tv PBS News Hour PBS August 6, 2019 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, after tragedy, what conext? as america mourns the weekend's killings, a look at what can be to keep firemans out of the hands of who intend to do harm. and the facts behind the talking points linking mental illness to gun violence. then looming threat from beijing as the pro-democracy i protestohong kong rage on, chinese officials signal the potential for a military crackdown.re plusmbering toni morrison. reflections on the life, literatureand legacy of the nobel-prize winning author. >> the future was right there, at your fingertips.
and i was so happy to be among what i hadn't had when i was in ohio-- african american intellectuals. and that was the company i wanted to keep. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight'spbs newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> kevin. >> kevin! >> kevin. >> advice for life. life well-planned. learn more at raymondjames.com.
>> babbel. a language learning app that uses speech recognition l-technology and teaches rfe conversations. daily 10-15 minute lessons are voiced by native speakers and bbel.com.bbel. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutionspr >> thiram was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the debate over guns in america is intensifying tonight,fter mass shootings in that killed 22 people in el paso, texas, and nine in dayton, ohio. so are the investigations. the f.b.i. today joined theig inveion of the dayton gunman, connor betts, who was killed by police. agents said he had shown terest in committing a massti
sh. >> we have uncovered evidence throughout the course of our investigation that the shooter was exploring violent ideoloes. we have not seen any evidence that the events in el paso influenced him at thisoint. again, we have lots of evidence to go through >>sa sreeni president trump plans to visit dayton and el paso tomorrow.po his nts, in turn, plan to protest his rhetoric on race and immigration and to demand action on gun violence. dayton's democratic mayor, nan whaley, said today she backs both sentiments. >> his rhetoric has been painful for many in our community, and i think that people should stand up and say they're not happy, if they're not happy that he's coming." i'm disappointed with his remarks. i mean, i think they fell really short. he mentioned, like, gunssues, e time. i think watchingerhe president he past few years on the issues of guns he's been-- i don't know if he knows what he believes.>> oodruff: ohio a republican governor, mike
dewine, urged mandatory background checks for virtually all gun sales. he also called for court action to prevent potentially dangerous people from getting guns we'll hear about federal gun control legislation, after the news summary. the f.b.i. says it is treating last month's mass shooting inlr , california, was domestic terror. it turns out the gunman had a target list of religious institutions, federal buildings, courthouses and the two major political parties. he killed three peoplend wounded 13 at a popular food himself.before killing the chinese currency stabilized today after slidin 1on monday to year low. that calmed wall street, and stocks made up almost half of monday's losses. the dow jones industrial average gained 311 points to close at 26,029. the nasdaq rose 107 points and the s&p 500 added 37.an ile, china's central bank
denied manipulating its currency to gain advantage in a trade fight with the u.s. instead, it warned washington to pull back from the brink ofic greater econamage. but white house economic advisor larry kudlow argued the chinese are bearing the real burden. >> china's slashing its prices, that's killing theirdrofits an their companies. production and supply chains are moving out of china. we have elasticity of demand. our importers can shop elsewhere outside of china. that's hurting china. >> woodruff: president also played down fears of a prolonging trade fight and vowed agin to protect american farmers after beijing said it willtop buying u.s. riculture products. president trump has frozen all of the venezuelan government's assets in the u.s. in a new blow at president nicolas maduro. the sanctions also mean u.s. companies and individuals
could face penalties for doing business with maduro's government and his top supporters. this is the latest u.s. move to aid opposition leader juan guaido in his bid to oust maduro the united states fired off a new warning to turkey today not to attack kurdish forces in northeastern syria. the mainly kurdish syrian democratic forces have fought against the islamic state, or isis, but turkey regards the kurds as terrorists. u.s. defense secretary mark esper said today that a turkish invasion would be unacceptable. he spoke en route to japan. >> we want to sustain the continued defeat, at least of the physical caliphate of isis, right?at ecomes a question, if they move in and the s.d.f., is impacted. we're obviously holding thousands of fighters, isis fighters, and so those are some that some of the thingisk
if there's a unilateral incursion into into northern syria by the turks >> woodruff: in ankara, turkish president, recep tayyip erdogan again talked of military ainion sting that control of the syrian border region is criticar toy's safety. >> translation: it's our country's top priority to drain the terror swamp in syria's north. turkey cannot feel safe as long the forces in our south, which are growing like a cancer cell, ad is being grown with the heavy weapons of oies, is not eliminated. >> woodruff: military delegations from the u.s. and turkey have been meeting in ankara this week, trying to negotiate a settlement. rth korea says that it keeps testing missiles because the united states is inciting military tensions. the north fired two more short-range missiles into the sea early today, the fourth such test in two weeks. in a statement, pyongyang defended the tests andu.ited weapons sales to south
korea, and a joint u.s.-south korean military exercise. back in this country, former alaska senator mike gravel has officially dropped othe 2020 democratic presidential race. he said in a video today that will back vermont senator bernie sanders for the nomination. gravel is 89. he did not actively campaign ort appear in any democratic debates. and nobel prize-winning novelist toni morrison has died in new york after a brief illness. she pioneered american multi-culturalism in her novels, and e first african american woman to win the nobel prize for literature. toni morrison was 88 years old. we'll explore her life andle gacy at the end of our program. still to come on the "ur," grappling with the scourge of mass shootings.an whate done to stop them? the facts behind the political talking points linking mental illness to g violence.
a turn to hong kong and the risks faced by the pro-democracy protestors there. plus much more. >> woodruff: we return now to el paso and how thatommunity continues to grapple with th weekend's deadly attack. our dan bush is there. he has been reporting from both side of the border today. first, we know you h talking to people in el paso. tell us a little of what they're sayi. >> so i'm here right next to the walmart, judy, where the shooting took place. you can see, maybe, behind me, people from e community have been trickling now day after day to pay their respects, to drop off flo crs. it's munity that's trying to cope with this tragedy. i spoke to one woman who is he walmart ade the time, who said she felt so
defenseless, crouched in an transcribics aisle she decide to take up shooting permit. anothemother not at the scene of the shooting, said they bought their eight-yea a bullet-proof backpack to take to school. the el pa school district begins just a little later this month. people are really trying to figure out how to move forward. and at the same time, the lino community, judy, has been thrust into the national debate over race and president drum' drumdod trump's rhetoric. people feel they have been e president for his words on immigration. >> woodruff: bulletproof backback. d, dan, what about on the mexico side of the border o.n juar what are people saying there? >> it'ses intng, judy. there's a mixed reaction on the other side of the border. i spoke ta lotof people there
who said that they were not that surprised by the shooting. they said that there are so many mass shootings in america, that to theom they'veto accept this as a regular part of american life. resentid that they do president trump's attacks on mexicans, on latinos, generally. but to them, the political debate playing out in the u.s. doesn't really impact their lives in a concrete way. and another thing--this walmart actually is a popular shopping destination with many people on the other side of theorder who said that for some goods, like shoes, and some clothes, it actually cheaper to come here. there's a bus that goes rightr from the cenof juarez to this walmart for about $1.50. e lot of people said they're going to conti do that because these two cities on the either side of the r grande river are so interconnected. cne man told me, judy, he is going to be here as soon as he can. >> woodruff: so interesting. dan bush. thank you for your reporting.
dan bush there in epaso, on the border. and all this leads to an urge question being asked this week: what are lawmakers in washington doing to deal with gun violence. our lisa desjardins is here to explore where things stand. lisa, i know you talking to a lot of people. what are they saying about whether there's any movement at all on this issue? >> a sign that one t hing isa little different came from the republican leader of the u.s. senate in a statement last night. mitch mcconnell said the president reached out to him, and mcconnell said these words, that the presidentag enco him and republicans in the senate to engage in bipartisan discussions of potential solutions to helrp protect communities. and then added, without infringing on ameticans' constial rights. you see there the political balance. but this is new from mcconnell, saying he has now directed the four committee chairs who oversee this area of law, including guns and mental health, to find some kind of bipartisan agy,ement. now, jt the same time, there is a somewhat bipartisan bill that has already been
passed by the house ofes retatives. it is a bill that would increase background checks, make mandatory background checks at most gun shows, for example. it has eight republica supporting it. one of them is peter king, and he has this message for senator mcconnell: >> i believe it's essential that senator mcconnell allow this to come to a vote. he can't just suppor it. he has to get behind it. just thereto come to a vote. and i think if anything good can come from the horrible trag dheefs weekend it's that we cane this legislation passed. >> but, judy, speaking to senator mcconnell'sffice today, they said there's no chance that he will bring that bipartisan-- somewhat bipartisa background check bill up fair vote because the president has threatened to veto it. it is hnot clear ife will allow any background check to couple for a vote. talking to the other senators involved in trying to find a bipartisan agreement is not really clear what's direction they're going to geto in >> woodruff: interesting because the president suggested the other day maybe some kind of
background checks he could support. so, lisa, i know you've been loe ing at all thgislation ideas that have been out there. what exactly has been proposed f? >> i looked at every bill that has come up this new congress. 8,000 bills on every subject has en proposed. look at how many include guns.ll 110 contain the word "gun." of those, judy, only five bills eve seen commie action. and some of those aren't really about the gun debate. they might just have funding for a gun pam involving education or something like that. so there reall is not very much action, honestly, on guns. most of it is bei drive by democrats. it's interesting to know the most popular of those bile are background check bill that passed the house, and also a republican bill on concealed carry that would allow someone with concealed carry permits in one state to have them in every state. that is also not moving. so you see the partisan divide. >> woodruff: from your talking to people. >> and know congress is not in town right now, but do anything staance of passage?
