philadelphia. today, wh the media we have, you have instant communication. you have a guy like michael savage, w has a violent talk all the time. instantaneously he can say something ugly and it is out there. if i can finish. we have a situation this summer were glenn beck called george soros the most evil threat facing america. then they arrested a glenn beck file were heading to san francisco toake out the leadership of that foundation.
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this is a centrist democrat, gabrielle giffords, this was one of the candidates that sarah palin put up and put crosshairs over their names and districts. that, to somebody that is on hand, means, of crosshairs means take out your gun and go after them. host: sarah palin did express her shock at what happened. this is from the daily news -- it showed that representative giffords was one of the district. politician she thought needed to go. giffords said that when you represent a district that includes the ok corra nothing rprises you in terms of political discourse. guest: i do not disagree that civil discourse is important. i have written things critical
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of glenn beck of michael savage and tea party members, and i am a conservative republican. we wrote a book about politics in the new era, where we talk about the importance as christians in politics. ihink it is a valid. you do not hear liberals -- i have yet to find a liberal who went after alan grayson, and his record is deplorable. and the people who criticize the bush record the problem is when you take this issue of political discourse and it had the right to a killing like this, when it may not be valid. when "the new york times" writes about the political rhetoric and it appears it has nothing to do with it. the implication is that rhetoric sometimes goes too far, somehow the trigger or green
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light for a political assassination is sickening. it is unwarranted. guest: in my lifetime, i have seen too many people i have admired starting with ronald reagan and bobby kennedy and john f. kennedy shot for political motivation to deny there is a connection between violent rhetoric and violent action. it does not always happen. but i come back to the sheriff. he said the rhetoric was so red hot that he was not surprised at this, because they all get death threats. that is what hit has come to. it is imperative on both sides to say cool the jets. guest: it is fine to say that. i have been saying that. other people have said that before. there have been assassinations throughout american history. the one that you cite are like hinckley.
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there is no evidence that public discourse was the thing that drove him. what drives people in overwhelming cases to assassinate political leaders is not discourse. it is a twisted, sick mind. they do not a political discourse to give them the green light to do it. and to try and take that kind of ing and tconvert it is really a way to try and go after pitical opponents. it is such a political view of the world appear. line're a hammer, every is nail. bill clinton was saying that it was rush limbaugh and talk radi guest: denial is not just a river in egypt. i think i'm hearing a lot of denial. . .
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caller: steve, you're doing a great job. i just want to comment that we were talking about legislative activity. we've got two congressmen from georgia on the appropriations committee, jake and tom, my congressman who i think will be president so day. and then we've got tom price on the ways and means and goingry on the armedervices who served with the wonderful lady that was in the tragedy. and my comment to these two fine gentlemen, steve, and to you is here based on what happened in arizona, long before we we decided in our hometown to make the county the friendliest county in the history of the world, and we preach love and we are against any -- i'm a contoiftive, i'm a member of the tea party but i love people. we don't -- i'm conservative.
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i believe in less government and less taxes but we would never attack you. i've got a lot of good leral friends who i love and respect. that's the way we operate here. we're working to make our county the friendliest county in the world, we don't care what your party. we want to be kind to them and try to lift them up. and i would like your comments. guest: god bless america. and i look forward to my next visit to gill mor county. host: we'll go to scott next in new york. good morning. caller: i met you when you were in itsdzca the last time. you did a show with stephanie. you half promised to have me as a guest. i'm a democrat and i don't agree with a lot of things within my party and within the republican party. but i want to keep you to your word maybe from here on out,
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you know, there's a lot of hatred that comes from progressive talk radio towards republicans and i don't like the way republicans do things in general. but i think we need to all cool our jets andhe comments by peter, you know the psychology behind why people do certain things, it doesn't always correlate to a political event. we had growing up the texas twower shooter. we had all kinds of people that do crazy things like that that kill people and snipe people and it doesn't always correlate to a political thing. the actual psychology behind thaterson is what we need to understand. and mebody brought this up in our local -- religious services. we were talking around the table and there's a guy who is a facilitator. and people go to public meetings and they have their three minutes. but the people on the panels, whether it's a city council,
