tv PBS News Hour PBS April 8, 2013 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: margaret thatcher, the british leader who helped transform cold war politics, has died. good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, we remember the "iron lady" in three parts. first, her impact as britain's first female prime minister. >> ifill: then we revisit a 1981 then we revis it a 1981 interview with thatcher and our own robert macneil and jim leer. >> woodruff: and we examine her legacy with two former u.s. secretaries of state, james baker, and george shultz.
and former canadian prime minister tim campbell. >> ifill: as congress grapples with gun legislation we look at several states' efforts to pass gun law of of their own. >> woodruff: with close with another legacy of the cold war with reports from germ answer on new efforts to protect what remains of the berlin wall. >> attitudes toward the wall have shifted in the last two decades. now many germans want to preserve it. so the mistakes of the past won't be repeated. >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> and by b.p. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. 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. >> ifill: britain and the world marked the passing of former prime minister margaret thatcher today. she was the first woman to lead any major western power, and became a transformational figure at home and abroad.
margaret warner begins our coverage. >> warner: britain's longest serving prime minister of the 20th century dieded this morning after suffering a stroke. flags at number 10 downing street and buckingham palace were lowered to half staff. as an impromptu memorial appeared outside her london home. honoring the steely woman who had transformed her nation's economy and politics and reasserted its voice in the world. current prime minister david cameron, like thatcher, a conservative, reflected on her legacy. >> as our first woman prime minister, margaret thatcher succeeded against all the odds, and the real thing about margaret thatcher is that she didn't just lead our country; she saved our country. and i believe she'll go down as the greatest british peacetime prime minister. >> warner: thatcher came from humble beginnings, the daughter of a grocer in central england. yet she rose through conservative party ranks, winning a seat to parliament in
1959 and later serving as minister of education. then in 1979, after years of labor party domination, thatcher led a tory resurgence that catapulted her to the office of prime minister, a post she held for more than 11 years. >> where there is discourse, may we bring harmony. where there is error may we bring truth. where there is doubt, may we be bring. and may we bring hope. >> warner: she brought a free market revolution to britain, lowering taxes and privatizing state industries. in the early 1980s, she curbed the sweeping powers of britain's labor unions and triggered a year-long dispute with the the national union of miners after she shuttered government-owned coal mines across the country. >> what we've got is an attempt to substitute the rule of the mob for the rule of law. and it must not.
>> warner: britain's economy rebounded from her tgh medicine and for her leadership style she was dubbed the iron lady. she clearly reveled in it. >> for those waiting with baited breath for that the u-turn, i have only one thing to say. u-turn if you want to. the lady is not turning. >> warner: but her unyielding policies roused more than political hostility. the irish republican army bombed the conservative party in brighton in a bid to assassinate her. years later in the 1996 documentary, thatcher maintained none of the criticism ever bothered her. >> life isn't fair. there's no point in getting to a sense of it if you're in politic. you have to know what you're doing can be justified by principle, by argument, and to
put it across. that's the important thing. >> warner: she was just as hard nosed in asserting britain's influence abroad. in 1982 she ordered british foes to reclaim the talk lands. after argentina's military hunta invaded the islands. the war left about 2555 britons dead but it earned thatcher huge support at home. in washington, she found a kindred spirit in president ronald reagan, sharing her harder line toward the soviet union in the climactic final years of the cold war. yet when thatcher met with incoming soviet leader mikhail gorbachev in late 1984 she famously declared that "we can do business with him." five years later she was in power when the berlin wall came down. in 1990 when iraq invaded kuwait thatcher backed a tough response urging president george h.w. bush not to go wobbly on confronting saddam hussein.
