tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN January 7, 2016 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
that's coming up, one hour from now, 8:00 p.m. eastern. in the meantime, thanks very much for watching us. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. next, a very special edition of "outfront" tonight. we're counting down to an historic event. a cnn town hall with president obama. the president taking questions live on one of the most divisive issues of our time. guns in america. let's go "outfront." ♪ good evening. "guns in america," just one hour from now when president obama joins anderson cooper here on the campus of george mason university for an historic town hall event. we're going to show you live pictures of the stage just
downstairs from where i am. where the president will tackle an issue that divides americans like no other, really, gun control. the numbers are staggering. more than 33,000 americans killed by firearms in just one year. the united states is the most heavily armed nation in the world with roughly one gun for every person. last year alone, there were 330 mass shootings, which is defined as four or more people shot or killed in one incident. and tonight, we're revealing the results of a new cnn poll which shows a large majority of americans favor president obama's executive actions on gun control and that's not just among democrats. 51% of republicans also approve of the executive actions. but despite that support, this is interesting, 57% of americans say that his actions won't reduce the number of gun deaths, they believe. and another warning sign for the president in our new poll tonight, a majority don't like his use of executive orders and side-stepping congress to pull
this off to change gun regulation or how they interpret the law. we'll have much more on all of this tonight as president obama prepares to take questions from the audience. we should note, the nra was invited to be part of tonight's town hall and questioned the president. but the organization declined the invitation. however, there will be nra members and many proponents for gun rights in the audience. let's begin with coverage from our senior white house correspondent, jim acosta. an historic night here and a whole lot at stake for the president, huh? >> reporter: absolutely kate. the white house insists president obama will hear from all sides here on "guns in america" and will hear from critics who argue his executives actions take away their constitutional rights to own guns. america's superheated debate over guns and how to respond to the rash of shootings will take center stage in cnn's town hall
with president obama and the white house says that the president is eager to find common ground, even with gun owners who don't trust him. >> i think the president will repeat, once again, his belief in and commitment to the second amendment to the constitution and that the constitutional rights of law-abiding americans are worth protecting. >> reporter: just a couple of days after the president unveiled new executive actions aimed at actions for gun buyers and remembering the victims of the shootings in newtown. >> every time i think of those kids, it gets me mad. and by the way, it happens on the streets of chicago every day. >> reporter: a new cnn orc poll shows the country moving in president obama's direction. two-thirds approve of his executive actions. >> i don't think a president should just unilaterally ignore the constitution. >> reporter: that's despite the outcry from gop presidential
contenders, including ted cruz, who sent an e-mail to supporters that said, "obama wants your guns". >> this is the most antigun president we've ever seen. >> reporter: the white house accused cruz of stirring up trouble. >> it veers into the territory of being irresponsible. >> reporter: house speaker paul ryan wouldn't go as far as cruz. >> i think he's been hostile with the second amendment all along. i don't think the president has a lot of respect for the second amendment. >> reporter: but aides to the president say ryan once sounded receptive two years ago when asked by the milwaukee journal sentinel. >> i think we need to do it in a way that we don't infringe upon people's second amendment rights. >> reporter: jonathan turley said mr. obama's new actions are modest and fall far short of a gun draft. >> gun owners shouldn't view
this, necessarily, as a significant erosion on gun control but they obviously have concerns when a president is acting unilaterally rather than in conjunction with congress. >> reporter: now, as for the record sales of firearms that seemed to shoot through the roof nearly every time the president talks about gun control, the white house blames that on the weapons industry and its profit motives, not on any desire of the president wanting to take away people's rights or guns. we'll hear that probably time and again tonight, kate. >> a whole lot to be said and a whole lot of people listening in here at george mason university and far beyond. thank you for setting it up for us. "outfront" for us now, s.e. cupp and former white house press secretary jay carney. guys, great to see you. thank you so much. we rolled out these new poll numbers since the president has unveiled his executive actions and he has somewhat of an uphill
battle. more than two-thirds of americans agree with the changes he announced but 57% say they don't think it will have any impact. you were inside during these discussions. is this window dressing? >> it's the most that he can do. i was struck in the poll by the sentiment that americans didn't -- even though they supported the actions themselves and felt like the loopholes should be closed by whatever means possible, that they'd rather see the president do it through congress. so would the president. he tried back in the wake of the newtown shooting. he marched legislation up to -- >> he had a democratic senator. >> and overwhelmingly opposed by republicans and democrats in the senate. it was very disspiriting. because, as you remember, an overwhelming majority of the country, even higher numbers than we saw today, supported that action. we're not talking about taking anybody's guns away. we're talking about closing loopholes to the existing law that says people who by law should not be able to buy a gun
