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Obama on Senate Manchin-Toomey Bill Fail: “Shameful Day for Washington” [Video - Full Remarks]

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with families of victims killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, before delivering remarks on the Senate's failure to pass a compromise plan expanding background checks on firearms sales, April 17, 2013. Former Rep. Gabby Giffords, not pictured, also attended. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with families of victims killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, before delivering remarks on the Senate’s failure to pass a compromise plan expanding background checks on firearms sales, April 17, 2013. Former Rep. Gabby Giffords, not pictured, also attended. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

WHEN Mark Barden stood in the White House Rose Garden after the Senate’s miserable failure to pass universal background checks, he was joined by President Obama, who had a very grim face. It was a humiliating day for the Obama administration, with the NRA, extremists and cowards allowed to hold America hostage, while senators of both political parties showed they can be bought.

On Wednesday, a minority of senators gave into fear and blocked common-sense legislation that would have made it harder for criminals and people with dangerous mental illnesses to get hold of deadly firearms – a bill that could prevent future tragedies like those in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., Blacksburg, Va., and too many communities to count. – Gabby Giffords

My husband Mark is a gun expert and we are a gun owning family. Mark is also a victim of gun violence. One night, before I met him, he was working and was shot and almost killed by two thugs who left him next to his work truck to die. Thank God he survived, but he still has shrapnel in his body from that incident.

It’s not the same as Sandy Hook, of course, or the other gun massacres and tragedies in our country, but it was very significant at the time to his children.

Mark and I are strong supporters of universal background checks. It is the most important gun safety measure that could be passed and the most necessary.

Nothing will ever stop all the gun violence in this country. But the Second Amendment is in no way threatened by the Manchin-Toomey legislation. Both of these conservative senators deserve a great deal of credit for their efforts.

President Obama is correct. The failure of the Senate to pass this legislation is shameful.

The 2014 election should be about sending the NRA senators and representatives packing. For that to happen Americans will have to care a lot more than they have to this date. Pressure must be brought to bear on the senators who can’t stand up to the NRA, as well as those who allow themselves to be bought.

Statement by the President

Rose Garden

MR. BARDEN: Hello. My name is Mark Barden. Just four months ago, my wife Jackie and I lost our son, and our children, James and Natalie, they lost their little brother Daniel. Daniel was a first-grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our sweet, 7-year-old Daniel was one of 20 children, six adults lost on December 14th. I have to say it feels like it was just yesterday.

In our deepest grief, we were supported by the love of our families and comforted by the love and prayers we received from millions of America, from every corner of the country.

What happened in Newtown can happen anywhere. In any instant, any dad in America could be in my shoes. No one should feel the pain. No one should feel our pain or the pain felt by the tens of thousands of people who’ve lost loved ones to senseless gun violence.

And that’s why we’re here. Two weeks ago, 12 of us from Newtown came to meet with U.S. senators and have a conversation about how to bring common-sense solutions to the issues of gun violence. We came with a sense of hope, optimistic that real conversation could begin that would ultimately save the lives of so many Americans. We met with dozens of Democrats and Republicans and shared with them pictures of our children, our spouses, our parents who lost their lives on December 14th.

Expanded background checks wouldn’t have saved our loved ones, but still we came to support the bipartisan proposal from two senators, both with “A” ratings from the NRA — a common-sense proposal supported by 90 percent of Americans. It‘s a proposal that will save lives without interfering with the rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners.

We’ll return home now, disappointed but not defeated. We return home with the determination that change will happen — maybe not today, but it will happen. It will happen soon. We’ve always known this would be a long road, and we don’t have the luxury of turning back. We will keep moving forward and build public support for common-sense solutions in the areas of mental health, school safety, and gun safety.

We take strength from the children and loved ones that we lost, and we carry a great faith in the American people.

On behalf of the Sandy Hook Promise, I would like to thank President Obama, Vice President Biden for their leadership and for standing strong and continuing to fight for a safer America. I would like to thank Senators Toomey, Manchin, Schumer and Kirk on coming together to seek common ground on legislation that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals and save lives.

And I would like to thank Connecticut’s Senators Blumenthal and Murphy. They’ve been right with us. They stood by us right from the very beginning. From the first few hours after this tragedy they were with us.

We will not be defeated. We are not defeated, and we will not be defeated. We are here now; we will always be here because we have no other choice. We are not going away. And every day, as more people are killed in this country because of gun violence, our determination grows stronger.

We leave Washington hoping that others, both here and across the country, will join us in making the Sandy Hook Promise, a pledge that we’d had great hope that more U.S. senators would take literally. I’d like to end by repeating the words with which the Sandy Hook Promise begins: Our hearts are broken. Our spirit is not.

Thank you. It is now my great pleasure to introduce the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.

THE PRESIDENT: A few months ago, in response to too many tragedies — including the shootings of a United States Congresswoman, Gabby Giffords, who’s here today, and the murder of 20 innocent schoolchildren and their teachers —- this country took up the cause of protecting more of our people from gun violence.