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whether it's a school board, whether it's a town hall, they never really fully interact with the speaker. there's some cooks out there that you don't have time to talk to but we don't have full interaction between the speakers and the boards, and people are getting more and more frustrated with what's happening politically. and just gives an avenue for the people on the fringe mentally. but i think you need toone things do you known your sho i think you need to go backwards and basically say you disagree with some of these other people some of these more nutty people like rush and some of these other people. but you need to be more kind like that previous caller said and show more love. host: thanks for the call. guest: to him and the viewers. and the listeners. two things. one is i thing it's real depressing that you let this
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[inaudible] political discourse. the second is the caller makes a good point. if you listen to msnbc, you can go through the whole list, the rhetoric that is used against republicans and conservatives is way out there. it's pretty nasty stuff. i don't like it. i've criticized it before. but i would never in a hundred years try and take that and say, well, this is the thing that's driving political assassinations. and i just wish that other people would as well. guest: i really reject the moral equivalencey argument. first, i have to say to scott, i'm glad i don't have to put you on my radio show now because we just gave you five minutes on c-span. so he's gotten his time. and in terms of showing the love, i would invite you e-mail
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me and tell me any time that you have heard one hateful word out of me or any te that i would have gone anywhere close to suggesting that people use vient means to satisfyheir political views and i will take your point. but you won't find one. host: from the outlook section of the "washington post," the real americans look at the constitution through the ice of conservatives. there's also a piece by jeffery rosen about scalia's view of the u.s. constitution from the readings on thursday. as we pointed out thursday, gabby gifford delivered the first amendment which is freedom of speech and assembly. and also reading the constitution, the speaker of the house, john boehner. >> we, the people of the united states in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and securthe
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blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this constitution for the united states of america. ho: and yet on your blog you say the controversy of the members of the 112th congress reading the constitution is not about that. it's about something much deeper and much more significant. how so? guest: it's really a debate about the meaning and relevance of the constitution in our lives. and there are a lot of people actually in the health care today in the last year, there were a number of leang democrats who said that the constitution was irrelevant to that debate. and indeed the implication was to public life in general. there's a big divide today. it's a complicated issue because the constitution itself, how it applies at a particular moment in time and to the issues of our day isn't always self-evident. there's a kind of disposition a cast of mind which is what do
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you think of the constitution, the place that ought to have the constitution does many things but maybe above all it's a check on power. and check on feder power. that's why you have the different divisions of government, separation of powers, why you have federalism and so forth. and the modern liberal sensibility is for the government to have more and more control in our lives. the interesting thing that is one of the ironies of american history is that barack obama, nancy pelosi and harry reid would have given rise to this debate about constitutionalism and the ascendancy of this. it's a real and important debate to have. i think that the comparison to scalia is quite right. i think there is a -- written about there's a debate about whether the constitution is a living breathing document meaning that it evolves and more fs and is interpretted by
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judges to say what it is wanted to say or whether it is a text that sort of anchors our views. i'm a constitutionalist in general. i think it's really a remarkable document, really one of the gre political documents in american history. not perfect but really quite amazing. and i think for libera to go after and mock the constitution, which some did when the republicans opened the first day of business as leading the house, to mock it is a plit can i perilous thing. guest: i think you can count on one hand the liberals who mocked the constitution. it's a marvelous document. it's gotten us through all these years. but just a couple points. scalia is dead wrong on this issue that the constitution has to be taken literally and it is a dead document which i have heard him say. i saw a cartoonesterday where somebody was outside of a rest
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room trying to say and saying sir you can't go in there because it's not in the constitution. governments have had to say there have to be as many rest rooms for women as many. you won't -- men. >> that's not what he is arguing. guest: i think he's dead wrong. i think this was a hollywood stunt, frangely. but i liked it. i hope they learned something from it. i hope when they were reading the constitution which by the way they showed themselves it was not a perfect documen because they left out the part where the vote wasn't given to women. they left out the part where the vote wasn't given to african americans because they didn't want people to know there are things here that wasn't perfect. so that was funny games. but i hope they heard tt only congress can declare war and that we get away from the republican or democratic president taking us to war without a vote of congress. that would be a big step forward. and the fourth amendment. i hope they listened to those strong words about the right of
