Face the Nation transcripts February 24, 2013: Duncan, Kaine, Ayotte & governors
(CBS News) Below is a transcript of "Face the Nation" on February 24, 2013, hosted by CBS News' Major Garrett, filling in for Bob Schieffer. Guests include Education Sec. Arne Duncan, Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Govs. Martin O'Malley, D-Md., Bob McDonnell, R-Va., John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., and Jan Brewer, R-Ariz. Plus, a panel on the connection between video games and gun violence, with Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Penn., National Mental Health Alliance executive director Michael Fitzpatrick, Parents Television Council head Tim Winters, former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole and Texas A&M International psychology professor Chris Ferguson.
MAJOR GARRETT: Today on FACE THE NATION the countdown to sequester continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARRETT (voice-over): With just days before draconian spending cuts are scheduled to kick in, Washington is preparing for furloughs, cutbacks and delays. Can anything stop them?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These cuts are not smart. They are not fair. They will hurt our economy. They will add hundreds of thousands of Americans to the unemployment rolls.
GARRETT (voice-over): We will get the latest from Education Secretary Arne Duncan and we'll hear from two key members of the Senate Budget Committee, New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte and Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine. And then we'll talk to some of the governors whose states will be hardest hit and ask them what they think of proposed new gun control and immigration laws, Republicans Bob McDonnell of Virginia and Jan Brewer of Arizona plus Democrats Martin O'Malley of Maryland and Colorado's John Hickenlooper. And we'll also continue our conversation on gun control after the Newtown shooting. What is the impact of violent video games on kids? And what kind of mental health laws do we need to help keep things like this from ever happening again? It's all ahead on FACE THE NATION.
ANNOUNCER: And now from CBS News in Washington, FACE THE NATION with Bob Schieffer. Substituting for Bob Schieffer, CBS News chief White House correspondent, Major Garrett.
GARRETT: Good morning, again. Bob is off today. On Friday, $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts are scheduled to begin taking effect, part of $1 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years. Nearly half the cuts will be to Defense. The Pentagon says that $800,000 civilian employees could face furloughs. Cuts to airport security funding could cause flight delays of up to 90 minutes. And everyone in the federal government from, FBI agents to meat inspectors to emergency responders could face furloughs. Education funding and Head Start could also be especially hard hit, and we start off this morning with Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Mr. Secretary, thank you for joining us this morning.
DUNCAN: Good morning, Major. Thanks for having me.
GARRETT: I know you're going to get to some of the implications of these across-the-board spending cuts, but Mr. Secretary, I must ask you, in the Recovery Act, the Education Department received $98 billion. And there were discretionary budget increases the president won when Democrats controlled Congress. Isn't there room in your budget, Mr. Secretary, to absorb some of these spending cuts and not have some of the negative effects that have been advertised so far?
DUNCAN: Well, our money all goes out to school districts. And as you know, the vast majority of federal money goes to help vulnerable children, so whether it's children with special needs, whether it's poor children, whether it's adults in college who are doing work study programs, whether it's our babies we talk about in Head Start, we don't have any ability with dumb cuts like this to figure out what the right thing to do is. It just means a lot more children will not get the kinds of services and opportunities they need and as many as 40,000 teachers could lose their jobs.
GARRETT: How soon could that happen, the 40,000? Because I read differing accounts. It could be immediate; it could be until the fall. Is there a sky-is-falling aspect to any of the things you're talking about?
DUNCAN: Well, some of this stuff happens earlier; some of this stuff happens this fall. But what it does, it creates tremendous instability. And there are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can't come back this fall. We need to invest in education; we need to educate our way to a better economy. Any time we have fewer children in Head Start, fewer poor children, fewer children with special needs getting the services they need, none of that's good for children or families or ultimately for the country.
GARRETT: And there is nothing you can do within your own budget, Mr. Secretary, to prioritize, to shield or buffer these programs that you deem essential from these cuts?
DUNCAN: Sequester gives us no ability. I mean, it's just across-the-boards dumb cuts. And we're willing to make tough calls and make tough decisions --
GARRETT: Such as?
DUNCAN: -- such as we cut out $68 billion in taxpayer money that was going to subsidize bankers with our student loan program. We took that $68 billion, put about $28 billion to reduce the deficit, $40 billion to increase -- $40 billion to increase Pell Grants. We've gone from 6 million Pell recipients to 9 million Pell recipients without going back to taxpayers for a nickel. That's a smart cut. That's us trying to show some creativity. And it's interesting that folks on the other side fought that decision.
GARRETT: You mentioned pink slips a moment ago. Who is sending them out, the states, because they're hearing from you? Or you're --
DUNCAN: No, this is local school districts trying to manage, and obviously I was a superintendent, a CEO in Chicago for seven and a half years. And this is the spring. You're trying to plan your budget for the fall. And with this much instability, this much chaos coming from Washington -- again, fact that this is so easily avoidable is why I'm so angry. If folks would just work together, compromise, find a middle ground, we wouldn't put districts and families and children through this much trauma. It doesn't make any sense whatsoever.
GARRETT: But the White House did concede earlier this week-- and I know this is a debate the White House doesn't like to get into -- but the idea for these across-the-board spending cuts did originate with the White House. Do you think that the administration now regrets that idea in the very first place?