Families that know unspeakable grief summoned the courage to petition their elected leaders —- not just to honor the memory of their children, but to protect the lives of all our children. And a few minutes ago, a minority in the United States Senate decided it wasn’t worth it. They blocked common-sense gun reforms even while these families looked on from the Senate gallery.

By now, it’s well known that 90 percent of the American people support universal background checks that make it harder for a dangerous person to buy a gun. We’re talking about convicted felons, people convicted of domestic violence, people with a severe mental illness. Ninety percent of Americans support that idea. Most Americans think that’s already the law.

And a few minutes ago, 90 percent of Democrats in the Senate just voted for that idea. But it’s not going to happen because 90 percent of Republicans in the Senate just voted against that idea.

A majority of senators voted “yes” to protecting more of our citizens with smarter background checks. But by this continuing distortion of Senate rules, a minority was able to block it from moving forward.

I’m going to speak plainly and honestly about what’s happened here because the American people are trying to figure out how can something have 90 percent support and yet not happen. We had a Democrat and a Republican -— both gun owners, both fierce defenders of our Second Amendment, with “A” grades from the NRA — come together and worked together to write a common-sense compromise on background checks. And I want to thank Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey for their courage in doing that. That was not easy given their traditional strong support for Second Amendment rights.

As they said, nobody could honestly claim that the package they put together infringed on our Second Amendment rights. All it did was extend the same background check rules that already apply to guns purchased from a dealer to guns purchased at gun shows or over the Internet. So 60 percent of guns are already purchased through a background check system; this would have covered a lot of the guns that are currently outside that system.

Their legislation showed respect for gun owners, and it showed respect for the victims of gun violence. And Gabby Giffords, by the way, is both — she’s a gun owner and a victim of gun violence. She is a Westerner and a moderate. And she supports these background checks.

In fact, even the NRA used to support expanded background checks. The current leader of the NRA used to support these background checks. So while this compromise didn’t contain everything I wanted or everything that these families wanted, it did represent progress. It represented moderation and common sense. That’s why 90 percent of the American people supported it.

But instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill. They claimed that it would create some sort of “big brother” gun registry, even though the bill did the opposite. This legislation, in fact, outlawed any registry. Plain and simple, right there in the text. But that didn’t matter.

And unfortunately, this pattern of spreading untruths about this legislation served a purpose, because those lies upset an intense minority of gun owners, and that in turn intimidated a lot of senators. And I talked to several of these senators over the past few weeks, and they’re all good people. I know all of them were shocked by tragedies like Newtown. And I also understand that they come from states that are strongly pro-gun. And I have consistently said that there are regional differences when it comes to guns, and that both sides have to listen to each other.

But the fact is most of these senators could not offer any good reason why we wouldn’t want to make it harder for criminals and those with severe mental illnesses to buy a gun. There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn’t do this. It came down to politics — the worry that that vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections. They worried that the gun lobby would spend a lot of money and paint them as anti-Second Amendment.

And obviously, a lot of Republicans had that fear, but Democrats had that fear, too. And so they caved to the pressure, and they started looking for an excuse — any excuse — to vote “no.”

One common argument I heard was that this legislation wouldn’t prevent all future massacres. And that’s true. As I said from the start, no single piece of legislation can stop every act of violence and evil. We learned that tragically just two days ago. But if action by Congress could have saved one person, one child, a few hundred, a few thousand — if it could have prevented those people from losing their lives to gun violence in the future while preserving our Second Amendment rights, we had an obligation to try.

And this legislation met that test. And too many senators failed theirs.

I’ve heard some say that blocking this step would be a victory. And my question is, a victory for who? A victory for what? All that happened today was the preservation of the loophole that lets dangerous criminals buy guns without a background check. That didn’t make our kids safer. Victory for not doing something that 90 percent of Americans, 80 percent of Republicans, the vast majority of your constituents wanted to get done? It begs the question, who are we here to represent?

I’ve heard folks say that having the families of victims lobby for this legislation was somehow misplaced. “A prop,” somebody called them. “Emotional blackmail,” some outlet said. Are they serious? Do we really think that thousands of families whose lives have been shattered by gun violence don’t have a right to weigh in on this issue? Do we think their emotions, their loss is not relevant to this debate?

So all in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington.

But this effort is not over. I want to make it clear to the American people we can still bring about meaningful changes that reduce gun violence, so long as the American people don’t give up on it. Even without Congress, my administration will keep doing everything it can to protect more of our communities. We’re going to address the barriers that prevent states from participating in the existing background check system. We’re going to give law enforcement more information about lost and stolen guns so it can do its job. We’re going to help to put in place emergency plans to protect our children in their schools.

But we can do more if Congress gets its act together. And if this Congress refuses to listen to the American people and pass common-sense gun legislation, then the real impact is going to have to come from the voters.

To all the people who supported this legislation — law enforcement and responsible gun owners, Democrats and Republicans, urban moms, rural hunters, whoever you are — you need to let your representatives in Congress know that you are disappointed, and that if they don’t act this time, you will remember come election time.