but back home, thatcher's own grip on power was wobbling after 11 years in office her public support flagged amid inflation and renewed recession. and the conservative party voted her out. >> after 11-and-a-half wonderful years. >> warner: even after her fall from power thatcher often drew large crowds at campaign events. nearly upstaging her successor john major at a conservative party conference in 1992. that same year she was named a baroness. for many of the '90s she made lucrative lecture tours. margaret thatcher's withdrawal from public eye began in 2002 when a series of small strokes prompted her to cut back on public appearances and speaking events. it was the first of many health problems, including a struggle with dementia that shadowed her later years. for a time thatcher did continue to appear at select private events and state functions. and in the summer of 2004 she
returned to the united states for the funeral of former president reagan though she paid her respects in a prerecorded video. >> we have lost a great president, a great american, and a great man. and i have lost a dear friend. >> warner: in 2005 thatcher was well enough to attend her 80th birthday celebration a londo hotel. in 2007 the unveiling of her statue in the houses of parliament. in 2010 she made one of her last visits to 10 downing street at the invitation of prime minister david cameron. after that, as depicted in the 2011 movie, the iron lady, her dissent into dementia kept her largely shut in. today queen elizabeth authorized a ceremonial funeral with military honors for the former prime minister at st. paul's cathedral in london. margaret thatcher was 87 years ol
>> woodruff: and we have much more about margaret thatcher coming up, including her interview with macneil and lehrer; plus, secretaries baker and schultz on her legacy today. also ahead, how states are tackling guns, and new efforts to protect the berlin wall. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: a suicide bomber in syria blew up his car in damascus today, killing at least 15 people. it happened in the city's financial district. rescue workers searched the smoking wreckage for survivors. the state news agency said the blast wounded 146 people. other reports had that number at 53. the body of an american diplomat killed in afghanistan was flown back to dover air force base in delaware today for a private ceremony. 25-year-old anne smedinghoff was one of five americans who died in a suicide bombing on saturday. the group was delivering textbooks to school children in the southern city of zabul. the taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. north korea has cut its last major ties to the south, suspending operations at a joint industrial complex.
it was the latest north korean move that's raised tensions in the region. we have a report narrated by juliet bremner of independent television news. >> reporter: the latest ratcheting up of north korean rhetoric. the announcement on the state news that all workers will be called out of the industrial zone jointly run with the south. the complex is just about the only place where the fractious neighbors continue to cooperate. as workers were pulled out, it was seen as self-defeating for the north who rely on the revenue. but it is another sign of their defiance. at this time of heightened tensions, every action, every word has potentially devastating consequences. dogs on training maneuvers with north korean soldiers... was forced to retract earlier warnings that the north may be on the verge of carrying out
another nuclear attack. the south who have moved their military hardware up to the border rapidly modified their statement saying that activity around the underground test site didn't amount to evidence that a fourth test was imminent. but it is causing increased anxiety amongst the international community. the u.n. secretary general calling the latest north korean move provocative. >> i sincerely hope that they will fully comply with the resolutions. from the international community including myself. >> reporter: but no one can be certain just how far the new ung leader will push his demands for international sanctions to be relaxed. >> sreenivasan: the web site wikileaks staged a major new document dump today, even as founder julian assange remains holed up in london. the site released some 1.7 million u.s. government files
from 1973 through 1976. they include a host of once- secret memos written by then- secretary of state henry kissinger. in washington, a spokesman said wikileaks wants the material to see the light of day. >> one form of secrecy is the complexity and the accsibility o documents. it seems to be that the current government is not making a huge effort in making these historical documents accessible. in this way we are providing a public service. >> sreenivasan: assange appeared at the briefing via skype from the ecuadorian embassy in london. he sought asylum there last june to evade extradition to sweden on sex crime allegations. there was new fallout today in a sports scandal at rutgers university. the school fired basketball coach mike rice last week after a video showed him shoving players and using gay slurs. now, rutgers has announced an independent review of rice's conduct and the university's initial response. the school president said he is also reviewing practice videos of other sports. an annual report card on u.s.
airlines shows they've turned in their second best performance in the 23 years they've been tracked. on-time performance in 2012 was up over a year earlier, and mishandled baggage rates were down. even so, customer complaints rose, especially over shrinking seats and overbooked planes. virgin america had the best overall performance; united airlines had the worst. the u.s. senate confirmed mary jo white today, as chair of the securiti and exchange commission. she's a former federal prosecutor in new york. and on wall street, stocks started the week on a high note. the dow jones industrial average gained 48 points to close at 14,613. the nasdaq rose 18 points to close at 3222. former mouseketeer and teen movie star annette funicello died today. she passed away at a hospital in bakersfield, california, of complications from multiple sclerosis. funicello first gained fame on tv's "mickey mouse club" in the late 1950's, and then, in several disney films. ter, she teamed with franki avalon in a serieof "beh" movies in the early '60s.
annette funicello was 70 years old. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: we return to margaret thatcher and look back to our program's archive. when she sat down with the newshour's founders, robert macneil and jim lehrer, they got a taste of the steely resolve of the "iron lady" when they attempted to ask her repeatedly about the news of that day which happened to be el salvador. here are excerpts from the 1981 interview. >> good evening from washington. british prime minister margaret thatcher finished two days of talks today with president reagan and u.s. officials. impressed, she said, with the striking similarity between our aims and policies. mrs. thatcher is the first major allied leader to visit the new president. earlier this afternoon, jim leer and i discussed some of these issues with mrs. thatcher at blair house.