DUNCAN: No, I think the sequester was set up to be so painful for everybody, recognizing the dysfunction of Congress to be so painful it would force people to come to the table. And the fact that people in Congress are so tone-deaf to what is really going on in their districts and what would really happen, that, to me, is just like -- it's unimaginable. We don't have to be in this situation. This is not rocket science. We could solve this tomorrow if folks had the will to compromise, to come to the table and do the right thing for children and to try and keep growing the middle class. That's what I think we all want to do.
GARRETT: You know, there is a countdown phenomenon building up around this story, but do you think there's any possibility -- and there was some discussion of this in the morning papers -- that come March 2nd, if the sequester, the across-the-board spending cuts actually happen, nothing really terrible will occur, and voters will say, "Wait a minute. This seems like it was all exaggerated."
DUNCAN: In education, again, it's not just March 2nd and what happens in March and April and May and June and going back to school this fall. And if we have 70,000 less children in Head Start, if we have tens of thousands of poor children and children with disabilities not getting the services they need, the children of military families get disproportionately impacted, because we fund a lot of impact aid. So families where the parents are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, all of a sudden, those children get a worse education? That's not right, Major. That's not fair. It doesn't make sense.
GARRETT: Mr. Secretary, you saw in our open, we're also going to have another conversation later on in this show about gun control. You came from an urban school district. Chicago has been tragically, horribly in the headlines of late. What's your take on the arc of the gun control debate right now, and how does it affect you personally?
DUNCAN: Well, Thursday, the vice president and I spent a couple of hours in Connecticut with the families of children who were killed in the Sandy Hook Massacre. We spent time with families from the Bridgeport community. And that's where I think we should be spending our time, is talking about how we reduce gun violence. That's the productive use of our time. Plenty of time talking about stupid issues like this in Congress doesn't make sense. We have to create a climate in which our children can grow up free of fear. We need a lot fewer children being killed and we need a lot fewer children worrying every single day, am I going to be safe? And whether it's the South Side of Chicago or Sandy Hook or Arizona or Colorado, our children deserve something better.
GARRETT: Mr. Secretary, it's been great to see you this morning. Thank you so much for coming in.
DUNCAN: Thanks (inaudible).
GARRETT: I appreciate it very much. Now we're going to turn to two key members of the Senate Budget Committee, New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte, who is in Manchester, and Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine, who joins us from Richmond. Senator Kaine, I'd like to start with you. Last Friday the White House said it hopes the Senate -- meaning led by the Democratic leadership -- will this week begin debate and have votes on an alternative to these across-the-board spending cuts. As a Democrat on the Budget Committee, Senator, what is your message to the Democratic leadership? How soon do you want that debate to begin and why is it taking so long for it to begin in the first place?
KAINE: Well, we laid a plan on the table about 10 days ago, and we will be voting on it this week, Major. And I completely agree; I think this needs to start in the Senate. And if we can find a balanced package in the Senate that gets some bipartisan support, we can avoid these sequester cuts. I just did a trip around Virginia to armed services installations over the last week in Virginia, 90,000 DOD civilian employees getting furloughed, including nurses at Army hospitals, ship repairers laying 300 of their 450 employees, and wounded warriors, who are scheduled to transition back to civilian life who, in many instances have jobs; they're reservists, so they would go back into working in national security positions at the federal level. And they're facing hiring freezes and furloughs that make them wonder whether they can reenter civilian life. There is no reason that this has to happen. We just need to find a balanced approach, and that's the approach that we will be voting on this week.
GARRETT: But Senator Kaine, to my original question, why is it taking it so long? You know in the Commonwealth of Virginia that these cuts have been in the pipeline; there have been -- there have been warnings about it for a good long time. Many Americans look at this situation and say, why does it always have to wait until the last minute?
KAINE: And, you know, Major, you're right. I'm new here. I've been in the Senate for about six weeks. There's no reason we should be playing this kind of brinksmanship. And, as you know, we have got kind of brinksmanship around sequester and then later brinksmanship around continuing resolution. What we need to do -- and you mentioned Senator Ayotte and I are on the Budget Committee -- we need to return to ordinary budgeting. We're writing a budget in the Senate this year for the first time in normal course of business since 2009. The right way to make decisions about spending, about revenues and even about deficit reduction is as part of a normal, ordinary budget process. Let's get rid of the gimmicks: sequester, continuing resolution; get back to ordinary budgeting, just like what happens in every state capital every year. That's the -- we're moving back to that, and that's going to be the solution to these challenges and doing it in a balanced way.
GARRETT: Senator Ayotte, I want to bring you into the conversation. The Democratic alternative will call for a mix of spending cuts, but also tax increases. Are you prepared to support any tax increases? Will Republicans develop an alternative that has any loophole closings? Or do you think this can and should be done strictly through other alternative spending cuts?
AYOTTE: Major, let me just say I agree with what Tim just said. I serve on the Budget Committee; I have been outraged by the fact that we haven't had a budget for three years because the Senate Democrats haven't wanted to do it. I'm glad to hear Tim say we should do it. We wouldn't be in these positions if we -- these sequester-type situations if we actually prioritized spending. In terms of the Democrats' plan, it seems like the first thing they come up with is we're going to raise taxes after having increased revenue; if you recall, in January, $600 billion over the next 10 years without any spending cuts. I think Republicans should have an alternative in the Senate. I'm working on one to introduce one that will show that we're looking at a little over 2 percent in a $3.5 trillion pot of federal spending in 2013. So that's what we need to do. I'll come up with an alternative spending cut proposal with other colleagues in the Senate. And I want to add this. I think also this notion of giving the president the discretion to make the spending cuts, I think that's a cop-out, so I will be urging my colleagues to have an alternative and for us to present one.
