tv PBS News Hour PBS January 10, 2011 10:00pm-11:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. the suspect charged with attempted assassination of arizona congresswoman gabrielle giffords appeared in court today. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight, tom bearden in tucson begins our coverage of the rampage that left six dead and 14 wounded on saturday. >> lehrer: then, we get the latest from tucson mayor bob walkup. >> ifill: we look at the heated political rhetoric some have blamed for the tragedy with mark shields, david brooks, beverly gage, and kathleen hall jamieson. >> lehrer: and judy woodruff gets a medical update on
giffords' condition from trauma surgeon peter rhee. >> ifill: plus fred de sam lazaro reports on the mood of jubilation in south sudan as the vote for independence gets under way. >> people have never experienced anything like this before in their history. there is great exuberance and unmitigated joy everywhere you go. >> lehrer: and we'll have the other news of the day at the end of the program tonight. that's all ahead on the newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> lehrer: the aftermath of the tucson massacre unfolded on two fronts today. the accused gunman was in court, while congresswoman gabrielle giffords lay gravely wounded in a hospital. newshour correspondent tom bearden begins our extended coverage. >> reporter: mourners gathered again today at a makeshift memorial in front of the university medical center in tucson for wounded congresswoman gabrielle giffords and the other victims of the shootings. inside her doctors continued to express guarded optimism. >> with regard to congresswoman giffords' recovery at this phase in the game, no change is good. and we have no change. that is to say she's still
following those basic commands. on top of that, the cat scans are showing that there is no progression of that swelling. we're not out of the woods yet. >> reporter: during the evening a steady stream of well wishers came to add to the memorial leaving flowers, lighting candles. >> i mean it's an absolutely profane act. it's shocking. it's been surreal. and, you know, it really has, you know, obviously taken a toll on everybody here in tucson. it's very, very saddening, deeply saddening. >> reporter: giffords remains sedated three days after being shot in the head at pointblank range. she had been greeting constituents at a supermarket in her tucson area district when a lone gunman shot her and then opened fire on the crowd. the suspected shooter 22-year-old jared loughner was apprehendedalityate the scene. six were killed and 14 others were injured including giffords. among the dead, gabe zimmerman giffords' director of community outreach who had
organized the day's event, federal judge john roll. he had just left church and stopped by to support giffords, a good friend. phyllis, a retired librarian, dorothy morris, her husband is also among the wounded. the retired construction worker. and nine yield christine taylor green, recently elected to her school student council. she was there because of her interest in government. in phoenix, arizona governor jan brewer pronounced her state grieving but strong. she appealed for unity in her annual state of the state address. she praised the young intern who replied pressure to giffords' head wounds soon after the shooting. the young man used his bare hands on a spot where a bullet entered her head and applied pressure to stem blood loss. >> daniel hernandez university of arizona junior showed no fear in the face of gun fire. his quick action in going to gabby giffords' aid likely saved her life.
daniel is here today, and i'm going to ask him to stand and receive the thanks of a very grateful state. daniel. ( applause ) arizona is in pain. yes, our grief is profound. we are yet in the first hours of our sorrow. but we have not been brought down. we will never be brought down. ( applause ) >> reporter: in washington president obama led the nation in a moment of silence to remember the victims. down pennsylvania avenue members of congress and staff filled the steps of the capitol, and at the supreme court justices paused between arguments on two cases. in earth orb giffords' brother-in-law commander scott kelly led nasa ground control
in a moment of silence from his position aboard the international space station. >> as i look out the window i see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. unfortunately it is not. the crew of expedition 26 and the flight control centers around the world would like to observe a moment of silence in honor of all the victims which include my sister-in-law gabrielle giffords, a caring and dedicated public servant. >> reporter: at the white house this afternoon president obama again expressed remorse. >> obviously all of us are still grieving and in shock from the tragedy that took place to gabby giffords and others who are still fighting to recover, families are still absorbing the enormity of their losses. we have a criminal investigation that is ongoing,
and charges that no doubt will be brought against the perpetrator of this heinous crime. >> reporter: the shopping center where the shootings took place partially reopened this morning but the crime scene itself is still surrounded by yellow tape. f.b.i. agents used metal detectors to comb through the gravel in the parking lot median looking for more evidence. the accused shooter is maintaining his silence according to police. he made his first appearance in federal court in phoenix. loughner made no statement but answered questions from the judge and said he understood the charges against him. he was ordered held without bail. authorities filed five counts against loughner yesterday including attempted assassination of a member of congress. more charges are expected. meanwhile more details emerged about loughner's life before the shooting with friends and fellow students painting the picture of a disturbed and paranoid social outcast. he had a history of drug use and was rejected by the army for failing a drug test when he attemptd to join after high school in 2008.