don't get them through gun shows or through the internet. >> but actually, the 2013 assault weapons ban brought to the floor by dianne feinstein would have taken people's guns away. why wouldn't we take democrats at their word that they want to and he's limited by the confines of executive action. >> marco rubio, ted cruz, they say obama wants to take away your guns. he said specifically that he does not want to. there's nothing -- you don't see any kind of confiscation in the wording. so it's vague and misleading. >> he did. >> the 2013 assault -- >> why wouldn't we go, based on past precedent, that when obama goated congress into take action in newtown, what they did was propose an assault weapons ban and an entire category of semiautomatic rifle and
handguns. of course they want to come after our guns. they can't always. >> you're changing the subject. >> no, that is the subject. >> what the people overwhelmingly support by massive numbers is closing of these loopholes that are -- >> jay -- >> the laws are designed to protect people who have mental illnesses. >> right or wrong, as s.e. is getting to, a lot of people believe obama wants to take away their guns. >> the perfect example of that, unfortunately, is somebody who i respect a lot. he changed his position and legislation, we need to do more and it does do more on mental health. >> what you don't know is
eliminate the existing law that if you are committed against your will for a mental health institution and therefore prohibited, make it possible the minute you get out. right now by law you have to petition a judge. >> s.e., let me ask you this. one of the aspects that's been getting special attention is the nra was invited to come and ask questions to the president. they declined. >> right. >> is that a missed opportunity? well, gosh, when the democratic front-runner for president identifies the nra as the enemy she's most proud of, when the president continually harasses the nra and by extension the law-abiding gun owners as the problem, what benefit would be served? why would the nra with their lack of responsibility just because they won't go up to meaningless gun legislation. the nra stapds up to the
president every day through its millions of members. the nra doesn't need to sit at a town hall to get lectured to by the president who thinks we are part of the problem. we are law-abiding gun owners. the nra is not responsible for mass shootings and criminal activity. >> the president has never tried to take anybody's guns away. the president has only tried to close gun loopholes. they've opposed it violently and nra and rank and file members across the country support it. even the actions he's taken here, it's an uphill battle for all of the reasons it was two years ago. >> if nothing else, the president has a messaging problem he's going to need to push tonight. we are in very different sides of this issue and this is a very good example of how complicated and divisive it is. thanks, guys, great to see you. >> okay. "outfront" for us next, donald trump is about to speak live as senator john mccain
takes his side, it seems, on the cruz birther debate. we're going to go live to burlington, vermont. plus, we are less than an hour away from our live town hall on guns in america with president obama. congresswoman man and gun owner mia love is joining us on how republicans can plan to fight the president and stop the executive actions. and the daughter of a man killed in the ft. hood shooting tells us what she wants to hear most from the president tonight. you can't predict... the market. but at t. rowe price, we can help guide your investments through good times and bad. for over 75 years, our clients have relied on us to bring our best thinking to their investments so in a variety of market conditions... you can feel confident... ...in our experience. call a t. rowe price
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we're less than 50 minutes away from cnn's live town hall with president obama here on the campus of george mason university in virginia. we'll have much more on our special coverage in a moment. first, a lot is happening on the campaign trail tonight. we're going to show you live pictures of a donald trump campaign rally in burlington, vermont. we're watching to see if he will go there. once again, go after ted cruz over his canadian birth. it's an issue that now has democrats and fellow republicans, even, raising doubts that cruz is eligible to be president. jeff zeleny it "outfront." >> reporter: donald trump is not letting go, fanning the flames about ted cruz's citizenship. >> he's got this cloud over his head. i don't think it's going to be possible for him to do very well. >> today, trump sent a message to his rivals saying, ted, free legal advice on how to pre-empt the dems. never mind democrats, it's
republicans raising questions, all over whether cruz could face a legal challenge. he was born in canada but his mother was a u.s. citizen. trump told wolf blitzer that cruz's birthplace raises constitutional concerns. >> there's this doubt. people have doubt. you know, i want to win this thing fair and square. i don't want to win on this point. >> reporter: john mccain once calling him a wacko bird. mccain himself was born outside of the united states and was quick to distance his case from cruz's, as he was born on a military base. >> i'm not a constitutional scholar on that but i think it's worth looking into. >> reporter: in iowa, cruz brushed away trump's comments. >> it's no surprise that they are going to jump on with the silly attacks as we get closer to election day. >> reporter: cruz, one of trump's biggest threats, says
the talk is nonsense. >> the son of a u.s. citizen born abroad is a natural-born citizen. >> reporter: he told cnn's dana bash he's done addressing it. >> i'm not going to engage in this and the reason is simple. there are far too many serious issues facing this country. >> reporter: one more sign the fault line in the republican primary are becoming clear. it's not only trump versus cruz but chris christie versus marco rubio. christie said rubio is too weak to be the nominee. >> is that the person that we want to put on the stage? >> reporter: rubio fired back comparing his record to barack obama. >> all of the damage barack obama has done to america. >> reporter: and donald trump is moments away from taking the stage here in burlington, vermont. you can see the crowd gathered behind me. you may wonder why here.
it's one of the key supertuesday states voting on march 1st and close to the home of bernie sanders. he's the vermont senator and the mayor of this town for about ten years in the '80s. that has drown thousands and thousands of people here today. but the problem is, this event only holds 1400 people. so several thousand are outside and before people come in tonight, they are asked by the trump campaign if they are trump supporters. if they say "no," they are turned away at the door. >> several thousand outside. jeff zeleny, thank you so much. "outfront" with me now, kevin madden, a senior adviser to mitt romney's presidential campaign. >> good to be with you. >> jeff laid it out really well. ted cruz calls it a distraction but he's had to talk about it all this week. it's all the questions that he's getting. did donald trump win this round already? >> that's what donald trump has done anytime another campaign
has been on the dissent in the polls. >> he raises questions? >> yeah, and totally distracts that campaign from their core message. earlier this week, ted cruz put out an ad, a pretty effective ad on an issue that a lot of people care about in iowa where the first caucus is. immigration. ted cruz hasn't answered any questions and hasn't had a chance to aggressively drive that message to a lot of voters. he's been on the defensive and talking about a canadian citizenship and whether he's even eligible to be the president. now, it's, i believe, a false attack. there's not much substance to it but all he wanted to do was put ted cruz's campaign on the defensive. >> ted cruz says he has ulterior motives in doing that. regardless, is this a definite vulnerability if ted cruz became the nominee regardless of how
long this would drag on with the primary? >> i don't think so. i think this is an issue that is going to boomer rang. that's personal. john mccain, it's very clear as jeff talked about in his piece, that there is a personal an moss fee between the two. i think on the internet and twitter they call this trolling. so he's trolling ted cruz in a way, that again, has offered a distraction and landed legitimacy. we have another cycle that we're talking about. ted cruz, as you saw in many of these interviews that he's had on it, that's the smart strategy for him and has to ultimately hope that he breaks through. >> we will see. i think the animosity dates back to whack-o birds. "outfront" for us next, inside -- we're going to go inside the town hall with
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>> and welcome back. we're here tonight at george mason university in virginia with anderson cooper here. have come downstairs, the site of the special event where in just a little over 30 minutes president obama will be taking questions in a special cnn town hall, tackling the controversial issue of guns in america.
the president will come face-to-face with his critics as well as his supporters. anderson cooper is, of course, hosting tonight's event and is here with me now. anderson, thanks so much. >> yeah. >> tell us about the format for tonight. >> it's going to start off -- we approached the white house about this actually shortly after the san bernardino terror attacks. there have been some critics who said this is a white house stage production. >> right. >> something that cnn approached the white house about. they agreed to do it. the president agreed to come. and we wanted a conversation which -- this is an issue where people talked past each other all too often. we wanted critics of the president, people who are strong defenders of the right to bear arms, who want to see more guns out there, who believes more guns in the hands of good guys will stop the bad guys from getting guns and we want people on all sides of the issue so we've assembled a diverse group of people who will ask questions of their own choosing and making. i'll start off probably asking four or five questions directly
to the president based on what he announced earlier this week and then i'll open it up to the people we have about 100 people in this audience and try to get in as many questions as we can. >> and to emphasize, everyone here at cnn is a stakeholder. >> they are. >> everyone has been touched by this debate in one way or another. i'm interested, obviously, everyone has an interesting perspective, but who are you most interested to hear from? >> i think we have a really good variety. tem everyone remembers chris kyle, former navy s.e.a.l., his wife is here, gun rights supporters, people from chicago, moms who have lost their children. this is a deeply personal issue for them as it is for many people on all sides of the aisle. as you said, there are a lot of stakeholders here.
gabby giffords is going to be here. her husband as well. there's a lot of different people and different perspectives. >> and not often do they speak directly to president obama, him taking those questions from them. >> yeah. and you never know in a town hall how it's going to go. it's up to people what questions they want to ask. sometimes people think they are going to ask one thing and decide to ask something else in the spur of the moment. sometimes they get nervous. part of my job after asking a question directly is to facilitate that question and have it be a genuine conversation. we've invited the nra. they've chosen not to come. >> but nra maybes will be here? >> there are certainly nra members. there are people who run gun shows. >> that's fascinating. >> people who run shooting ranges. so there is a wide variety of people here. i don't want people to think this is kind of a rally for president obama's proposals. at all. >> it's going to be a debate, an important conversation. >> i think so, yeah. >> thank you, anderson. >> pleasure.
>> thank you. "outfront" next, it's not what the president did but how he did it. why the majority of americans opposed the president's strategy on guns. and how will this issue play in elections across the country this year? republican congressman mia love is "outfront." right now, you're not thinking about all the money you saved by booking your flight, rental car, and hotel together. all you're thinking about, is making sure your little animal, enjoys her first trip to the kingdom. expedia, technology connecting you to what matters.
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we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. we are live at george mason university in fairfax, virginia, where in 30 minutes president obama will be sitting down for a live town hall on guns. the president admits that commonsense gun reform, in his view, will not happen during his presidency. he writes this. "i will not vote for any candidate in my own party who does not support commonsense gun reform," just published in "the new york times." and new national poll numbers since the president's executive actions were unveiled, "outfront" tonight, john king, host of "inside politics" is here. john, break these new numbers down. what do people think of president obama's proposal? >> the public opinion is important. more proof that in his final year in office he wants to make it a central issue but does he
have the political juice to sell it? first, the more general question. what's your opinion of the president's gun policy overall? 43% approve. 53% disapprove. he's underwater. but just two weeks ago it was 35/62. the president's numbers have gone up because a lot of liberals who thought he should do more are happy that the president is getting involved. then we asked specifically about the proposal that the president outlined. you have more background checks, more fbi agents, more money for mental health. two-thirds of americans favor what the president says he wants to do. a third, 32%, say they oppose what the president wants to do. that's a good number for the president. two-thirds backing his proposals. it's interesting, kate, when you look at the breakdown by racial and party lines, 85% of democrats say amen, we like what you're doing. interestingly, though, he has a majority, very slight, of an evenly divided republican party. the president still gets 51% for
the specifics of what he outlined the other day. that's a good number for the president. and more than 6 in 10, nearly two-thirds of independents. the president has democrats that has independents and a good number of republicans. so when he tells the american people at the town hall tonight, this is what i want to do, he's on very good political grounds and the specifics of what he wants to do. it's more iffy when you get to how he's doing it. >> exactly. so what are folks saying about how the president went about pushing these changes? >> and that's a very interesting and important point. they like what he wants to do. they don't like how he's doing it. 54% of americans oppose the use of executive powers to get this done. kate, look at these numbers. nearly 8 in 10 are fine with this. but 8 in 10 republicans say, no way, mr. president, don't use executive orders and even 6 in 10 independents. remember, independents like what he's doing. they don't like how. republicans overwhelmingly don't like the use of executive power with.