To the wide majority of NRA households who supported this legislation, you need to let your leadership and lobbyists in Washington know they didn’t represent your views on this one.

The point is those who care deeply about preventing more and more gun violence will have to be as passionate, and as organized, and as vocal as those who blocked these common-sense steps to help keep our kids safe. Ultimately, you outnumber those who argued the other way. But they’re better organized. They’re better financed. They’ve been at it longer. And they make sure to stay focused on this one issue during election time. And that’s the reason why you can have something that 90 percent of Americans support and you can’t get it through the Senate or the House of Representatives.

So to change Washington, you, the American people, are going to have to sustain some passion about this. And when necessary, you’ve got to send the right people to Washington. And that requires strength, and it requires persistence.

And that’s the one thing that these families should have inspired in all of us. I still don’t know how they have been able to muster up the strength to do what they’ve doing over the last several weeks, last several months.

And I see this as just round one. When Newtown happened, I met with these families and I spoke to the community, and I said, something must be different right now. We’re going to have to change. That’s what the whole country said. Everybody talked about how we were going to change something to make sure this didn’t happen again, just like everybody talked about how we needed to do something after Aurora. Everybody talked about we needed change something after Tucson.

And I’m assuming that the emotions that we’ve all felt since Newtown, the emotions that we’ve all felt since Tucson and Aurora and Chicago — the pain we share with these families and families all across the country who’ve lost a loved one to gun violence — I’m assuming that’s not a temporary thing. I’m assuming our expressions of grief and our commitment to do something different to prevent these things from happening are not empty words.

I believe we’re going to be able to get this done. Sooner or later, we are going to get this right. The memories of these children demand it. And so do the American people.

Thank you very much, everybody.

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55 Responses to Obama on Senate Manchin-Toomey Bill Fail: “Shameful Day for Washington” [Video - Full Remarks]

  1. Cujo359 April 18, 2013 at 1:06 am #

    [T]his legislation met that test. And too many senators failed theirs.

    For once, I agree with the man. It’s really a sad commentary on the process when something like this can’t pass.

    • Cujo359 April 18, 2013 at 1:11 am #

      I almost forgot. Anyone wanting to learn about the ins and outs of the Senate’s filibuster rules should check this slideshow. If you can’t get there for some reason, I have it embedded at my blog, too. It’s in the article entitled “Suggested Reading”.

  2. Ramsgate April 18, 2013 at 1:18 am #

    So much for the charm offensive. Blame, blame blame. Blame & excuses.

    In my humble opinion, Barak Obama had a chance – a moral duty – to fix the filibuster last January. He didn’t. WE all know who and what the Republicans are. No point belaboring that. For four years they blocked and filibustered everything that came their way. He KNEW if he had to get anything done in his second term, the filibuster would have to be reformed. And yet, he naively chose to leave it to fate. This is the height of incompetence & ineffectiveness. He was hired to get things DONE. Not to blame the Republicans or congress. He is so completely focused on the process (bipartisanship) that he can never deliver the RESULTS.

    • dafederalist April 18, 2013 at 1:54 am #

      Ramsgatie….I do apologize but I have to call Bullshit. Harry Reid is the Senate Majority leader not President Obama. So if anyone is to blame for the current filibuster process, it is Senator Harry Reid. I am over President Obama’s speechifying having spent almost two years doing temp jobs with no Medical Coverage. I am tired of the excuses. However, no one can say that President Obama wasn’t visible on this issue of the watered down legislation that just died in the Senate. (As a Nevadan, I want to apologize for inflicting Senator Reid on everyone…he is WEAK but it could be worse…..we could be saying Senator Sharon Angle)

      • Cujo359 April 18, 2013 at 3:05 am #

        You’re partly right, I think. The rest of the blame goes to Senate Democrats generally. Reid is still in charge, despite the failure. Apparently, he is doing well enough not to be voted out. At some point, you have to start blaming the people who keep voting for the guy despite what we citizens would consider repeated failure.

      • Ramsgate April 18, 2013 at 10:28 am #

        Dafederalistie . . . Harry Reid may be the Senate Majority Leader but the buck stops with Obama. He calls the plays. The choice was his. He could turn his program (his legacy) over to Harry Reid and watch each and everyone of his initiatives go down to defeat one by one, or he could stop this “above the fray” act get his hands dirty and fight for once in his life and lead his forces into battle. Lead from the front. Specifically: He could have brought Harry Reid into a quiet room and gave him the Johnson Treatment: “Harry, these mother-kissers have been playing with me for the last four years. They have blocked every single thing I tried to do for the American people. Enough. The filibuster must be reformed. I’m not going to have them block one more judge, one more initiative. We have the votes, Do it.” He’ll pull that stuff with the house Democrats to impress David Brooks and the WAPO editorial page. But he doesn’t have the stones to go up against conservative Democrats or Republicans.

        Daf, visibility is not the issue. Like Obama you are caught up in the process. What counts is results. Getting things done. And he does not seem to know how to get things DONE. He’s more interested in the cosmetic bullshit like bipartisanship and charm offensives, visibility, as opposed to the accomplishment.