this fall he spiraled deeper, dropping out of community college after being cited for multiple disruptions, and receiving a suspension in september. loughner was told he would need a mental health review before returning. in a june 14 email a classmate wrote, "we have a mentally unstable person in the class. he is one of those whose picture you see on the news after he has come into class with an automatic weapon." prosecutors also said a letter found in a safe at the home where loughner lived with his parents indicated he planned the rampage ahead of time. the note contained the words "i planned ahead. my assassination and giffords'." there was also a letter from the congresswoman thanking loughner for attending an event at a tucson mall in 2007, indicating they had had previous contact. >> he asked her some questions that made absolutely no sense to me. he said i can't believe she doesn't understand it. politicians just don't get it. >> reporter: also providing clues several you-tube videos posted by loughner featuring
rambling text against a dark background. in one he described inventing a new u.s. currency and complained about illiteracy in giffords' arizona congressional dits district. version of a my space page included a mysterious good-bye friends message published hours before the attack. he also added please don't be mad at me. saturday's deadly spoting spree was not a surprise to one of loughner's neighbors. >> i told my mother he was a serial killer. >> reporter: back in washington congressional business was postponed, including a vote scheduled this week to repeal the president's health care law. democratic congresswoman carol lynn mccarthy of new york said she planned to introduce legislation in the coming days to limit access to the type of gun loughner legally purchased, a 9 millimetre handgun. 911 calls released from the scene describe that weapon. >> semi-automatic pistol. he went in and started firing and then he ran.
there are multiple people shot. >> oh, my god. >> reporter: there was beefed-up security at giffords' office today, and federal law enforcement officials are planning a security briefing for members of congress on wednesday. >> ifill: for more on the tragedy in arizona, we turn to mayor bob walkup. he joins us from tucson. welcome, mr. mayor. you are quoted at saying this weekend that this was a tragic lesson. for whom? >> well, it is a tragedy. it's a tragedy for the city of tucson clearly. but it's also a tragedy for the state of arizona and i think it's a national tragedy that something like this has occurred. it is a time for learning and it's a time for prayer and it's a time for understanding how something like this could really happen. >> ifill: as elected official, as a lawmaker in arizona in tucson, what is it that you think you could have, should have, should be done to avoid
something like this? >> well, i can tell you that since i got word of this on saturday morning and i went directly to the hospital. then late in the evening participated in the candlelight vigil outside the hospital, i think it's becoming very clear that the citizens of the city of tucson believe that it's time for us to get back to civility. it's time for us to start caring about each other. it's time for us to be kind to each other. and we really need to start the process so that all of us don't have to fear an event like this, that takes the lives of six people and injures another 14 people. that's what i'm hearing from the citizens of tucson. >> ifill: are they asking you to do anything in particular rather than pray and hope that things get better? is there anything specific they're asking of their elected leaders? >> absolutely. i think that not only what
they're asking but we really need to take a look at t issue of security and how did something like this happen? and a lot of people are trying to figure that out. but what i think we need to do is we really need to, as a society, we need to establish civility, a pledge that all of us are going to get back to how we treat each other in kindness. that does not mean that we can't debate issues. but we don't have to target people. we don't have to deal with people in great anger. this is the time for caring. this is the time for understanding. >> ifill: mr. mayor, you're making a link between people caring for each other and civil discourse, and a person who allegedly is unstable, mentally unstable. in fact we hear tonight late reports that his family has built a barricade and won't
let people in the house, the f.b.i. in the house. how do you make that link between those two kinds of behaviors? >> i think there is something that society has really got to work with because mental illness is not just a local issue. this is a national issue where we really need to put more emphasis in really understanding mental disease and mental issues. this individual had apparently a considerable history that we should have begun to understand. we really need to-- we in the political jobs in support of the people that have elected us-- we get that kind of email all the time. i think it is time for us to say, you know, these are serious threats that we get. we just cannot dismiss them as being somebody that cannot affect... damage within a community. we need to take it seriously. >> ifill: you have been to the
hospital. you have met with gabrielle giffords' husband and also relatives of other victims. how are they holding up? >> well, we're down to a total number of 14 people that were injured that were treated. we're down to ten people and it looks as though another three have been released today. so i think we're going to be starting tomorrow with about five to six people that are still, maybe seven, still remaining in the hospital. they're doing well. gabby is doing as well as we could expect. her husband and i had a chance yesterday to go to her bedside and just stand and kind of look at her and kind of talk to her. even though she couldn't hear us. just pray for her recovery which we all believe is essential and a great possibility for her to come back and do the job that she
