CNN's Foreman Frets Gun Control to Be Obama's 'Great Unfinished Business'

On Tuesday's Erin Burnett OutFront, CNN correspondent Tom Foreman ran a piece sympathetic to President Barack Obama's failure to achieve his "passion" to enact new gun control against the opposition of the "gun lobby" in the aftermath of each public mass shooting during his presidency.

Foreman concluded his report by lamenting that "the matter of gun violence could well remain the great unfinished business of his presidency," with substitute host Kate Bolduan chiming in, "You're absolutely right."

A countdown clock also appeared during most of the report updating viewers to the second of how long it will be before Thursday's CNN special town hall with President Obama to discuss gun violence. The countdown has been visible on screen for much of the past couple of days, first appearing on the news network at 12:25 p.m. ET on Tuesday shortly after the President's news conference.

Bolduan set up the report by recalling President Obama's press conference from earlier in the day announcing his executive order on the issue:

In a rare show of emotion, the President of the United States today crying on a stage filled with victims of gun violence and their families. In a passionate speech, he rolled out new executive actions on gun control. President Obama, speaking to opponents of stricter gun laws, said during his remarks Second Amendment rights are important, but other rights are at stake as well.

After a one-minute clip of President Obama, the CNN host, who would never be heard deriding Planned Parenthood as the "abortion lobby," called opponents of gun control the "gun lobby" as she finished her introduction:

The President also lashed out at the gun lobby and at Congress for blocking tougher measures before announcing the new measures that he says will help reduce gun violence. And these new measures, they're including expanding background checks for gun sales online and at gun shows, adding more than 400 new agents and staff at the FBI and ATF, and making it easier for states to share mental health records. Tom Foreman is "Out Front."

As Foreman began by recalling some of the mass shootings that occurred in President Obama's first term, the CNN correspondent then moved to hinting that after the Sandy Hook shootings, the President finally seemed to have hope of passing new gun laws:

But in late 2012 came the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. ...That spurred the President to action like nothing before. ... The President launched a task force to limit access to weapons and ammunition. Pubic support for stricter gun control, which had declined for a half dozen years, rose rapidly to 58 percent.

Foreman then poured cold water on President Obama's wishes, describing him as "clearly frustrated," as he added:

But the gun lobby pushed back, Congress hesitated, and virtually all of it faded, leaving the President clearly frustrated as the shootings went on.

The CNN correspondent then recounted the "remarkable moment" of President Obama singing "Amazing Grace" publicly after the Charleston church massacre:

TOM FOREMAN: After killings at a church prayer meeting in South Carolina, the President even sang of his sadness.

PRESIDENT OBAMA SINGING: Amazing grace-

FOREMAN: It was a remarkable moment politically.

Foreman then lamented:

But in practical terms, like everything else he's tried to limit gun violence, it changed nothing.

The CNN reporter then appeared live in studio to further fret that President Obama will fail in his "passion" to enact the new gun laws he wants:

So with just over a year left in office, what the President is doing this week could represent his last significant stand on this issue. But without strong polls and politics to back his passion, the matter of gun violence could well remain the great unfinished business of his presidency. Kate?

Host Bolduan agreed: "Tom Foreman, thanks so much. You're absolutely right."

The CNN host then moderated a debate between conservative CNN political commentator Ben Ferguson and liberal CNN commentator Van Jones on the issue.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of Foreman's report from the Tuesday, January 5, Erin Burnett OutFront on CNN:

7:28 p.m.

KATE BOLDUAN: In a rare show of emotion, the President of the United States today crying on a stage filled with victims of gun violence and their families. In a passionate speech, he rolled out new executive actions on gun control. President Obama, speaking to opponents of stricter gun laws, said during his remarks Second Amendment rights are important, but other rights are at stake as well.

[PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA]

The President also lashed out at the gun lobby and at Congress for blocking tougher measures before announcing the new measures that he says will help reduce gun violence. And these new measures, they're including expanding background checks for gun sales online and at gun shows, adding more than 400 new agents and staff at the FBI and ATF, and making it easier for states to share mental health records. Tom Foreman is "Out Front."

TOM FOREMAN: A military base in Texas, a Congress member's rally in Arizona-

AUDIO OF UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody screaming that it was Gabrielle Giffords.

FOREMAN: -a temple in Wisconsin, a movie theater in Colorado, all saw mass shootings during Barack Obama's first term.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Such violence, such evil is senseless.

FOREMAN: But in late 2012 came the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Beautiful little kids between the ages of five and ten years old.

FOREMAN: That spurred the President to action like nothing before.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this regardless of the politics.

FOREMAN: The President launched a task force to limit access to weapons and ammunition. Pubic support for stricter gun control, which had declined for a half dozen years, rose rapidly to 58 percent. But the gun lobby pushed back, Congress hesitated, and virtually all of it faded, leaving the President clearly frustrated as the shootings went on. The university in California, a theater in Louisiana, a college in Oregon.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine, my response here at this podium ends up being routine.

FOREMAN: And, of course, an office gathering in San Bernardino, California.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: It's another tragic reminder that here in America it's way too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun.

FOREMAN: After killings at a church prayer meeting in South Carolina, the President even sang of his sadness.

PRESIDENT OBAMA SINGING: Amazing grace-

FOREMAN: It was a remarkable moment politically. But in practical terms, like everything else he's tried to limit gun violence, it changed nothing.

FOREMAN (LIVE): So with just over a year left in office, what the President is doing this week could represent his last significant stand on this issue. But without strong polls and politics to back his passion, the matter of gun violence could well remain the great unfinished business of his presidency. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Tom Foreman, thanks so much. You're absolutely right.

Brad Wilmouth
Brad Wilmouth is a contributing blogger to NewsBusters