>> a short while ago it was announced that you are delaying your departure from washington in the morning to have a special unscheduled second session with president reagan. has something urgent arisen, something special or what? >> no. i i think it's a lovely idea. my husband and me to go around to the white house to say good-bye and to say how very much we've enjoyed the trip. >> we were afraid that maybe something had come up on el salvador or something like that. that's not the case. >> i don't think we would be so ham-handed to do that way if it had. >> in your conversations with the president, secretary hagan others, with a full range of tions that could be employed to stop this outside interference, were they gone over with you? >> no. actually the proportion of questions i've had on el salvador from interviewers far exceeds the proportion of time we spent on discussing this particular matter. >> why didn't you spend more time talking about el salvador. >> because there were a lot of
other things to talk about as well. >> it's not that important then in the total scheme of things? >> no, i think you're trying to grope for something for some meaning that isn't there. >> we don't want to devote a fantastic amount of time to it but i would like to grope a little further. >> grope away. i assure you i'm very good, you know, at giving you the answer i want to give. >> i'm sure. >> woodruff: for more on the legacy of margaret thatcher, i'm joined by two former secretaries of state who worked extensively with the british prime minister, george schultz served under president ronald reagan, and james baker served under president george h.w. bush. we welcome you both to the newshour. secretary shultz, let me begin with you. you worked in that position for seven years under ronald reagan. so you worked with her as much as if not more than anyone else in government at that time. what was she like? >> she was very clear.
very well informed. she was... loved to have a good discussion. she didn't like it if you toadied to her. she liked it when you stood up and argued so that's what i did. your interview cipith mcneil and lehrer reminded me of a time when she had been in camp david and i flew down with her to andrews air force base to see her off. and at the base, there was a news interview. and she stood there and reporters would ask these questions, and she would say, now, that's not a very good question. if you had formed it like this, then that would be something of a question worth answering. and here's the answer to the question you should have asked. she did that a few times. en ere wen't any more questions. >> woodruff: secretary baker, you, of course, not only interacted with her in the first bush administration as secretary of state. you of course were also white
house chief of staff, treasury secretary under president reagan. so you interacted with her in several different capacities. what do you remember about her? >> well, i remember how strong and determined a leader she was. i remember what a great friend of the united states she was. i remember how shein eec le a conservative revolution in a number of countries by being elected in 1979 in the united kingdom just before ronald reagan was elected in 1980 in america. and you had the election of conservative leaders in germany with helmut kohl and canada with brian mulroney shortly thereafter or contemporaneously there with so it was quite a conservative revolution in governments aroundhewold. i ree with what george said.
she really didn't mind it at all if you argued with her. if you engaged or jousted with her on policy. and we did... we had to do that as well from time to time. i never will forget an incident in the oval office when we were trying to convince her that we should go to the united nations to get a resolution of rce authorizing e ejection ofiraq from kuwait. we didn't have the support of the congress. we had a democratic house and a democratic senate. and it was our view that if we got the rest of the world behind this effort, we could then get the american congress which proved to be the case. but she didn't want to go to the u.n. because she was afraid we might go for the resolution and not get it. of course, our plan was never to bring it up unless we knew we had the votes to get it. i will never forget her sitting there after 45 minutes of
discussing this issue, she turned to president bush andshe said, oh, george let just go do it. well, i can understand that is her view of article 51 of the u.n. charter gave us the authority and it probably did but we needed the political support. we wanted to have and were able to ultimately to achieve that unprecedented international coalition to kick iraq out of kuwait. >> woodruff: secretary shultz, what was she like in those situations? what was she like as a partner, as someone who, i assume the dminisation aged with much of the time but maybe not all the time. >> well, she was a person with whom you could really discuss a subject in depth. because she had done her homework. she had thought about the things that we were interested in. and so you always could learn something from talking with her.