was elected to do. >> ifill: you obviously work closely with the congresswoman in her years in congress. she's been there while you've been mayor for a while. what kind of a colleague was she? what kind of a congresswoman was she, is she? >> yes, is she. i go back to the time before she was even elected to the state legislature. back in the late 1990s when she was a businessperson in the city of tucson. i knew her then. but interestingly enough in the 2000, 2003 she was a legislator and we worked on what we could do in tucson to ensure that the university medical center had a very high tech functional world class trauma center. she was involved in that process back in 2003. we have one of the best. as i look down at her, i was
reminded of how we work together to provide the trauma center that is saving her life. for me it was a very moving event. >> ifill: are think there any plans for a public memorial or observance? >> yes, there is. as a matter of fact, we haven't scheduled it yet but we believe that we're going to try to get everybody together, bring in all the people that would like to... in the public way to be able to say we're praying for all of the victims, the people that have died, funerals are scheduled for this week and next. for all those people that just want to come together. i believe that it's going to be sometime this friday that we'll have a public memorial service in the city of tucson. for all of the people that want to come and say, boy, we're sorry and we're praying for you and we're praying for gabby to recover and get back on the job. we love her dearly.
>> ifill: tucson mayor bob walkup, thank you so much for joining us. >> ifill: the tucson shootings also revived a debate over the connections-- if any-- between political rhetoric and violent acts. that debate quickly spread to washington and beyond. it began within the first hours after saturday's attack in tucson. pima county sheriff told a saturday news conference that angry talk could have incited the alleged gunman. >> when you look at unbalanced people, how they are... how they respond tothe vitriole that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government, the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrage us. >> lehrer: like congresswoman giffords, he is a democrat. and on sunday his criticism drew a response from arizona
republican senator jon kyl appearing on cbs. >> it was speculation, and i don't think we should rush to speculate. we really don't know what motivated this young person except to know that he was very mentally unstable. >> lehrer: ironically on friday giffords herself had e- mailed a republican friend, kentucky's secretary of state tray grayson. in it she wrote i think that we need to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down. after the shooting, talk about the impact of words quickly spilled over on to cable talk shows. on fox. >> it is left and right. there are whack jobs on both sides, okay. and everne, i think, acknowledges that. but there has been this obsession. >> lehrer: on ms-nbc where host keith oberman made this appeal on saturday night. >> at a time of such urgency and impact we as americans,
conservative or liberal should pour our hearts and souls into our politics. we should not, none of us, not gabby giffords, not any conservative ever have to pour our blood. every politician and commentator who hints otherwise or, worse, still ays silen now, should he no place in our political system and should be denied that place not by violence but by being shunned and ignored. >> lehrer: conservative radio talker rush limbaugh shot back today that calls to tone down rhetoric are actually a back doorway of stifling debate. >> when these types of events happen, i don't recall-- and i'm not aware of one conservative, one republican, one conservative blogger making a mad dash to a microphone, camera or a computer to blame a democrat or liberals for what happened in arizona on saturday. but a mad path was beaten.
don't kid yourself. what this is all about is shutting down any and all political opposition and eventually criminalizing it. criminalizing policy differences at least when they differ from the democrat party agenda. >> lehrer: some other debate focused on republican sarah palin, the former alaska govnor. in the mierm election campaign her political action committee's website included cross hairs over 20 targeted congressional districts, including giffords'. the congresswoman took note of it. in an interview with ms-nbc last year. >> we're on sarah palin's targeted list but the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the cross hairs of a gun site over our district. when people do that they have to realize there's consequences to that action. >> lehrer: palin has not spoken in public about turday's attack but she emailed her views to conservative commentator glen
beck who discussed them this morning on his radio show. >> she wrote back in part, i hate violence. i hate war. our children will not have peace. politicos capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and violence. >> lehrer: the country had a similar conversation following the 1995 oklahoma city bombing. then president clinton appealed to americans to denounce the forces of fear. >> when there is talk of hatred, let us stand up and talk against it. when there is talk of violence, let us stand up and talk against it. in the face of death, let us honor life. >> lehrer: today in congress amid the back-and-forth over the tucson shootings, there were also calls for calm from both sides. >> i think the message to cool it ought to be clear from this. maybe it has nothing to do
with this. maybe his almost insane meandering had nothing to do with watching the congress or with websites or blogs. >> all of us are particularly heart struck and saddened with the awful event in tucson. it gives us a step here to move forward in the right direction, shoulder to shoulder, knowing that we can certainly disagree on issues without being disagreeable. and i think it sets the right tone. >> lehrer: president obama himself once urged on followers during the 2008 campaign with a quip: if they bring a knife to a fight, we bring a gun. he has not addressed the issue of political rhetoric since saturday, but he did say today he wants to make sure that out of this tragedy we can come together as a stronger nation.
