Inside Washington   View more episodes

Aired at 02:00 PM on Sunday, Jan 16, 2011 (1/16/2011)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:01Onewoman erroll giffords of to recover, we remember the six who died, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl.
00:00:10Captioned by the national captioning institute org-- noc rec 2>> hello, I am mark shields sitting in for gordon peterson.
00:00:33Weeks like this make no sense.
00:00:35But once we paid tribute to the victims.
00:00:38óqNAFUPRESIDENT OBAMA LED A MEMORIAL Service in tuscon.
00:00:44>> The loss of these wonderful people should mak everyone of us strive to be better, to be better in our private lives, better friends and neighbors, co-workers, parents.
00:00:58And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their death helped usher in more civility in our public discourse, let us remember it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy.
00:01:15It did not.
00:01:16But rather, because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to the challenges of our nation in a way that would make them proud.
00:01:30[Applause] >> at times like these, the president is not simply the commander in chief, he is also expected to be the comforter in chief.
00:01:41Colby king, do you think barack obama successfully comforted the nation wednesday?
00:01:46>> He covered addition to speaking to the nation, but he spoke for the nation also speaking to tuscon, suffering through the terrible tragedy, and he cast the holding where it belongs, on the problems of an individual out there, and not the finger-pointing and point scoring that took place that was really unseemly prior to wednesday.
00:02:13>>>> I think the president probably put an end to that school is in no that was started in the mainstream press, PARTICULARLY -- aqNAFUSCURRILOUS AND Innuendo that was started in the mainstream press, particularly "the new york times," and hisnoc rec 2 allies on the left, that this was a product of the political right.
00:02:43President obama refuted that, which was healthy, but it was a scandal what happened in the four days between the attack and the president's speech of this unwarranted and obvious to discredit -- obviously discredited attacks that made it glenn beck and sarah palin accessories to a series of murders of which they had nothing to do.
00:03:06>> Comforter in chief?
00:03:11>> He did that as well, but it was important to stop the malice and incivil discourse of the days prior to the memorial service.
00:03:22>> We cannot have a two-minute conversation without a little bit of -- >> you don't think -- >>bqNAFU THE PRESIDENT, WHEN HE Campaigned for the presidency, really wanted to get away from that.
00:03:38This is in some ways his comfort zone, the kind of c@onversation he wants the country to have.
00:03:46He was eloquent in promoting that and getting the country away, at least temporarily, from doing that kind of thing.
00:03:56>> Jeanne cummings, your reaction?
00:03:59>> Ino amrec 2 not sure he covered the nation, but I think he put events in context.
00:04:07He put that in the context of the victims, the best way we can honor them is to be better ourselves.
00:04:14That is the kind of voice that president obama had during the campaign that appealed to so many americans did in that respect, he had a positive impact with that speech.
00:04:27>> Even his strongest admirers HAVE ACKNOWLEDGEcqD THAT HE, Unlike president reagan or president clinton before him, has until now failed to connect emotionally with the american people.
00:04:38Do you think this week was a change and that?
00:04:41>> I don't know if we have seen any real sea change.
00:04:45Wenoc rec 2 have watched president obama now for 3 or four years as a candidatenoc rec 2, and his first two years in office.
00:04:54He is who he is.
00:04:55He does not amount to the way clinton does.
00:04:58-- Does not emote the way clinton does good to the degree he connects to the american people, he sets out to do that at an intellectual level.
00:05:12He is compassionate.
00:05:14If you look at polls, people believe he is compassionate, and they believe he is smart and has good intentions.
00:05:20I think that is to obama is and that is how he will connect, and not as that emotional -- not at that emotional level that reagan and clinton could evoke.
00:05:30>> Nina?
00:05:32>> There was only one moment in the speech were in use of personal emotion, when he started to talk about christina green.
00:05:42You could see him pull himself together.
00:05:45But he is a publicly dispassionate person.
00:05:49I don't think it is going to change.
00:05:52>> I don't see him that way, i know a lot of people don't see HIdqM THAT WAY.
00:05:59I SEE HIM IN CROWDS AND SEEdq Crowds respond to him.
00:06:03It depends, I guess, on where you are.
00:06:07I see him just inside people and connect with people in a way -- excite people and attacked with people in a way that even reagan did, initially -- connect with people no way that not even reagan did, initially.
00:06:23>>dqNAFU HE HAD A PROBLEM, A CROWD That was -- appeared in at appropriate -- inappropriate, a lot of according and holleringno and cherry pie and it is as it stood on its in -- a in hooting and hollering in an auditorium he was uneasy.