and you could see that her mind was open to learning whatever you had to say. every time i went to the soviet uon i shad with her directly what impressions i had. whenever she had any contacts she let us know right away what her observations were. so she was really an excellent partner. but she could also give you what-for. i remember when the big reagan-gorbachev meeting in reyjavik took place. at that meeting we talked about the possibility of a world free of nuclear weapons. i had hardlyotten back to washington when i was summoned to the british ambassador's residence, practically summoned to meet with margaret. and you remember she used to carry a little handbag. well, i learned that there's a verb in the british language
called to-be-handbagged. she said, george, how could you sit there and allow the president to talk about a world free of nuclear weapons? i said, but, margaret, he's the president. "yes, but you're supposed to be the one with his feet on the ground." "b, maar, agreed with him." boy, did i get it. she had very clear views and she made them known to you. >> woodruff: secretary baker, what was her influence on president reagan and on the first president bush? to what extent did she make it easier especially for president reagan to deal with the soviets, to open... >> well, she made... i think she made it much easier for both president reagan and president bush to do so by early on commenting, you know, that after she met with gorbachev she said, you know, this is somebody that i think we can do business with. well, that made it a lot easier for a republican president to engage with the soviet union
something that the very conservative base of the republican party was not enthusiastic about. if you had the iron lady saying this is someone we can do business with, it made it a lot easier for both of those presidents to engage. but, you know, we've mentioned a couple of instances where there wera mino disagreements. for the most part, everything was pretty much seamless between prime minister thatcher and both of those presidents. reagan and bush. i do remember one occasion, george will remember this, when we were about to invade grenade a, the first name the united states had used force since the vietnam war, military force. we, therefore, were holding it pretty close. we called the prime minister the night before the operation was to go down, and i was on the phone taki note whe president reagan talked to her.
he told her that tomorrow morning we're going to invade gren knowed a, that was a commonwealth country. she thought we should have called her while we were developing the plans, not after they were in train, in effect. she said, ronnie, this is notification not consultation. she was not a happy camper. but that just shows you, i think, that she was... she felt free to speak her mind but for the most part and in most instances she was 100% with the united states on practically every issue. >> woodruff: secretary shutle, how much did it matter that she was a woman? >> she was a very attractive woman. so you were certainly aware of that. but it didn't sort of feel i'm dealing with a woman and there's something special about her. she was just straightforward. a straightforward person. but i would like to make a comment on the attitude toward
the soviets. she and ronald reagan shared something that was not wide ad. but made a big difference. they were both very tough-minded. they both thought that if you kept the pressure on long enough, change would come to the soviet union. that's the underlying significance of the remark jim quoted on gorbachev is somebody we can do business with. you didn't just sit there and assume nothing could ever change. you sat there and you had a hard line but at the sa time when we sawhe opportunity to develop change, we seized it. as jim indicated, that was not the view of a lot of conservative people. but the view that change could come turned out to be right. she and ronald reagan shared that view. >> woodruff: and so, secretary baker, how much of that was her
legacy? what is the legacy that she leaves? >> well, i think she... i really think it's not a stretch to say that she changed the arc of history. she certainly did as far as the u.k. is concerned. i think working with president reagan and working with president bush 41, she changed the arc of history as far as the world is concerned. i mean, you think about the developments that took place during that, i guess, ten-year period, she came in in '79 and left in '90. 11 years. look at the change that took place. it wundamenal changen many, many. .. with respect to many things around the world. so i don't think it's a stretch to say she changed the arc of history. i had the privilege of dealing with her not only in diplomatic
and plit calgary matters... political matters, but also economic matters because i was treasury secretary for almost four years while she was prime minister. and i dealt with her in that capacity. of course she left a legacy there as well, particularly in the u.k. where shemphasied the private sector and got rid of the oppressive influence of the trade union. >> woodruff: secretary shultz, that was a controversial part of her legacy. how much did that affect how you were able to deal with her? how did that affect her? the criticism she was facing at home? >> she didn't seem to be bothered by it. and of course the ultimate test is she got re-elected. so ifyou win, maybe people are criticizing you but you have the majority with you. and i agree with jim
wholeheartedly that she changed the arc... she with ronald reagan together changed the arc of history. and i would put it in one word: freedom. that was her tag line. freedom. freedom at home for markets to work. freedom abroad for countries to find their way and to have respectable, responsible, elected governnts. >> woodruf we arso pleed to ha both of you join us this evening. former secretaries of state george shultz and jim baker. thank you. >> thank you, judy. as well as treasury secretary >> woodruff: as we've said, thatcher was the first woman to head a major western power. one woman who watched her closely, and later became canada's first and only female prime minister, is kim campbell. she took office two and half years after thatcher resigned. welcome to the program. prime minister campbell, we heard secretary george shultz y at thefact that margaret