for more on the power of words, here now are shields and brooks: syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks, plus beverly gage, professor of american history at yale university, and kathleen hall jamieson, professor of communication and director of the annenberg public policy center at the university of pennsylvania. first, david, do you believe that the tucson sheriff was right to suggest there was a connection between the tucson shootings and vitriolic political speech. >> so far there's absolutely no evidence to that. there's evidence to the other side. if you look at what jared loughner did. we know a few things about him. one, he made these videos which were really described in a very confused attempt by an apparently mentally ill person to try to make sense of their lives and try to make sense of the categories of thought. it's all about categories and currencies of thought and grammar of thought and the government trying to control thoughts. and so the evidence that we do have suggests a person who is... thinks the government is
coming in and taking over his thoughts. it suggests if there is any evidence leading in think direction that he's a person suffering from an illness who is far removed from politics as we normally understand it. in the world he inhabits i think he was... the evidence would suggest so far that he was completely removed from the world of normal politics, from the world of civility, incivility or any that stuff. i think most of the rhetoric and most of the arguments that have been made about civility, god knows i'm in favor of it, but it's completely not germane to the tragedy in tucson. >> lehrer: not germane, mark. >> i disagree. i think, jim, that we have seen the deterioration of our public debate and the climate that has been fostered and nurtured by what could only be called hate speech. and i think that hate speech basically depersonalizes and demonizes political adversaries. that's not an adversary, not an oen... opponent. you're an enemy. i don't know if the causal
relationship here with this individual, but one should not be surprised that when you do demonize to the degree that we have done in our politics and has been done, whether it's calling george bush hitler or calling barack obama hitler or saying as glen beck did that he knows he's a racist, something happens. and what happens most of all is that this kind of speech is seen as not simply acceptable but appropriate. when it's repeated over and over again by people on major broadcast outlets and in major positions of power. i really do think that-- and i hope-- that this will come to a pause. it did after the assassination of martin luther king. there was a moderating of what had become then equally as ugly speech as we have now.
>> lehrer: kathleen, you follow these things very carefully. what would you... how would you characterize the state of, quote, hate speech as defined by mark? >> there are sites available on the internet that provide some of the worse examples of hate speech that one could imagine. one also, because of the accessibility of the internet, has now the... has created the capacity for troubled individuals to find homes in which they're enveloped in problematic kinds of discourse that the rest of us don't see and as a result don't critique. we also have, because of the nature of the news culture, the instances that i don't think are more prevalent than they once were, magnified to a greater extent than they once were. when the sheriff in arizona said he grew up in a very different environment, he was telling us something that is accurate. when i was growing up and when many my age were growing up, you knew, your family friends your immediate community and mainstream media. you didn't know about the
extremist sentiments that were out there. they probably were there about the same rate that they are right now. now when they're there they find their way into the media, sometimes into the internet. and sometimes into the mainstream in the form of cable talk and talk radio where they're repeated again and again leading us to think they're more typical than they actually are. >> lehrer: have you done any studies as to what... how that gets into somebody's head? a disturbed person's head and actually leads to things like tucson? i don't mean tucson specifically but to things like that some. >> we know from the studies of media violence that ongoing exposure to media violence has a small but... effect. it is magnified in troubled individuals, individuals who are more likely to be vulnerable. we know our popular culture models explicit violence including violence with guns in both film and in television. we know that that combines then with its internet culture
in which you have hate sites, extremists sites, paranoid sites to give troubled individual a model of forms of violence and also potentially reinforcement for troubling tendency. if that iividual hasn't had access to the kind of medical care that might calm the troubled spots, might work to correct the disorder, we potentially have a lethal combination in a changed cultural context from one in the past where we probably had as many people who were troubled but not as many driving toward violence. >> lehrer: do you agree with kathleen that we've got a changed cultural context for all of this now? >> i do agree on some level. i think americans have a tendency overall to forget how much violence has actually shaped our past politically as well as non-politically. when people say that today our culture is more politically divided than ever before it's important to remember, oh, that there were little things like the civil war and other
moments of really deep political conflict in our past. but i do think that what has changed now is the frequency, as kathleen said, with which people are really exposed to conversations and to ideas that they might not have had before. we had lots of acts of political violence in our past and, in fact, many of them have been quite similar to this case in which you have someone who is an individual, whose actual relationship to any sort of coherent set of political ideas or any kind of political institution has been somewhat ify, but even in those instances this has provoked a lively and important debate about what the relationship is between speech and deeds and i think in this case given that we're all now exposed to so much more speech than we once were, it's a profoundly important debate to have. >> lehrer: profoundly important debate to have. >> yeah but not today. >> lehrer: why not today. >> this is in the context of this horrific crime.
