A visibly angry Barack Obama took to the podium in the Rose Garden Wednesday, and reamed the Senate for failing to pass gun control legislation that would have expanded background checks for gun purchases.
“There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn’t do this. It came down to politics,” Obama said, adding that both Republicans and Democrats were responsible for voting down the bill. “They caved to pressure, and they started
looking for an excuse — any excuse — to vote no.”
Obama also slammed Republicans who have accused the White House of using the families of the Newtown victims for political expediency, singling out Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s comment earlier Wednesday that the families were being used as a “prop.”
“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, it was a pretty shameful day for Washington.”
The President’s remarks came just one hour after Senators voted 54-46 to defeat the background check amendment, a bipartisan compromise that had been the cornerstone of Democratic-backed gun control legislation.
The vote marked a significant political defeat for the White House, which staked much of its post-election political capital on pushing new gun control legislation in the wake of December’s elementary school shootings in Newtown, Conn.
Obama seemed visibly shaken by the loss. Shedding his usually cool demeanor, Obama declared that he is not done fighting for gun control.
“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,” he said. “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.”
“To change Washington, you, the American people, are going to have to sustain some passion about this,” he added. “We can still bring about meaningful changes that bring about gun violence so long as the American people don’t give up.”
“And I see this as just Round One.”
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