“Are the president’s kids more important than yours?” the narrator asks. “Mr. Obama demands the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, but he’s just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to a fair share of security.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney called the use of the daughters “repugnant and cowardly.”
At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, congressional Democrats began waging their own campaign. Because Republicans have a 233-200 majority in the House of Representatives, it’s virtually impossible for Democrats to bring legislation to the floor and Republicans made no commitment to do so.
Democrats hope to gain momentum from the states: In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday signed gun legislation, and in Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has proposed several restrictions.
House Democrats planned hearings, in hopes of providing drama and urgency. Those efforts began after Obama’s event, with a hearing featuring Newtown, Conn., schools superintendent Janet Robinson and the mother of a victim of the 2010 Tucson, Ariz., shooting.
A House Democrats’ gun violence task force plans to consider not only Obama’s plans, but it will meet with “stakeholders on every side of the issue.”
And lawmakers are hopeful that grassroots efforts will spur lawmakers. Though the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and a new effort by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who was seriously wounded in the Tucson shooting, and her husband lack the NRA’s clout, they’ve pledged to press for congressional reaction.
The National Education Association plans to push for the measure, said Kim Anderson, who heads the NEA’s Center for Advocacy & Outreach. The group already has sent thousands of emails to congressional offices and plans in-person visits in February.
Advocates are also hoping for momentum in the Senate. Though Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said it would be difficult to pass an assault weapons ban, proponents are not dissuaded.
“Look, there is no more uphill fight than this,” acknowledged Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a leading gun control advocate who plans later this month to introduce assault weapons legislation. “The question is, ‘Do we fight or knuckle under?’ It may take a year. It may take two. It may take three.”