Friday night on "The Rachel Maddow Show," guest host Melissa Harris-Perry discussed the question of whether or not it is appropriate to politicize the tragedy that took place when a gunman opened fire late Thursday night on a crowd of theater-goers in Aurora, Colorado.
Both presidential campaigns suspended operations on Friday, pulling their advertising from the airwaves and issuing statements of condolence and concern for the victims and families touched by the tragedy. Some groups and individuals, however, have foregone such shows of restraint and seized upon the shooting as an opportunity to promote their own agendas, for good or ill.
The Brady Campaign to stop gun violence issued a statement scolding elected officials and insisting that they "take action to prevent future tragedies. Political cowardice is not an excuse for evasion and inaction on this life-and-death issue." Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (NY), whose husband was slain by a gunman on a commuter train in 1993, issued a statement that read, in part, "We as a nation should also not continue to ignore avenues to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future."
Similarly, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg weighed in on Friday morning, saying that President Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) both need to address the issue of gun violence and put forth a plan to stop it. "Everybody always says, 'Well, isn't it tragic?' and all..." said the mayor, "but it's just got to stop."
"Both President Obama and Mitt Romney were in agreement today," said Harris-Perry, "that politics should not be part of the conversation right now. Politics should in no way color our reaction to this horrific incident in Colorado, but politics is about policy, and it's about what we do as a country to deal with the problems we face. They may not want politics to intrude here, but as the story continues to develop, they may not have much of a choice."
Watch the clip, embedded via MSNBC, below:
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