there's hate speech and there's uncivil speech. mark and i conduct ourselves every week in a certain manner which i think is better than most people in television punditry. i wish all of politics was conducted in the manner that we do if i can pat myself on the back. >> lehrer: you may and i agree with you. >> but that has nothing to do, a, it's very problematic to take political speech and then translate it into political action. kathleen haljamieson mentioned some studies. i think those studies between speech and action are extremely murky. it's worth pointing out at a time when political speech has gotten much more violent political assassinations have not increased. at a time when video games have gotten much more violent, crime rates have come down. movies as well. the relationship between speech and media and actual action is extremely murky and correlation is not cautionation. we shouldn't make that link very easily. finally in this case in this heightened atmosphere a lot of the coverage i saw after the killing tried to take the
killing and to beat over the head certain people. i have no great love for sarah palin. i have no great love for the tea party movement or the anti-immigration movement. but to say that their speech was somehow responsible or created or contributed to the killing of those people, including a nine-year-old girl, to me that was not only irrelevant that was irresponsible. that is what i saw all weekend. >> lehrer: kathleen, irrelevant, irresponsible? >> i don't think that you can draw any association between acts of individual political speech and any specific kind of behavior. i think there's no theoretical basis for suggesting. when i was talking modeled violence it was to suggest that on the margins modeling violence at an increasingly level can have an effect on some vulnerable individuals. over the last decade-and-a-half we've increased the access to mental health services the access to medications to help those mentally troubled.
the ib crease in media violence being modeled should have a lessened effect. it doesn't mean it will affect all people all the time. it's going to affect on the margin a small portion of the population. but i think werb remain concerned about explicitly modeled violence in an entertainment culture when you have high levels of access to lethal weapons. one of them was used this weekend. >> lehrer: mark, you believe this is a legit debate. >> i do think it's a legitimate debate. i don't think there's any question that the debasing of our public debate. >> lehrer: what about david's suggestion though that this being used for political reasons. >> i don't think there's any question. >> lehrer: the democrats are the ones leaping on sarah pal. >> i think it's being used. i don't think it's democrats. all things are being used. i think the sarah palin thing is a reach far beyond a bridge too far. i really do. i mean, the sites on the thing. just really targeting a district, no.
but what i'm saying is this. david is a member of congress and so am i. this is what has happened to our language. this is what's happening to our democracy. instead of saying david on an issue on the other side is misinformed on or mistaken, i say david doesn't love america. he's evil. he obviously doesn't believe in the same god we believe in. he doesn't believe in the same country we believe in. he's owned by other people and other interests. probably foreign interests. when this happens, this not only debases our debate. what it does is it forecloses democracy from working. it means that we won't be able to be allies in a future event or on a future issue because i would then be talking with.... >> lehrer: consorting with the enemy. >> talking with somebody who obviously doesn't love enemy. civility is not a sign of weakness. it has become a sign of weakness. i'll tell you one quick anecdote. when dan rot ten could you ski died last summer i pointed
out. >> lehrer: the democratic congressman. >> chairman of the ways and means committee chicago. i pointed out on a discussion that it was a different congress. they only had one... they used to have to drive back and forth to chicago. he drove back with bob michels the republican house leader and another republican in a station wagon. they switched turns driving. they had a cot in the back. one of them slept. i raise this. conservative, you know, pundit, whatever you want to call him, this proves that michael wasn't a real republican. this just proves that he was, you know, a house puppy or whatever else. i mean, that's what is happening to our politics. and the language has contributed to this climate. it's just debased it. >> lehrer: beverly gauge, do you smell the possibility, not the probability or certainly the certainty, that this
tragedy could in fact lead to some open discussions not directly related because... not accusing anybody of doing anything that resulted in the killing but might actually change the dialogue and the tenor of the dialogue, the public dialogue? >> i think there is a real possibility of that. i think there has been moments in the past when an act of really wrenching violence like this has in fact caused americans to step back, do a little bit of soul searching and take on these bigger political questions particularly at moments of kind of extreme political combat. one that occurs to me is the 1963 bombing of the 16th street baptist church in birmingham, alabama. it was a moment of heightened political conflict. really the peak of the civil rights movement. in the middle of that, you had a whole series of other acts of violence that had not in fact called the question. but when this happened,
