Mitchell Reports | February 01, 2013
>>> despite chuck hagel 's brutal confirm's hearing and a hostile reception from his former republican pals, the white house and many democrats remain hopeful that hagel still will be confirmed as the mechanics defense secretary . joining me now is senator richard bloomenthal, a member of the armed services committee who questioned hagel at confess's hearing. do you agree with that sense that he will be confirmed? snoo i do. i have seen no shift awaying from him in the support that he has received so far. if anything, increased support. ironically, given a lot of what's been said publicly. i am supporting him because i think he is qualified to be the secretary of defense and the president has some prerogative in choosing his team. after all, the president is the one who sets policy. i needs a team to implement it.
>> what about some of the questioning from some of your republican colleagues. there was a lot of questioning on israel . were you satisfied, and did you think that there was perhaps lacking some questioning about afghanistan where we have 66,000 troops in about -- in the field?
>> you have very appropriately and correctly made the point that there was relatively little questioning about the issues of substance and historic magnitude that the next secretary of defense will have to determine. really setting our national security strategy only for this year, but for years and maybe decades to come, and i have been assured on israel that he is unekwifically and clearly in support of israel 's security, providing the iron dome , and other necessary military aid . i have been assured that he is unekwifically and clearly in support of the president's policy. that we take unilateral action if necessary, if the sanctions don't work to prevent a nuclear armed iran on sexual assault in the military. he is going to pursue and prosecute anybody with responsibility or accountability, and on gays in the military , don't ask, don't tell, the repeal will be instituted sfwlelsly, as well as efforts to stop suicides and as well provide more aid for our veterans and if i may make a point, that i think senator reid began making, this man has seen war, as he put it yesterday, from the bottom up. he has seen it from the perspective of the enlisted man, and he would be the first enlisted man to have the defense department , and he has not only a compassion, but an understanding for what it takes to keep and attract and retain the leaders and war fighters of the future, which is critical at a time when we're downsizing our troop level. we all say our biggest asset is our people, but this man has an understanding of what it will take to prevent what's happened in the past, which is the hollowing out of our military personnel at a time when we will immediate to retain and attract the best and the brightest .
>> now, i also wanted to ask you about the tragedy in connecticut, sandy hook , and the new legislation you're proposing for background checks on the magazines, getting at the ammunition itself. is that more likely than trying to ban the assault weapons ?
>> i think background checks are common ground. they can attract bipartisan support, extending background checks universally to all firearms purchases so we close the gun show loophole. 40% of all the firearm sales that occur in this country will be covered by the background check law, but also ammunition, which is really the fuel that drives many of these mass killings, and many of the killings on our streets, tragically, and, unfortunately, and everybody talks these days about the need for better enforcement. here's a measure to enforce the current law, because right now the law forbids fugitives, felons, criminals, domestic abusers, people with serious mental illness from buying both ammunition and firearms. both ammunitions and firearms. yet, floss background check . none whatsoever for ammunition purchases. anybody can walk into a store buy a shopping cart full of ammunition, pay for it, walk out, no questions asked. law enforcement is in favor of this measure as attorney general, and u.s. attorney , the federal prosecutor , before then for four and a half years i know that law enforcement really feels that enforcement of existing laws can be bettered by this kind of commonsense measure, and i think to answer your question very directly, the centerpiece of efforts to control gun violence of the horrific kind that occurred in my state in newtown we're still recovering and rebuilding and grieving, and seeking to aid the people that were directly involved. that kind of effort will be aided by these national background checks , along with efforts against straw purchases, trafficking, a comprehensive strategy that includes mental health michigan at thes such as i propose mental health first and aed a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
>> and as the children try -- the surviving children try to heal, we note that they are from sandy hook elementary. the children are going to be going to the super bowl and singing "america the beautiful," and that is going to be a moment this weekend, indeed.
>> it will be a moment.
>> we thank you.
>> thank you.
>> thank you very much, senator.