00:06:49He walked in with michelle, there was cheering, and he looked uneasy but what he did in his speech, the first half when he talked about the dead, again, a he looked slightly uncomfortable when that would receive applause.
00:07:07Then he reached the point with that electric moment when he said she opened her eyes, "gab@by opened her eyes," and that is when the motion that everyone experience was in tune with the enthusiasm of the audience.
00:07:23He repeated it four times, and the second half of the speech, inspirational, referring to the 9-year-old girl, was successful.
00:07:32It was an amazing display of oratorio skill in capturing and harnessing an audience.
00:07:40>> High praise indeed.
00:07:44Sarah palin talked about the shootings in a video posted on facebook.
00:07:47>> Acts of monstrous criminality begin at end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a snotate, not those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of the screen districts used by both sides of the aisle.
00:08:02Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite a very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn.
00:08:11>> Pundits, bloggers, tv talkers had a lot to say about sarah palin this week.
00:08:18She released a video on facebook to comment on the tuscon no did she unintentionally make a story about yourself and not -- herself and not tuscon?
00:08:31>> She did not make it about herself.
00:08:35Within@ hours of the shooting, which had no connection to her what to overcome her name was linked in the ap, "new york times," all over the airwaves, linking her and onother conservatives with the shooting spread this is a species that should never had to be made there was nenover a shred of evidence about any connection.
00:08:53By mid-week, we learned from a friend of the loughner, he did not listen to political radio, did not watch tv news.
00:09:03He was not interested in the news, not in the politics, was not of left or right.
00:09:08This was an act of prchizophrenic.
00:09:12There's no question he was acting under mental illness.
00:09:16Not a shred of evidence.
00:09:18Why did her name come up?
00:09:18Those who brought it up are the ones who have to answer to that that was calumny, and I am waiting for apologies from those who raise that name from the beginning.
00:09:33>> Sarah palin is a central figure, and that whole thing of "blood libel," there was intense reaction.
00:09:43>> I agree with charles that there is certainly no evidence she is linked -- he is linked with her in any fashion.
00:09:53However, once she chose to make a video, then she bears responsibility for what she said in her own video.
00:10:01In that sense, I think it isno widely thought -- well, republicans I have talked to, as well as observers of politics, believe that the tone was off, and that was more about what she experienced, and was widely upset about.
00:10:19But if you are going to decide to make a statement, she would have been better off being more attuned to the victims and the tragedy that had occurred in tuscon.
00:10:34It seems to me that sarah palin seems ambivalent about her future.
00:10:40She has spent a lot of time doing things that probably don't set up a presidential campaign, like the reality tv show.
00:10:47Now she is moving@ in a different direction, perhaps trying to at least reserve the right and do more professional things.
00:10:54But in that environment, she has got to start doing it right, and she missed it.
00:10:59>> She did not say anything -- she went aground for awhile, then she does this super- polished the video in front of the fireplace with an american flag, almost as if it is a presidential arrest, teleprompter, will hold 9 yds.
00:11:18She does it the day the president is going to speech.
00:11:22I don't know who her advisers are, but that is not smart politics.
00:11:27Just assuming the @noc rec 2"the blood libel", it is out of ignorance, which is what I do assume, you don't make a story about your denial.
00:11:39You have a conversation with a friend or reporter, but not with that timing.
00:11:46It was such a strategic blunder.
00:11:48>> Colby king, michael gerson, a bush speechwriter, said that sarah palin pastas addition wsarah palin -- -- sarah palin's@ video was ronald reagan and spiro agnew.
00:12:13>> Sorry, I don't buy that description.
00:12:16It is cute but it does not do anything for me.
00:12:20Charles scott hammer said -- charles krauthammer said that after the election, seven polish and go back to alaska and read --@ sarah palin should go back to alaska and read.
00:12:32That is good advice to ta.
00:12:36The use of "blood libel," is out OF IGNORANCE.kq I don't think she understood the concept that is about.
00:12:48The reason that they made the connection, wrongly, sarah palin to the shootings is because of some of the imagery she used in her own political rhetoric.
00:13:00It is not unique to talk about prosser's and targets and things like that, but when you say we will resort to second and then in response -- second amendment response, but don't retreat, remote, you'll have that immediately come to mind -- don't retreat, reload, you will have that immediately come to mind.
00:13:28Was she unfairly attacked?
00:13:32BUT SHE HAS THIS PROBLEMlqNAFU OF Going too far, and she went to far with that stain of blood libel and made herself the victim, and she did not have to do that.
