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CNN "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" - Transcript


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CROWLEY: Highlights from the Virginia senate debate. And a conversation with the candidates: Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen. I'm Candy Crowley, and this is State of the Union. Joining me is Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. Governor, thank you so much for being here. Catch me up now on the state of the investigation.

GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER, COLORADO: Well, the investigation continues now that we have had access to the apartment of the suspect. They've got a lot more new information, they are going continue to put together the case.

CROWLEY: And what have they found in the apartment that might be useful? Are they learning anything more about this suspect?

HICKENLOOPER; You know what they have asked for me is to not talk about this. I think they are learning more, you know, moment by moment. But like in any investigation like this, they are trying to make sure they are getting all of the information first before they release it publicly.

CROWLEY: Sure. Is there anything that you can tell me about that goes to motive? I think that when you are not right there and in it, and trying to help people as they move through this horrific crisis, when you are standing outside of it, you think, why would someone do this? Does anything go to motive that you can share with us?

HICKENLOOPER: You know, I am speechless, because I have been asked this, and obviously, a deeply troubled, twisted, delusional person. I can't for the life of me, I don't -- you know, I can't conceive of a motive.

CROWLEY: We might have to leave that to the psychiatrists.

Has there been any, and can you tell me if the parents have talked to the parents of the suspect?

HICKENLOOPER: Again, I don't know that. So -- I know that they have done hundreds of interviews, so they are certainly leaving no stone unturned.

CROWLEY: And let's talk about those who are remaining injured. I know that several are still in critical condition. What do we know about the status of those that were injured?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, the, you know, I spent yesterday, most of yesterday going from hospital to hospital and talking to the families, in some cases talking to the wounded. It was amazing how buoyant the spirits were in many of these rooms, even with people who had suffered grievous wounds. I mean, there is a resiliency. I don't believe it is just Colorado. I mean, the west is always known for that kind of strength of character and the comeback and rebound, but it is something that I felt was an American quality.

At one point I talked in one hospital people from three different countries that were refugees, and one was from Tunisia, one from Jordan, one from Asia all had been wounded, all came to this country escaping violence, and to a person they said, we love America. We still love America. We are so glad we are here. It was very touching.

CROWLEY: I know that you have been on the phone with the president. The president is coming to visit you today. What can you share with me about his reaction and what will transpire today when he gets there?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, he called me, you know, very early on Friday morning. He, obviously, wants to do what he could to help. He, again, said, if I'm a distraction or problem in any way, I don't, and you know, I shouldn't come. And as we talked to individuals in the hospital, we talked to the Mayor Hogan from the Aurora office, who has done an incredible job, and pretty much I think it was unanimous that the president could come, it would be a very, very positive thing for this community, for especially the families of the victims.

CROWLEY: And what will he be doing there? Will he meet with those people in the hospital? It there service he will attend?

HICKENLOOPER: I believe he is going to meet with a group of the families and the victims who have come there. I think he is still planning to try and to the hospital. They haven't finalized his itinerary. He's not going to stay -- we have a large public community vigil in Aurora at 6:30 tonight. And he felt that was too destructive. And it would have been, he would have -- everyone would have had to come two hours early. It would have overpowered it. And I think it was very sensitive he recognized he's going to do what he can to help these families, but not disrupt anymore than what is absolutely necessary.

CROWLEY: You said something on Friday that caught my attention talking about the safety, relative safety of the country and the state and the cities. And you said, we need to recognize that we can't allow people that are aberrations of nature to take away the joys and the freedoms that we enjoy. I know you know that the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and along with Mayor Bloomberg in particular of New York, some on Capitol Hill, and former Governor Rendell have all said, folks, we need to get serious about gun control.

I wonder in the statement that you made, were you speaking in particular of the second amendment or what were you talking about there?

