NBC's Mitchell Pushes Hillary to Bring Back Assault Weapons Ban

NBC's Andrea Mitchell, in a taped interview from Mexico with Hillary Clinton on Thursday's "Today" show, partially blamed the Bush administration for Mexico's current drug cartel violence as she charged that "90 percent of the guns used by gangs," were available because the Bush White House and Congress let the assault weapons ban lapse. Mitchell even went as far to push the Secretary of State to "challenge the gun lobby," and "reinstitute," the ban.

ANDREA MITCHELL: And 90 percent of the guns used by the gangs come from the U.S., including the powerful assault weapons that were banned until Congress and the Bush White House let the ban expire.

MITCHELL TO HILLARY CLINTON: Why not take that on? It would be tough but why doesn't the administration challenge the gun lobby and take on the assault weapons ban and reinstitute it?

CLINTON: I'm, I'm not gonna, you know sugar coat it. It's a very heavy lift. I think that's a mistake. I think these assault weapons, these military style weapons don't belong on any one's street.

The following is a complete transcript of the segment as it was aired on the March 26, "Today" show:

NATALIE MORALES: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Mexico today pledging to help the government there battle the drug wars affecting both countries. NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell is traveling with Secretary Clinton. Andrea, good morning.

ANDREA MITCHELL: Good morning, Natalie. Top U.S. officials now say that the Mexican drug cartels are the largest organized crime organizations in the United States. Here in Mexico Hillary Clinton said that, that would not be happening. They wouldn't be thriving if Americans didn't have an insatiable demand for illegal drugs. A shootout between Mexican police and kidnappers in Baja and another victim in Tijuana, part of an escalating battle that has claimed 7000 lives in the last 15 months. Hillary Clinton came to Mexico with a message Mexico's President Felipe Calderon wanted to hear.

HILLARY CLINTON: Congratulate you on your leadership.

MITCHELL: In an interview with NBC News she said the U.S. shares responsibility for the drug war.

CLINTON: It is drug demand in the United States which drives the drugs north across our border.

MITCHELL: And 90 percent of the guns used by the gangs come from the U.S., including the powerful assault weapons that were banned until Congress and the Bush White House let the ban expire.

MITCHELL TO CLINTON: Why not take that on? It would be tough but why doesn't the administration challenge the gun lobby and take on the assault weapons ban and reinstitute it?

CLINTON: I'm, I'm not gonna, you know sugar coat it. It's a very heavy lift. I think that's a mistake. I think these assault weapons, these military style weapons don't belong on any one's street.

MITCHELL: The Obama administration is sending more agents and screening equipment to the border, including helicopters. Clinton says clearly Mexico needs the help.

CLINTON: They are facing ruthless, well-armed, absolutely violent, to an extreme, conscienceless foes and we're, we're gonna be there to help them all the way.

MITCHELL: And in fact President Obama will be here, following Clinton, and other top officials. He'll be here in three weeks. Meanwhile another crisis looms. North Korea has now placed a long range missile on a launch pad, a step closer to launching a missile. Hillary Clinton said, told us last night, that, that would be a provocative step and there would be consequences. Natalie?

MORALES: Alright, Andrea Mitchell in Mexico City, thank you Andrea.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.