CBS to Sen. Murphy: ‘Many People Are Applauding You’ for Gun Control Push

In an exclusive interview with Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy on Thursday, the hosts of CBS This Morning mostly lobbed softballs and practically thanked the Democrat for launching his anti-gun filibuster. At the top of the show, co-host Charlie Rose hailed: “Senate Democrats end a nearly 15-hour filibuster overnight in a push for stricter gun laws. Senator Chris Murphy took control of the floor, and he will join us.”

Minutes later, Rose proclaimed that the political stunt was evidence that “Pressure's growing on Congress to act against gun violence after America's deadliest mass shooting.” Fellow co-host Norah O’Donnell touted: “In Washington, Democrats showed their anger with a surprise filibuster on the Senate floor. Its ringleader, Senator Chris Murphy...”

A glowing report about Murphy’s anti-gun crusade followed from correspondent Nancy Cordes, who declared: “Murphy is a first-term senator from Connecticut who was elected just one month after the Newtown shooting in his home state left 20 children and six adults dead. And he has been pushing for gun votes ever since.”

Cordes heralded his obstructionism: “Senator Murphy took fellow Democrats by surprise when he went to the floor at 11:00 a.m. and announced he wasn't leaving....Nearly every Senate Democrat showed up at some point to support Murphy, whose constituents lost children in the Sandy Hook massacre.”

In fact, the one-sided segment featured soundbites from “nearly every Senate Democrat.” Besides Murphy, clips ran of Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly, and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker all ranting in unison.

Compare such fawning coverage to how the CBS morning show scorned Texas Senator Ted Cruz for conducting a 21-hour filibuster in 2013 to oppose ObamaCare. Leading off a report in March of 2015 – on the eve of Cruz announcing his presidential run – correspondent Chip Reid asserted:

First term Senator Ted Cruz first grabbed the national spotlight in 2013 when he held the Senate floor for more than 21 hours and helped shut down much of the government all in protest of President Obama's health care law. It earned the 44-year-old conservative firebrand animosity from the Republican mainstream including the title “wackco bird” from 2008 GOP nominee John McCain.

Following the slanted report from Cordes on Thursday, Murphy sat down for a friendly chat on the program. Rose began: “We're pleased to have you, sir. Tell us if you think those signals that you say you have received to hold these two [gun control] votes, to put them forward, will result in a commitment from the Senate Majority Leader to do just that....Does your political instincts tell you the Republicans are moving on those two issues?”

In part, Murphy used the opportunity to bash his GOP colleagues: “My instincts certainly tell me they're moving. I think if you listened over the course of the day yesterday, there were a number of Republicans who were madly scrambling to try to find some common ground.”

Gayle King sounded like an adoring fan: “You sent out a tweet yesterday, in the morning, that said, ‘I'm prepared to stand on the Senate floor and talk about the need to prevent gun violence for as long as I can. I've had #enough.’ What was the tipping point for you?” Murphy bemoaned:

Listen, there's been so many tipping points for me. I think I've taken the floor about 40 different times to scream and yell about the fact that since Sandy Hook Congress has done nothing, hasn't passed a single law to try to reduce the slaughter that's happening on our streets. But when I came back to Washington and saw that in the wake of the worst mass shooting in this country's history that the Republican leadership hadn't scheduled any debate this week on measures to end this epidemic, I just couldn't stand it any longer.

Wrapping the exchange minutes later, King could barely conceal her support: “Well, many people are applauding you for raising the issue again. Thank you very much, Senator Murphy, for joining us this morning.”

In sharp contrast, during an interview with Cruz in March, King didn’t bother to conceal her contempt as she scolded the conservative lawmaker over his anti-terrorism policies: “There are so many people that say that your comments are decidedly anti-Muslim and that you're playing right into the hands of ISIS, that you're giving them ammunition to come after us, to really take action against us, that you're just teeing it up for people to come after us.”

In the sit-down with Murphy on Thursday, only co-host Norah O’Donnell expressed skepticism at the effectiveness of his gun control proposals, with a pair of challenging questions:

> Would any of the legislation that you're supporting have prevented the shooter in Orlando, the shooter in San Bernardino, or the shooter in Newtown from purchasing a gun?  

>  But as you know, if someone is currently on a terror watch list and goes to buy a gun, the FBI director said they are notified, there is an alert sent.