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privacy, even though that phrase does not appear there. and maybe they would have learned something. guest: and maybe from the fourth amendment. host: if scalia has his way, this is from the "new york times," the supreme court begins its new session this week we'll go to jim joining usrom michigan our line for independents. caller hi, steve. how are you? host: fine, thank you. caller: listen, joe in georgia i'll put my mushrooms and dinner against his barbecue any
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day. but anyway. guest: it's full of love. caller: absolutely. i'm a socialist, he's a republican. that's fine. but any way, it's not surprise what's happening. i mean,ver since reagan initiated the class war and redistributed the wealth from poor and the middle class to the wealthy with his tax cuts and making it up by taxing unemployment benefits and taxing waiters and waitresses, and a few other examples of the class war, i'm not going to mention any names but you know you've got a guy that shoots somebody in the face, nothing happens. you've got a guy that's got more oxycotin in his bathroom than the local cvs, nothing happens. a guy in wisconsin shoots his own television in his own house
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over some dance show and he has to post a $1500 bond to get out of jail? now, like i said i'm not going to mention any names but their initials were dick cheney, rush limbaugh, and i'm notamiliar with the gentleman from wisconsin. but there's basically been a class war and i'm not surprised. and bill, if you could have like an ed schultz flash the address for msnbc because we all don't have computers. i wouldn't mind writing him to get stuff off my mind. and i think everybody there does a bangup job. thanks a lot. and you gentlemen have a great day. host: from john who says guest: this is a debate and this is a serious one and people have to engage in it,
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which is can the constitution do only what is enumerated. now, i think you have to give some wide berth to the interpretation, trying to apply the constitution to the issues of the day is not self-evident. does that mean that the new deal was unconstitutional? i don't think so. let me just say to the -- but, there's a very serious debate which is are there limits to the federal government and the powers that it may have. and in fact, judge hudson, federal judge that just ruled that the individual mandates were unconstitutional, that was a 42-page opinion even if people disagreed with it, it basically said, the thrust of the argument, are there any limits to what the federal government can demand of people and citizens? and a lot of liberals seem not to be able to draw that line of conservatives tend to want to do it and how that works its
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way out in real life is one of the important political debates of our time and i think we should have it and continue to have it. guest: to this extent i agree. i said this is a fundamental question that we've wrestled with since the days of the continental congress, which is are -- or the constitutional congress, the convention. what powers belong to the states and what powers belong to the federal government? it's been there from the beginning. it exists today. and the constitution is our guidindocument. but you won't find everything in the constitution. and when the general welfare clause is pretty broad. it can't be limited to what existed in the 18th century. look at the whole debate over net neutrality. but the supreme court is going to have to tackle that. they can't go to any article of the constitution and find specific language. they're going to have to apply it. and i think that's the
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importance, that we apply the constitution to the realities of today and we have to do so. and this debate will continue long after we're gone. host: cover story. guest: this is going to be the adult moment, if you will, for the tea party, particularly. look, i wish we didn't have to raise the debt ceiling, we did it 92, 94 times. host: and we've gone from 13 to 14 trillion in sen months. guest: now it's appalling the size of the deficit and debt.
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we do have to deal with it. at the same time, i think it would be catastrophic not just for this country but worldwide to let this country go into defat and basically to shut do you know the government i think would be catastrophic. the least of my concerns, it would be catastrophic for the republican party. but for tea partiers it's going to be a reality test. and by the way, i would say i think the vote on repeal of health care is a reality test, too, because that would add $230 billion according to the congressional budget office to the deficit and the extension of tax cuts for the wealthy added another and the estate tax added another $430 billion. but the key is going to be the debt ceiling. host: and y say the argument for limiting the size of the federal government and reducing spending is strong but refusing to raise the debt ceiling isn't the way or the place to do it. why? guest: well, several things. because raising the debt ceiling has to do with existing obligations, not tute ones.