killing famously four little girls, children who became really a symbol of the kinds of escalating rhetoric and the kinds of violence that had been occurring around the united states, you did see a moment in which americans stepped back and not only sort of said who did this, what was going on with this particular individual, what were his politics? was he mentally unstable, but really asked, you know, is there something about us? is there something about the united states, about our laws, about the way we go about our politics that make things like this possible? >> did that happen after oklahoma city as well, beverly? >> well, to some degree it did and it didn't. oklahoma city is probably our best parallel to this current situation. oklahoma city in 1995 came in the wake of the election of the gingrich congress with a fairly heated anti-government rhetoric. these were also the early days of right wing talk radio and
particularly rush limbaugh had really just come on the scene as a prominent figure. after the oklahoma city bombing, you did actually get a national discussion once again. was there a relationship between what's being said at these highest levels of power and influence, particularly on the right, and ed what with timothy mcveigh? in the end i think that conversation didn't actually get us very far. what happened after oklahoma city is of course you had the criminal prosecution of timothy mcveigh, a couple of his accomplices as well, and his eventual execution. you got something of a law enforcement crackdown on the militia movement and on sort of the far right relatively fringe movements but i think the conversation that was starteded then ultimately about our national discourse and where it was going didn't sustain for very long and maybe if it had we would be in a different position today in the 21st century. >> lehrer: kathleen, before we go, what's your memory of what
happened after oklahoma city? do you agree it kind of petered out after a while or did it have some lasting effect? >> it petered out after a while but there's an underlying tendency in particularly congressional rhetoric in which after the turnover in power and the 104th had just occurred when the turnovers in power you have higher levels of incivility as they adjust to their new role. by the second session the level of civility in congress had returned to its historic norm. this tends to ebb and flow. you have moments in which it speaks up and then the institution tends to right itself because incivility doesn't correlate with productivity. he won't be re-elected if you don't accomplish very much. >> lehrer: we're going to leave it there. thank you all four very much. >> ifill: judy woodruff gets the latest now on congresswoman giffords' uphill medical battle.
>> woodruff: and for that, i'm joined in tucson by doctor peter rhee. he's the chief of trauma and emergency surgery at university medical center. he's a member of the team that has been treating the congresswoman. thank you for talking with us, dr. rhee. >> thank you. >> woodruff: it's a little more than two days now. tell us how she's doing. >> so far things are going well. we have not taken any steps bkwards. there have been no complications. so far, you know, we're happy with where we are. but we have to give her some time to see how she's going to do. >> woodruff: can you be any more specific about the positive signs you're seeing and why they give you hope. >> well, this is a time period when the brain will go through its healing phase. while i'm optimistic in many ways because, one, the brain skull is not on the... on top of this injured brain. so if it needs to grow and get a little bigger during this time period, it has the room to do so. i'm not as worried from that point of view. however, there's still natural
swelling that will go on to the brain cells. if they occur, it can occur anywhere from the first day all the way to the third, fourth, fifth day. during that time period, a person can actually go backwards. their neuro logical status can get a little worse. that has not occurred so i'm very happy. she's at the point that she was before if not a little better. all of her other conditions, her blood sugar and her laboratories and her blood level and so are exactly where we want it to be. overall we're very happy with this. we just want to give her some time and let the brain heal. at this point it will be very slow, slow progress. >> woodruff: you said earlier today that she's responding to commands. is that on both sides of her body? >> at this point we don't want to be too specific with this because i think a lot of people are going to really cling on to every word that we make. we don't want to give false hope at this point. right now i can just say that
it's about the same as it was yesterday. we're very optimistic about the future. >> woodruff: i want to take you back to when she was brought to the hospital where you first saw her on saturday. you've seen a lot of trauma in your experience. we know you've been in the battlefield. when you first saw her, what was your take? >> well i was very happy and optimistic because when she came to us she was alive. she was having some response to our commands and requests so i knew that her brain was alive. at that point if they come to me like that, then i know i can, you know, save her life and be... and our team will do everything that we need to. i know that she wasn't at least going to die. that's what i was happy about at that stage. >> woodruff: can you show us, dr. rhee by pointing to your own head where the bullet entered and where it exited. >> i'd love to do that but right now i've been requested not to because i think the crime scene is not fully
investigated yet. also the family has asked that we not be too graphic about that. suffice to say that, you know, it was a bad head injury that went through her brain. >> brooks:. >> woodruff: and the left side of her head. it's our understanding that it's better that it's just on one side. >> that's right. if it goes on both sides, the chance of you dying from that is very, very high. it's almost 100%. >> woodruff: and dr. rhee at this stage what are you and the other physicians who are working with her most concerned about? >> at this stage, the concern is about the swelling. we're going to just basically not try to disturb her too much over the next few days. if she continues to make progress like she's doing now, we're very optimistic. we're hoping that the next point we'll be able to overcome when i can get her off the breathing machine. if everything goes well 2, 3, 4 days from now that will