thatcher was a woman didn't really have a great deal, if anything, to do with how she was seen by him and by others who dealt with her. how did you see her? as someone who came along in politics shortly thereafter? >> well, it's interesting. the summer of '93 when i was traveling canada as a new leap minted prime minister, little old men would say to me you're going to be our margaret thatcher. it was clear that she had created a constituency for female leaders in very interesting places. i think that eve wom who wants ead, eeryoman who is leading today owes her a debt because she just drop-kicked all of the stereotypes about women as leaders. you know, out of the ballpark. she was tough. she was able to see things through. she was also remarkably feminine. very lovely looking woman. watching the old clips of her it's kind of touching to be reminded of what a lovely woman she was. she also was a modern politician. she took steps to lower her
voice. and when meone ofr to remake her image she did. she was accused of being too much of a clothes horse. she allowed herself to become dowdy. when she became prime minister she always looked great. but she really just i think opened up a space for women in other countries to be credible as leaders. there were things you didn't have to compromise anymore. this notion that you could not be tough and still be feminine, that they would be some way that you weren't really a woman if you wanted to lead a country or if you were prepared to send people into battle. it just wasn't the cas s jus established that oce nd f all. >> woodruff: the advertising public relations firm she consulted when she was running for prime minister. are you saying though that women in politics around the world look to margaret thatcher? >> well, whether they look to her themselves or not -- and she's controversial and people have different views. i was a graduate student in london in the early '70s when
the power used to go off for six hours a day because of the miners' strike. actually how she dealt with that was brilliant. she didn't take the mine. she waited to build up stocks o coalo shcoul ta t mine and not have the disruptions in power. it was outrageous. some people don't like that toughness. some people may be more left wing than she or have different policy choices. but i think the credibility of a woman leading, particularly when you have to make difficult decisions on security issues, margaret thatcher prepared that way. so i think we all owe her a debt. whether we would have done as she did or not. you know, she had no role models. who did margaret thatcher have to model herself upon? there wasn'tnody. sheind of me her own way. a lot of the criticism of her in britain was also class criticism. she had an upper class education but she was a lower-middle class girl. she led a party that had a lot of people from privilege. in fact the current conservative pliem minister is often accused
much being too upper class and has to be kind of a regular guy to dispel that. she broke through so many social barriers in britain not just the gender one. >> woodruff: so what do you see ultimately as her legacy? >> well, i think there's no question that she changed the power structur inritain. you know, it amuses me in the united states when people talk about, you know, president obama is a socialist and i want to buy them addictionary. you don't have any socialists in this country but the class war in britain and the power of unaccountable people, you know, the leader of the miners union was bent on destroying the government. she kind of shifted that. so that the labor party is a very different party now from what it was then. she really helped to remake the political configuration in britain to make it a much more, i think, centrist nstructi but with ideological choice. i think that as the decades go on and people look back, they will see that it was a salutary
rejigging of the political debate in great britain but also she was a great... she have didn't get anything she didn't work for. she didn't get her position by privilege or family connections. she opened up the meritocracy. she had jews in her cabinet. she brought around her people who were successful, self-made people. she made it acceptable to be successful ritinhic was very difficult in that kind of clasp ridden society that looked down on people in trade and et cetera. so i think her effect on british society is still being felt. i think it was a healthy one. >> woodruff: still being felt and still being discussed. former prime minister of canada, kim campbell, thank you. >> my pleasure. >> woodruff: online, see the world's reaction to the passing of the british leader. and you can watch her 1981 conversation with the newshour. that's on our home page.
>> ifill: in the wake of a rush to action in state capitols around the country, the gun debate could reach critical mass in washington this week. but it's still unclear how it will sort itself out. stepping up his push for new federal gun legislation, president obama took his argument today to hartford connecticut, not far from the site of december's newtown shootings where 26 people were killed. >> newtown, we want you to know that we're here with you. we will not walk away from the promises we've made. we are as determined as ever to do what must be done. in fact, i'm here to ask you to help me show that we can get it done. >> ifill: congress returned to washington today facing contentious debate on measures that would include tougher penalties for gun trafficking and more money for school safety. already off the table, a ban on assault weapons and