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that is even if you were able magilly in the next week to get the republican cuts in place and you went do you know to the 2008 discretionary spending limits, within a couple of weeks you'd still have to raise the debt ceiling. that's existing not future obligations. you've got to do it. it's a catastrophe if you don't. i don't for the life of me understand why jim demint and michelle balkman want to make this a point of debate. you can't win it. you're going to raise the debt ceiling. you've got tdo it. i'm perfectly happy to have someone like paul ryan, i'm a great fan of congressman ryan's try and use it for leverage to get real spending cuts in place but this is not the place to do it. and if republicans say, as senator demint did, which is no matter what i would get if i was able to get a constitutional amendment to balance the budget, you shod stilvote against it, i think
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is extremely unwise and i can't imagine that the leadership in the senate or the house agree with it. guest: i think it is going to happen, it is going to pass. guest: it is going to pass. it is worth pointing out that barack obama in 2006 voted against raising the debt ceiling. now he's asking that people do it and that just shows when you're president sometimes your obligations change. so since i agreed with bill on one thing, let me disagree on the cbo issue of the scoring o the health care bill. the way it works, you know this when you're in government, bill knows it as well. the c.b.o. score was essentially given to them based on the assumptions that you have. if you examine the assumptions for the health care bill and the scoring that if you repeal health care that the deficit would go up, is really
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ludicrous. is is one of the most outrageous examples. there's several thingst doesn't take into account. it doesn't take into account the $115 billion that it takes to implement the program. it double countsmaker and social security cuts. it takes ten years of taxes to pay for six years o expenditures and doesn't take in account the dock fix, that is payments to physicians that democrats themselves have already said are going to go into effect this year, which is some $200 billion. when you take all of those things together and do a reality check, you would see that over that ten-year period of time the health care pla would increase the debt by around $700 billion. so this effort to try and say, on a common sense, that you have an open-ended entitlent and that would somehow lower the debt and deficit is ludicrous on its face. guest: i think to impune the
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integrity the people at the guest: i just said i'm not. guest: and say they took the numbers they were handed. let me say, look, these guys are researchers, these guys are profebruaryals. they work at this stuff. and in season and out of season, republican or democrat, you go to whoever is in charge you go to the congressional budget office and you get their take and then that's the basis, kind of the people then decide they agree or disagree with it. but john boehner pulled this out of his butt when he said he told brian williams that nobody in washington believes that repealing health care adds to the deficit. hello. the most respected financial office in washington does. the congressional budget office. and you're ignoring the savings that are there for example from the fact that if more people have health insurance we're not going to be paying for them when they got to the emergency room. you're ignoring the savings that come from the new more efficient delivery of micare
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and medicare. i say take the officials at their word but don't say they're just flunkies. guest: point of personal privilege. i didn't say that. i think the c.b.o. is a terrific office. what i said is that congress has rigged the game, and this has happened for both sides, where they give c.o. a piece of legislation and they build in the assumptions and cb overpb doesn't have any choice other than score it based on the assumptions that they get. i don't blame c.b.o. i blame the political class for doing that. all the things that i listed are empirical. bill can check it out after the show to see whether that's in fact the case. this is an old trick to say you're going after the c.b.o. i think the c.b.o. -- guest: i disagree that the head of the c.b.o. would put out a number that he or she could not
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stand we hind with the facts. i think they're professionals. they would not do that. guest: look, they did the sam thing when congressman ryan put forward legislation with certain assumptions, too. and that came out with a completely different number. the head of the c.b.o. will stand behind those numbers based on the assumption that they're given. the question becomes how valid are the assumptions that you're getting? and my argument is that anybody in an intellectually honest way would look at these assumptions that the c.b.o. was given on the scoring, couldn't come away from it andelieve that you would cut the deficit. guest: i think the real problem is that the republicans have hooked their wagon to the star that is fallings and they're going to regret that they dit it. host: one of the editorials is morning. called about that $100 billion. also from one of our viewers.
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john adams said that parts of the constitution were too vague and congress is supposed to go back and tighten the loose ens. so the debate over the constitution. cynthia is joining us from iowa. thanks for waiting. good morning. caller: good morning. i was calling to discuss another topic but since you're on the constitution, i think we would be well served to use the powers of the constitution to have public debate to change the constitution rather than to do it legislatively. that wasn't the point i wanted to make. i wanted to talk about ethics and journalism. and 24 hour a day news is not rving us wel they ask a lotf questions and when tragedy strikes like it did in arizona they title it as if it's a movie and they promote it as though it is fiction rather than the real horrible violence. and that isn't good. and journalists do have ethics.