  3. Art Pronin April 18, 2013 at 1:41 am #

    Giffords wrote a grt NYT op ed -wow. She calls out these sens for what they are and urges americans to personally tell their reps what they think. she vows to stay on the case until this gun legislation passes.

  4. spincitysd April 18, 2013 at 5:16 am #

    I will repeat myself. This is Obama’s failure. He lost precious time in pointless navel gazing that produced a policy proposal that has been kicking around since John Hinckley tried to put Don Reynaldo in the grave.

    The three parts of the proposal: assault weapons ban, large magazine ban, and real background checks have been the holy trinity of gun control for the last thirty years. There was no need for Joe Biden to ponder the possibilities. There was no excuse for the delay.

    Once again Obama failed to use the power of Bully Pulpit correctly. Once again he forgot the fierce urgency of now. Once again he let his concern for Brand Obama to trump the requirement for political ruthlessness. Once again, he let someone else do the hump work. Once again he attempted to Triangulate.

    There is no excuse for this abismal failure of leadership. There is no excuse for Obama letting the Republicans run out the clock. Obama should have been out of the gate early and often. He no longer has the excuse of being a neophyte. He has no excuse for being surprised by the bad behavior of the Republicans. He has no excuse for letting the human Jellyfish, Harry Reid guide this bill through the Senate. He has no excuse for using Joe Manchin as political cover. Manchin is too new to the Senate to be any use in the political knife fights that occur in that august body.

    Manchin may be a wily pol in the hard-scrabble politics of West Virginia, but DC is whole higher level. Manchin just does not have the chops to deal with an epic slime-ball like Mitch McConnell.

    Yes, the Congress is operatically corrupt. Yes, gridlock rules the day. Yes, the NRA has a death-lock on the legislature. But Obama had an obligation to find a strategy, a work-around, a plan. Congress can be moved, it can be gulled if you apply the right pressure at the right time. The horror show G.W. Bush put on right after 9-11 proves that if you act with enough alacrity and ruthlessness, there is no end to what you can accomplish. Witness FISA, Sneak and Peak, etc., etc., etc. Bush was able to create the police state that many had been dreaming of for decades by using the 9/11 tragedy as his political fulcrum. Bush was even able to cram two misbegotten wars down the Democrats’ throats with no real push-back.

    LBJ also understood the need for the bum’s rush when dealing with the Senate. If you want to get anything past the Senate, you have to be willing to have all passion and kinetic energy of a charging Rino; you have to be willing to run over the joint. But Obama did no such thing. He wasted LBJ’s thirty days. He frittered away momentum that he will never have again. He pointlessly wasted time. He let evil win the day.

    Now it is up to the Newtown families. It is now their job to provide the leadership that Obama failed to provide. It is now their job to pressure the Senators, to cajole, to inspire, to threaten. It is now their job to remind the nation of what this was all about before the DC meat grinder got a hold of this: the lives of twenty children, barely out of diapers, cut down for no good reason. It is now their job not only to hold Congress to account, but us all. We have allowed Congress to get this bad. We have allowed our political system to get out of hand. It is they, not Obama, who are the transformational actors. The system has failed, hopefully they will succeed.

    • dafederalist April 18, 2013 at 6:18 am #

      I agree…I Forgot all about Vice President Biden’s…..ahemmm….”common ground” bargaining.

      • dafederalist April 18, 2013 at 6:38 am #

        “LBJ also understood the need for the bum’s rush when dealing with the Senate.”

        Now LBJ used every dirty trick in the book including blackmail to get what he wanted when he wanted.

        • Taylor Marsh April 18, 2013 at 9:11 am #

          Comparing LBJ’s days to what Obama has to fight in the Senate, as well as with the NRA’s special interest money, is comparing lambs to hyenas.

          • jjamele April 18, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

            Actually, comparing Obama to LBJ is like comparing a lamb to a hyena.

            Maybe we need a new bumper sticker- “Hyenas get things done. Lambs get served up with mint jelly.”

  5. secularhumanizinevoluter April 18, 2013 at 5:24 am #

    Anyone who votes for any politition who voted NO deserves what they get.

    • jjamele April 18, 2013 at 7:26 am #

      Remember today’s vote the next time one of these politicians gives a speech praising “courage.”

      These guys are good at admiring courage. They are terrible at emulating it. And keep in mind that the courage they admire often involves running toward explosions or shootings to render aid to victims. The courage they don’t HAVE is the kind required to risk their JOBS. The media assists them in acting as if defeated politicians face arrest, imprisonment, torture and death in retirement rather than private industry and lobbying opportunities.

      Yeah, it takes real “courage” to vote against the gun lobby. Pathetic.

  6. jjamele April 18, 2013 at 6:49 am #

    And once again, Senators prove that they are second to none in their admiration of courage- for the first responders, for policemen, etc…..and second to none when it comes to showing empathy for the victims of violence…but when it comes to showing courage and empathy by actually doing something, they are second to none in caving to a lobby.