high-capacity ammunition clips. instead, much of the behind-the-scenes negotiation has focused on whether gun buyers should be subject to background checks. and whether those sales must be recorded. but everyone is not on board, at least 13 republican lawmakers led by senator rand paul are threatening to stop any new law that would diminish citizens' right to self-defense. senate majority leader harry reid complained about the filibuster threat today. >> many senate republicans seem afraid to even engage in this debate. shame on them, madam president. theeast republicans owe the rents of these 20 little babies who were murdered at sandy hook is a thoughtful debate about whether stronger laws could have saved their little girls and boys. the least republicans owe them is a vote. >> ifill: behind the scenes pennsylvania republican pat too maniy and west virginia democrat joe manchin are working to forge
a bipartisan deal on background checks but that deal has proven elusive. yesterday former congressman asa hutchinson who authored a school safety proposal for the n.r.a. repeated a point other lawmakers have made. >>even if you had all your universal background checks, bad guys are going to get guns. it's not going to solve the problem in the schools. it's not going to diminish the need for greater security in the schools. >> ifill: the president's trip to connecticut comes four days after the state enacted some of the strictest new gun-control measures in the country. colorado, new york and maryland, have also recently passed tough new restrictions on gun ownership. but other states, including mississippi, arkansas, and tennessee, have enaed o are considering bills aimed at loosening rules on gun possession. the argument has spilled over on to the air waves. in connecticut, one ad featured parents who lost children at
newtown's sandy hook elementary school. >> don't let the memory of newtown fade without doing something real. >> ifill: 11 of those relatives will bring their push for gun control to capitol hill tomorrow. they'll travel to washington with president obama aboard air force one tonight. for more on what is happening on capitol hill and in state capitols as well, we turn to ed o'keefe, who has been following the gun control debate for the "washington post." arkansas state representative charles collins, who sponsored legislation in little rock that allows gun owners to carry their weapons to church. and vinny demarco, president of marylanders to prevent gun violence, who helped win passage of that state's sweeping new gun control law. ed o'keefe, what is the status on the prospect of compromise on federal gun legislation as things stand tonight? >> as you mentioned senators joe manchin of west virginia and pat too maniy of pnnsylvania are lking. th're taing out the possibility of some kind of a compromise that would essentially exempt, let's say, family members from exchanging
weapons or perhaps selling them to each other. and also maybe make some limited exceptions for people who are hunting together, let's say, somebody's weapon breaks down and they need to borrow one from somebody else. beyond that, there would essentially be requirements that all other gun purchases undergo a background check and the big sticking point at this point remains also whether or not records would be kept of all sales. democrats want that to happen to help law enforce also in e event that a wean uedn a crime. republicans say that's the start of a national gun registry or something similar to it and it would infringe on second amendment rights. the underlying bill of all this was essentially unveiled today by harry reid up on capitol hill who, as you noted, complained quite strongly about the republican objections. we've learned tonight that his counterparts, senate minority leader mitch mcconnell, would also join that filibuster if the current democratic bill were brought the floor. that's an important distinction. his aides aren't saying whether or not he would oppose any new
partisan languagthat come forth but if the current democratic bill is brought forth, he would stand in its way and join that big filibuster. >> ifill: let's take a closer look at what's happening with these arguments outside of the nation's capital. let's go to arkansas with representative charles collins. tell me about what in your bill would protect the right either of gun owners or of citizens. >> thank you. first of all it's great to be here. in arc arc we've passed a couple major bills. the legislation i sponsored has to do with allowing professors and other staff members at colges and universities to have a concealed carry permit to carry on the college campus where they work. there has been another bill, as you mentioned, passed in arkansas which would allow churches to identify individuals, obviously they have to have a conceal carry a license, would could carry in the church. the key thing about the college campus legislation, gwen, is the reality in america is we've got a problem and that is loved ones
being killed in places like college campuses and school yds. and i believe oe of the rsons is because crazy killers know those are gun-free zones and there's a concentration of innocent folk. >> ifill: has that happened in arkansas? are there examples where this has actually happened? >> yes. we had an incident at the university of fayetteville about ten years ago. we had an incident at u.c.a. two or three years ago. those are both college incidents. in jonesboro many years ago we had an elementary school with many people killed. >> ifill: let me talk to mr. demarco. natnally this assault weapons ban seems to be a dead letter but not in maryland. what's the difference. >> under the leader of the governor, we did ban assault weapons and high capacity gun magazines which have no place in our society. more importantly, gwen, we passed a landmark law requiring the handgun purchasers get a fingerprint-based background
