On Monday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell glossed over President Barack Obama's record of supporting gun control when she claimed that "Mitt Romney, in some ways, has been more for gun control than Barack Obama...He signed, as governor...a law, to ban assault weapons, and he only just recently joined the NRA." O'Donnell also played up that the President has apparently "disappointed gun control advocates." [audio available here; video below the jump]
In an unsigned 2009 report, the correspondent's own network actually acknowledged that Obama supported gun control as an Illinois state senator, a U.S. senator, and as a presidential candidate in 2008. Even before holding elected office, the Democrat sat on the board of a foundation that granted just under $2.7 million to gun control organizations.
O'Donnell and anchor Charlie Rose brought on National Journal's White House correspondent Major Garrett to discuss the gun control issue, in the wake of the recent mass shooting in Colorado. Rose first asked, "Looking at this issue of gun control, we always have a huge heated discussion, and then, nothing changes. Is this different?" After asserting that there hasn't been a "huge heated discussion in Washington on this issue in a very long time," Garrett noted that Obama "signed a credit card bill that allowed all sorts of new consumer protections. In there was an amendment that allowed concealed carry in every national park and wildlife refuge. President Obama expanded the use of concealed carry on federal property."
The CBS correspondent seconded Garrett's claim, and used it as a jumping off point to highlight how the Democrat has let down gun control supporters:
O'DONNELL: And that's the most interesting thing about -- I think -- about the gun control discussion, is that Barack Obama has disappointed gun control advocates, because, as you point -- he's expanded gun rights, and the reason is political. It's not just that the NRA is one of the most -- if not, the most powerful lobby in Washington. But guess where a lot of gun owners reside? In swing states. Right, Major?
GARRETT: In swing states -- absolutely
O'DONNELL: And a lot of people think that Al Gore talking about gun control in 2000 might have cost him Florida.
O'Donnell made her claim about Mitt Romney supposedly being "more for gun control" than the President later in the segment. She also asked Garrett about how the gun issue might affect Romney with Republicans:
O'DONNELL: And here's what's so interesting: Mitt Romney, in some ways, has been more for gun control than Barack Obama, when he was governor of Massachusetts. He signed, as governor, something -- a law, to ban assault weapons, and he only just recently joined the NRA. So what does -- do gun owners trust Mitt Romney?
GARRETT: Probably, and in relationship to President Obama, because of the swift unification of the Republican Party behind Romney, that's not going to be an issue that he's going to have to pass any litmus test on with them.
Besides Obama's pre-presidential support of gun control, his attorney general, Eric Holder, voiced his support for "few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons" during a 2009 press conference. In July 2011, White House spokesman Jay Carney announced that the President "directed the attorney general to form working groups with key stakeholders to identify common-sense measures that would improve American safety and security while fully respecting Second Amendment rights."
Even the AP acknowledged later in 2011 that "Obama's support of strict gun control measures prior to becoming president makes it difficult for him to claim he's a Second Amendment champion." All of this underscores that O'Donnell's point is beyond bizarre.