    Yes, they want to do “something” to end gun violence. But that “something” never, ever means the “right thing” if it puts their own political careers in jeopardy. It takes courage- but they don’t have it. Not one little bit. It also takes empathy- but that’s just a word to them, and involves nothing more than giving a pretty speech before going back to business as usual.

  7. belltor April 18, 2013 at 7:34 am #

    Watch them all line up to cut your Social Security and Medicare benefits. Perhaps they are thinking you will need your guns to hunt for food after you tire of the steady diet of cat food. Our government is broken beyond repair. It no longer functions to address the real needs of its peoples.

  8. Taylor Marsh April 18, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    This is not Pres. Obama’s fault.

    It is first Senator Harry Reid’s for being a coward on the filibuster.

    The rest goes to the actual senators who voted against the bill.

    • newdealdem1 April 18, 2013 at 11:05 am #

      Sing it, Sister!

    • spincitysd April 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

      OK, and Obama was not aware of Reid’s cowardice? He was not aware what letting the filibuster stand meant? If Reid is an issue you find a way to neutralize him. You plant a large economy political knife in his back.

      If the Senate is the house of pit vipers and scorpions that everybody in the know says it is, then the obligation is clean that place out. The obligation is to reform it.

      If Obama wants a true legacy he needs to abandon “The Grand Bargain” and lead the charge against the forces that help to create this situation. He now knows how money politics corrupts the system. He hopefully now knows how this no longer benefits him. He has the time, political capital, and rally point.

      When the legislature can not pass a item that has 90% approval of the public the only option is sustained outrage. Or in Obama’s case maybe the option is cold, calculating furry. He can not let this stand. If the man has any mettle in him, he should lay into his former colleges for all he is worth: no quarter asked or given. They, the Senate, have shown their contempt not only for him but the will of the people. Obama should make them pay dearly for that contempt.

      • Ramsgate April 18, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

        SpincitySD: Perfectly stated. Pitch perfect.

  9. Sandmann April 18, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    I think President Obama has been front and center on this matter.

    • Taylor Marsh April 18, 2013 at 9:09 am #


      This is completely on the Senate and Majority leader Reid, as well as the senators who voted no.

      • angels81 April 18, 2013 at 9:32 am #

        I also agree that this is the fault of Harry Reid first, and the cowards who voted no. I’m sick and tired of blaming Obama for everything that goes on in Washington. Some tend to blame him for everything no matter what the facts are. I’m surprised he hasn’t been blamed for the bombs in Boston yet.

        • Taylor Marsh April 18, 2013 at 9:37 am #

          The White House, Obama and Biden together, could not have done anything more than they did.

          Senator Joe Manchin, who Democratic progressives hate on many issues, was a hero on this bill. He could not have worked any harder and deserves a lot of credit, too, as does Senator Pat Toomey.

          If we had a Congress that our founders first envisioned, Senator Harry Reid would be challenged for majority leader immediately and taken down.

          • ladywalker68 April 18, 2013 at 9:53 am #


      • Ramsgate April 18, 2013 at 10:53 am #

        That may be true Taylor but it will go down in history as another Obama failure. He could have avoided that by counseling or encouraging Harry Reid to reform the filibuster.

        • belltor April 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

          i agree. Obama stays out of the fray. just as he
          does with every issue but a few. He takes on gun control after how many horrific episodes happened during his tenure?

          It is a safe issue for him to take on. I rather he take on the banksters and pushed DOJ to go after them and their corrupt ways and too big to fail.

          He can’t get his Wall St friends upset now.

    • DaGoat April 18, 2013 at 9:55 am #

      Agreed. I am no Obama fan but I can’t see much to criticize him for on this topic.

  10. PeggySue April 18, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    I would never be accused of being an Obama cheerleader. But this is one instance when I simply cannot blame the man for what was clearly the fault of the the United States Senate, which has become a cesspool of special interests and big money, that which is truly represented and not the welfare of the American public at large. The minority ruled yesterday in a complete perversion of what’s suppose to happen. If anything, this is a stark reminder that our constitutional Republic has been turned on its head, that there is very little left of a democratic tilt to anything that goes on in DC. When 90% of the American public supported this legislation, there is no cover for what happened in that vote. And sorry, it’s a sad day when doing the right thing, the sensible thing, the decent thing is labeled ‘Courage.’ That’s not to take away from the legislators who voted for the bill and with the majority of Americans. But they were doing the job they were elected to do–representing US, the people who live outside the Beltway. That includes gun owners like myself and my husband, NRA members, hunters, target shooters, all the people who have never fired a gun and never will and the many thousands of gun violence victims and their families. The disgusting comments by Rand Paul yesterday morning suggesting that the Newtown families were props in this debate should blacken his reputation forever.

    No, this bill would not have solved all problems. It was a first, necessary step, a baby step at that towards Universal background checks. President Obama was the most passionate I’ve ever seen or heard him. He was angry as hell. He had a right to be. I share that anger and utter disgust.

    This is not the end of it. The NRA leadership may be crowing this morning. But they will rue the day. Wait for it.