>> i will say senator lamar alexander's spokesperson toned me today he has taken this as a mission, as a torask from sen mcconnell, to find some kind of bartisan plan tha can pass. i had to balance that, judy with erhers i spoke to, key bipartisan voices who would make a difference who told me op thene-- they didn't want their names used-- they didn't ne the room. another month fro until senate returns and in the voice of one person if if new town didn change anything, they're still discouraged. i saintak aren't youg this a fatfait accompli and adding to e problem? they said maybe but they don't think change is coming yet. >> woodruff: a lot of people are going t do becouraged by that. >> they are discouraged now, that's right.dr >> wf: lisa desjardins, thank you very much. as has happened before in theh afterm gruesome mass shootings, one again this week, two principalnd competing
narratives have emerged as people try to grasp how such things can happen. as amna nawaz reports some point to guns and their easy access. others, voices on the right, including president trump a yesterday, urgreater focus on mental health treatment saying that could identify tential shooters before they ablghtd. >> judy, guns kill an average of n100 people each day i this country, about 36,000 a year total. for a look at the role guns play in our lives, and in violence we liveith'm joined by mr. garen wintemute. an emergency medicin physician where he is the director of violence prevention research program. s research for decades has focused on injuries and the prevention of firearm violence. dr. wintemute, welcome to the newshour. thank you for make the time. i want to ask you about the laws because you have looked extensively at them. in the we of these mass
shootings, people want congressional action. they want legislation. wh is being done on the federal and state level to reduce gun violence? i think one promising strategy is the extreme risk protection order, or as we call ng here gun-violence restrai order. it has a number of virtues. it is i effective. very tightly focused on people who exhibit high-risk behavior, such that there i threat in the near future. it'sry tempo it is designed to lessen risk at a time of crisis. are todayn the wake of a series of mass shootings. and it's important oo pointut that e.r. p.o.s, as we call them, while they were thought to be primarily useful for prevention of suicide, were nerally enacted at the state level following mass shootings and have been and are being used in efforts to prevent mass shootings. >> i want to be clear about these. these are the same as theso
alled "red flag" laws people have heard so much about amcently? >> it is the thoagz of us who work in the field don't like the term "red flag laws," so we use a term that actually describes what we're talking about. >> can i ask why you don't like it?e what's inaccurbout it? >> sure, first off, it's as we say, ver nonspecific. red flags about what, bugs in the basement? this concerns me the most: it is a term that inspires fear, and we don't want to make people afraid. we want them to fl empowered. so we use terms that describe at the intervention is and convey a sense that this is something that people can do, which is precisely the point. >> there ar two additional bills that had some kind of bipartisan support. one is expanng background check to include every gun sale or transfer and the other is conceal carry related, states to allow a conceal carry would recognize permits from otherst es. would either of those contribute
to reducing gun violence in america? >> let me take expanded background checks first. there is very good frefs our work other ands tha other and tg access to firearms by people prohibited from having that access, substantially reduces their risk of violence the near future. we and others have identified a series of concrete flaws in the way background-check policies are written and implemented that i think need fo beed in order for them to have their maximum effectiveness. i will giveou one example. there are at least nine of these.pr ibiting events very often are not reported, even when they are required to be reported. mass shootings in sutherland springs, texas, charlottesville, south carolina; at virginia tech, all occurred because shooters who were prohibited persons were able to pass background checks and acquire their firearms because
bithe prong events were not in the data the background checks were run o reciprocity, let me use recent events. both texas and ohio, where we ve had mass shootings just in the past few days, are places where concealed carry, at least one wit open carry, where it's hard for me to imagine that among people wisely running away from that shooting scene were a substantial number of people who were themselves armed. we have this collective adolescent fansy, if i may, that an armed civilian is going to step up and prevent these ents. the data show that that almost never happens. and the reason i said that it might be counter-productive is this: states vary widy in their criteria for issuing c.c.d.w. permi. some states set the bar quite high. others set it quite low. high-bar states, request good reason, without just as soon not have people with low-bar permit
inside their borders. >> you mentioned states having different rules. that means guns can move aoss different state lines as well. how much of a problem is that? and is there one piece of legislation you think could have an immedia effect to reduce gun violence, what would that be? >> i think one of the things i would put ahethe top of list would be to expand background checks and at the same time make them much more thorough and effective. i have to say, however firearm olence is a very complex problem. and the correct answer to "what's the one thing" is there is no one thing. we need to do a bunchhi of ts simultaneously in order to have the effect we want. >> dr. garen wintemute of the university of california davis. thank you very much. >> thanks for having me. >> and to help us assess the role mental health plays in gun violence and gun-related deaths, we turn to jeffrey swanson. professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at duke university school of medicine. his research was part of a report released today by the