that's where the president's good political numbers turn into real quick sand. >> so john, how is this going to likely play out in campaigns and elections, especially congressional races down battle? >> that's where we have two americas, kate. let's look at a map. this is the presidential election of 2012 where president obama won with 332 ee lectoral votes. this is how hillary clinton and bernie sanders are fine with the president. even in a place like virginia, florida, even in a place like colorado, places where you think those are gun right states, democrats think we are in a new world. they can win in the suburbs and among nonwhite voters. but it's a very, very different scenario when you get to c congressional races. most members of the house don't care about national poll numbers. they want to know what are the numbers in my district and this is america and it's important to remember. you have a republican house
majority and a big one. look at all of this red. those are all the house districts in america. they think what the people back home say and most republicans, maybe five or six, might get to ten districts where they are iffy on this. most republicans, kate, are on perfectly solid ground when they say, sorry, mr. president, no. >> and now you see the reason why. just look at those two very different maps. john, great to see you. thank you. >> thank you. the response from the other side, as john was alluding to, president obama's executive action was quick and harsh. "outfront" now, republican congresswoman mia love. he pointed out a slim majority of republicans. why do you disagree with that? >> well, here's what we need to find out. first of all, i'm a mother. i have three kids. there is not a moment that they walk out the door that i am not
concerned about their safety or what may or may not happen. and the worst thing for any parent is to have to lose a child. so there are people out there that are looking for answers. they want to make sure that something gets done. but we have to make sure that we're aiming our efforts in the right direction. it's not just about emotion but about forward movement. and we have to do everything we can to make sure that this president is not unilaterally making decisions, cutting congress out and cutting the american people out of his decision making. >> when you say that, that actually perfectly fits into what the president actually just wrote in this opinion piece just published in "the new york times." i'll look down to make sure i get it right. he said it's clear to him that commonsense gun reform, in his view, will not happen during his presidency. you see a very different view of what commonsense gun reform is. do you think -- one, do you think that the president is then accepting defeat? do you think there is any way, with the passion that you have and the compassion that you
have, that there is a way to find a middle ground at all or is it lost with this president? >> i think there are laws on the book that have to be enforced. just think about this. 80,000 failed background checks since 2012 and the president only prosecuted 500 of those cases. you have to understand that it's actually illegal to pursue a gun or a firearm if you have been adjudicated, mentally ill, if you have been convicted of a felony or if you've been committed to a mental institution. so only 500 cases. that's 30% less that even george bush. so this is his constitutional power that he actually -- the laws are on the books. he's not helping prevent people that are trying to get these firearms illegally from getting them. >> pushing for more funding is obviously not something that republicans love. would you support more funding for more atf agents to pursue -- >> i'm trying to figure out why
the answer is always throwing money at the problem. it's just absolutely -- i think it's completely misguided. it's almost like asking for more powers and not using powers that he actually has to actually fix the problem. this is what most americans want. they want to fix the problem. and right now, this, to me, i feel like it's political posturing instead of getting to the heart of the problem. >> one of the things that we have heard from the house speaker, he said very definitively, that we are going to look for all options about how to stop the president. what are the options? >> i would think that they have to be funded and, again, it's my job. i swore up to hold the constitution of the united states and it's our job to make sure that people have their fundamental and individual rights to keep and bear arms. this is what made this country great. we cannot, in the pursuit of
doing everything we can to keep everyone safe lose things that make this country safe but we need to address mental health. we need to address keeping guns out of the hands of the people who lack the mental capacity to make an informed decision. >> again, this is why it's so complicated. the president said that he has proposed $500,000 towards mental health. you're saying the money is going to the wrong place and it shows how complicated the issue is and, please, let's discuss it after the town hall and get your take on it tonight. thank you. appreciate your time. a man who lost his son at the aurora, colorado, mass shooting. also, a young woman whose father was shot and killed at ft. hood. what they want to hear tonight. and as the president begins his last year in office, will gun control be a crowning achievement or a crushing defeat for him?
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a victim, alex died in the aurora, colorado, movie theater. alex was shot as he shielded the gunman from his girlfriend. "outfront" with me now is his father, tom. i'm sure your son is never, ever far from your mind. but on a day like today, when this is the topic of conversation, where is your head and heart on this? >> your heart's always in the same place. i mean, you don't lose a child and it's not like you broke your arm. you lose a child, you lose a part of yourself. anybody out there who has a child would know that if that child, you could never see that child again, it would -- it doesn't go away. it's fresh as it was 3 1/2 years ago. and the sad thing is, over 100,000 people have died from gun violence since alex's death.
