tv The Last Word MSNBC December 19, 2012 1:00am-2:00am EST
but we learned a very piece of important information. we learned before he died, the senator wrote a very personal letter to the governor asking should he die in office, he be replaced by congresswoman hanabusa. the passing of daniel inouye officials at the national rifle association still don't know what to say about the massacre of women and children at the sandy hook elementary school. but today they announced they will have a press conference at the end of this week. meanwhile, the nra is losing friends fast. >> there have been 70, 70, episodes of school shootings in the united states, since 1994. >> 54% favor stricter gun control laws. >> do we worry about dropping our kids off at school now? >> i don't know anybody that
needs 30 rounds and a clip to go hunting. >> these 30 rounds of ammunition. >> assault magazines, we have got to call them what they are. >> i don't know why, do you need that? we have seen this movie before. >> what is wrong with the congress? >> gun lobbies will say listen we have a score card here. >> the nra pours money into these races. >> you better score an a or we're going to come and defeat you. >> how long can we sustain that action? >> it is the same mentality that drove the grover norquist pledge. >> are we prepared to say we're powerless? >> we can't tolerate this anymore. >> so far republicans have stayed quiet. >> not a time to put americans through more stress. >> john boehner proposed his fiscal cliff plan b. >> plan b. >> i would call it plan befuddled rejected it. >> there is still hope for a
larger deal. >> they're willing to raise rates, a victory for the president. >> the next 24 hours are everything. >> we don't have a deal yet. >> they have to get a deal. >> and they need to hold hands and jump. that is when you truly have a compromise. >> today, white house press secretary jay carney said for the first time president obama would support the assault weapons ban senator diane feinstein plans to introduce on the next day of congress. >> he is absolutely supportive of senator feinstein's stated intent to revive a piece of legislation that would reinstate the assault weapons ban. he supports and would support legislation that addresses the problem of the so-called gun show loophole. and there are other elements of gun law legislation -- gun
legislation that he could support, people have talked about high capacity gun -- ammunition clips, for example. and that is something certainly that he would be interested in looking at. >> after the massacre at sandy hook elementary school, rupert murdock tweeted "when will the politicians find the courage to ban weapons" today, weapons designed expressly to kill human beings and then modified to meet the federal machine gun ban have no legitimate place in american society. time to get rid of them. here is republican joe scarborough. >> do they want to be seen two years or four years as the party of glocks, the party of bushmasters, the party of combat-style military weapons,
rapid fire clips. >> if they want to go around and debate that for the next four years, good luck. >> if we're having to defend 10 mm glocks, bushmasters. >> ridiculous. >> assault-styled weapons we will lose. >> and here is what they are saying on the cable news network owned by rupert murdock. >> if the feds can tighten up gun laws without violating constitutional laws, they should do so. we can tighten up the purchase of guns, and particularly heavy weapons, like the ars. we can tighten them up. i would support, for example, anybody owning the ar would have to register with the fbi. so the fbi would have to know who has these weapons. and people are going, we don't want to, we believe the government is going to this, and
it is a slippery slope, but we have the do things like this, am i wrong? >> i agree with you. >> tonight, the national rifle association finally said something, issuing a statement, reading "out of respect for the families and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning and prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting. the nra is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again." the nra is planning to hold a major news conference in the washington, d.c. area on friday, december 21. after the newtown massacre, democratic congressman released this statement, i have been largely silent on the issue of gun violence over the past six years, and i now am as sorry for that as i am for the families who lost so much in this most recent, but sadly not isolated tragedy.
i will not be silent any longer. joining me now, congressman john yarmouth, congressman, you have been in congress for six years from kentucky. difficult place to be elected from if you're on the wrong side of the nra. what do you believe the congress should do now and what are you prepared to support in congress? >> well, there are many things i'm prepared to support. the things the president has talked about. the re-institution of the assault weapons ban. limitation on high capacity magazines. the -- eliminating the gun show loophole. all of these things are very common sense things. actually things that the membership of the nra supports, which is ironic. most of these things are things that can have an impact, but more importantly they make a statement to the american people that this is not acceptable.