national council for behavral health, titled, "mass violence in america: causes, imoncts and solu" r.ofessor swanson, welcome. back to the newsh i want to begin with what the president has said in the wake of this latest round of mass shootings. "mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun." how should we understand the overlap between mental illness and people who perpetuate gu violence. n mass shooting, we're in this nationalhtmare. everybody wants it to stop. and mass shootings are so frightening a irrational and we want an answer to why they happen, and what the president saids a very simple answer-- it's mental illness. and i understand why he said that because it resonates with what lotsof people already believe about mental illness. but the facts are th the vast majority of people with mental illnesses are no violent towards other people. they never will be. and our report jteleased today would suggest the
prevalence of mental illness among perpetrators of mass shootings, or mass violence, is about the same as it is in the general population. it's a very complex problem. ix mental health" is a slogan. it's not a solution to anything. if it is, it's a solution to a quite different public health problem which is the problem of peep with mental illnesses out in the community who need better minutial health care. >> let me ask you something we heard from othepeople on the president's team, look, in order to be someone who carries out this kind of heinous attack, you have to be mentally ill in me way. what do you say to that? >> yeah, i understand that, too, to sayo someone whes out and massacres a bunch of strangers, you know, that's not act of a healthy mind. it might be a person who is alienated and troubled and angry and resentful, who's marinating in he; someone who is indifferent and hopeless, who has all kinds of problems with
all kinds o causes. but it doesn't mean that they have one of tental illnesses defined by psychiatrists as, you know, a dirder of thinking or mood, like schizhrenia or bipolar disorder or depression. tens of millions of americans have these illnesses, and theov whelming majority of them are not violent towards other people. they'd love to have a conversation about improving mentalealth care, and it's too pthere's a mass shootie . when there ny solutions, i think, that we could talk about to try to address mass shootings. mental illness is one actoributing f but it's just one of many, and, you know, if we cured mental illness, our problem of violence in society would go down by about 4%. so it's not thathere's no relationship at all. it's not quite the place you woulstart but we can certainly talk about it. >> let me ask you about one of the proposed solutions we heard about so far which are
haese so-called red flag laws, the ideayou can identify someone who is potentially violent in advance and make sure they either don't have a weapon or take away the one that they have. what do you make of those possible solutions? >> well, i think they're a good idea. i think they'r an important piece in the puzzle of gun violence prevention because the fact is that we have a kind of a disconnect between the laws tart designed to prevent certain people from accessing guns at the point of sale and actual risk. there are lots of people who are prohibited from guns, maybe because they had an involuntary commitment 25 years ago, and they aren't posing a risk to anyone. meanwhile, there are lots of people who do pose a risk, angry impulsive people who would pass a b background checkause they don't have any gun-disqualifying so a tool like this is focused not on mental illness. it's focused onehior
indicators of risk. if you're a neighbor and the person next door is aing in a really threatening, menacing way and is massing firearms, many states there's nothing you can do about that if that person, you know, isn't criminally accused, hasn't done anything or committed a crime. one of the states tt has an extreme risk protection law, you caneach out to law enforcement. they can investigate it, and if there's probable cause they can get a civil court order to remove thatso ps firearms temporarily for their own good. it's not and you can do the same thing if your family member, under most ofhese statutes, let's say a relative of yours is in a suicidal crisis and has guns. you know, your loved one is, let's say,ss dep and bereaved or drinking heavily and has guns and, you know, this might save their life because lots of pple attempt suicide. if they use anything else, they are very likely tove sur if they use a firearm, it's so lethal, thaterhey almost n survive. we just want to stop so many
people from dying. we couldocus on limiting access to lethal means. and i think this law actually is one of the few things that can find some common ground and bridge the gap between people who want to do gun control and people who i think thats people and not guns who kill people. common ground. something we're all looking for these days. professor jeff rue swanson, duke university school of medicine, thank you very much. >> thank you for having me. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour, what if anything could break the political gridlock stalling gun legislation? sitting down with democratic presidential candidate, governol steve k of montana. plus, remembering the life and legacy of nobel prize-winning author toni morrison.
but first, china's centl government strongly condemned today what it calls extreme violence from protestors in hong kong. the condemnation came after a day of clashes and a general strike that disrupted public transportation and blocked major roads. jonathan miller of independent television news has the story. op reporter: the most violent, most sustained par challenge to the communist par of china in decades was today met with beijing's strongest denunciations in nine s of turmoil.'t "donlay with fire," the spokesman for china's state council warned. e branded the ringleaders "deranged," as hreatened "a blow from the sword of the law" lay in store for them. their insurrection was "doomed," he said. >> translation: i must warn all criminals not to misjudge the situation and mistake our restraint for weakness. they must not underestimate the firm detmination and tremendous strength of the
central government and the y people of the whole coun safeguard hong kong's prosperity and stability. and to safeguard the fundamental interests of the country.te >> rep yang guang offered no solutions and did not address grievances. instead, he reminded hong kongers who was boss. >> translation: the people's liberation army is an incomparably strong and powerful force for safeguarding the security of every inch of the sacred territory of the motherland. >> reporter: last week, the p.l.a.'s hong kong garrison released this video, showing its troops training to confront protestors. asked today if he could rule out inteention, yang guang said china would never allow any turbulence that would threaten national uni. hong kong law provides for the p.l.a to deploy if the territory's semi-autonomous govern nt hits the panic button.
yesterday's disturbances alone resulted in 148 arrests,olice firing 800 tear gas cannisterser and 140 rubbullets. rubber bullets were not used by the p.l.a. at tiananmen square 30 years ago when the army killed thousands ofcr pro-demoy demonstrators. today, three masked hong kongto protes held a press briefing to decry what they called "the y lack of self-discipline"e police. they apologiond for the "inience" yestereay's day-long strike had caused. >> the pursuit of democracy, liberty and equality is the inalienable rights of every citizen. we, therefore, call on the government to refrain from terminating our right to pursue these universal values. >> reporter: as hong kong cleaned up after yetnother long weekend of chaos, man
returning to work spoke of their enduring support for protestors. >> chaos is caused by the vevernment, not the protester. i think they tried peaceful means with the largest march since hong kong returned sovereignty to china. we hadwo million people marching and government still doesn't listen. hs reporter: it's true. less than two mogo, a third of hong kong's population marched peacefully in protestai t a reviled extradition bill, and w it's transformed into a fully-fledged civil resistance movement, defiantly rejecting the lengthening reach of beijing, who is deaf to hong kongers' demands, unsympathetic, and whose patience has now worn thin.
>> woodruff: and now we turn ck to guns in america. and we look at the politics. joining me is former u.s. representative carlos curbelo, a republican who represented florida for four years, until 2018. congressman, thank you very much for joining us. i wa to ask you first why you are speaking out on this issue. you did serve ingr cess. you were defeated by someone else who had a stronger record on gun control, if you will. a woman whose father had been killed in a guenn acc in a gun incident. so what has-- what has compelled you to continue to speak out about it? >> judy, good evening. for me, this issue stopped being a partisan issue a long time ago. while i was in congress, we had the pulse shooting in orlando,id fl and after that, i joined with seth molten, a democrat from massachusetts, to introduce a version of the "no fly, no buy"i ation which could have prevented that tragedy had it
been in place before the en, of course, we had the horrible massacre in las vegas. and, again, came together with decrats to try to g a bipartisan solution-- universal background checks, 72-ur waiting periods, raising the minimum age to 21 for all gun purchases, red flag laws -- the are commonsense solutions that will save lives in our country. and mental health say major challenge,h but mental hea cannot be used as an excuse refuse to act on gun reform. >> woodruff: and we have just heard narks my colleague, introducing asychiatrist at duke university who said the research shows most gun violence is not committed by peopleo wh are-- who are mentally ill. but i want to drill down on what kind of legislation, what changes can be made practically
in this-- ithis current political nment. what can happen, do you think? >> well, in the wake of this horrible tragedy, we have seen some republicans come out strongly in favor of r flag laws. senator lindsey graham, who chairs the senateudiciary committee sprepared to move that legislation. we've alsoe een suse republicans join the legislation that would require universal background checks. it would close all of the loopholes when it comes to universal backgroundck c >> woodruff: but right now-- >> so this is a good sign. the question is,udiy, whether republican leadership in the senate will allow this alation tlegislation to move forward. when i was in the house, we worked hard to try to have the legislation come to the floor didn't. >> woodruff: my colleague lisa desjardins right now, senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell, said he is not
