Mitchell Reports | February 18, 2013
>> dmog that would be more important than us reducing violence than strong accident stable families. we have single moms out here. they're heroic what they're doing, and we are so proud of th them, but at the same time i wish i had a father who was around and involved.
>> president obama speaking very personally in his hometown of chicago on friday keeping up the pressure for new guns law in a city that has suffered 506 murders in 2012 and more than 40 in just the last month alone. joining me now susan paige, usa today washington bureau chief, "new york times" deputy bureau chief elizabeth and national journal congressional correspondent chris fraitz. thank you all very much. susan , the president did seem very emotional in that speech, much more personal, and he has really kept up the pressure for some action on guns. he has spoken of it a couple of times a week for the last couple of weeks. certainly at the state of the union it was the high point emotionally of that speech.
>> it's interesting to hear the comments on friday because it's so rare that we hear that president is talking that personal way about his own father. i think this issue of gun control is one that he is sticking with to a degree that i think is a surprise to a lot of people, and we heard senator mccain say yesterday that he thought there was a good chance that universal background checks will get through the senate. now, that doesn't mean that it gets through the house, which is a tougher venue, and, of course, that is the only measure that we think there is a pretty good chance for expanding the background checks to include gun shows and other private gun sales. i think there's something that is possible that will happen this year, and, of course, what has it been a decade or so, more than a decade, since we have seriously talked about gun control on this panel.
>> and what they have are separate bills which does give some little room for the people to take a vote, they can vote against the assault weapon ban or vote for background checks . they are taking it piece by piece here deliberately.
>> that's true, but what i think -- i want to talk about the president's remarks. s he is talking -- he is reaching out over congress to a large degree and reaching out to the public. these are very personal remarks that we had a great story about this weekend, and i think it's just too -- when you look at the polls, 90% of the public agrees with background checks . it's -- you know, there's a great frustration with congress. i think he is going to keep up the pressure. he is seeing this with groups like bloomberg. are you seeing this with the gabby giffords ' pact. this is a groundswell in the country that he is trying to tap into.
>> well, we figure out whose cell phone -- it could even be mine. let's go on. chris fraitz, talk about, we have another senate republican resignation. mike johann is announcing. that is a safe republican seat, but it could make for an interesting primary.
>> oh, absolutely. we have, you know, yet another moderate republican who is kind of throwing in the towel after just one term. of course, he is a former g. i don't think democrats are looking at this as a pick-up, but i think it's just another indication of how some of the kind of more moderate members of the congress are throwing in the towel . the cycle we saw a number of other similar announcements, and i wanted to go back a little bit to gun control , andrea. just because it's interesting when you talk about inside washington . we've had the president working outside. inside washington we have chuck schumer and tom coburn , who is -- who are working very closely. they had hoped to have a deal on background checks before the end of last week, before this recess. they were very close, and republicans and democrats were telling me they think they can get something that would have bipartisan support from joe manchin , democrat from west virginia , and mark kirk , a illinois for very moderate bipartisan senators bringing toward a bill. i would look for that after this week -- long recess is over. and also i would look to colorado today where you have the house of representatives who are putting a sweeping background check on the floor for a final vote. and a cap on magazine rounds, 15 rounds per magazine. that's a very moderate, you know, kind of purple state . i cover colorado politics for five or six years. and it's interesting to me to watch democrats who are essentially out there very much like east coast republicans pushing this forward. joe biden called four moderate state lawmakers on a democratic side to say please vote for this. so you have the white house involved there, too. trying to create some pressure to move this inside washington game outside.
>> and susan pedro, i wanted to ask you as a long-time washington house correspondent and the bureau chief for " usa today ," your take on the total blackout of any kind of photos of the president golfing this weekend with tiger woods . the press -- the white house correspondents ' association has protested, the white house has pushed back. but it does seem as though they were really shut out. do you see an issue there, and why do you think the white house did that?
>> i think the president has an obligation to explain himself to the american people . they have news conferences and do interviews. i'm inclined to think -- i'm less inflamed with the idea he would have a round of golf as being president. although playing golf with someone like tiger woods , everybody is going to want to see a picture of that. put a puck at your out. what's the big deal ?
>> the big deal may be that tiger woods is still controversial.
>> that's true. i would say we had a great story by jackie collins this morning in "the times" who was down there, one of the reporters enormously frustrated. we would never have seen this trip a year ago, during election year. you can tell the president has won re-election. he's down in a very exclusive resort days after reaching out to middle class americans, working class americans in the state of union address and now in this very exclusive resort. it's also very much a boys' weekend. and no women around. the family is out skiing in the west. and he's down there with the boys. and he's come under a lot of pressure and criticism for his male insider circle. so --
>> the optics of it. thank you very much, elizabeth miller and susan page . and chris .