happen. >> woodruff: i know you don't want to predict the future. you did use the word slow a few minutes ago. what is the range of recovery for something like that? >> it's hard to say. i've seen people wake up and all of a sudden one minute they'll open their eyes and start, you know, it's like their computer just booted right back up. that has occurred. that's not too uncommon as well. when you have injuries to the head and to the brain it's just so unpredictable as to when that will occur. if she didn't do anything for a while, meaning a couple of weeks that's still not uncommon. that doesn't mean i'm going to lose any hope. if she doesn't to anything for a very long period of time, for about six months or so, that still doesn't mean she can't recover. the brain is very unpredictable at this time period. >> woodruff: finally dr. rhee, just a word about the others still in the hospital. how are they doing? what's their prognosis? >> well, thanks for asking because i think a lot of times
we forget that there were many people injured that day. it's fortunate that i can say that everybody is doing well. no one is in danger of actually losing their lives at this time period. but the trauma center's resources are in full action at this point. we're concentrating on not just keeping them alive or putting their body parts back together but working on the patients as a whole, as a human being and making sure thok go back to their life the way they were. some patients will require multiple surgeries to finish the work. other people who will be ready to go home fairly soon. and then there's others that are going to need some help as far as cognitive rehabilitation or the fact that they may go through some post traumatic stress disorders. we have to give them all the social services they need with psychiatry, psychologists and other types of resources like that. >> woodruff: i know, dr. rhee, you said earlier today this has taken a toll not just on the families, the individuals
affected but on the caregivers there at the hospital, the staff, the doctors and nurses and everyone. we want to all be mindful of that at this time. thank you very much for talking with us. >> thank you very much. bye-bye. >> lehrer: still to come on the newshour, south sudan votes on independence. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman in our newsroom. >> holman: the man accused of murdering a pakistani politician confessed to the crime in court today. mumtaz qadri appeared a day early before a crowd of supporters could gather. qadri admitted shooting to death salman taseer, the governor of punjab province, last week. taseer had criticized laws that carry the death penalty for insulting islam. meanwhile, in rome, pope benedict xvi urged pakistan to reverse its blasphemy laws. he said they trigger violence against non-muslims.
across the border, in afghanistan, vice president biden arrived in kabul for a surprise visit. he arrived amid tight security, and planned to assess the progress of afghan forces. a u.s. pullout is set to begin in july. meetings with afghan president hamid karzai and u.s. troops also were on biden's schedule. iran announced today a series of arrests in the murder of a nuclear scientist. he was killed by a bomb outside his home last january. state tv said agents rounded up a network of israeli spies involved in the attack. and in abu dhabi today, u.s. secretary of state hillary clinton said nuclear sanctions against iran are making an impact. the most recent analysis is that the sanctions have been working. they have made it much more difficult for iran to pursue its nuclear ambition. >> holman: diplomats from the five permanent members of the u.n. security council and germany are scheduled to meet with iranian officials later this month for a second round of nuclear talks. a massive snow and ice storm has brought large parts of the
southern u.s. to a standstill, and left at least five people dead. sleet, ice, and snow blanketed states from louisiana to the carolinas today. more than 2,000 flights were canceled across the region, the bulk at atlanta's airport, the busiest in the world. parts of atlanta got up to seven inches of snow, but the city has just eight snow plows. flash floods in australia killed eight people today. more than 70 others were missing. the city of toowoomba in queensland state was hit hard. it was part of widespread flooding that's plagued the region for weeks. heavy rain triggered today's deluge, and sent a 26-foot wall of water into low-lying areas. it trapped some people in cars, and left others clinging to trees. from there, the torrent headed east toward the state capital, brisbane. the former majority leader of the u.s. house, tom delay, now faces three years in a texas prison. the houston republican was
sentenced today in state court. he'd been convicted of money laundering to funnel corporate funds to republicans running for the state legislature. delay said in court today he still does not believe he broke any law. he'll remain free, pending his appeal. wall street struggled to make any headway today. the dow jones industrial average lost 37 points to close at 11,637. the nasdaq rose four points to close above 2707. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: finally tonight, the making of a new nation. as residents of southern sudan vote on a referendum to secede from the north, dozens have been killed in violence along the border separating the two regions. but in the southern capital, juba, there is only celebration. fred de sam lazaro has been covering the story for us. ray suarez talked with him earlier today. >> suarez: fred, you're in what may be the capital of a new country some day. what's the atmosphere been like in juba? what's it like right now. >> ray, it is jubilant.