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they ought to follow them. and when it's entertainment it shoulde labeled as entertainment. and it's a travesty to take violence like this and then try to find out why. we need to understand why he did it. there's no reason that's good enough. it was a horrible violent event. whether it was motivated by his dislike of an individual. it touched many lives. it's wrong. and to cnn has titled it, so has fox already, as if it's a movie title, not a horrible violent event. host: thanks for the call. bill, author of toxic tk, how the radical right has poisoned american air waves. guest: this is a whole other discussion but i happen to agree with what cynthia said. i think the 24 hour news cycle has destroyed american politics and cable news has destroyed american politics in the sense,
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certainly changed it for the worse because we don't have any time to step back and think. we just, it's just 24/7 automatic opinions, opinions moving on. and we do take one story, blow it up, cover that nonstop. host: and yet you're part of that dialogue. guest: i am part of it. i'm a guest, i'm not paid by msnbc. i happen to appear on some of their shows maybe two or three times a week. but i'm part of it and i still say that. i just think tha political dialogue has not been helped by the nonstop nature of the news cycle today. and it's n just cable now it's -- i mean, cable is actually old news, the blogs that were first and the twitter and facebook. guest: look, i accept some of that but i guess i would make some caveyats on it.
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there are certain extremes on all of this venues we're talking about. i think overall that the revolution in news and technology has been good. because i think a lot of voices that once upon a time were not in the public debate now are. and there are bad blogs but there are good blogs. there are smart people who in the past would not have written things. including liberal people. and i disagree with them on a lot of things but he's an intelligent guy. for conservatives, the reality is that there was a de facto monopoly in terms of mindset in world view that dominated the news for many years and now there's an outlet. there's a way for people with different views to get their voices heard. i think that's good. we're taking as an example the dan rather story on george bush and his time in the national guard. 15 or 20 years ago, that story could have destroyed bush's reelection because there would not have been a capacity to
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offer counter argument or counter facts. it happened that some bloggers used -- took the story and within hours showed that it was fabricated and so bush did not suffer for a false story and it was indeed dan rather who was eventually fired for his conduct in that story. if that had happened pre-blog, that wouldn't have happened. but look, the political debates can be contentious, and again, it's been like that since the founding of the country. it's quite right that no there's an instantaneous quality to it and now you have tweets and twitters that exceed what the space of the blog was doing. up to take things in the totality of their acts. and my view if you take it in the totality, the different voices that you have, the different auments, the different facts that are out there make blic dialogue more informed, not less. inchingtsdz i don't think you get my point. i'm not depiss agreeing.
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i blog myself. i'm just saying this 24 hour news cle. john boehner's weeping. back in the days when you had an evening forecast, that would not have gotten the attention it did. but when you have 24 hour -- est: host: let me stop you there. we're listening to the speaker of the house. >> with congressman giffords and her family. we're also praying for the families of dge roll and all of those who were takingen from us yesterday so senselessly. among the fallen is gabe zimmerman, a member of congresswoman giffords' staff and i've directed that the flags on the house sigh of the capitol be flown at half mass in honor of his death in the line of duty. an attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serves. such acts of violence have no
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place in our society. i want to commend the federal state and local officials as well as the capitol policeor all of their efforts. and i told the f.b.i. director that the house stands ready to assist in any way possible. la night, the majority leader announced that the normal business of the house the coming week has been postponed so that we can take necessary action regarding yesterday's events. the majority leader will announce a revised schedule. to the members of the house and their staffs, i ask that you on this sabatsdz day that we keep gabby and her staff in our thoughts and prayers. public service is a high honor but these tragic events remind us that all of us in our roles in service to our fellow citizens comes with a risk. this inhumeyain act will not
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deter usrom our calling to represent our constituents and to fulfill our oaths of office. no act, no matter how hainyuss, must be allowed to stop us from our duty. host: the comments of the speaker of the house john boehner in his congressional district just outside of cincinnati in ohio. we're joined here by pete and bill. any final thoughts? guest: i thinkhat was a very nice statement, decent, appropriate, modes and i hope other people follow his lead. guest: well said, very appropriate to do tha he is the speaker of the members of the house. he showed some real leadership there. host:
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>> tomorrow arizona governor jan brewer plans to make her state of the state address where she is expected to talk about the shootings. here on c-span. >> the senate is out this week. the house will gavel in briefly. then on wednesday they return for legislative business taking up a resolution rrding the shootings in tucson, arizona. on thursday and friday, they are not in session due to a prescheduled republican conference.
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>> tomorrow on "washington journal" we will continue to follow the shootings in arizona. also a discussion with william kristol. also jeffrey rosen of george washington university law school. and later we'll chack with the c.e.o. of the center on education policy on his organization's reent report on gaps in test scores. that's :45 a.m. eastern here on c-span. >> thank you very much, mr. president, mr. vice president. >> you can use the c-span video library to learn more about the
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