HICKENLOOPER: No. I was talking -- I mean, I think that the political will come, but at this point, you know, in a funny way, this guy is a terrorist, right. He wasn't a terrorist in the sense of politics, but for whatever twisted reasons that we can barely even imagine, he wanted to create terror all right. He wanted to put fear in people's lives.

And for so many of us, movies are one of the places that we find solace and get away from the life. And it is hot in the summer and the movie theater is cool, and when it is freezing in the winter, the movie theater is warm. You get to get outside of your daily life. We can't let him take that away from us, right. My chief of staff, her daughter organized 20 kids last night all in the early 20s to go see "Batman" just to make -- to drive a stake in the ground to say, listen we are not going to be terrorized, right, we're not going to accept that. We are -- we're not going let that happen.

CROWLEY: When you look at what transpired here, a man apparently with no criminal background, not even any contact with police, speeding ticket I think was the only thing found there, when you look and if you are not familiar with the interior west or the Midwest or, you know, obviously lots of rural places here on the east coast and don't totally understand a gun culture, when you look at what this young man was able to the acquire over three or four months with an assault weapon, a shotgun, a 9 millimeter Glock, another 9 millimeter, all of these tear gas things, and 6,000 rounds of ammo from the internet, think people stand back and look at that and say, shouldn't some bell have gone off somewhere. And you're looking and saying, whoa, somebody is collecting an arsenal. And yet there was no way to connect all those things. Should there be?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, I mean I'm not sure there is any way in a free society to be able to do that kind of -- he was buying things in different places. Certainly, we can try and I'm sure we will try to create some checks and balances on these things, but this is a act of evil. It is somebody who is -- who was an aberration of nature. And, you know, if it wasn't one weapon, it would have been another. I mean, he was diabolical. If you look at what he had in his apartment and what his intentions were, I mean even now it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

He was -- and it is just terrifying the thought that he could spend so much time planning such evil.

CROWLEY: And do you see any law anywhere that could stop a man with no record in a society that protects the second amendment that might have prevented this?

HICKENLOOPER: You know, we are certainly looking at that and trying to say, you know, how do you prevent this, and you know the Virginia Tech shootings, I look at we have been looking at the shootings all across the country, and you know, and try I say, how do we preserve our freedoms, right, and all of those things that define this country and yet try to prevent something like this happening.

Let me tell you that there's no easy answer. There isn't.

CROWLEY: What I hear from you is that you would be open to people who want to suggest a gun law or something that might prevent this sort of thing, but at the moment, you can't imagine what that would be.

HICKENLOOPER: Yeah. I mean, I'm happy to look at anything. But, it's -- again, this person if we had, if there were no assault weapons available, and no this or no that, this guy is going to find something, right. He's going to know how to create a bomb. He's going to -- I mean, who knows where his mind would have gone clearly very intelligent individual, however twisted.

You know, I don't know -- that is the problem, and this is really, this is a human issue, in some profound way that this level of disturbed individual that we can't recognize it, that the people around him obviously had no idea that this was something that he was capable of.

CROWLEY: Right, right. Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado, a rough, rough several days for you and so many people in Colorado, certainly, we are thinking about you out here on the East Coast. Thank you.

HICKENLOOPER: Thank you, and trust me, we will rise above this. I guarantee it.


CROWLEY: I am joined by Arizona Republican Senator John McCain.

Senator, I want to talk to you in depth at the end of this about guns and the role of guns in society. But I know because of the Tucson shooting and Gabby Giffords that this is something you want to first get off of your chest.

MCCAIN: Well, just briefly, it's a terrible tragedy and that bears repeating. But I hope also that the folks in Colorado could look at what we did in Tucson. It was great healing. The president of the United States came and gave a great speech. It was really -- our community and our state united.

And I hope that the people of Aurora, and the state of Colorado, will also begin on that. It is tough, but I think that we have emerged in Arizona where there has been significant improvement. And so I hope that everybody knows how tough it is as well.

CROWLEY: I think Governor Hickenlooper sort of was headed in that direction, talking about the community coming together.


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