GARRETT: Well, Senator Ayotte, you've proposed legislation that would allow some of these cuts to be carried over or dealt with through attrition at the federal employee level, meaning, if there are people who leave the federal workforce, they're not replaced. One would be replaced for every three vacancies. Are you going to press that before the Senate?
AYOTTE: I have offered that proposal along with Buck McKeon in the House. It's taken from the president's own fiscal commission. But I'm actually working on an alternative with other spending cuts to bring forward, working with other senators, that I believe we will bring forward, and I think that's the right thing to do. I mean, stepping back for a minute, think about you had the secretary of education on previously. If you look at between 2008 and 2010, if you add in the stimulus, the education spending increased 41 percent. So what we're looking at is how can we come up with more sensible spending reductions? I agree with Tim that we don't want to undermine our national security. I in fact traveled around the country with Senators McCain and Graham and actually went to Virginia. We've been talking about this for a year and asking the president for a year to come forward. In the campaign he said this wasn't going to happen. It's time for him to lead this effort as the commander in chief of this country.
GARRETT: Senator Kaine and Senator Ayotte, I want to ask you this, sort of, larger threshold question. The fourth quarter GDP numbers showed a negative growth and there were indications that some of that might have been caused or originated with concern in the defense sector. Both of you represent states with large -- that have large defense either operation or contractors. Is this the wrong time to be cutting any spending in Washington? Do we have -- do we risk any sort of contraction in the economy if we go through with these, no matter how they're composed?
KAINE: Major, I think -- I think it is a risk, and that's why I really think we need a balanced approach. You know, the Senate and House working together have already reduced spending by about $1.4 trillion, and as Kelly indicated, there was a $600 billion increase in revenue. The right way to fix it going forward is a balanced approach that doesn't cut too deeply. Just to use a Virginia example, yesterday Governor McDonnell, my governor -- you're going to have him on in a minute -- worked on a legislature of Democrats and Republicans for a compromised transportation package that reduced spending in some line items and increased revenue. It was a balanced approach. He had to buck Grover Norquist to do it. It wasn't perfect, because compromises aren't perfect, but it's that kind of balanced approach that will preserve Armed Services, preserve defense and enable our economy to start to grow instead of choking off what we're seeing as, you know, a strong stock market and some other indications that we can have real success if we approach this the right way.
GARRETT: Senator -- Senator Ayotte, quickly, do we have an austerity risk here or do these cuts need to happen; it just needs to be a debate over how they're composed?
AYOTTE: Major, I think that we can do this in a more sensible way. What we need is leadership from the commander in chief, rather than -- you know, he's been out campaigning -- even though this idea came from the White House, apparently from Jack Lew, his Treasury nominee -- he's been out trying to blame Republicans -- I think the American people are tired of the blame game -- to come up with responsible spending reductions. We can do that without hurting our economy, in fact, letting -- also dealing with our tax code to make us more competitive instead of just the first answer being further increasing taxes. That's what we can do to help economic growth and to move forward.
GARRETT: Senator Ayotte, thank you very much. Senator Kaine, we've got to go. I appreciate you both very much and we'll see you on Washington...
KAINE: Great to be with you.
GARRETT: We'll see you on Capitol Hill very soon.
KAINE: Thanks, Major.
GARRETT: And we'll be back in one minute to hear from four of the nation's governors.
GARRETT: The nation's governors are in town this weekend for their annual meeting, and we're joined now by Maryland Democrat Martin O'Malley, Virginia Republican Bob McDonnell, plus Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer and Democrat John Hickenlooper from Colorado. Governors, it's great to have you with us. Thank you.
O'MALLEY: Thanks, Major.
MCDONNELL: It's good to be with you.
GARRETT: I want to start with you, Governor O'Malley and Governor McDonnell, because I understand you had a conversation yesterday and you two, despite representing different parties, are trying to figure out some way to resolve the sequester across-the- board spending issue. What do you have to tell us?
O'MALLEY: Well, Governor McDonnell and I talk fairly often, actually, about issues that we share. And on both sides of the Potomac, we sit in the middle of a security -- I mean, a corridor of science and security. And this sequester stands to wipe out a lot of hard-fought job gains in Virginia and in Maryland. So for whatever our differences might be, we understand that this is an economic threat. This is going to hurt a lot of moms and dads in our region who go to work every day, working in places like NIH and NSA and also the people that work in the private sectors that support our federal government in these important missions. So both of us hope that the Congress will come together and find a way to avoid the sequester.
GARRETT: What's your message to Republicans in the Senate and the House, Governor McDonnell?
MCDONNELL: We've got to get the job done. Major, it's been 18 months. The sequester was put in place to be a hammer, not a policy, and now here we are just a week away from getting it done. I think our major concern that Governor O'Malley and I have, because we're such defense states -- 19 installations, 25,000 defense contractors in Virginia -- is you have to cut, because we're in bad shape, $17 trillion, almost, in debt now. But don't put 50 percent of the cuts on defense, our men and women in uniform, while we're still fighting a war in Afghanistan. That's not the right way to balance the cuts that are necessary. So find another way to do it and get it done now.
GARRETT: What are you two going to do in a unified way this next coming week? Because there's going to be a debate in the Senate, and if that's not resolved, these cuts begin on Friday?
O'MALLEY: Well, we're both going to be pushing our congressional delegations...
GARRETT: Will you be trying to reach out to the president?
O'MALLEY: Well, sure. I mean, we're -- we're going to meet with the president tonight, and we're going to be meeting with him tomorrow, and no doubt this threat to our jobs recovery will come up. I mean, all of us have to balance budgets every year, Major. And in Maryland and Virginia, we've made the tough cuts; we've made the tough choices. And I congratulate Governor McDonnell. He just came through a tough legislative session where they applied a balanced approach, and that's what the Congress needs to do, a balanced approach that allows us to create jobs and expand opportunity.
GARRETT: I'll get the other two governors in just one second, but, Governor McDonnell, while you're here, that package that you just put through the legislature has tax increases. Is anything you're saying to Republicans in Congress who are adamantly opposed at this stage, after having raised taxes in the fiscal cliff deal, to lighten up on that, put taxes on the table or loopholes or something to get this resolved?
MCDONNELL: Well, I would say, before we approached this transportation bill this session, we had major spending cuts. We've had other tax decreases. We've done a lot of things to get us to be a very competitive state for job creation, economic development. But we had a different approach when it came to infrastructure. What I would say -- and Governor O'Malley and I agree and we're working together to make sure that we don't have the defense industry hurt this badly and 200,000 jobs to my state over 10 years. And I would say you can't solve the budget crisis if you don't take on Medicaid and Medicare and get serious about things like Simpson-Bowles and actually cutting spending. And so I would say that's where they've got to go first, and we've had 18 months, and a president's got to lead; Congress has got to work with him and get it done.
GARRETT: So no tax increases?
MCDONNELL: Well, that's -- the solution is up to Congress. I'm just saying don't put all the burden on the states and the military. You guys figure out how to get it done.
GARRETT: Governor Brewer, two questions for you. One, some of the things the administration has said, the implications of the across-the-board spending cuts would be fewer Border Patrol agents. Do you worry about that in Arizona? And I have an immigration question, but first I want you to tackle that.
BREWER: Yes, absolutely. There has been so much uncertainty exactly what the impacts are going to be, so we have been looking very diligently into our agencies about where and how we can cut. It's about a $140 million budget cut if it goes according to what we have been presented and what we know today. But, certainly, the security of our border is very, very important. And it is cutting the Border Patrol agents.
GARRETT: With that affecting your constituents, is your message to Republicans "Give in on taxes; resolve this; protect your state from these budget cuts"?
BREWER: You know -- you know, I think they need to resolve it. I think that they should have...
GARRETT: Should they resolve it with tax increases?
BREWER: They need to do and it has to start with leadership from the top. This is unacceptable to the public. The uncertainty, the unknowing of what's taking place. We know that given the cuts is going to hurt us as budget people that we have to deliver those kinds of services. But more than that, it's going to really hurt our economy because Arizona, too, is -- you know, we've got Raytheon there, which we don't know exactly what that's going to do, but it's going to cut a lot of jobs. And we as a Republican governor that inherited the largest budget deficit in the country, we resolved that. And now here we've got the federal government over there in my opinion not doing their job. And then it's left to the states to solve it.
GARRETT: Is it a greater danger for you to deal with these cuts or would it be a greater danger to the economy for Republicans to give in on raising taxes? Which do you want to see?
BREWER: You don't give me very good choices.
BREWER: You know.
GARRETT: When the president talks about balanced that's what he's trying to present. And that seems to be the cutting edge where the debate ultimately will get to.
BREWER: Well, you know, as a governor from a western state, it is difficult, really, for me to be honest and say, OK, I know all the answers because I don't have all the insight baseball games and for me to sit here and know every detail of what they're dealing with there, we do not like taxes. We don't like increase in taxes. But, you know, we know we have to be pragmatic. We know that there have to be some type of compromise. But dang it, they need to get the job done. They don't need to leave the public out their hanging.
GARRETT: Sounds like a qualified, yes. Governor Hickenlooper, what does this look like from the state of Colorado's perspective? On a federal dollars run through, there's interior involvement in Colorado as well. What does this look like to you? What are you most concerned about? And what is your message while here in Washington?
HICKENLOOPER: Well, I think it's the same as all the governors, that we need a balanced approach to this. We had breakfast this morning, all the western governors had breakfast with Secretary Vilsack of agriculture and Secretary Salazar of the Interior, and they laid out in pretty graphic detail how many food inspectors would be cut, not in Colorado but across the United States in terms of making sure that our food is safe. You look at some of the cuts in public safety. If you're going to cut the FBI, and you're going to say, well, we're not going to cut the FBI, where are you going to get that cut, you're going to cut the U.S. Attorneys Office, the bureau of prisons, I mean, you're going to cut border patrols. What has to happen is there's got to be -- and congress can do this. I mean, if us governors can work together so well, I think congress can do it, and just figure out the right balance.
GARRETT: A simple yes or no question to all four of you, we'll start with you, governor, and we'll go around this way. There is some suggestion maybe the administration is over-playing, over dramatizing what's going to happen if these spending cuts do take effect. Is there any could tout in any of your governors' minds in your states that what the administration is saying is real, the effects will be negative and felt by your constituents in relatively short order? Governor Brewer?