these weapons, these weapons that are only designed to kill are not acceptable in american society. and whether or not they actually stop individual incidents, i don't know that we can predict that. but certainly they make a statement that is important. and what -- i think what we have seen over the last 48 hours or -- three days, is really extraordinary. the number of attitudes that have changed. the number of republicans who have come forward and said in spite of the fact that they have received money from the nra, that they are willing to consider significant limitations on guns and certain common sense regulations indicates to me that this was a game-changer. >> congressman yarmuth, what would you say to your colleagues about challenging the nra, the nra seems to be no fan of yours at this point. and you have survived politically. >> well, i have called the nra kind of the wizard of oz, and
you can't really point to many cases in which the nra actually made a difference in elections. they do make a difference within the walls of congress. they contribute a lot of money to members of congress. and they can influence whether legislation ever sees the light of day or not. but in terms of actually affecting the electoral outcome, their record is pretty poor. they spent a lot of money trying to defeat president obama, unsuccessfully. we saw where mayor bloomberg was able to defeat a democratic member of the house because his record of support for the nra was too strong. so i think a lot of the political power of the nra is pretty illusory. some of it goes back to an abner mickbuck campaign that was 40 years ago in illinois. the myths are created about how
they can influence elections. but in fact, when you drill down the nra doesn't actually represent the attitudes of its members. 74% of the nra membership according to one poll supports, actually expanded background checks. so what is pretty clear is the nra represents gun manufacturers. they use their membership to kind of create this mythology of political force, but in fact they really don't elect or defeat people. but they do affect what happens in congress. and i think the armor that they have put up there is about -- is showing a lot of chinks right now. >> congressman yarmuth, thank you for joining us, and thank you for breaking your silence on this. >> again, i don't think i have that much courage, i recognize over the weekend, one of the problems is we have a tragedy like this.
people talk as long as the news cycle lasts. and then as the news cycle stops, we stop beating the dream drums, we need to take steps to meaningfully stop gun violence, as long as we keep beating the drums, we'll have an impact. >> well, we're going to help you, thank you. >> thank you, lawrence. joining me now, msnbc's joy reed, there is a kentucky democrat, the only kentucky democrat in congress. he won with a 29% margin, defying the nra, even before tonight. defying the nra in kentucky. they were giving him a failing grade. they could tell he was not using their talking points even prior to now. there is a lesson there, it seems to me, as he was saying, in the ability to override the nra when it comes down to the
real election for congress. >> yeah, you know, absolutely, and mayor michael bloom berg says that the nra is really just a paper tiger. if you look at their record in the just completed election, they had a less than 1% success rate in terms of all the money in the millions and millions they spent trying to defeat the president. but what i think is important, lawrence, you're starting to see the benefits of being with the nra, and sort of not risking them in opposing an election, are starting to be outweighed in being associated with them. i mean, the nra doesn't exactly have a sterling reputation here, they are the ones trying to clear the way to stop states from banning machine guns, to bring back the dillinger, so they're not actually a friend you want to have right now. >> we have reports that john boehner told -- behind closed doors told the republicans they're going to have to have a discussion about guns. this coming in the same week
where john boehner says there will be a compromise on tax rates. do you think it is possible here the political momentum on weapons, weapons and ammunition control will sustain itself to the point that it has to for the next several weeks to get into january or february where there could actually be some legislative action that john boehner would be a part of? >> we know it is very difficult to sustain this. i do think we're living through a very important social and political moment. i mean, just watching the lead into "the last word" tonight, you had a lot of footage, including not the usual suspects, saying we need change, i think the answer is what is the narrative that emerges. because it can't just be the usual debate. we know how that looks. i, for one, am not talking about gun control. that is not what we're asking for. i'm talking about automatic gun control and semiautomatic gun control. i grew up in a house with a shot gun, we're not talking about
shot guns, it is definitely true that the nra's big legislative pushes have been more tilted towards manufacturers and corporations's not the interests of law abiding citizens who happen to have a gun or two in the home. and for evidence i would point you to the lawful commerce in arms act, the last big push which passed the senate by 65 votes. didn't do anything for gun owners, just gave blanket immunity for all the manufacturers for any future lawsuits related to gun violence. i think, by the way, that is very bad policy. but whatever you think of it as policy it is not for gun owners. >> joy, i was in newtown, connecticut, and today flew across the country. here i was in los angeles, as far away as i could be from connecticut in the continental united states. and i'm greeted today by the los angeles times lead headline saying the police chief of los
angeles saying this is a new reality. those are his words, and that is why he is going to re-deploy los angeles police to cover every elementary school and middle school in the los angeles school district every day. there will be a uniformed police presence at every school at some point in every day of the school year. this is an extraordinary nationwide reaction to what happened in connecticut. and i have to say, i am convinced that this is not like any reaction we've seen before to one of these mass murders. >> yeah, absolutely, and what a shame, right, to have to live in a country where you have to have armed police officers protecting your children. i mean the one place that your children are supposed to be safe outside of your home is school. they're in local areas from their moms and dads. and the idea that 5 and 6 and 7-year-olds have to walked in
front of armed forces. we have seen it before. but by the way those are trained people who you actually feel comfortable and safe with your kids being guarded by. you're not talking about arming teachers, for god's sake. i will say one more thing about the nature, we've done this before, after the assassinations, we did legislation in response, and i think there is no reason why we can't do it again. >> thank you, lawrence. thank you. coming up. john boehner has a plan b for avoiding the fiscal cliff. and in the re-write tonight, the nra has asked for a couple more days to figure out what to say about the massacre of women and children in newtown, connecticut. we do know this, they will not say what is best for america. they will only say what they think is best for the nra. ...ss customer satisfaction is at 97%.
