Barack Obama doesn't want the tragedy in Newtown to go to waste, using emotionally manipulative language to push gun control in a White House speech while surrounded by relatives of victims of gun violence. Jeremy Peters and Peter Baker reported in Friday's New York Times, "Months After Massacre, Obama Seeks to Regain Momentum on Gun Laws."
With resistance to tougher gun laws stiffening in Congress, a visibly frustrated President Obama on Thursday implored lawmakers and the nation not to lose sight of the horrors of the school massacre in Newtown, Conn.
“The notion that two months or three months after something as horrific as what happened in Newtown happens and we’ve moved on to other things?” Mr. Obama said in remarks at the White House, surrounded by relatives and friends of victims of gun violence, including some from Newtown. “That’s not who we are. That’s not who we are. And I want to make sure every American is listening today.”
The president has just a small window in which to persuade Congress to back a series of gun control measures that will come up for a vote in the Senate early next month. And his remarks, delivered in an impassioned and off-script manner, were aimed at reviving the impetus that gun-control advocates fear they are losing as more time passes since the shootings.
Mr. Obama’s appearance, from the East Room of the White House, suggested just how delicate the situation had become. Rather than read from teleprompters, he seemed to speak extemporaneously much of the time and expressed irritation in a way that he generally does not. At some moments, he paused and took a breath as if collecting himself and circled back to some of his points for emphasis.
“Shame on us if we’ve forgotten,” he said.“I haven’t forgotten those kids. Shame on us if we’ve forgotten.”
The Times plugged NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg's anti-gun group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which is targeting senators in swing states, and claims Bloomberg's ads are having an effect.
Indeed, gun rights activists are being challenged by a highly coordinated and expensive effort to defeat them, not to mention a galvanized group of voters who were outraged by the Newtown shooting and have pledged to volunteer.
People will be equipped with talking points like poll numbers that show 9 out of 10 Americans support universal background checks, including 7 out of 10 N.R.A. members. And they will be encouraged to ask their senators and representatives direct questions like, “Do you support universal background checks?” Mr. Bloomberg’s group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said it was convening 120 events across the nation in support of gun measures, including in Columbus, Ohio; Durham, N.C.; and Golden, Colo. The group began a $12 million ad campaign aimed at 15 senators this week.
“Americans want this, and today Americans are making their voices heard,” said the group’s chairman, John Feinblatt.
After a collection of views pro and con, the Times let Obama "sternly" lecture lawmakers at the end:
Mindful of the fact that passions are rising among gun rights activists as they seem to be ebbing in the other direction, Mr. Obama sought to draw on the emotion and revulsion around the Newtown shooting.
“We need everybody to remember how we felt 100 days ago and make sure that what we said at that time wasn’t just a bunch of platitudes, that we meant it,” he added. To lawmakers, he added sternly, “Don’t get squishy because time has passed and maybe it’s not on the news every single day.”
Allahpundit had a more cynical take on Obama's pleading: "Textbook O. First, almost obligatorily, the speech is built on the assumption that his opponents are callous to the point of malignancy. Read the transcript and you’ll see that he’s all but given up arguing policy on this; it’s a straight-up, 13-minute-long guilt trip...If you disagree with him, it’s because you’ve 'forgotten those kids.'"