and why should a 24-year-old kid have to make the decision between saving his girlfriend and saving his own life and i would suggest to all the people that are going to talk tonight, ask themselves that question. would you have the courage to do that? and i'm not so sure you can answer that until you're faced with it. >> when you heard what the president was unveiling, you heard the reactions to it all, do you think the president has gone enough? what do you think about what the president has proposed in light of what you've lived through? >> i think what should happen is the people that we elected to run this country, the president and congress, should go and get something done. i think the president's doing something, as much to start the conversation again as opposed to just stonewalling. i mean, people die every day while we're going to have this conversation, somebody is going to die in this country from gun
violence and that somebody is going to be somebody's child and somebody's dad or somebody's mom or brother or sister or friend. we've got to do something about it. i mean, we all went nuts when we thought ebola was going to come in. one person died. but 100 people, 90 people die a day and we don't do anything? it doesn't make any sense. and i think we have to stop hiding behind whatever arguments we have. it's not -- it's not just mental health. it's not just guns. but let's fix some of the stuff. let's stop stonewalling and actually congress should do what they are supposed to do and what they are getting paid to do or they should get -- let somebody else do it, somebody who's a leader. >> tom, i've heard from many critics of the president's, those who oppose the gun control measures, that the measures that he's pushing out would likely not have prevented the mass shooting that took your son or
other mass shootings that have occurred in this country. what do you say to that? >> first off, then, so what's your solution? number one. number two, let's also keep in mind -- and this bothers me a lot. alex was a phenomenal person and the most bravest person you could -- you can't be any braver than he was, right? there are people that are as brave but you can't be any braver than that. we have to do something. something has to change because people just can't keep dying and sooner or later, it's going to affect your family. again, 100,000 people have died from gun violence since alex was killed and he was killed 3 1/2 years ago. the odds are, you're going to be infected soon. why wait? why don't we do something now? and, you know, you're not going to stop everything. but let's try to do something instead of just fighting with each other. it's almost like we're governed by a bunch of children.
>> you deliver a strong message. you offer a very strong message as we head into this conversation with those who support the president and those who oppose the president. it's a strong message heading into tonight. tom, thank you very much for your time. we all have alex on our minds tonight. thank you so much. and "outfront" with me now, michael nutter, the newly former democratic mayor. it cannot go without knowing, if anyone has a heart, you can feel that man's pain. when this conversation goes to where it is, it is interesting when you read the president who just published that opinion piece, he just published it in "the new york times" and you hear tom teves say, do something. do something. and then the president acknowledges, he concedes, essentially, what he calls commonsense gun reform is not going to happen during his presidency. so when you look at those two
things, mayor, as the president failed, no matter what, isn't it the president's job to make it work, to bring the congress together, to triangulate, to do whatever? >> kate, president barack obama is not the parent of 535 members of congress. he has a job. it has specific duties, and levels of authority, but we cannot allow the congress to get off the hook and act like, you know, well, you haven't brought us together enough. they are grownups, too. they have families as well, constituents dying and my heart goes out. i want to apologize to him and the thousands of people that lost a loved one. the thousands of police officers and law enforcement personnel who have also been killed because of gun violence. i experienced that during my time as mayor of philadelphia. eight philadelphia police officers killed in the line of duty. five by the line of gunfire. these are serious issues and
until you had to grapple with this, until you've talked to parents who've lost a child. until you talked to a child who maybe lost their parent, these are real issues on the ground, and many of the members of congress, i think, just don't get it. so president obama using the authority he has is trying to do something. we could do more if the congress were a actual partner in this work. what's been going on, obviously, is not working. 30,000 people a year killed by gun violence. 20 some odd thousand with suicide and others, just the day to day violence that gets reported or not reported as the case may be but something is not working. we need to take action and that's the reality of american life today. >> talk about the disconnect, though. there is a large portion of the country they are electing republicans to congress and the house. that's who house republican members say they are representing, their district, they say they have the compassion, show the compassion for tom teeves.
>> these are duly elected representatives. >> what's the disconnect? >> and an important part of the equation. one of the disconnects, is there is a trust deficit the president has with those that are very active in their support for the second amendment. they don't believe his intentions are good. but i think when you ask that question about has the president failed? i don't think he has. as somebody who has not supported the president's policies on a lot of this, i recognize if he wants to overcome some of the challenges with working with congress. the way that you marshall support behind legislation is not only do you work with the congress hand and glove on these things but you also marshall public support and i think he has a huge opportunity to do that today in a way that is uniting, in a way that speaks to some anxieties that some folks who are very supportive of their second amend the rights and feel that any sort of new federal legislation would be
encroaching. speak directly to the anxieties and confront legislatures up on capitol hill that you think have to have their minds changed. if there is any uniform criticism democrats or republicans had about the president, he hasn't done enough to really work with them on this. and that's something that i think it remains. if he does want to make headway, it does remain a challenge. >> it shows, the uphill battle and let's look at it this way, the opportunity that the president has tonight but the risk and challenge of speaking directly not only to the folks sitting in the room, all stake holders and have been impacted by the gun debate but billions beyond that could hear from the president and facing questions from supporters and critics. that's why this could be a historic opportunity for everyone in this country and what can happen. >> there has to be a check on our own sense of decency and kevin says while the president has to work with the congress et
cetera and he has to do that. there was a moment when congress in the aftermath of one of these great tragedies was actually trying to move legislation through on their own and couldn't do it. >> that's right. >> again, we cannot allow folks to get -- >> there was -- >> a pass -- >> because they don't like -- >> no, because -- >> it's about leadership. >> when the president had a democratic congress, he did not promote a sweeping gun -- >> and the president had a democratic senate after sandy hook. >> it's not going to get changed in six months. this is not your average piece of legislation. these are laws that are a fundamental right. it's a process to change a lot of opinions and votes and even democrats acre knowledge it. >> look, here, guys, we have to leave it here. >> strong supporter of the second amendment and people were against these executive actions before they read them. >> gentlemen, thank you so much. watch this clock. we're not allowed to go over,
that's for sure tonight. thank you. "up front" next, cnn's town hall event with president obama with a whole lot on the line including his legacy coming up. hwe'll match any competitorse best prprice. this? what about this? price match guarantee. and this? yep! so no monkey business, no tomfoolery? oh, we do have tom foolery, tom. staples has a price match guarantee. make low prices happen. staples make more happen. and ca"super food?" is that recommend sya real thing?cedar? it's a great school, but is it the right one for her? is this really any better than the one you got last year? if we consolidate suppliers, what's the savings there? so should we go with the 467 horsepower? ...or is a 423 enough? good question. you ask a lot of good questions... i think we should move you into our new fund. sure... ok. but are you asking enough about how your wealth is managed? wealth management at charles schwab. i tabut with my back paines, i couldn't sleep and get up in time. then i found aleve pm.
you're looking at live pictures of cnn's town hall where in just minutes president obama will sit down with anderson cooper and a studio audience to talk about guns in america and there are protesters gathering outside the town hall just to show what high steaks there are tonight. one that will make a major mark, no doubt as he nears the end of his final term. let me bring in "outfront" with me real renowned cnn presidential historian. doug, thank you so much. what does tonight mean? does this issue mean? >> a great deal to him. he really wants to see this as a town hall where he could be a minister. he's been a grief counselor, really, and a lot of the audience are people that have
had somebody lost in their lives through gun violence, so when we look at the obama presidency after he leaves office, all of those killings, new town and charleston will be part of these eight years of his presidency and he wants to make it clear he cares that's a yes, we can moment. we can do better background checks. >> does this go beyond his eight years. is this his cause after his presidency? >> looks like it's going to be a major one. climate change in a global way doing it the last six months and this last year. this will be seminole dealing on the gun issue. after all, he's building his presidential library in downtowdowntown chicago and he sees a role of getting into the schools, getting into the communities of america and that is having a discussion of how do we stop 30,000 people a year from being slaughtered? how do we not attack the second
amendment, which he says i'm a constitutional lawyer, i'm all about the second amendment but how can we do something to lower that number? >> this is a big moment for the president, big moment for the country. douglas brinkly, thank you for your time and thank you for joining us, everyone. "guns in america" a live town hall with anderson cooper and president obama starts right now. and good evening from george mason university here in fairfax, virginia. we're here to talk about one of the most dee vie sieve issues in america, guns, gun ownership is a part of american history and culture. there are some 30,000 gun deaths in america each year. two-thirds are suicides, one-third are homicides. so the question wet