going to but put that background check legislation on the floor, ostensibly because, rehe says,dent trump would veto it, wouldn't support it. so what is it that's holding-- holding back the president? what's holding back other republicans? >> well, the president in his remarks did say e was in favor of stronger background checks. so the white house will have to explain why he would veto universal background check legislation. i can tell you this, judy: last november, a lot of republicans lost because of this issue, especially in suburban america. votersare losing their patience. they want to see action on gun refoan. they under it's a constitutional right. they don't want to confiscate anyone's gubz. they just want laws that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. that's reasonable. it's common sense. and if senator mcconnell wants to keep majority, he should really consider allowing some o this legislation to move
forward. >> woodruff: if that's the case, though, congressman, why do we not hear fr more republican members who say they're changing their minds, ththey're prepared to vote on this? >> well, we have seen some statements recently, judy. but the reason why a lot of members of congress don't act o dompromise or don't move towards the center is beca fuse thr a primary challenge. and without question, this is at possue in republican primaries. the n.r.a. is a very powerful ornization. t what i can tell a lot of my former republican colleagues who-- many of who a my friends-- is that there are other organizations out there, like everytown, u.s.a., that are willing to come out and support republicans that take a reasonable approach t gun reform, that support some of these obvious measures that do not diminish second amendment rights but do keep innocent people safer. >> woodrmef: is there
ing about the way the arguments are being made that you think could be shifted, could be changed that would bring more current opponents on board? >> i think, unfortunately, it's going to take political pressure, and we've already seen some republicans reacting, colleagues who when i was in congress wouldn't even consider universal background check legislion or red flag legislation. some of these members of congress hav made strong statements in the wake of this tragedy, anhopefully, those statements will turn into votes, and we can heal on this issue. we can start taking steps to solve this issue and, by the way, judy, it's not just for the sake of gun reform. the ame people want to see their congress work and compromise and find common ground. if we get a compromiseon gun reform, that will help start to restore a lot of the trust and
confidence that americans have lost in congress and in government more>> broadly. oodruff: formerre congssman carlos curbelo of florida, thank youjoery much for ing us. we appreciate it. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: we now continue our series of conversations with democratic presidential caidates. steve bullock is the two-term governor of ntana. and he joins me now. governor bullock, thank you for being here. >>udy, thank you for being here. >> woodruff: you areorhe govern of a state a little ovpl a million p very red, very conservative. donald trump won is over 20 points. why should democrats support you? >> well i think, yeah, i'mlyhe ne in this race that won in a state where trump won. heook montana by 20 points. i one by four-- 25% to 30% of my
voters voted for donald trump. if we can't win back some of these places we lost we're not going to win. and it's also more than that. even with wt is right now a 60% republican legislature, democrat thble to you can get meaningful things done that impact people'ses everyday l and people want both the economy and d.c. to work for them. tltside of washington, d.c., i think i have a l bit of different perspective than most information here. >> woodruff: you have called yourself progressive and favored things like tarhed income tax credit. you were able to expand medicaid in tf state o montana. but there are other democrats like bernie sanders izand eth warren who say the country needs big and body aftem donald things like the green new deal, like medicare for all. >> yeah, and i call myself "progressive" and believe it because the wore of that word, really, is "progress." we need to be able to make a meaningful difference for people's lives. we can't just talk about theng chal. we have to actually, first, be able to hear americans and
address thos so i want to make sure as i'm proposing things, it's not like withedicare for all. i don't discount it because it's, like -- i couldn't get it drng necessarily. as idiscount it in as muc don't think that's the best policy solution and the most progressive solution is to make sure everybody has health care that's affordable. and you can do thatho wut upending what's been about-- it took about 70 years to get to where we were when the affordable care act passed. let's build on that. let's not just rip it apart. >> woodruff: guns, upper most in our mindright now, as you know. your own family has been touched by gun violence. you talked about your then-11-year-old nephew being shot to death on a school playground, what, years ago. when youpa cned in 2016 you were against universal background checks. now ar t you form. why the change? >> things like universal background checks, it not just