check and a license from the police before getting a handgun. experts from the johns hopkins center for gun policy and research let the legislature know that states that have those laws have lower gun deaths becausehose lwseter people from buying guns for criminals. what happens in what is called a straw purchases, someone with a clean background without a criminal background goes into a gun store and buys a gun for a criminal. that's a major way guns get into the hands of criminals. states that have these laws don't have the straw purchasers and have fewer gun deaths. we're going to save lives in maryland with our new law. >> ifill: should this be happening only on the state level, this argument? >> well, i think the argument can happen in both plac. frkly m not in favor of new restrictions on our gun rights. certainly not coming from washington d.c. and frankly in arkansas i think most of us believe there are plenty of laws. we just need to make sure we
enforce them. as i said, gwen, i think helping to solve this problem we're making progress against this problem is doing things that deter crazy killers from going to places where we've got a lot of innocents who can't defend themselves. >> ifill: you used the term crazy killers twice now. you and others like you have said that mental illness is somethi that needto be addressed as part of the solution here. as part of this package of gun lefnlg layings in arkansas, was there anything that spoke to that issue? >> yes. one of the things that we're working in passing through the arkansas legislature is better cross-sharing of data so that if somebody has a mental issue adjudicated in a court that when the background checks that are run happen, that information will be part of the check so we can avoid that person being approved for a gun. >> ifill: vinny demarco, can maryland be a national model? >>aryland is a national model. thlaw that weassed in maryland did include tighter provisions on making sure people with mental health issues don't
get guns. that's very important. but the key reason there are day-to-day shootings in maryland and across the country is because of guns getting from a gun store to a criminal through a straw purchaser or another way. and the best tool a state can use is a fingerprint-based licensing. the five states that have that already have lower gun death rates. in one state, missouri, they repealed a fingerprint-based licensing law and their gun deaths went up while deaths were going down elsewhere. >> ifill: did this debate change in maryland because of what happened in newtown at all? >> newtown changed the whole country. newtown changed the debate everywhere and gave momentum to pass laws that are going to save lives. >> ifill: in arkansas? obviously the tragedy at newtown our hearts continue to go out for all those parents. but as you know, several years ago, we had a tragedy in blacks burg. there were dozens of people killed there. this is a problem that continues to crop up periodically. we get these atrocious
situations. and stopping them is certainly something that we want to do here. >> ifill: ed o'keefe, as you look at all of these legislation efforts going on at the state level, are there more that are loosening gun restrictions or expanding or expanding gun restrictions? >> well, in total roughly since newtown there's a group out in san francisco that's been tallying this up. we live in a big country. 50 states. state legislators have introduced 1300 different proposals to either strengthen or weaken the gun laws. at this point it looks asif there have been more to strengthen gun laws but in many states those proposals have been rejected. you talk about arkansas. that's a great example of a state that loosened the restrictions a bit. somewhere like south a dakota they passed what they call a school sentinel program that allowed qualified school employees to carry a weapon with them on a school property. then flip side of course is maryland, connecticut, new york and potentially at some point
soon california. all of them -- and could could we should include -- all of them have proposed restrictions on the size of aunition clips. california may go so far as to ban any semiautomatic rifle that can take a detachable part. any. so a complete ban on assault weapons. and that issue out there is potentially complicating the federal debate for a lot of california lawmakers who want to be able to vote on something like that here in washington. >> ifill: the president is in connecticut not far from newtown. these members of these newtown families will be on air force won coming to washington to lobby here. we heard senate majority leader reed say 9 of people are favor in background checks. we heard that from the podium in the white house. the president is getting public opinion on his side. what is the public opinion here? >> in general they would like to see something done. "washington post," pew and others have done polling that suggests that nine in ten americans support an expanded background check program.
there is support for gun trafficking. making that a federal crime for the first time. certainly in line to some extent with what the n.r.a. is proposing, there is support to bolster school security programs. either by providing money or just simply having states and tiesoton making security at those areas more... making it stronger. what i think remains to be seen though is whether or not the senate really takes that into account. we have to guess from our arkansas. mark pryer, the democratic senator from arkansas is the great example of a kind of guy who is stuck at the moment. his party wants to make changes but he faces a re-election next year. he's one of several conservative democrats who face a real challenge in trying to find a way to either support this or reject it and explain why they did that. >> ifill: we'll be wching and reporting onhat. ed o'keefe of the "washington post," charles collins, the republican of arkansas, and vinny demarco of marylanders to prevent gun violence, thank you all very much. >> thank you.