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i have never seen the nra under the kind of pressure they are under tonight. they are desperately trying to figure out what they will say at their press conference on monday. we'll have much more on the nra, including tonight's re-write. and the fiscal cliff is still approaching, and luckily we have ezra klein to explain the latest, john boehner's plan b. coming up. copd makes it hard to breathe, but with advair, i'm breathing better. so now i can be in the scene. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve
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amendment in this country, going into obama's second term. i mean, it is going to be ugly, it is going to come hard, fast and soon. and we're going to have to survive this period of unprecedented danger. and the best way to survive it is make the nra stronger than ever, never has the membership been more important than now. >> that was the president of the national rifle association, four million americans are paying dues to the nra. this election season alone, the nra spent at least $18.6 million on pro-gun campaigns and causes, according to the sunlight foundation. 51% of the 113th congress convening in january, received some information at some point in their political careers. but some of those congressional members like west virginia's senator joe manchin have done the unspeakable, and are now speaking in favor of some gun control.
in a break from its usual silence after mass shootings, the nra promised today "a major news conference" on friday in response to the newtown tragedy. also today, dick's sporting goods announced that it would suspend selling rifles like the one used to kill the women and children at sandy hook elementary school. dick's sporting goods also took down gun displays from its store in danbury, connecticut, its closest store to newtown. and the private equity firm cerberus, something like that, capital management announced today that it will sell its company, freedom group, which makes the rifle used in friday's shooting. washington post columnist and msnbc political analyst, a senior fellow at the sunlight foundation, i want to start with you, because this is one of
those experienced questions. and it is a matter of kind of gathering the sensation of all of this, some of us have been saying since monday, anyway, that this time it feels different. the event itself on friday felt different. the aftermath feels different, and the political aftermath feels different. >> i absolutely feel that way. i mean, i think you can feel it all over the country. you can feel it in what politicians are saying. joe manchin doesn't say what he said lightly. joe scarborough, as you pointed out doesn't say something like that lightly. when people's children are killed, 20 children, i think this reached people in the country in another way, even where these other awful mass shootings should have reached us. this just hit us in a different way. and i think you're seeing it in the reaction from the nra. because they have been unusually silent. they have been if not a paper tiger, a cardboard tiger.
because you look at a lot of competitive races they spend money in, they lose. and in particular, they went after barack obama who did absolutely nothing about guns in his term, and he won. and i think the message is if the nra is going to go after you for doing nothing you may as well do the light thing. >> lee drutman, you studied the nra, where does it get the money it uses in politics? is that dues money? >> a lot of it is dues money, there are four million dues paying members, i think it is about 750 for a lifetime membership. so the nra does represent four million or so people who are very intense and passionate about their second amendment rights. now that is not a majority of the american population. but what the nra -- the nra
strength comes from the fact that it has a very intense, and involved and active membership base who make their voices heard. they write their congressman, and they make it known that they're going to vote on these issues. and that is a lot of where their power comes. they didn't have a great track record in this past election. but still, the ability to throw around hundreds of thousands of dollars in a race, that is something that i think a lot of members of congress do fear. and for a long time, and -- even to this day there has been no counterweight to the nra. there are so few issues in washington that are so thoroughly dominated by a single group. and gun policy is one of those issues. >> steven feinberg is the ceo of the company that made the assault weapon.
