tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS January 5, 2016 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
president mourns victims of gun violence and takes executive action to stop it. also tonight, a rolling disaster. mississippi floodwaters swallow up more of the heartland. a popular documentary about a convicted killer brings demands for his freedom. >> this has been one of the biggest entertainment campaigns that we've ever seen on the platform. >> pelley: and, a teacher of the year, in the video of the week. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: this is our western edition. it was a sight we rarely see-- the tears of the most powerful man in the world, powerless to get the united states congress to tighten gun control laws. the president was announcing what he would do by executive action without congress when the memories of these victims, 20 first graders from newtown,
years old, choked mr. obama in mid-sentence. >> every time i think about those kids, it gets me mad. and, by the way, it happens on the streets of chicago every day. >> pelley: there have been 13 mass killings during the obama presidency. and republicans voted against gun legislation. last month, after san bernardino, mr. obama decided to act on his own. given the limits of his power, his actions today are not sweeping. the most significant simply expands background checks for gun sales online or at gun shows. currently, about 40% of sales have no background checks at all. chief legal correspondent jan crawford is at the white house.
who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun... >> reporter: it was an emotional appeal... >> we maybe can't save everybody, but we could save some. >> reporter: ...and a political call to action. >> so the gun lobby may be holding congress hostage right now, but they cannot hold america hostage. ( applause ) we do not have to accept this carnage as the price of freedom. >> reporter: the president repeatedly calls the actions common sense steps. and he expressed solidarity with the people who surrounded him at the white house: a father who lost a seven-year-old; the daughters of the pastor at a charlseston church; and a
after being shot in the head. >> it's our right to worship freely and safely. ( applause ) that right was denied to christians in charleston, south carolina, and that was denied jews in kansas city, and that was denied muslims in chapel hill, and sikhs in oak creek. they had rights, too. >> reporter: the directives focus largely on a system of background checks including: requiring all gun dealers, even those who sell firearms at gun shows and on the internet, to be licensed and conduct background checks. improving the current system by hiring more investigators to make background checks more efficient and effective. and increasing mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system. although the issue of stricter gun laws remains highly divisive, 92% of americans support background checks, but the president, in the wake of the sandy hook shootings, failed to get legislation through congress that would have expanded them. today, he said he wants voters to kick ardent gun rights supporters out of office.
the reason congress blocks laws is because they want to win elections. and if you make it hard for them to win an election if they block those laws, they'll change course. i promise you. ( applause ) >> reporter: now, the president could face constitutional challenges that these actions exceed his presidential authority. but the n.r.a. in a statement, scott, indicated it may hold off, saying these actions don't really appear to change anything and are simply political theater. >> pelley: jan crawford at the white house. jan, thank you. well, if it is political theater, republican presidential candidates played the president's proposals as high drama today. nancy cordes was in the audience. >> reporter: obama wants your guns-- that was the warning on the presidential campaign web site for texas senator ted cruz today, alongside a mockup of the president in military garb. cruz's fellow candidate marco
plan unconstitutional. >> barack obama is obsessed with undermining the second amendment. >> reporter: house speaker paul ryan accused mr. obama of a: dangerous level of executive overreach. texas republican john culberson, whose subcommittee controls funding for the department of justice, threatened to cut the purse strings. >> if the president, through these orders, has overstepped his authority, i will take immediate action to restrain him. i'm not going to wait for a court order, not going to wait for a lawsuit. our second amendment rights are too precious. >> reporter: the national rifle association reacted to the president's remarks with a hail of tweets in real time saying, "president obama's executive orders will do nothing to improve public safety." the deep-pocketed group issued this warning to any lawmakers thinking of siding with the president, "f.y.i.-- all n.r.a. grades are subject to change." >> sadly, it's what i've come to expect now. >> reporter: congresswoman elizabeth esty is a democrat whose connecticut district
where 20 children and six adults were gunned down in 2012. what do you say to republicans who argue, the president just doesn't have the constitutional right to take these actions? >> it's not good enough to say, "i don't like what you're proposing." then bring forward your own proposals but for god's sake, do something. >> reporter: many congressional democrats applauded the president's actions today, but they don't control congress, and if he wants more money for things like additional a.t.f. agents, he's going to have to win over some republicans. and right now, scott, that seems unlikely. >> pelley: nancy cordes on capitol hill. nancy, thank you. we want to note that demand for guns is soaring. the f.b.i. says it conducted a record 23 million background checks last year. mr. obama also cited a hero in the battle against gun violence, an innocent teenager who last month found himself in the way