>> ifill: you can watch president obama's newtown speech in full on our youtube page. >> woodruff: finally tonight, we return to the legacy of the cold war and a battle tpreserve one of its icons, the berlin wall. our story comes from independent producers carl nasman and an- sophie braändlin, and is reportd by nasman. reporter: thousands of people at the berlin wall in germany. but this time instead of tearing down the wall, the citizens of berlin are here to protect what remains of it. >> it was here for 28 years. everybody hated it. nowadays people love it. >> i would say when the wall came down, they want to tear this down? i'm shocked. >> reporter: there isn'tuch wall left. in just over two decades nearly 80% was shredded and paved into
roadways. other bits were sold as gifts or souvenirs. now there are only a few physical reminders. of where the city was split in two. this is the east side gallery. a mile-long stretch of political murals painted just after the fall of the wall. and it's the longest piece of the berlin wall still standing. now developers want to build a 14-story apartment building right here. the plans include removing several sections of the wall. the battle between developers and preservationists came to a head in march when construction cranes opened up two gaps in the wall. >> people want to live here in a house. it's the same like when you live in auschwitz. >> reporter: the new apartments would be built in what was known as no man's land. the empty space between the wall and the river. nearly 100 people were killed in areas like this one. while fleeing from east to west. some of them here. >> behind the wall ten persons have been killed who want to
live on the cemetery. >> reporter: this person moved from france to west berlin in the early 1980s. he was one of the first artists to start painting the wall. >> i used to live so close to the wall. i looked every day at the wall. it was very depressing. it can put colors on the wall. it will never be beautiful because it is a death machine. >> reporter: the proposed apartments would be built just behind his paintings. >> i can't understand how can you do something like that? it's loud. it's dirty. this is a wall. i mean it's not a tourist attraction. it's a memorial. >> reporter: the construction is part of a larger plan to develop the river front where clubs, bars, and old warehouses occupy potentially high rent space. dr. richard mangs, a spoke person for the berlin senate
says the city needs investment. >> the city has a lot of unemployment. it's because there's no industry here anymore. berlin has former guest strips everywhe. ofourse new things are being built there as well. me personally, i would not build houses at this spot. i wouldn't let it happen either. but our predecessors allowed this to happen ten years ago. now this is the consequence. >> reporter: attitudes toward the wall have shifted in the last two decades. now many germans want to preserve it. so the mistakes of the past won't be repeated. >> if you just wipe it away, it never happened. it happened. it can happen. political systems can change and do this to people. >> reporter: this man and another are berlin club owners and organizerrers of the wall protest. they worry that berlin's history is now disappearing in a rush of development. >> other generations will not get the chance to have a really feel of how it was in the g.d.r., leaving in east berlin not being able to travel, not
being able to get on the other side of the wall. in the '90s berlin authorities thought we don't need this wall anymore. check point charlie now looks like disneyland. it's not original. there's nothing original there anymore atcheckpoint charlie wch is really a pity because thousands of people come there every day and want to see how this was in the middle of a city, a border. but you can't see it anymore. >> reporter: in fact, a few remaining parts of the wall are still preserved in some unlikely places. hans martin fleischer witnessed the fall of the g.d.r. it was the happiest day of his life. he purchased the first four pieces ever removed from the wall. and now he keeps them in his warehouse two hours north of berlin. >> at the very beginning i had a very commercial idea. i simply wanted to buy these pieces and sell them as soon as possible. over the years i thought, okay, there's a lot of history there.
i still love the story because this is the most beautiful thing that germany has ever created. to me touching this, i know, okay, it's real. >> reporter: he now builds lightweight models of the wall. and brings them to places where the wall once stood. >> in 2001, there were some who think this is the original berlin wall. that size. no joke. they have no idea at all what it was. >> reporter: one person who remembers very well the wall and the division is mary ann. >> these houses here they belonged to the east. over there it was the west. >> reporter: she grew up in the east and would cross the bridge to visit her grandparents in the west. but when the wall was built, it
buy secretaried the bridge and the city, cutting her off from her family. >> right afterwards my grandfather died and then my grandmother had a stroke and couldn't take care of herself anymore. she didn't have anyone but me. and i could not go over the border. it was horrible for me. then she died after a couple of years. >> reporter: for the older generation, the wall is mainly a symbol of frustration. >> this height here, the isolation and the horror of it. it makes you want to do this sometimes. the wall should absolutely not stay. but you should keep a little piece as a memory. that's the right thing to do. so you should leave the east side gallery as a memorial but apart from that, we do not want to know, see or hear anything about this wall anymore. >> reporter: but for most berliners including the younger generation, the wall has become a symbol for freedom.
and the fight to keep the wall continues in a distinctly berlin way. for now, the developer and the city are searching for a way to preserve as much of the gallery as possible but construction of the apartment building will continue. >> you have to keep memorial sites alive. you have to get people to pass on experiences especially on to children. but there also has to be something new. >> reporter: with such a long history, it's easy to forget that berlin has only been the pital of reewen mid germany for just over 20 years. it's still searching for its identity, finding the right mix of new and old. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. former british prime minister margaret thatcher died at 87. she transformed british economic policy and cold war politics in
the 1980's. and the body of american diplomat anne smedinghoff was flown back to the u.s. she was one of five americans killed saturday in a bombing in afghanistan. and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll look inside syria, with a "frontline" journalist who gained access to both the rebels and government troops. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> more than two years ago, the people of b.p. made a commitment to the gulf. and every day since, we've worked hard to kp it. today, the beaches and gulf are open for everyone to enjoy. we shared what we've learned so that we can all produce energy more safely. b.p. is also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come.
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