  11. newdealdem1 April 18, 2013 at 11:22 am #

    No reason to reinvent the wheel so I’m re-posting my comments from last evening in a related thread.

    “I’m no Obamabot but I’m not disgusted at him like spincitysd. This bill may not have passed but what was accomplished in this was to show the utter lunacy of NRA. At the very least they are going to be much bigger targets of the left from now on.” james richardson April 17, 2013

    I agree with james richardson.

    I am also fed up with those who continue to blame with a general swath, “our elected officials”. NO. We need to name those who take the easy and wrong vote to save their individual bacon. Blaming everyone for those who are truly to blame reminds me of when I was in grammar school and one or two kids used to cause problems and the teacher blamed the entire class and everyone was punished. That didn’t sit well with me when I was a kid and it sits even less well with me now that I’m an adult with a kid: she shouldn’t pay for someone else’s bad behavior just because a teacher says it’s so perhaps because she truly doesn’t like kids or is afraid to call out and discipline the disruptive ones. And, it never solves the problem because the ones who are to blame continue to behave badly since they are never punished for their individual bad behavior.

    My Senators, Gillibrand and Schumer voted for this bill as did 52 other Senators including four Republicans: in addition to Toomey, the amendment was supported by Senators McCain, Susan Collins (Maine) and Mark Kirk (Ill.). Thank you to all those who did the right thing and voted to pass this amendment for background checks. I wrote to my Senators as well as Manchin and Toomey and McCain, Collins and Kirk and thanked them for their YEA vote.

    We have to give them positive feedback when they do the right thing.

    Conversely, we, as voters and citizens MUST hold our elected officials accountable for their votes and write, call or visit their offices to tell them we won’t vote for them again. We are just as responsible for not doing anything when they take the cowards way out. You’d be surprised just how much they take seriously calls from their constituents letting them know you’re watching them as they vote for this or that bill. Even FDR said he needed to hear from and be pushed by citizens to do the right thing that he couldn’t go it alone every time. That is how a democracy works: it’s a two way street.

    Also, this 60 vote bullshit is rotting the body politic in this country. And, I blame Reid for not supporting amending the uber abused filibuster rules to say nothing of getting rid of it altogether.

    Here are the pictures of the elected cowards who voted down this common sense amendment for background checks today. You want to do something in addition to writing your opinions on someones blog, if you haven’t, then call (or write to) these people and tell them how you feel even if they aren’t your representatives but especially if they are your representatives. Please do something if you haven’t.

  12. mjsmith April 18, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    A doctor to add a patient to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) without ever telling the patient he or she has been added, no due process, if a doctor does so by mistake, the patient would have to actively work through the system to get himself removed. If a doctor does flag you as having mental illness the government come collect your previously purchased guns. Your RIghts taken away with no due process.

    I do not see how discouraging people from seeking mental help would make anyone safer.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter April 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

      “If a doctor does flag you as having mental illness the government come collect your previously purchased guns. Your RIghts taken away with no due process. ”

      So nice to see you still get your talking points from Beck and limpwithnoballs as well as the fever addled gun/porn fetishists at the NRA. There is nothing….zero…nada…ziltch about your fantasy in this bill…NOTHING.

      • mjsmith April 18, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

        So, if I can clearly show you that such language is in the gun bill, would you then agree that it is bad and should of been defeated? Or would you still support this?

        • Cujo359 April 18, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

          Speaking strictly for me, I’m interested. I doubt I’ll change my mind, because depending how such a situation is handled I’d say that separating the mentally ill from firearms is probably a good thing. You can blame a good many of the mass murders in the U.S. on that particular unfortunate combination.

  13. Ramsgate April 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    “Also, this 60 vote bullshit is rotting the body politic in this country. And, I blame Reid for not supporting amending the uber abused filibuster rules to say nothing of getting rid of it altogether.”

    The filibuster is the root of this evil. Reform it and we resolve the problem. The bleeding stops.

    We already know the Republicans are evil and they are their primary goal is to obstruct. The NRA is worse than evil. No point in complaining about them it’s the hand we’ve been dealt. If Obama couldn’t deal with Republican opposition he should not have run for a second term. We reelected him to get THINGS DONE, not blame the Republicans.

    For those who blame Harry Reid and the Democrats, think about this: Damn near ever headline today’s says: “Obama’s biggest loss.”
    No mention of Harry Reid. Being practical, I still ask why would a savvy politician turn his legacy over to someone else. To Harry Reid.
    Only the naïve and ineffective Obama would. No, it’s what he does. He learned nothing from turning health care over to Max Baucus.

    It’s why I continue to claim that the buck stops with Obama and if he were interested in RESULTS, getting things done, and not process he would be a lot more effective. At any moment he could have a chat with Harry Reid and encourage him to initiate the reform process.

  14. Taylor Marsh April 18, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    At any moment he could have a chat with Harry Reid and encourage him to initiate the reform process.

    Ramsgate – You think this didn’t happen? Pres. Obama doesn’t understand the Senate anymore than most Americans do.

