NBC: With 'Provocative Move' to Oppose Gun Restrictions, GOP 'Sensing Public Disdain'

On the eve of a proposed deal on a limited expansion of background checks for guy buyers, Tuesday's NBC Nightly News went after Republicans for opposing gun restrictions, with Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell proclaiming: "In a provocative move, more than a dozen Republicans are threatening to use Senate rules to block a vote on new gun restrictions....Sensing public disdain, a rift emerged among Republicans. A dozen now saying publicly they would not support a filibuster..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

In her report, O'Donnell cast GOP senators as the villains opposite family members of Newtown shooting victims: "The families here today were looking lawmakers in the eye with a direct appeal. A movement and a deeply personal cause, one Senate office at a time." O'Donnell declared that the possible Republican filibuster of new laws was "adding an extra urgency to the Newtown families' visit."

A sound bite followed of Democratic Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal ranting that the families were "aghast that a small group of entrenched opposition could stop democracy. That is outrageous."

While O'Donnell placed black hats on Republican opponents to gun restrictions, she touted how "The Democrats' call for expanded background checks turned unusually personal today for Harry Reid," before playing a clip of the Senate Majority Leader recalling how his father used a gun to commit suicide.

She also touted: "The White House is all-in, leveraging powerful assets, like bringing the families to Washington aboard Air Force One and deploying Vice President Biden to pressure Capitol Hill....The Vice President also hosted 13 of those family members for breakfast this morning at his home, making that connection personal."

The fawning over White House efforts to push the gun control agenda continued on Wednesday's Today, as White House correspondent Kristen Welker announced: "Today in a rare move, the First Lady will join the fray, traveling to her hometown of Chicago....Senior advisor Valerie Jarrett says the First Lady will highlight strides Chicago is making in combating gun violence and will invoke the memory of Hadiya Pendleton, the Chicago teen who was shot and killed just days after performing at inaugural ceremonies."

Sound bites were included of Jarrett promoting the event: "This is deeply emotional and deeply personal and I think part of why she chose to go back to Chicago is that she thinks about her own childhood....It's a very personal speech, it's from the heart. You will feel the pain that she felt the day of Hadiya's funeral."

Monday and Tuesday coverage on all three networks heralded President Obama's "urgent plea" for gun control.


Here is a full transcript of O'Donnell's Nightly News report:

7:04PM ET

BRIAN WILLIAMS: In Washington tonight there are signs of movement in the effort to pass gun control measures, as families of some of the children murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut went to Congress to make their emotional case in person. Conservatives have promised to block debate scheduled for this week, but that now may be shifting some. Kelly O'Donnell covering it all from the Hill for us tonight. Kelly, good evening.

KELLY O'DONNELL: Good evening, Brian. There is internal pressure bubbling up among Republicans that could mean a vote on new gun restrictions could come as early as Thursday. The President is working the phones, looking for support. The families here today were looking lawmakers in the eye with a direct appeal. A movement and a deeply personal cause, one Senate office at a time. Today eight Newtown families put their grief into action, avoiding most of the media.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: No comment right now. Thank you.

O'DONNELL: While embracing help from their home state senators on how to essentially lobby lawmakers.

CHRIS MURPHY [SEN. D-CT]: I think the gun industry was celebrating prematurely last week.

O'DONNELL: In a provocative move, more than a dozen Republicans are threatening to use Senate rules to block a vote on new gun restrictions, adding an extra urgency to the Newtown families' visit.

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL [SEN. D-CT]: They are aghast that a small group of entrenched opposition could stop democracy. That is outrageous.

O'DONNELL: Sensing public disdain, a rift emerged among Republicans. A dozen now saying publicly they would not support a filibuster, including Georgia's Johnny Isakson, who met with Newtown families but is against new restrictions.

JOHNNY ISAKSON: Now I might not vote the way they wanted me to vote, but giving them the chance to be heard, giving them a chance to tell their story, meant a lot to them and it meant a lot to me.

O'DONNELL: The Democrats' call for expanded background checks turned unusually personal today for Harry Reid.

HARRY REID: Sometimes people in a fit of passion will purchase a handgun and do bad things with it. Mr. President, even as my dad did, kill themselves. Waiting a few days helps.

O'DONNELL: The White House is all-in, leveraging powerful assets, like bringing the families to Washington aboard Air Force One and deploying Vice President Biden to pressure Capitol Hill.

JOE BIDEN: It's time for these guys to stand up and be counted.

O'DONNELL: The Vice President also hosted 13 of those family members for breakfast this morning at his home, making that connection personal. And tonight a small group of Republicans and Democrats are still working on ways to write background checks legislation that might have broader appeal. So there are still negotiations going on. Brian.

WILLIAMS: Kelly O'Donnell on the Hill for us tonight. Kelly, thanks.

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