>> zaevion dobson was a sophomore at fulton high school in knoxville, tennessee. he played football, beloved by his classmates and his teachers. the week before christmas, he headed to a friend's house to play video games. he wasn't in the wrong place at the wrong time. he hadn't made a bad decision. he was exactly where any other kid would be. your kid. my kids. and then gunmen started firing. and zaevion, who was in high school, hadn't even gotten started in life, dove on top of three girls to shield them from the bullets. and he was shot in the head. he gave his life to save theirs. an act of heroism a lot bigger than anything we should ever expect from a 15-year-old. greater love hath no man than
his life for his friends. >> pelley: there has been an there has also been an arrest in the shooting death of a college student in denton, texas, in what may have been an act of road rage. the suspect is a marine corporal, eric johnson. he was arrested today in yuma, arizona. he is accused of gunning down 20-year-old sarah matschlechner early new year's day as she drove with friends home from a party. in another big story today, floodwaters are receding along some part of the mississippi, but rising in others. tonight, 23 illinois counties have been declared disaster areas. david begnaud is in olive branch. >> reporter: this is where the mississippi river is pouring into one of the poorest counties in the state of illinois: alexander county. i'm standing on the lynn small levee, which failed four days ago, and now that breach is
more than 125 properties in alexander county have been flooded. david willis owns three of them. the mississippi river is at his front door. it looks like you built this in the middle of a lake. >> 30 years ago this didn't happen. >> reporter: after a flood in 2011, willis was one of the people living in a flood zone who accepted a state buyout and agreed to leave. when did they offer you the buyout? >> right after the floodwater went down. >> reporter: in 2011. >> yes. >> reporter: and you took it. >> yes. >> reporter: have you gotten your money? >> nope. four years, seven months, probably. haven't heard a word. >> reporter: he had the money to move away and wait for the state to reimburse him. retired truck driver richard johnson turned down the offer. >> i told my wife, we can't afford to move. you can't just up and move like that. >> reporter: johnson says he doesn't have the money to start over. the median income in alexander county is just under $27,000 per year, less than half of the state's median income. as for david willis, whether or not he gets his money, he's made
think you'll ever come back? >> nope. >> reporter: because of that? >> because of that. >> reporter: that is the levee that was breached by floodwaters that started further north and killed 25 people in illinois and missouri. it may be two years before this breach is repaired. it could be two weeks before those flooded areas in alexander county are dry. but the good news is the water's receding back into the mississippi river, which is above flood stage from here to louisiana. >> pelley: david begnaud, thanks. in the west, storms are going to hit one after another, powered by the warming pacific current known as el nino. here's ben tracy. >> it's literally raining cats and dogs out here, folks. >> reporter: the rain came down hard, up to an inch an hour, snarling roadways and covering part of the 101 freeway in mud. this mini cooper was no match for the megarain. the driver jumped to higher ground.
by wildfires were encouraged to evacuate. steel netting has been installed in some places to catch large debris. hal hyman lives below the mountains and decided to leave. >> at night time i don't want to go to sleep wondering if the debris is going to come down again. >> reporter: bill patzert is a nasa climatologist. we tend to now focus on the negative impacts of this, but the fact of the matter is we need all of this rain. >> this is going to be a fantastic down payment on drought. we could anticipate anywhere between four and six inches of rain here in los angeles, which is normally double what we get in january. >> reporter: the l.a. river is rushing tonight, sending billions of gallons of water out to the ocean. the good news about that is, that is what prevents los angeles from flooding. scott, there is more rain in the forecast, expected to hit southern california tomorrow. >> pelley: ben tracy reporting this evening. ben, thank you.
service member was killed, two others were wounded in a fierce battle near the southern city of marjah. the taliban have been advancing. american special operations sources are supporting the afghanistan military. in the race for the next commander in chief, ronald reagan once said, the 11th commandment is, "thou shall not speak ill of another republican." well, he wouldn't recognize the melee just four weeks before iowa. here's major garrett. >> reporter: this ad from a super pac backing ted cruz mocked marco rubio's foreign policy toughness. >> i know i have a debate, but i gotta get this fantasy football thing right. >> reporter: cruz took his own fire from rick santorum. >> you want someone to read one hell of a bedtime story? ted cruz is your guy. if you want to protect america and defeat isis, rick santorum's your president.
pushing rubio branded chris christie an out-of-step liberal. >> chris christie-- one high tax, common core, liberal energy loving obamacare medicaid expanding commanding president is enough. >> reporter: rubio and cruz sell themselves as positive candidates who don't attack their opponents, leaving that job to their million-dollar super pacs. >> "keep the promise 1" is responsible for the content of this advertising. >> reporter: the super pacs are supposed to operate independently from the campaigns, although rubio today said he does support his group's message. >> these are serious policies. so there's nothing in those ads that are inaccurate. >> reporter: super pac ads don't necessarily tip the scale. the group backing jeb bush has spent tens of millions only to see bush's poll numbers tumble, leaving bush to scramble for attention on "live today," today, vowing he's been tougher than anyone on donald trump. >> i think that's my job. you gotta take on the bully head on, and that's what i'm doing. >> reporter: christi told the "washington post" today that
the white house." scott, that those attacks came from a rubio super pac and not rubio himself was a distinction apparently lost on christi, as it may very well be for the voters. >> pelley: major garrett on the muddy campaign trail. major, thanks very much. in new york, in the democratic race, bernie sanders took aim today at front-runner hillary clinton over her ties to wall street. he said wall street's greed is destroying the fabric of the nation. >> and here is a new year's resolution that i will keep if elected president, and that is if wall street does not end its greed, we will end it for them. ( applause ) >> pelley: sanders also vowed to break up the country's biggest financial firms. a documentary leads to a campaign to release a convicted murderer. and, a ceremony at west point
the cbs evening news continues. >> pelley: a new documentary has turned viewers into amateur detectives, and many are going to bat for a man serving life for murder. dean reynolds has this. >> reporter: thanks to a show on netflix, the web site change.org has a big hit on its hands. in less than a month, more than a quarter of a million people around the world have signed a petition on the site, demanding justice for a man in prison for life, and featured in a netflix documentary. mike jones is with change.org. >> for it to go from a few thousands signatures to upwards of a quarter million signers is phenomenal, really shows that this petition is tapping into a national conversation. >> reporter: it's all due to
launched last month, which tells the story of steven avery. >> hello. >> reporter: he's the wisconsin man who served 18 years in prison for rape before being exonerated in 2003... >> we, the jury, find the defendant guilty. >> reporter: only to find himself in prison again on a murder conviction in 2007. since its debut, millions of viewers have spent hours binge watching it and discussing the case in online chat rooms. many viewers concluded avery was framed by authorities who lied and planted evidence. ken kratz, who prosecuted avery and is now receiving death threats, says the series is misleading. >> steven avery is right where he needs to be. that's in prison for the rest of his natural life. >> reporter: avery's lawyer, dean strang, says, though, that the reaction to the series has included useful information for the defense.
least sift and consider something that might be useful to one human being who right now is facing a slow death in prison. >> reporter: here in wisconsin,ep governor scott walker has the power to pardon someone, but during two terms in office, he has never used it. and, scott, his aides say he is not going to change that strategy now. >> pelley: dean reynolds in madison for us tonight. dean, thank you very much. the justice department takes
that's next. >> pelley: we have an update tonight on our investigation on a compounding pharmacy outside dallas which mixes custom drugs. last year jim axelrod and producer emily rand discovered downing labs sent people millions of dollars in medications they did not order. the lab was also investigated for unsanitary conditions. well, yesterday, the department of justice filed an injunction
mixing drugs until an outside expert inspects the facility. in a first for the u.s. military academy, today brigadier general diana holland was sworn in as commandant of cadets. holland is a 1990 graduate of west point and served in iraq and afghanistan. in a moment, students dancing their way to success. so what about this? it's time to get into the new with ford come and get it if you really want it... new is ecoboost technology. new is a foot-activated liftgate. new is tougher, stronger and lighter. new is ford. america's best-selling brand. now get into a new focus, fusion, or escape with 0% financing for 60 months plus $2,000 dollars trade-assist cash. only at your local ford dealer. if you have high blood pressure like i do, many cold medicines may raise your blood pressure.
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so bad." i said, "let's just film y'all." and the kids said, "no, mr. clark, you have to be in it." >> two negatives make a bigger negative. >> reporter: ron clark, a former teacher of the year, founded the ron clark academy in 2007. it's a private, nonprofit middle school, part hogwarts, part harvard. learning comes to life at warp speed here for kids who are academically diverse and often of lower income. the viral video stars includes seventh grader jaydon linsey: >> the message to get out there was to say that we can do fun things while learning at the same time. >> reporter: every student but one in the school's history has gone on to college. mason calhoun, another seventh grader: >> it's very indescribable, the amount of love that is shown from the teachers towards us, and it really motivates us to push ourselves, be great academically, and just be amazing citizens. >> reporter: is there a message in the video?
video is about who we are. at the ron clark academy we're all about relationships with kids, building bonds, and showing kids that you care because when kids know you're willing to meet them where they are and learn about their culture and interact in a positive way, they're going to respect you more and work harder. >> reporter: by breaking the mold, ron clark and his kids keep bustin' the right moves. mark strassmann, cbs news, atlanta. >> pelley: and that's the cbs evening news for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night. captioning sponsored by cbs