democrats that say they would like this. i mean,be n.r.a. m say this makes sense, and as a gun owner-- i mean, i'm calling on other gun owners to say, "we all want to keep our communities safe." we can do it in ways that, with-- as an example, universal background chedrs. >> wf: but you acknowledge your position changed. >> absolutely. >> woodruff: in people pooem are saying president trump's , nguage, his rhetors contributed to part of what's going on. how do you see it? >> yeah, certainly he is-- you know, i would never want tout the blood of people all across this country on one person's hands. but for him to say we have to speak with one voice when it comes to speaking out against racism and white nationalism and bigotry, when so much of the language that he's us this last two and a half years has includedacm, equivocating on white nationalism and bigotry. so you can't say this jus the day after shootings when you
haven't lived it for last two and a half years. i do think, you know, white nationalists might think, well, is guy, if he equiv cates on charlottesville, he has my back. i don't think that helps at all with what we are cas antry. >> woodruff: campaign finance-- you have been waging a legal battle against so-called dark money. this is money from donors who aren't identifd. you recently won a lawsuit against the trump administration having to do with foreign money transparency. my question is without a constitutional amendment to overturn the supr court's "citizens unites" decision, which as youknow lifted restrictions on corporate political spending, is there a way to keep dark money out of american politics? >> oh, i think there absolutely is, even in montanait two-thirds republican legislature, we passed a law at ifou spend on our elections, i don't care if
you're a 501-c-4, you have to disclose all that spending in >> woodruff: you would then support an amendment to overturn-- >> i would see the 28th amendment passed. >> citizens united. >> absolutely. >> woodruff: we know you are tonight in washington scheduled to attend a closed-door fund-raiser as a registered lobbyist as a cohost, jay driscoll, supported the center for republican intaeght. he has lobbied 35 or so clients just this year, many of whom give corporate money but don't disclose. >> yeah, but they certainly don't give corporate money to me. i mean, the fact that we coved be having this conversation is what i want to as as the sunshine and transparency. and as much as many of the presidential candidates now have super pacs, some may even take corporate c money. i've said no pacs, no super-pacs, all haves, and
yosclose completely under know, the allowable rules so that we can have this conversation, so that one individualelping out a fund-raiser certainly isn't myng to be influencing everyday actions. and i think that it's-- to me, the more nefarious is the lack of transparency and sunshine. >> woodruff: the violate-- you don't supportew the green deal, which critics say is too radical. but if climatesan existential threat, why not do something dramatic? >> oh, no, and we do have to take bold at immediate seps. i mean, i'm from the west. our fire seasons are8 days longer than what they were about four dedes ago. so rejoining paris, the auto industrty didn't w want the removal of these fuel-efficiency standards. investing iinvesting in technold research so we can get more renewables on to the - grid. we knoe scientists say we have to be carcon neutral not as
a country but a world by 2050. i think we could do it by 2040 or >> woodruff: all right, we will leave it there. governor steve bullock, thank you very much. >> thank you foraving me, judy. >> woodruff: and our series of conversations with the democratic presidential candidates continues tomorrow with billionaire philanthropist tom stier. >> woodruff: finally tonight, appreciation of author and nobel laureate toni morrison who ast night. jeffrey brown looks back at how she helped to transform modern american letters. this tribute is part of canvas,o our oning arts and culture coverage. >> as editor, teacher, and most of all, writer, toni morrison changed and enhanced american literature. in 2s2, on the cam of howard university, where she'd been an undergraduate, she looked back
to her younger self just starting out in the world. >> i was so confident and capable. the future was, you know, right there, right at your fingertips. and i was so happy to be among what i hadn't had when i was in ohio-- african american intellectuals. and that was the comp ty i want keep. >> brown: she worked as a book editor first and was nearly 40 when her first novel "the bluest eye" was published, followed by other books, 11 novelens, chil books, and essay collections that made her reputation bringing to the fora distinctly african american story rooted in the history and legacy of slavery. written in a lowerful voicee no other. >> i was trying to make up for the hand saw, beloved was making her bay for it.