BREWER: I think it's unpredictable. I do believe that we're going to see if they don't get their act together, we're going to see some types of cuts. I don't know if they're going to be all that dramatic in the period of time. I mean, they've got to deliver a budget to us, too, in a few short weeks. They just need to get in there and do what they're elected food get it done so we can deal with it.
GARRETT: Governor Hickenlooper.
HICKENLOOPER: I think the effects will be significant, and people will feel them.
GARRETT: You do?
HICKENLOOPER: Absolutely. I think -- I mean, you look at things like education, it's going to cut Title I funds for -- I mean, these schools are going to have a very short period of time to figure out -- just like Secretary Duncan said. Are you going to cut IDEA, which supports our kids with disabilities. These are difficult -- they're impossible choices.
GARRETT: Governor McDonnell.
MCDONNELL: Yes. It...
GARRETT: There's no exaggeration, this is all read and it's all going to happen and be bad?
MCDONNELL: No, I think the president is overplaying his hand to force people to try to raise taxes. He ought to be leading in cutting spending. Everybody knows that's the problem. But he's right that particularly with Defense, and that's where Governor O'Malley and I really agree on this because we're such heavy defense-oriented states -- 50 percent of the cuts to the defense sector, which is is only about 12 percent of the discretionary domestic spending while we have kids in Afghanistan. That's what is wrong about it. And that's why he and I think that they have got to find a different formula. Defense has to be cut like everybody, but don't put it on the kids in uniform.
GARRETT: Less than 10 seconds.
O'MALLEY: These are job-killing cuts, Major, and we have to find a way to avoid these. We cannot cut our way to prosperity. We need a balanced approach to continue our jobs recovery.
GARRETT: We'll continue this conversation and we'll be back in just a moment.
GARRETT: Still ahead on Face the Nation page two. More from the governors and we'll be talking about the impact of violent video games on children. Plus, what kind of changes should be made to gun laws with respect to mental health in light of the Newtown shootings. Stay with us.
GARRETT: Some of our stations are has gone us now, but for most of you, we'll be back with a lot more of Face the Nation. Don't go away.
GARRETT: Welcome back to Face the Nation. I'm Major Garrett filling in for Bob Schieffer.
We're back with Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, plus Arizona governor Jan Brewer and Colorado's John Hickenlooper. Governor Brewer, I promised you an immigration question. So here it is. Do you support your fellow Republican Marco Rubio's efforts to draft and put before the Senate a comprehensive immigration reform, a bill he is drafting with Democrats like Charles Schumer and Bob Menendez?
BREWER: Well, I think that it's wonderful that everybody is coming together in cooperation to find a solution. And I'm very, very appreciative of Senator Rubio in stating and encouraging that before anything is done that we have border security established. And then I think we can move forward.
GARRETT: That's one answer to the question I want to put before both of you two Democratic governors. The Senate framework, put together in a bipartisan way, calls for an independent commission to report to Congress that the border in fact has been secured before the other processes toward legalization begin. The president's draft legislation does not include that. From your two governors' perspective, should this ultimately have a commission that tells the country the border is secure before legalization begins? Governor O'Malley.
O'MALLEY: I think you have to do both at the same time. I don't believe that you can do one absent the other. I mean, they both go together. And we need to create a path to citizenship. We need to accomplish comprehensive immigration reform. And I think it's a real bright spot that we have the opportunity to come together and actually solve this problem.
GARRETT: So what would be the purpose of a commission then to verify that if legalization is already beginning?
O'MALLEY: I don't know. I suppose it might give some greater assurance to those who need to go home and say, hey, I've been tough on the borders and I'm all about law enforcement. So whatever that mix requires...
GARRETT: So to you it reads like a political fig leaf, is that what you're saying?
O'MALLEY: No, I think there is reality. I mean, I think we do need to provide better border security, but I think that also we need to accomplish comprehensive immigration reform. It will be a lot easier to secure the borders and also to provide the correct level of enforcement if we allow hard-working people who have lived their whole lives in the United States to pay their taxes and live in the full light of society and be citizens. You know, it focuses the effort of our immigration services.
GARRETT: Governor Hickenlooper, are these things joined or should one necessarily be dealt with before the other?
HICKENLOOPER: Well, I don't -- I agree with Governor O'Malley, of course. But I don't have as much of a problem doing the border security first. They do have to be done together. But in the end, you've got to really focus on the whole problem at the same time, right? You have got to look at employment identification and making sure that 20 years down the road we're not going to get back in the same position. That requires not just a secure border, but an employment verification system that's rigorous, and a willingness to stand up and say, all right, everybody plays by the same rules, and everyone hires people that are supposed to be hire-able.
GARRETT: Governor Brewer, how does all this sound to you? I see you shaking your head.
BREWER: No, no. We've been down this path previously in trying to address the issue...
GARRETT: What path are you referring to?
BREWER: About whether we can do this together, comprehensive immigration reform, and the security of the border. We need to secure our border first and then move forward. I feel very, very strongly about that. I think the people of -- certainly of Arizona agree with that. And I think that's going to be a stumbling block trying to get something done. You know, a president whom I admired promised the border security to us, and when they moved forward last time and it didn't happen, and we are still faced with a very insecure -- unsecure border. I was just down at the border, it is not secure...
GARRETT: You mentioned in a recent interview that you believe drug cartels are essentially waiting along the border and will cross...