00:13:42>> Just one point, it was sharron@ angle who said "second " >> one other point, the person who talked about being in the crosshairs is the congresswoman who was shot, and she said at the time that words have consequences.
00:13:58>> CHARLES THAT SOMETHING YOUlq Wanted to add about blood libel.
00:14:04>> "The wallnoc rec 2 street journal" had bad term in headlined the day before in an opinion piece in nobody -- that term in a headline today before in an opinion piece and up to complain at all.
00:14:18Alan dershowitz, a liberal democrat, a defender choose from@ the time sharansky to the israeli defense forces, said there was nothing wrong with that.
00:14:29He himself used the word in a report about the gaza declaration, and the anti- defamation league admitted that it is @common parlance for a false accusation.
00:14:51>> But they criticized her use of the term.
00:14:54>> They had a mild rebuke after admitting -- >> I read every word of the deed statement.
00:15:03It was a criticism.
00:15:03-- The adl statement.
00:15:06It was a criticism.
00:15:07>> One overlooked part of this is national mental health policy, basically institutionalizing people with a desperate any political implication when it comes to this -- it institutionalizing people with elvis.
00:15:23Any political implication what comes to this?
00:15:25>> What reason facilities are in trouble is because of funding cuts, and we are not in a position to throw money at them again.
00:15:35We have had a virginia tech, a number of these incidents, and we're learning from them that the community college he attended is coming under CRITICISM, BUTnqNAFU FRANKLY, THEY Paid attention and try to get him into treatment.
00:15:51It may well be this could have been the next virginia tech if they had noprojected a student body.
00:15:58Even if we cannot fix everything legislatively or whatever, it is a conversation that must take place.
00:16:04WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TnqONAFU LEARN From these incidents.
00:16:06>> In some ways this is a legal question.
00:16:10If you think about an individual, one can add the state in voluntarily lock you up?
00:16:17That is the criterion for denying you the right to have a gun.
00:16:21Short of that, or criminal conviction of some kind, what are you going to say to people you cannot have a certain right?
00:16:33People are not always crazy who are accused of being crazy.
00:16:37On the other hand, we have a lot of a very disturbed people out there walking out and we don't seem to have developed a way, and I cannot think of one, to force them into treatment.
00:16:47>> It has to do with the way in which -- there is a stigma associated with it.
00:16:57We don't talk about it, we don't like to identify it as a problem@ with an individual in families.
00:17:02oqNAFUWE HAVE MADE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE When we fail to great enough mental health facilities to handle people.
00:17:12Nowe hc ave2 a lot of people, look outside, walking the streets who ought to be getting the kinds of services they are not receiving.
00:17:20They are talking to themselves but we have all seen them.
00:17:22We know what this is about.
00:17:23>> Charles, the reality is that it is not a powerful political lobby.
00:17:29>> It also goes against our ideas of autonomy.
00:17:33We thought it is a good idea to have given up 50 years ago putting people in mental institutions -- snake pits there were called, and sometimes often is.
00:17:47The problem is we had swung so hard to the other side.
00:17:50Every day we stepped over a homeless person on the the street who should be in a shelter, cared for, which a MEAL, WARMTH, AND THE REPEAT,pq And we don't come because of the worship of this autonomy to the other end of this noskill is that we end up with a virginia tech or loughner in tuscon.
00:18:10>> How will the shootings at arizona to the work of the congress?
00:18:16>> Our hearts are broken but our spirit is not.
00:18:22THIS IS A TIME TO LOCKpq ARMNAS AND A prayer for the fallen and when did -- and wounded and resolve to carry on a dialogue of democracy.
00:18:32They may not yet have all the final answers, but we already have the answer that matters most, that we are americans and will make it through this difficult period.
00:18:47We will have the last word.
00:18:48>> Speaker of the house john@ boehner.
00:18:52He leads a house understandably devastated about congresswoman gabrielle giffords and the events in tuscon.
00:19:03Jeanne cummings, the congress is scheduled to start work next week repealing health care but is there a chance we will see a difference in tone and rhetoric and substance?
00:19:10>> It is a certainty that we WIqqLL SEE SOME CHANGE.
00:19:15The speaker is talking to members, telling them to be mindful what happened this week, and also to be mindful of the messages from the midterm.
00:19:24John boehner from the get go has set a very dignified ne in the house.
00:19:33That is that he took out of the election -- that is something he took out of the@ election, that the people want the government to do its job but to stop all the cats fighting.