Here is a full transcript of the June 16 interview:

7:06 AM ET

CHARLIE ROSE: Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy is with us now from Washington. Senator, good morning.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY [D-CT]: Good morning, thanks for having me.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Senate Showdown Over Guns; CT Senator on 15-Hour Filibuster & Push for Action]

ROSE: We're pleased to have you, sir. Tell us if you think those signals that you say you have received to hold these two votes, to put them forward, will result in a commitment from the Senate Majority Leader to do just that.

MURPHY: Well, I've been up for about an hour after sleeping for two hours, and we're going to work today to make sure that we have that commitment to bring these votes before the body. As your reported noted, it would be much better to be able to get a bipartisan agreement on this issue of keeping guns away from terrorists. But at the very least, we have to have a vote.

Senator Feinstein has fairly dramatically modified her proposal to try to address many of the concerns that Republicans have. And so, it may be that if we put this measure on the floor for a vote – either at the end of this week or the beginning of next week – we may be able to draw enough support to get it passed.

I mean, the American public agrees with us that if you're on the terrorist watch list and you are not allowed to fly on a plane, then you certainly shouldn't be able to buy a dangerous assault weapon. That's our ask, to get a vote on that proposition, and an expansion of background checks. And we're hopeful that we're going to get that either at the end of this week or next week.

ROSE: Does your political instincts tell you the Republicans are moving on those two issues?

MURPHY: My instincts certainly tell me they're moving. I think if you listened over the course of the day yesterday, there were a number of Republicans who were madly scrambling to try to find some common ground. And I think that one of the reasons Senator Feinstein wasn't able to join us on the floor yesterday is that she was trying to work out those compromises.

I do think that our filibuster made a difference. I mean, let's be honest, the Senate was not going to debate these measures, had no plans to talk about ending gun violence this week on the floor of the Senate. And at the end of our filibuster, I think we made incredible progress to get these measures back on the agenda in the Senate this week.

GAYLE KING: You sent out a tweet yesterday, in the morning, that said, "I'm prepared to stand on the Senate floor and talk about the need to prevent gun violence for as long as I can. I've had #enough." What was the tipping point for you?

MURPHY: Listen, there's been so many tipping points for me. I think I've taken the floor about 40 different times to scream and yell about the fact that since Sandy Hook Congress has done nothing, hasn't passed a single law to try to reduce the slaughter that's happening on our streets. But when I came back to Washington and saw that in the wake of the worst mass shooting in this country's history that the Republican leadership hadn't scheduled any debate this week on measures to end this epidemic, I just couldn't stand it any longer.

And what's so heartwarming to me is that I decided to do this essentially that morning, and over the course of the day organically, almost every single Democratic senator came down to join me. We had a dozen senators sitting on the floor at 11:00, 11:30 last night. I think it shows the power of this issue, at least in our caucus.

NORAH O’DONNELL: Would any of the legislation that you're supporting have prevented the shooter in Orlando, the shooter in San Bernardino, or the shooter in Newtown from purchasing a gun?

MURPHY: So it's certainly a question as to whether this may have been impactful in Orlando. What this legislation Senator Feinstein has offered would allow is for the FBI to put individuals on the list of those who can't buy weapons if they suspect that they are linked to terrorist organizations –

O’DONNELL: But as you know, if someone is currently on a terror watch list and goes to buy a gun, the FBI director said they are notified, there is an alert sent.

MURPHY: So there's an alert sent, but there's no prohibition on that individual walking out of the store with a weapon. And the fact is that in this case the time between the purchase of the weapon and the attack was fairly short. And so, if we have made a decision that the people on these lists can't get on a plane – and we've all made that decision, Republicans and Democrats –  why don't we also make a decision that they can't get a weapon. I think that there’s a question, is if law was in place, would it have been impactful in Orlando? It might have been. And I think that's one of the reasons why it's worthy to go forward.

KING: Well, many people are applauding you for raising the issue again. Thank you very much, Senator Murphy, for joining us this morning.

MURPHY: Thank you.

NB Daily Orlando Night Club Terror Attack Guns Liberals & Democrats CBS CBS This Morning Video Gayle King Charlie Rose Norah O'Donnell Nancy Cordes Chris Murphy

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