>> beloved was published in 1987 and won the pulitzer prize. a 1998 film version st oprah winfrey as a mother who escaped her kentucky master and, upon capture in ohio, killed her own daughter rather than have her forced back into a life of slavery. morrision spoke to the newshour's charlayne hunter-gault when the novel rst came out. >> i rd an article in a 19th century newspaper about a woman whose name was margaret garner. it was an article that stayed with me for a long, long time,o and seemedve in it, an extraordinary idea that was worthy of a novel,hich was this compulsion to nurture, this ferocity that a woman has to be responsible for her children, and at the se time, the kind of tensions that exist in trying to be a sepate, complete
individual. >> brown: in a recent documentary film, "can the mor, the pieces i can," spoke of her role as a writer. >> i wanted to t speak to a be among it's us. so the first thing i to do was to eliminate the white gaiss.e ttle white man that sits on your shoulder and checks out everything you do and say, sort of knock him off. and you're free. now i own the world. i mean, i can write about anything to anyone, for anyone. >> brown: morrison was awarded the nobel prize for literature in 1993, the first african american woman to win. praised by the academy for her "visionary force." and she was given the presidential medal of frdom, the nation's highest civilian
honor, by barack obama in 2012. morrison was on the bestsaler list again in 1997 for her novel "paradise" set in an oklahoma town called ruby. and the newshour's elizabeth farnsworth talked to her of the period when freed men left plantations, sometimes under duress. >> isolation, the separateness is always a part of any utopia,t ands my meditation, if you will and interrogation of the whole idea of paradise, the safe place, the place full of bounty where no one can harm you. but in addition to that, it's based on the notion of clusivity. all paradises, all utopias are defined by who is not there, by the people who are not allowed in. >> brown:n 2005, morrison wrote the labreto for marg get garner, an opa based on the
story from which he wrote "beloved." it stars denise traves. at te morrison told me how moved she was by the experience. e'>> thersome other thing, which is a kind of restoration, redemption that the opera can offer via its music, its wor s, itsgers, and its stage, to the audience so that when youou leave, know more, you felt more, and you felt more deeply. but somehow you are more human than you were,r you feel more human, more humane, more capable than you did when you came in. >> brown: "more han, more humane, more capable," words that expressed what toni morrison herself created in a literare that so deeply affected her readers. morrison died monday in new york. she was 88 years old. and joining us now isne of
many writers who were influenced by toni morrison, tracy k. is the former poet laureate of the united states. her latest volum is "wade in the water." tracy, it's nice to talk to you again. first, talk about toni morrison, the writer. what stood out for you in the language, the stories she told? >> well, i feel like what stands out for me is the amazing vigor and resourcefulness, the beautiful esthetic sense that drives her work, the way that we can be moving forward and deeper ninto a world that is made up of characters, voions, and then suddenly we're in what almost feels like a spirit level. her work activates aeautiful human urgency that stems from the social conditions that her characters-- her characters live
and areouched by. but it never stops being poetry. it never stops being a living language. and i think that's somethingat been hugely inspiring to so many writers, myself included. >> brown: and what story did she tell over her life as a writer? >> i feel like morrison provides usus as americans with a vocabulary for acknowledging and grappling with the effecton the ing effects of slavery up u all of no matter who we are. she reminds us that the lives of blacks who are often the center of that story exist on a mythic scale that were central to what america is, what it believes itself to be, and what it might betivelushing against as
well. it's a story that lives in history, but i think it takes art to bring thosnde questions those realities into an urgent kind of contact with who we are as .peop morrison used to talk about, you know, crossing the mere r at sits between yourself and another person and how difficult that isimes. but it's the language of literature and art that helps us to do that. it pulls us out of ourselves and makes us beholden to other people who might be strangers to us. >> brown: you were talking about the influence she had on you and so ma writers personally. tell me a little bit about that. yoas knew he a-- you were a young writer. she's there ons cam. what is that like? who was she to you? >> oh, gosh, i remember-- i remember in my first year on this campus, i was given a
classroom that sat in what was essentially a vestibule outside of toni morrison's office. and on maybe the thi or fourth week of class, she walked through that space on her wayto er office, and my heart stopped. i knew she taught here, but i had never seen her. and i felt this huge welling of awe and gratitude, just arres me. and i thought oh, this is-- i'm in theresence not only of greatness, but i'm in the presence of the real. i'm in the presence of, you know, the living word, logos, in a way. at first she was so generous and present and devoted to her students ad a really beautiful way of breaking down that sense of a awe making herself useful to the young people that she was teaching. but she never stopped being great. >> brown: that's for sure. tracy k. smiton the life a work of toni morrison.
thank you very much. >> woodruff: she never stopped being great. td that "newshour" for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> babbel. a language learning app tha uses speech recognition technology and teaches real-life conversations. daily 10-15 minute lessons are voiced by native speakers and are at babbel. babbel.com. >> financial services firm raond james. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontl worldwide.al change >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in e ucation, democratic engagement, and vancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org.
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: d friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ng sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbhh. access.wg access.wg >> you're watching pbs.coco's b.
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