steven feinberg's father lives in newtown, connecticut where this occurred. and it is the kind of thing i find so strange, that for somebody like steven fineberg, who was perfectly happy to own this company that was churning out these assault weapons, suddenly, because it happened in his neighborhood suddenly has a different reaction to it. you have to wonder, what would the steve feinberg's do would they be happy to collect their blood money if this had happened in some other state? >> well, you look at a lot of people reacting to this, who never had the kind of reaction you and i had, for example to any of these other shootings. so i guess it doesn't shock me so much that a guy who owned this company, suddenly looked up and said oh, my god, i was involved in this. i think people didn't think about it as much as they should.
and i also think again, it is a sign that he is sensitive to the way people are responding to this and probably just wants to get his company as far away from any connection to this possible event as he can. >> but this is a new reaction, we have not previously seen the owners of a gun company come out and say, in effect, this is now too horrific of a business for us to continue in. >> if nobody invested in gun companies then we may all be in better shape. but the other thing, you talk about the nra's power. some of it comes from the fact that the senate, for example, is biased toward rural states. democrats want to hold the rural seats. a lot of those folks have voted with the nra, those are some of the votes that will shift because of this now. >> thank you both for joining me tonight. >> thank you both for joining me tonight. >> good to be with you. >> thanks for having me. coming up, ezra klein and sam stein join me on the latest
offers to avoid the fiscal cliff. and in the re-write, the head of the nra will be back. he is losing his base now, even "the new york post," the conservative newspaper is calling the second amendment obsolete. coming up. [ whistle blows ] hi victor! mom? i know you got to go in a minute but this is a real quick meal, that's perfect for two! campbell's chunky beef with country vegetables, poured over rice! [ male announcer ] campbell's chunky soup. it fills you up right. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] everyone deserves the gift of all day pain relief. this season, discover aleve.
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ezra klein is here with an analysis of john boehner's plan b. that is next. and in the re-write tonight, wayne lapierre of the nra has not quite figured out what he is going to say. he has until friday to do that. but no matter what he says, he will not, he will not be able to wash the blood from his hands. [ female announcer ] if you care for someone with mild to moderate alzheimer's,
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the president, we're going to also move plan b. >> in the spotlight tonight, john boehner's plan b. >> we all know that every income tax filed in america is going to pay higher rates come january first, unless congress acts. so i believe it is important that we protect as many american taxpayers as we can. and our plan b would protect american taxpayers who make a million dollars or less. >> on thursday of this week, the house is expected to vote on a plan to extend all the current income tax rates, except for income exceeding $1 million, and increase the rate on capital gains and dividends from 15% to 20%. the house will also hold a vote on the senate passed bill which would extend the current income tax rates for incomes up to $250,000. the white house swiftly rejected
john boehner's plan b today. white house press secretary jay carney elaborated on it this afternoon in his brief. >> there is an opportunity on the table here to achieve $1.2 trillion in additional spending cuts. it seems like folly to walk away from that opportunity because you don't want to ask somebody making $995,000 a year to pay a dime more in income taxes. it seems like terrible folly, and i don't think the american people would support that. certainly the president doesn't believe that. >> senate majority leader harry reid was a bit more blunt. >> everybody should understand john boehner's proposal will not pass the senate. >> but some in john boehner's republican caucus are intent on keeping their vow to grover norquist. >> once you cross that line and say like, some people it is okay for some people's taxes to go
up. i think it is a mistake for the republican party. >> i don't want to raise taxes on anybody. and i didn't come here to raise taxes or increase spending. and i want to make tax -- low tax rates permanent and spending temporary. >> but nancy pelosi sees an advantage. >> they're willing to raise wait rates, now is the question, 218 republicans, that is what it takes to pass the bill, are 218 republicans ready to raise rates? we'll find out soon. >> joining me now, sam stein, contributor, and ezra klein, analyst, what is your assessment of the state of play and where the offers stand at this point? >> breaking down a little bit. i mean, they're close now. and more to the point, they have
kind of agreed on an underlying ratio. so both sides, republicans and democrats agree that in the negotiations's they're looking to get one to one, one to one tax increases and spending, the fight is what do you count in that one to one? john boehner says the you're getting the one, john boehner says you have about $800 billion, he is not including interest payments. we have talked about this a lot on the show, so much of the fiscal cliff is about who has leverage if they don't come to a deal. and so far, the president usually has because either all the tax cuts expire or a lot of republicans have said we'll just pass the senate bill, which allows for all the tax cuts over $250,000 to expire. that is the president's position. john boehner is trying to create a reality, a leverage point a little friendlier to him, by moving it up to a million and
hoping it will split the democrats. it doesn't, at this point, appear to be working. >> sam stein, isn't plan b good for the white house? isn't the white house just kind of pretending they're not crazy about john boehner? especially the part where he says he will bring the senate bill to a vote in the house? >> well, yeah, it is good in one sense, that they will have a number of republicans voting for a tax hike. how many republicans they will get is another question entirely. but let's keep in mind the white house has incentives, as well, to see a deal passed, a bigger deal. and that is in the form of unemployment insurance. it is in the form of infrastructure spending. and up until monday it was in the form of an extension of the payroll tax cut. those are the measures that the president does want to see. that a lot see are necessary in the current state. and so what john boehner is doing here essentially is calling the white house's bluff. the white house wants to deal in those measures and they won't get one if they don't pass.