BREWER: Major, I don't -- I know. I mean, I saw them. We see them all the time. You can talk -- I visually saw them. They're staging and they're staging during the day, and they come across at night. Our fences aren't complete. The Border Patrol is too far north. They need to be closer to the line. And we certainly need more National Guard on the ground. We have National Guard in the air, but we need more National Guard on the ground. And people are living down there in fear of their lives, and in fear of the safety of their families. And we are the recipients of all the crime that is taking place, extortion, the human trafficking, the prostitution, the cost in jails. It is -- it's a bad problem. And then to sit in Arizona and listen to people 3,000 miles away making decisions affecting our lives on a daily basis, people that have lived on those ranches for hundreds of years seeing what has taken place to their livelihood, is wrong. It's wrong in America. It's wrong for Arizona. We need our border secure. We need border security.
GARRETT: I want to shift the conversation to gun control legislation. Governor O'Malley, you're working through something in your legislature that very much parallels what Virginia did after the Virginia Tech shooting. Why did it take Maryland longer to get to the idea of putting those in mental health categories unable to procure (ph) firearms and how successful are you going to be getting that through the legislature?
O'MALLEY: Well, we have a comprehensive bill that's working its way through the legislature that involves reinstating the assault weapon bans, requires licenses for the purchases of handguns, also improves school security, and also tightens up the mental health interventions, and crisis intervention. There is always a balance to be achieved when it comes to this mental health issue. We don't want anyone who shouldn't be in possession of a gun to have one that has -- you know, that is troubled with, you know, mental health issues that could lead to the death of other individuals. You also don't want to discourage people from going to seek treatment. I believe that we are getting to a point in this bill where ours will very much mirror what Virginia has done. And I suppose it was the tragedy at Virginia Tech that propelled Virginia to move forward on that more quickly than perhaps we had.
GARRETT: And now you're moving in the same direction. Governor Hickenlooper, I would like to ask you, before Washington and the Congress now, the president's three dominant ideas, assault weapons ban, stronger than the one that expired in 2004, a ban on so- called high-capacity ammunition magazines, and background checks, universal or as close to that that can be achieved, what's the top priority for you? Do you think all three are an absolute must-have or could you live with just one or two of those ideas?
HICKENLOOPER: Well, certainly our highest priority has been mental health issues and addressing that, so it...
GARRETT: Outside of gun control entirely?
HICKENLOOPER: Yes, just to make sure that you don't put guns in the wrong hands and that we have a -- that we beef up -- we have five 24/7 emergency centers. We have the opportunity to make sure that people who would do harm to themselves or to others don't get guns. I think universal background checks are the highest of those three remaining just in the sense that, I mean, we did 320,000 background checks just through gun dealers and gun shows in Colorado last year. And of those, we found -- I mean, people say, well, you know, criminals aren't stupid, they're not going to go through a background check. Hey, what a surprise. They are stupid, right? So we intercepted, you know, over 1,000 felons with criminal records, most of them violent, 600 burglars, 40 people who have been either accused or convicted of homicide. We arrested -- we ended up arresting over 100 -- issuing arrest warrants for over 100 individuals, because they signed up for the background check. We want to expand that. And it is an inconvenience for people, but we only cover about 60 percent of the transfers now. We want to get that 40 percent.
HICKENLOOPER: The -- oh, I'm sorry.
GARRETT: That's all right. And, Governor O'Malley, before I let you go you, you picked a fight with Governor Christie in New Jersey recently, saying that he sort of overplays his performance credentials on pensions and that he takes too much credit for that than he deserves. His people say he's bipartisan and he deserves all the credit he gets. What's your beef with Governor Christie?
O'MALLEY: Oh, I don't -- I believe in doing things that work and making government work and effectively expanding opportunity, creating jobs, reducing violent crime. I think I was asked what I think about Governor Christie's innovations in government, and my response was, what innovations? The unemployment rate is higher now in New Jersey, one of the highest in the country. He has -- his actions have led to the downgrade of their bond rating in a lot of the municipalities. And I just don't see where there's' a comeback happening in New Jersey, if anything, they've fallen back. And that's not effective governance.
GARRETT: Sounds like a conversation we might begin to hear in 2015 and 2016. Governor O'Malley, great to have you with us.
O'MALLEY: Thank you, Major.
GARRETT: Governor Hickenlooper, Governor Brewer, thank you very much. And we'll be back in just a moment.
GARRETT: CBS News correspondent Bob Orr reported last week that law enforcement sources say Newtown, Connecticut, shooter Adam Lanza was motivated at least in part by violent video games and a desire to kill more people than mass murderer Anders Breivik, the Norwegian man responsible for killing 77 people in 2011. And we have assembled a panel of experts to talk about mental health, and the potential impact of violent video games on children in light of Bob Orr's reporting. Tim Winter is the head of the Parents Television Council and he joins us from Los Angeles. Chris Ferguson is a professor of psychology at Texas A&M International who studies the impact of video games on children, he joins us from San Antonio. And here with me in the studio we're joined by Pennsylvania Congressman Tim Murphy, who practiced psychology for 30 years before getting elected to congress. We have also former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole. And rounding out our panel is the executive director of the National Mental Health Alliance Mike Fitzpatrick. We have a big panel, lots of folks. I want to begin the conversation here. And I want to get everyone sort of around of table assessment of this, and we'll start with Tim in Los Angeles. I don't want this conversation to start off with a false choice that video games absolutely cause violence because I think the research tells us that's not the only factor. All of these things are nuanced and have many contributing factors. So Tim, I want to start with you. What should you tell the country, what should the country know about the correlative relationship between video games, violence, and our culture?
TIM WINTER, PARENTS TELEVISION COUNCIL: Well, what you said is right, Major. This isn't an all-or-nothing. It's not 0 percent, it's not 100 percent. But it is a percent of the problem and we have to address it. We have -- the parents and grandparents that are watching this show today understand in their hearts already that this stuff is harmful to children and it's even more harmful now that you have 24/7 digital media hitting children through multiple platforms. But it's not just a parent's obligation. I think the industry has to have a responsibility. When you have a video game that allows a player to shoot a police officer, walk up to that police officer and urinate on him, douse him with gasoline and set him on fire and listen to him scream as he burns to death, what kind of sticker do you put on a box to warn a parent about that?
GARRETT: Chris, what kind of sticker do you put on that box? And is that something that culturally or from a criminal law enforcement point of view or criminal psychology point of view we should be worried about?
CHRIS FERGUSON, TEXAS A&M: Sure, I mean, they actually do already have the ESRB rating stickers that are on the box, in fact. I think it's important to point out -- I mean, coming at this from the perspective of a researcher-- I think the Supreme Court in 2011 was absolutely right in pointing out that the research that we have has been inconsistent and in many cases, methodologically flawed. So it's very difficult to take the research we have on video game violence and apply that to whether it causes societal aggression or societal violence. And particularly when -- if you look at the societal data during the past few decade where's video games have both become more popular and more graphic, youth violence has declined to its lowest level in 40 years and other nations that consume as much media -- video games as we do have much lower violence rates. So we're just not seeing this kind of correlation between media culture and societal violence across nationally. And I think we have to put this discussion, to some extent, in historical perspective and that we know when new media come out, they tend to go through a period of what we call moral panic in which they are blamed for all manner of societal ills. And probably best example of this was the 1950 when we had congress and psychiatrists who were claiming that comic books were responsible for not only juvenile delinquency but homosexuality. So, we have this kind of repetitive pattern, and we can see in the past some of these incidents look kind of ridiculous. But we have trouble learning from them in the present. And my concern here to some extent where we're in the bit of a mode of worrying about, or panicking about this type of media, we my may do some putting the cart before the horse. And we may see some examples of people sort of starting with the conclusion and trying to assemble data in a very selective way to try to support that conclusion.
GARRETT: Mary Ellen, you've done a lot of research on this and you've seen a great number of case studies, real life examples where's not the sole factor but a part of a larger exposure or reinforcement of violence, video games fall into that. Explain to us what you've learned, what is factual, and you how to understand the context of how maybe in large crime situations, video games are at least parent of a larger matrix, if you will.
MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, FORMER FBI SENIOR PROFILER: Sure. It's my experience that video games do not cause violence. However, it is one of the risks variables when we do a threat assessment for the risk to act out violently. And my experience has been, again, individuals who are already contemplating acting out in a convenient way. If they are also immersed 24/7 in videos to the exclusion of other activities. And they're isolated. And actually using these videos as planning or collateral evidence in terms of how to do it better, what equipment to buy, how to select the victims, how to approach the crime scene. If they're used as educational materials for the offender to do the crime better, that's what we take into consideration. But, again, it's important that I point out as a threat assessment and as an FBI-- former FBI profiler, we don't see these as the cause of violence, we see them as sources of fueling ideation that's already there.
GARRETT: And when you say "fueling ideation "it's sort of like an accelerant or something. There's a spark, there's a flame and then there's something around to cause that just causes it spread in a psychological way. Is that a fair way of describe it?
O'TOOLE: Of course. And we have seen this in other crimes over the years. Law enforcement is not a stranger to this concept of frequently we'll serve as expert in other cases like serial murder cases or child molestation cases, and we'll put in the affidavit for a search warrant "look for regular materials: textbooks, journal articles, media reports that this alleged offender has used in order to help him carry out the crime more effectively." So this is -- we're not stranger to this whole concept of how this material can actually be misused. GARRETT: And congressman, you're no stranger to the actual application of intervention with a family, intervention with a youngster who is troubled. What is your perspective on this general topic and do you think there are things congress ought to consider, laws that can be drafted and passed that can put us in a better position?
REP. TIM MURPHY, (R) PENNSYLVANIA: I've stated this for years and wrote a book "Angry Child" in which we laid out for years, there's a dynamic between parent and child and environmental issues. Video games don't cause it. We're chasing the wrong rabbit down the wrong hole. But the military does use that to enhance their skills in action, et cetera. The issue is we need to be addressing mental illness, and we're not. Once again we're going to dismiss it in some other ways. Look at the way we've handled this historically. We've...
GARRETT: When you say "we" you mean congress?
MURPHY: And the nation, the world. We have locked people in prisons, we've burnt them as witches, exorcise them as possessed, we did all these things. And then dumped them out in the streets, emptied hospitals somehow in the name of compassion and now they're out in the streets or they're in jails. That this is just the wrong approach. What congress has done, what the federal governments had done is oftentimes funded wrong things. The National Institute of Mental Health budget is very small. And my role as chairman of the oversight and investigation subcommittee we're going to look at this. And we're also looking at tremendous waste. For example, SAMHSA, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Agency -- I've got to show you this, they funded painting this picture for $22,000. Our tax dollars going to that. Now I have no idea how this is going to help anybody get any better. SAMHSA is filled with all sorts of waste like this, where they are funding programs to tell people how to get off their medication. We need to be finding ways to get people help and not going down wrong things and making sure federal dollars are spent wisely to help families and help kids in these instances.
GARRETT: Mike, I -- you know, you're eager to jump in on this. From your vantage point, what the congressman talked about is there a misapplication of federal resources, federal intentions, and are we missing the boat on this idea that maybe video games play a large role in this entire saga?
MIKE FITZPATRICK: 60 percent of people in this country that have been diagnosable mental illness on a given day receive no treatment. What we really need to focus on is to rethink the mental health system in America and focus on early intervention, early engagement, diagnosis, and treatment. Too much time is really spent, Major, on the back end of the system. We need to get help to families. Families are on the front line. They understand what's going on with their children. And it's HIPAA law, it's local statutes...
GARRETT: Stop you there, HIPAA meaning? Help our viewers understand that
FITZPATRICK: Well, federal laws that talk about confidentiality and what schools and other entities can share with families. And too often we see families as being isolated. Families and friends can see what's happening way loved one or someone they care deeply about and they should be part of the larger conversation.
GARRETT: When you talk about 60 percent with a diagnosable mental illness not receiving treatment, from your research and your understanding, what's the cause of that? Is it stigma? Is it a sense of being afraid? Is it a sense of a lack of resources? What are the underlying factors?
FITZPATRICK: It's' number of things, Major. In the last four fiscal years, $4.35 billion have been cut from the public mental health system. That's a problem. Stigma is enormous in this country. In this country, we don't grow up going to a psychiatrist. So for a family to move forward and understand what they're seeing is a difficult proposition. So education needs to take place in communities with families to have them understand what they're seeing, and to take the initial steps. We need to educate school staff. We need to educate law enforcement. We need to educate families. We need to have them communicated with each other to be able to identify mental illness and then take those first steps to get people into treatment.
GARRETT: And I want to go back to a point that Tim made at the top. And I just want to ask everyone here, he described a video game of shooting a police officer, urinating on him, burning him and watching him scream. Now I'm not asking anyone if that's the cause of violence. I'm just asking would you watch that? Would you have your children watch that? And what is there -- what is the value of that? And is there anything culturally just from a common sense perspective, people ought to say, you know, I think we could probably live without that. Congressman?
MURPHY: We could. It's disgusting. There's no role for that sort of thing. And parents need to be watching these things vigorously and not using video games as pacifiers. Most people can handle these situations, but it does go back to the situation of early prevention, early identification, giving people the tools for that. What has happened in our society is it isn't just we've made cuts, we actually are spending more money because we're putting people in jail now. And it's left to police to deal with this. And then to have video games, which are attacking police, are not helpful at all.
GARRETT: Mary Ellen.
O'TOOLE: There is no value in my opinion looking at these videotapes, absolutely none. And in fact the concern generally speaking is that watching this kind of visual stimuli can erode at traits like empathy and compassion, and altruism. But getting back to mass shootings, there are many variables that we have to be concerned about. And, for example, I'll give you a couple. Within the context of video games, are we also looking at someone who is going out and acquiring weapons or camouflage material based on the video game? Are they actually taking on the identity? Are there other indicators for risk that are occurring as a result of the video game and in addition to the video game. So this whole concept really has to go beyond just the video gentleman.
GARRETT: Chris Ferguson in San Antonio, I want to bring you back in here. I understand and appreciate and I've looked at all the data you talked about, I've read the Supreme Court opinions that there is no causal link. I accept that. But from your vantage point, do you think that there is a cultural value -- or should that even be a conversation -- for some of these video games, some of the images and do you think there's anything that should noted with maybe more caution than we're currently noting about the possible implication of long-term exposure?
FERGUSON: Sure. That's a great question. I mean, I think the first thing to point out is that we're singling out video games. And this kind of material can be found in all types of media: books, movies, television, and such. We actually do, do some research in our lab looking at issues like empathy and, you know, exposing players to video games of all sorts and television of all sorts. And actually in our results, we do not find any evidence that exposure to this material reduces empathy. There seems to be something in our brains that is able to distinguish between events that go on in the fictional universe and those that go on in the real universe. That having been said, I think really the key answer here is for parents when they're considering a particular video game for their child to be very informed, to be aware of the ESRB rating system, to read game reviews, which oftentimes talk about some of the content of these games, and make a decision, informed decision about what is right for their family. I mean, in some of the research we do, we found that kids who play violent video games with their parents actually have some of the best outcomes in terms of volunteering, helping others and such. It's probably not the video games that are doing that, but motor parental involvement.
FERGUSON: And I think that's really the important key that's being missed here.
GARRETT: OK. Tim, I want to give you the last word on this because it is central to you, and you've heard a lot of commentary on it. What's your final parting thought on this? Should it be taxed more? Should they be banned? What other ideas do you have?
WINTER: Well, most importantly we need to start using the word "and" instead of "or" when we're addressing what are the causes of this horrific societal violence. It's mental health and it's access to guns for people who shouldn't have them and it is a saturated media culture of violence. And, sadly, just as the tobacco industry was able to find researchers to support their notion that their products weren't harmful, so, too, has the entertainment industry found people who represent the extreme outlying...
GARRETT: Tim, I have to go.
GARRETT: I appreciate it very much. We'll be back after a short break.
GARRETT: Bob will be back next week. I'm Major Garrett. Thank you for watching Face the Nation.
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