00:19:47John boehner has absorber that message and is trying to pass that on to members.
00:19:51" what they say is that it will be different, that it will be faced on policy disputes, disagreements, rather than ideological disagreements.
00:20:06It will be, I think, one of the first health care debates we see where we don't have a lot of rage and fire and fury.
00:20:14>> Boehner has done some shrewd things to take a couple of people out of potential leadership decisions to add very incendiary rhetoric.
00:20:25That is before this happened pratt having control over the herd of cats he has got s going to be extremely difficult.
00:20:36But if people can abstain from calling each other the enemy or socialists and communists, we will have come out at least for a week or two, done pretty well.
00:20:51I suspect that for republicans, this is not what they planned.
00:20:56This takes some of the fire out of the debate.
00:20:58It does.
00:20:59>> What do you call bernie sanders if not a socialist?
00:21:04But on a serious note, the speaker has done really well.
00:21:08He said the right tone from the beginning after the election.
00:21:13He did not have a spirit of trying.
00:21:16He talked about being given a lease on the house -- he did not have a spirit of triumph.
00:21:24He talked about being given a lease on the house.
00:21:27There will be no change in the agenda.
00:21:29It will be a change in the tone.
00:21:31There is no question that there will be a change in tone to by no c rec 2everybody.
00:21:36I think postponing the activity of house for a week was completely appropriate, and presuming on a quiet note.
00:21:45Tiss -- tough issues, and objectives@ on health care reform is the proper id.
00:21:55ItqNAFU THINK IT WILL LAST FOR A While, but no change in substa.
00:22:01>> Colby, do you share the optimism of your colleagues?
00:22:06>> Know.
00:22:09There will be a temporary change, but the tone will not change.
00:22:13There are consequences to @ some may like the idea of -- when you concentrate on what tq THEY'RE TRYING TO ACHIEVE BY Repealing the health care reform bill, it is the kind of thing that stirs the juices.
00:22:28People will react to it.
00:22:29We will see it comes through in the rhetoric of the floor of the house, as it should.
00:22:35This is a very serious, serious undertaking that the republicans are about to do, because they know they cannot achieve what they want, but they will do it because it drives, a political point.
00:22:47Politically, you have to respond to that.
00:22:51>> Final thoughts on this story.
00:22:55>> I want to live up to her expectations.
00:22:58[Applause] I want our democracy to be as good as christina imagined it.
00:23:04I want america to be as good as she imagined it.
00:23:07All of us, we should do everything we can do to make SURE THAT THIS COUNTRY LIVES UPuq To our children's expectations.
00:23:16[Applause] >> president obama remembering 9-year-old christina taylor green, who was born on 9/11.
00:23:27As we closed the program, I am struck and reminded by are fred vq ALLEN GINSBERG -- OUR FRIEND Allen ginsberg -- a white republican judge was killed on the way to meet his friend, a democratic congresswoman who was jewish.
00:23:49Her life was saved by an injured, a mexican-american intern and later by a korean-american surgeon.
00:24:00>> Our dream for the best of america, and the truth of the best of america.
00:24:08There are parts that are not so wonderful, and what the president was calling on everybody to do is help the good part to triumph over the ugly and evil part.
00:24:20I am cynical enough to be not sure what is going to win.
00:24:23>> I did it is a beautiful portrait@ of for our country is today -- of where our country is today.
00:24:32I wish we ever take it live up to that portrait -- every day could live up to that portrait, and we don't.
00:24:38But perhaps that is something else we can take out of this tragedy, how diverse this country is, how successful it can be as a diverse country as well.
00:24:47>> Colby, 20-year-old daniel hernandez @heard the gunshot and ran towards it, rather than away, a natural reaction.
00:24:56>> That is why he is a hero and why the president would like to call him a hero.
00:25:01So many of the people run the other way at the sign of danger.
00:25:04The fact that he did that distinguishes him from a lot of people in this country --.
00:25:11>> Charles, did he come from your medical experts and background, pulled her up?
00:25:19>> It is a close thing, and she was losing a lot of blood.
00:25:25They got to her in 38 minutes.
00:25:29A truly remarkable.
00:25:30A tribute to american diversity, your wisdom, how strong this the society we are -- hero was and, how strong a society we are.
00:25:38It should have been a week of nothing but sorrow and grief in answer to the, the thinking @ unfortunately, it was a week or a lot of calumny.
00:25:49The president rightly ended it on the good note.
00:25:53>> Gordon peterson will be back next week.
00:26:02Noc rec 2 >> for a transcript of this broadcast, log on to