MSNBC's Mitchell Chides Obama for 'Not One Word' on Gun Control in State of the Union

In a pre-taped interview with gun control advocate New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, aired during Wednesday's 1PM ET hour on MSNBC, host Andrea Mitchell browbeat President Obama for having "absolutely nothing, not one word....not even a sentence" about gun control in his State of the Union address.

Prior to the interview, Mitchell touted Bloomberg's anti-gun crusade: "Michael Bloomberg is on a mission, a mission to curb guns, especially the semiautomatic pistols and the magazine used in Tucson. He sent New York undercover investigators to buy guns and ammo at a Phoenix gun show last month." While she noted how the Arizona attorney general "says Bloomberg overstepped his bounds" she seemed to cheer the Mayor's defiance: "I talked to the mayor last night and he's only just beginning to fight."

Bloomberg proclaimed: "...34 people killed every single day [from gun violence]. Yesterday, today, tomorrow, 34 people killed across America. And we just can't keep doing this, Andrea. We have to do something to stop the carnage." Mitchell then asked for his response to the fact that the President offered "not one word" to the topic in the State of the Union. Bloomberg declared: "I think that he missed a great opportunity....the legacy that President Obama would have, if he was the one that finally stood up and got Congress behind him to have sensible laws....for the rest of his life, he would have a smile on his face and he'd go down in the history books."

Mitchell followed up by wondering why politicians in Washington "are so afraid of the gun lobby and so afraid of this issue?" Bloomberg argued: "The elected officials misread one single issue advocacy group, namely the NRA, and their power....they are so far removed, they don't see, as mayors do every day, they don't have to go to the funerals when a cop gets shot and killed. They don't have to go when some child is standing on the street corner and a random bullet comes by and goes through their head."   


Here is a transcript of Mitchell's February 1 exchange with Bloomberg on gun control:

1:00PM ET TEASE:

ANDREA MITCHELL: Plus, guns and the crisis over budget cuts. New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

1:09PM ET TEASE:

MITCHELL: And up next, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg making the case for stricter gun control.

1:41PM ET SEGMENT:

MITCHELL: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is on a mission, a mission to curb guns, especially the semiautomatic pistols and the magazine used in Tucson. He sent New York undercover investigators to buy guns and ammo at a Phoenix gun show last month. They even told the clerk they could probably not pass the background check. Still, they had no problem getting the weapons. Now Arizona's attorney general says Bloomberg overstepped his bounds. I talked to the mayor last night and he's only just beginning to fight. Just watch.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Gun Control; NYC Mayor Calls for Crack Down on High-Capacity Clips]

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: I don't think there's any reason to sell 33-bullet magazines. The only reason you'd want to do that – use that is if you wanted to kill a lot of people. You certainly don't use it in hunting, you certainly don't use it in target practice. We have – we had Virginia Tech, 32 people killed, we had 34 people killed every single day. Yesterday, today, tomorrow, 34 people killed across America. And we just can't keep doing this, Andrea. We have to do something to stop the carnage. Nobody wants to violate the Second Amendment. Nobody wants to take away your right to bear arms or your right to go hunting or target shooting. But the Supreme Court has said clearly, reasonable gun restrictions are perfectly appropriate and I think a reasonable gun restriction would be don't sell those kinds of clips, don't sell guns to minors, to criminals, to people who are mentally ill, and to drug dealers.

MITCHELL: How do you explain the fact that the President, in his State of the Union message, had absolutely nothing, not one word? I can understand their explanation that he didn't want to take the emphasis away from the economic message. But not even a sentence to talk about these magazines? What's your response to that?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Gun Control; Mayor Bloomberg Ordered Sting at a Phoenix Gun Show]

BLOOMBERG: Well, I think that he missed a great opportunity, but I was encouraged as some of his staff said to a friend of mine, and one of them to me Saturday night in Washington, that he was going to give a speech about guns and I think he certainly should. This is as serious a problem as this country faces and we've got to do something about it and the legacy that President Obama would have, if he was the one that finally stood up and got Congress behind him to have sensible laws that protect people without violating their rights, it would be something that for the rest of his life, he would have a smile on his face and he'd go down in the history books.

MITCHELL: Now you don't have to run again for re-election, not that we know of. But what about the politicians who still are running and are so afraid of the gun lobby and so afraid of this issue? Why is there no traction on this? You've got hundreds of mayors behind you but you can't get anything done in Washington.

BLOOMBERG: You know, in Washington, they think guns are toxic and if you do the polling, the public thinks guns are fatal. The bottom line is every poll done, NRA members, 82% are in favor of reasonable restrictions, 80-odd percent of gun owners, the same thing. The elected officials misread one single issue advocacy group, namely the NRA, and their power. The public is on the other side of this.

And we had at City Hall last week, 34 people that stood up and just told us the name and the relationship of somebody in their family who was killed senselessly by guns. Any elected official in Washington that would stand there and watch that and not do what's right, I find it hard to believe they could do that. I think they are so far removed, they don't see, as mayors do every day, they don't have to go to the funerals when a cop gets shot and killed. They don't have to go when some child is standing on the street corner and a random bullet comes by and goes through their head.

This is just something that we deal with in all parts of this country, in big cities and small cities, north, south, east, west. It's not a political issue, it's not Republican or Democratic, it's not big city, small city. The crime rate per capita with guns is just as bad in the most rural areas as it is in the most urban areas in this country.

— Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC