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Obama: discarded assault weapons ban ‘shouldn’t be controversial’

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President uses weekly address to call for consideration of ‘common sense’ measures excluded from gun control bill

President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Congress to vote over a ban on controversial military-style assault weapons and restrictions on ammunition, despite widespread predictions that such a vote would fail.

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Ever since the Newtown school massacre at the end of last year, Obama has been pushing to introduce fresh gun control laws, arguing that a rash of mass shootings last year has left the American public demanding action. But the effort has faced a withering backlash from gun owners’ groups, like the powerful National Rifle Association, and their political allies in both parties.

Last week, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, introduced gun legislation that did not include the so-called assault weapons ban, nor another proposal backed by the Obama administration that would place limits on magazine capacities. Reid admitted that he dropped those elements because any bill with them in would get fewer than 40 votes – far below the threshold needed to defeat a filibuster or pass the Senate.

Yet Obama, in his weekly radio address, insisted that a vote on the fuller version of the bill was needed. “These ideas shouldn’t be controversial – they’re common sense. They’re supported by a majority of the American people. And I urge the Senate and the House to give each of them a vote,” the president said.

Such a move – though likely to be defeated in a vote – would at least force politicians into actually coming out against the new gun control law: a political risk and potential public relations disaster that many might be nervous about.

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Obama said that in the three months since Newtown, public opinion had shifted in the country to back the sort of measures that previously would have been unpopular. “As a nation, the last three months have changed us. They’ve forced us to answer some difficult questions about what we can do – what we must do – to prevent the kinds of massacres we’ve seen,” he said.

That might not be as true as Obama would like to believe. In the face of a concerted campaign by the NRA and anti-gun law politicians, public opinion in favour of major controls has actually been dropping. Just after the Newtown massacre – which left 20 children and six adults dead at Sandy Hook elementary school – some 52% of Americans were found to be in favour of major restrictions on guns. But that number has since dropped to 43%, according to a CNN/ORC poll released earlier this week.

© Guardian News and Media 2013

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[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump has been ‘insulated’ by his wealth to never have to learn from his mistakes: biographer

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President Donald Trump's inherited wealth has meant he's never had to learn from his mistakes, Trump biographer Tim O'Brien told MSNBC's Brian Williams on Thursday.

"Bloomberg Opinion writer and our next guest Tim O’Brien writes today, 'Yes, of course, you need a certain kind of appalling narcissism to be comfy promoting yourself as heaven-sent in a televised press briefing and as a deity on Twitter. It’s doubly unhinged when you’re doing this as president,'" Williams said. "He goes on 'The Trump of the past few weeks is the same disordered figure of the past several decades with, I suspect, a big dollop of something new blended in: unbridled and unmanageable panic.'"

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‘Both Putin and Xi will be voting Trump in 2020’: NYT columnist says Russia and China want ‘turmoil and chaos’

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The Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China are both rooting for President Donald Trump to win re-election in 2020, a New York Times columnist argued on MSNBC on Thursday.

Thomas Friedman was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word."

"What do we know about how the leaders of other countries see Donald Trump at this stage in their dealings with him?" O'Donnell asked. "Especially this weekend, when it comes at the end of a week in which they’ve heard him call himself the King of Israel, they have heard him say he is The Chosen One. They have heard all the crazy things that everyone here has heard the president say."

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Trump is ‘not a stable genius’: GOP strategist says the president ‘doesn’t remember who and where he is’

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President Donald Trump's mental fitness is lacking, a top Republican strategist explained on "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Rick Wilson, the author of the 2018 bestselling book Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever, blasted the commander-in-chief.

"Rick Wilson, your assessment of where the president stands as he heads off to the G7 summit?" O'Donnell asked.

"I think Donald Trump has had a week in which he is proving that this isn’t 87-dimensional chess game, this isn't some masterful strategy of communications or persuasion," Wilson replied. "This is an old man who is sick and who has problems and who has mental disconnects and who has aphasias and who has moments where he doesn’t remember who and where he is."

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