people have never experienced anything like this before in their history. we hear it likened frequently to what happened in 1994 in south africa. there is great exuberance and unmitigated joy everywhere you go. >> suarez: is that at all tempered by the sense that they're doing something pretty profound, splitting a country heading off into a future that's hard to see is very rosey? >> indeed. there is a lot of work to do beginning with simply the mechanics of putting together a separation agreement. there needs to be an agreement hashed out on how the oil wealth will be shared. there needs to be an agreement on how the external debt of sudan will be shared between north and south. there needs to be citizen rights issues sorted out. there is a whole host of issues. all that has been set aside to celebrate an event know many people thought completely
improbable not very long ago. the history of this nation has been very, very painful one in the south. it's known nothing but war since its independence and the very fact that this plebiscite has actually occurred simply has people intoxicated by the fact that they've been able to vote freely. >> suarez: let's talk about that vote. has it gone smoothly? what are the international observers saying? >> for e most part it's gone very smoothly. there have been what one analyst called a pin prick event in odd locations across this vast land. some of it goes on during nomadic migrations. in any event this stuff has gone on forever and may not be actually related to the election. but for the most part the election has gotten pretty high marks, clean bill, a clean report card. >> suarez: are most of the voters saying they favor separation? >> very, very much so.
it's hard to find anybody that is voting for unity. we found a few oil workers in the border region where i've hung out for the last couple of days. that was the one place where we had people say we ought to stay together but a tiny sample that is. and without question, this is going to be an overwhelming yes vote. for separation, that is. >> suarez: has there been any official or unofficial reaction from the north? has khartoum had anything to say about this plebiscite since the polls opened? >> nothing we've been able to hear firsthand. beef her the president of sudan talk conciliatory, in conciliatory terms just a few days ago. he talked today according to president carter who is here as an observer, he reported that president bashir agreed to take on all of the debt that this country has. but there has been so much
acrimony between north and south that no one here quite pays any attention to what is declared from the north because there just isn't credibility for that in the south. >> suarez: if the vote goes as overwhelmingly as predicted in favor of secession, is there a counterpoint? is there a group or a leader who will be able to negotiate with the north on behalf of the people of the south? >> well, the giant leader, the nelson mandela, if you will, although i don't want to stretch that comparison too much, john karang was killed in a plane crash in 2005. the current president was his deputy. and he is a somewhat known quantity. he would be the leader of south sudan. he will be leading a fractious nation which has seen its own ethnic divisions erupt in violence from time to time. there are a number of worries about how well the south will hold together, but again in the euphoria of this vote,
everybody is very united in the south. we haven't heard a peep about the potential problems with the southern tribes. >> suarez: fred de sam lazaro is in juba in south sudan. fred, good to talk with you. >> good to talk with you, ray. >> ifill: fred's report is a partnership with the pulitzer center on crisis reporting and the undertold stories project at saint mary's university in minnesota. >> lehrer: again, on the tucson tragedy today, the man charged with shooting arizona congresswoman gabrielle giffords appeared in federal court in phoenix. jared loughner was ordered held without bail. the congresswoman remained heavily sedated, with a brain wound, in a tucson hospital. doctors again expressed optimism about her recovery. and to kwame holman in our newsroom, for what's on the newshour online. kwame? >> holman: fred blogs about his visit to a church in south sudan. find that on the rundown. and there's much more on the arizona story.
plus, margaret warner checks in from seoul. read her post about how south koreans view their neighbors in the north. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. gwen? >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll look at mental health screening in the wake of the attacks in tucson. i'm gwen ifill. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you online, andgain reomorw eving. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: like electricians, mechanics, carpenters. >> every year chevron spends billions with small businesses. >> that goes right to the heart of local communities providing jobs, keeping people at work. they depend on us. >> the economy depends on us. >> and we depend on them.
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