    I’ve been privy to Senator Reid when he’s in a fight and he’s not going to do anything he doesn’t think he can do, no matter what Obama says. He’s also an old school pol who can’t bring himself to rock the Senate boat, which is always judged as unseemly by tradition. That’s why he didn’t move on the nuclear option, which is the only thing that can save the Senate from themselves.

    Obama holds absolutely no power to get this done.

    It’s Obama’s loss, because he stuck his neck out and put the weight of the White House behind it. What he controls he delivered, including media. The Senate handed Obama this loss. It’s what can happen when a leader leads on an issue, but his party doesn’t deliver for him. It’s also one of the only times he’s done something like this.

    I’d rather him lose on principle than the way Obama ordinarily maneuvers.

    President Obama doesn’t control the Senate. That’s the majority leader’s job, which includes setting up the majority party to win. Harry Reid failed at both.

    The rest lands on the senators who voted no.

    • Ramsgate April 18, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

      TM: “I’ve been privy to Senator Reid when he’s in a fight and he’s not going to do anything he doesn’t think he can do, no matter what Obama says. He’s also an old school pol who can’t bring himself to rock the Senate boat, which is always judged as unseemly by tradition. That’s why he didn’t move on the nuclear option, which is the only thing that can save the Senate from themselves.
      Obama holds absolutely no power to get this done.”

      Okay.. . .

      So we have a choice. Sit back a helplessly watch as the Republicans filibuster every single judge, and every single Obama initiative because they will. They have absolutely no compunctions about blocking everything positive that he tries to do as they know that Harry Reid is an “old school politician who can’t bring himself to rock the Senate boat.” All Harry will do is make more threats.

      Or. They could exercise the nuclear option, and proceed to enact the Obama agenda, because THIS senate is different from every other senate. It is destructive and obstructive instead of constructive.

      It’s HIS presidency and the choices are his. Does he want to be a failed president who got nothing done in his second term? History is not kind to failure nor will it blame the Republicans, nor Harry Reid. Or, would he rather preside over a long list of accomplishments.

      To this extent, HE should be guiding/leading and yes, controlling Harry Reid as opposed to the other way around. What you are saying Taylor is that Harry Reid and the Democrats control his destiny. If you mean that, we should be sorry for Obama. What happened to the “leader of the free world” stuff? -:)

      • Taylor Marsh April 18, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

        The agenda is Obama’s, which is why gun safety is even on the table in the Senate.

        Reid’s from Nevada, for Christ’s sake. There is no way he’d choose to bring this up. He came out against assault weapons from the start, though he’s moved on it. If you think for a second Harry Reid will invoke the nuclear option because Obama tells him to you don’t know Harry Reid.

        “Leader of the free world” doesn’t have squat to do with passing gun safety through a Congress that is bought by special interests. Why do you think Citizens United was such a blow? By your logic, Obama should be able to win out over senators whose seats are bought by the lobbying groups that helped put them in office.

        Obama got into office by The System. He’s also constrained in office by The System.

        You’d be right if the White House was going to take this loss and crawl away. There is no way that they will. Obama will fight what happened yesterday. This isn’t over.

        The fight may still be lost, but if it is it will continue into 2014, where people will be asked to vote on it. Midterm turnout sucks, but this may be what Dems need to stay afloat.

        Enjoyed the conversation, Ramsgate. I’ll let you and others take it from here…

        • Ramsgate April 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

          TM: “You’d be right if the White House was going to take this loss and crawl away. There is no way that they will. Obama will fight what happened yesterday. This isn’t over.”

          Obama? Fight? You’re kidding right?

          • Cujo359 April 18, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

            As I’ve explained before, we have a difference of opinion on this aspect of Obama’s character. He isn’t a coward – he’s calculating. At first, I thought him cowardly, because “Mr. Present” kept avoiding confrontations on behalf of progressive causes. I learned, though, that the reason is that he’s not a progressive. He just wants us to think he is.

            That’s why he keeps fighting to screw us on health care and Social Security, even though there are only a few lunatics in Congress who will willingly go down that road. If he sees this as in his interest somehow, he’ll keep trying to get it passed, too.

            Look, I despise the man, but “courage” isn’t synonymous with doing what you or I want him to do. A proper solution involves understanding the problem, and in the case of Barack Obama, lack of courage is not the problem.

  15. jinbaltimore April 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    “Ramsgate — You think this didn’t happen? Pres. Obama doesn’t understand the Senate anymore than most Americans do.”

    Opposed to most Americans, wasn’t Obama IN the Senate, though? At least nominally?

    I don’t think the failure of this to pass is on Obama either, but I would hope he understands the Senate better than those of us who haven’t served in it.

  16. Sandmann April 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    Is it possible to give Obama/Biden the thumbs up for fighting the good fight on this one, or have some of you become so entrenched in the ODS quagmire that the need to find alternate paths to disappointment outweighs offering (begrudging) praise when its earned?

    • Cujo359 April 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

      Are you more fond of false choice as a rhetorical fallacy, or leading questions?

      • Sandmann April 18, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

        Pretty black and white on this one…either the President followed through on his promise to fight for the victims of gun violence after the Sandy Hook massacre, or he didn’t.