>> what surprises you, if anything? >> i am not shocked. because it is not that different than what he put out in the 2011 negotiations. but the big difference is the chained cpi, the only thing that folks really need to know about it, is it is a way of cutting social security benefits and slightly raising taxes. but because democrats and republicans alike say oh, we're just changing the measure of inflation tending to be a little too complicated for anybody to figure out before they understand what is going on. that is pretty much the big concession, pretty much the punting will be fred upton on energy in congress. will have to figure out how to achieve 500 billion or so in medicaid/medicare cuts. >> sam, there has been debate on what the accurate measure of inflation is for both changes in tax rates and government
benefits. if they enact this change to that measurement, their argument will be this is simply a more accurate measurement of what inflation really is. for -- to use for these benefits. is there any chance, is there any chance that this will be seen by the democratic side as in fact, a more accurate measurement, rather than simply a way to cut benefits? >> it is a good question. on the one hand you had nancy pelosi going on msnbc saying she probably could muster up support for that in her caucus. certainly because the medicare eligibility age component is not there, it could make it through the caucus possibly. on the other hand you have people legitimately know that this is a benefit cut. and in 2012, promising to put social security to the side and
promising never to touch benefits in these negotiations. and now they're going to have to explain to their constituency to who they made these promises, i'm doing this because of a broader deal. so it creates a very different political reality. >> sam stein and ezra klein, thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you. >> coming up, the truth about guns in america. and the lies of the national rifle association. that is in the re- write test . in that time there've been some good days. and some difficult ones. but, through it all, we've persevered, supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years, we've been helping ideas move from ambition to achievement. and the next great idea could be yours. ♪
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add up to 100 calories? your world. ♪ [ whispers ] real bacon... creamy cheese... 100 calories... [ chef ] ma'am [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. there is a lot of different ways this crime could have been committed. >> that was the blood-drenched frontman for the nra, who takes home over a million a year in the dues money sent to him by the gun owners, like the killer of the women and children of the sandy hook elementary school. we don't know yet if she was a member of the nra. maybe that is something wayne lapierre can tell us on friday when the nra finally makes its long-awaited statement.
wayne lapierre likes to use that line after every gun crime that stuns the nation. there is a lot of different ways this gun crime could have been committed. but this is what we know, a homicidally crazed man went into a school, he got 22 kids. and they are all alive today because it happened in china. and he attacked the children with a knife, because that was the most deadly weapon he could get his hands on because that was in his village. so no, there are not a lot of different ways the murder at sandy hook elementary school could have been committed. there is only one way, the way that wayne lapierre wants to preserve, mass murder by firearm. an all-too-common american way of death. >> i think the american public is -- has had their fill of what happened last night. >> no, that was not wayne
lapierre speaking the day after the massacre of the children and the women at sandy hook elementary school. he has been in hiding since then. that was wayne lapierre the day after this happened. >> our current gun culture ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy. and that more convenient store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenagers bloody and dead. handguns do not enhance our safety, they tempt us to pursue arguments, rather than avoiding it. >> that comment sent wayne lapierre to give a comment that the american public has had their fill, not of gun violence, the american public has had their fill of bob costas, he is a professional liar, professional liars know when to
shut up, they know when their lies wouldn't work. so as wayne lapierre remains silent and in hiding this week his world is changing around him. another mass murder, this time of children, has finally forced some people to change their minds about guns. some senators and congressmen are changing their minds, some former congressmen are changing their minds. and today, the conservative "new york post" is to the left on guns. the post says has technology rendered the second amendment to the u.s. constitution obsolete? that is, as the application of modern military design to civilian firearms produced a class of weapons too dangerous to be in general circulation. we say yes. included in that "we" in the lead editorial is the owner of
"the new york post," rupert murdock, from australia. he knows the experience with mass murder, in 1996, an australian shooter spraying bullets from a semiautomatic weapon killed 35 people. the australian prime minister said then we do not want the american disease imported into australia. he meant, of course, the american disease of mass murder by firearm. the australian government then banned assault weapons, tightened licensing and created buy-back programs for guns. since then, there have been no gun massacres in australia. none. and here, in the united states, children, age 5 to 14 years are 13 times more likely to be killed by a gun than children in other developed nations. and the more guns your state
has, the more likely your children are to be killed by guns. in fact, the more guns a state has the more likely people of all ages are to be killed by guns. guns do not increase our safety. they increase our risk of death by guns. the harvard school of public health finds the health risk of a gun in the home is greater than the benefit. that gun accidents are most likely to occur in homes with guns. and that a gun in the home is a risk factor for intimidation and for killing women in their homes. as the mother of the shooter in connecticut so suddenly discovered on friday morning. the harvard study also found "there is no credible evidence of a deterrent effect of firearms or that a gun in the home reduces the likelihood or
severity of an altercation or break-in." those are the facts of gun ownership, facts that wayne lapierre does not want you to know. so tonight, wayne lapierre continues to huddle with his advisers, trying to come up with what the nra should say on friday, exactly one week to the day after the massacre of women and children at sandy hook elementary school. there is no chance, no chance that wayne lapierre will choose to say what is best for the country or our children. he is simply trying to figure out what is best to say for the preservation of his million-dollar paycheck and for the longevity of the nra. he may decide it is time for the nra's sake to follow in john boehner's footsteps in the fiscal cliff negotiations and take a small, compromising step
towards insanity, maybe agree with "the new york post," and other conservative commentators who think that the sale of magazines should be restricted. some small step like that. or maybe wayne lapierre will calculate that it is right for the nra to continue to pretend that the second amendment, written at a time when the right to bear a firearm meant the right to bear a musket, capable of firing exactly one bullet at a time with a very cumbersome re-loading process that would take you about a minute, if you're good at it. wayne lapierre may try to continue to pretend that the founding fathers who wrote the right to bear muskets, into the constitution, that those founding fathers intended for us
all actually to be able to obtain and bear weapons of mass murder beyond the wildest contemplating of any of the authors of the constitution. this time it actually is not easy to predict what wayne lapierre will decide what he has to say to preserve his position and to preserve the nra. not easy to predict. maybe they will think they have to do a word of compromise. but we do know this. there is nothing wayne lapierre can say now. there are no words. none. that can wash the blood from his hands.. ♪ [ male announcer ] the way it moves. the way it cleans. everything about the oral-b power brush is simply revolutionary. oral-b power brushes oscillate, rotate
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the principal of the school, dawn hock sprung, was murdered when she tried to protect the students. savannah guthrie spoke to one of her daughters and the fiancee this morning. >> erica and christopher, we have heard amazing stories of heroism, and your mom is really at the center of that. as we mentioned she ran toward the gunfire, she confronted the gunman. when you heard that, did you think to yourself that is just like the woman i know? >> i had a really hard time not being mad about it. but that is who she was. you know, she -- she faced every single problem that she ever had in her life head on. you know, my cousin referred to her as a bull yesterday. you know, there is no stopping dawn when she has a mission, she gets it done. and she gives it everything she
has. >> christopher, i know you and erica are engaged. and i have heard that dawn treated you basically like you were already a son-in-law. you must be incredibly proud of her and what she did. yeah, for some reason, dawn loved me, and it is my job now to just be there for her daughter. and, i -- accept that job -- with open arms. and i'll be there for her like in any way possible. >> and erica, i understand that your mom used to write you letters which she called "just because" letters, she wrote you just because. which is a wonderful thing to do and a great thing to have now. can you tell me about those letters? >> yeah, i actually have one -- that i found last night when i was looking for pictures. this one, i think was -- i went
back and forth a couple of times, because i was a mama's girl. this one was, today i stopped and found out what a wonderful daughter i have. and i thought i would tell you, my dearest erica, you are and forever will be my sweet baby girl. you possess a piece of my heart and soul, and i will never be complete without you. remember this in your darkest times, you are never alone. your mom. be safe, be well, be happy. no one deserves it more.