        • Cujo359 April 18, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

          No, it’s not. There are lots of things that happen besides press conferences and speeches. Did Obama do all he could? Did he make the right decisions? Those are legitimate questions, always. They are legitimate questions for any elected leader in situations like this. Characterizing them as being about “ODS”, or whatever, is patent nonsense.

          • Sandmann April 18, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

            However you gotta split those hairs.

        • Ramsgate April 18, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

          SANDMAN: “Pretty black and white on this one…either the President followed through on his promise to fight for the victims of gun violence after the Sandy Hook massacre, or he didn’t.”

          Now we are getting to the heart of the matter. You, Taylor and others believe that he fought the good fight and he lost. I say that as usual he did a pretty good job of bamboozling people. He showed off the OPTICS of fighting. But fight to win, he didn’t. Why? Because he knew damn well that it was highly unlikely that he would win this “fight” with the filibuster in place. If he didn’t, his Chief-of-Staff should have known it. Even before a fight begins great leaders/strategists know the lay of the land. They think far ahead and plan all the way to the end. The ending – the RESULT – is everything.

          To this extent, all his speechifying, the wiping the tears away, and the mournful meetings with the families were meant to dazzle and to beguile, and they did. They were not meant to produce victory. Winning calls for a different set of strategies entailing bolder and surer actions. In order for the Democrats to begin winning they have to be prepared to confront and challenge the Republicans. They have to be prepared to spill blood. And Democrats are not prepared much too timid for that. They want to charm. Good luck with that.

          • belltor April 18, 2013 at 9:35 pm #


          • jinbaltimore April 19, 2013 at 4:40 am #

            There’s an easy way to find out how hard the President fought for this measure. Ask the republicans with which he’s recently had those private dinners how passionate he was on the topic.

  17. newdealdem1 April 18, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

    As Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert took apart Fake News and CNN last night for their FUBR reporting, here is a scathing and powerful analysis by Bob Somerby (The Daily Howler) on the mainstream media’s inability to explain to the American public why a minority of senators bullied their way to doing nothing to deal with gun violence in this country.

    And, the same can be said of them for a plethora of subjects most importantly why they cannot or will not get the facts right on the deficit and why they are pushing this meme like a money hungry, immoral drug dealer.

    My disgust for these highly paid, group think, privileged skunks registers higher on my disgust meter than our severely malignant Congress. The journalistic class is the only job classification that is part of the constitution as the First Amendment. And, most have squandered that privileged status to protect the American populace from abuses in government. And, the mainstream’s inadequacy and failure to explain what went on (goes on) in the Senate is as much a problem as the FUBR filibuster and bought politicians.

    • jinbaltimore April 18, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

      yes to all of this and LOVE Somerby.

      • newdealdem1 April 18, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

        thanks jin. We share a LOVE of Somerby. I don’t always agree with him, no one agrees with anyone one admires 100% but oh my does he get it right more often than not and I love how he goes after the mainstream press who deserve every bit of his scorn.

  18. newdealdem1 April 18, 2013 at 7:46 pm # that link was part of my twitter feed.

    This is truly an interesting development regarding teh NRA and the money men, or at least one money man. I don’t think Mr. Busch, an heir of the Anheuser-Busch family and a hunter and long time gun “enthusiast”, resigning from the NRA is an outlier, I think this is just the beginning of a sea change in the allegiance of big wig money men in the NRA who have become part of that sleeping giant in the American populace that was nudged awake yesterday with the disgraceful vote in the Senate much heralded by the NRA who bankrolled a big chunk of those who did not vote to get 60 votes to invoke cloture to end a virtual filibuster.

    The NRA has never been so vulnerable since the 1990′s and I think this is even worse for them.

  19. Ramsgate April 22, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    Thanks Taylor.
    Just returned from Boston, and I do appreciate the link. We read the same papers.

    I agree about the lame duck but for different reasons. In my absence MODO hit it out of the park this weekend. She summarized what I’ve been trying to say earlier. :-) Don’t think you’re surprised I agree with her. He refuses to govern.

    He prefers to act and behave as if he’s still candidate Obama. He hides behind the petticoats of grieving mothers rather than doing the hard work of governing – managing & subjugating the congress. Getting into the muck, confronting, threatening, and getting his hands dirty. I still say once he became President it was his job to manage Reid, Boehner and McConnell.

    If he has neither the courage nor skill to do that, and we know he doesn’t then for the country’s sake he should have hired confident, courageous, and defiant men (people) of indomitable spirit who could. For example: Reagan had Don Regan & James Baker, He has Valerie Jarrett. Just spare me the excuses and the blaming when things inevitably go south. Or when the caving begins.

    Heck, members of the NY city council are more afraid to cross the Speaker of the Council that they are to stand up Obama. He does not understand power or how to use it.

    To this extent, the ONLY things, if anything, that may get done during the second term will be those initiatives that the Republicans think are in their interest to get done. He could fix this IF he has the nerve to fix the filibuster. Thanks again.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong