NewsNation | February 11, 2013
>>> message and tone of president obama 's state of the union tomorrow night. first read team writes, quote, while the white house maintains they're focused on the economy, tomorrow's speech puts a end to the chatter they hope that they haven't spent enough time talking about the economy. politico expects it will be aggressive writing it's less a presidential olive branch than a congressional cattle prod emboldened by verdict ri and convinced the gop is unwilling to cut deals, obama plans to use the big prime time address tuesday night for another broad challenge at a republican party he regards as vulnerable and divided. also today, getting a first look at a new ad from the superpac of gabby giffords . it is aimed to promote stricter gun laws .
>> we have a problem where we shop, where we pray, where our children go to school. but there are solutions we can agree on even gun owners like us. take it from me. congress must act.
>> let me bring in democratic senator from west virginia joe manchin . a big player in the gun control debate and wearing the no labels pin for bipartisanship. senator manchin, a pleasure to have you on.
>> i'm wearing the pin as you see no labels and basically it's a group of people, tamron , come together as problem solvers. you know? we are not here to fight but fix things. that's what we do in west virginia and what i found no labels to be here in washington and proud to be a national co-chairman with jon huntsman .
>> you would like to see if you will there to be more of a compromise in that town. it's interesting that this politico article says the president's speech more aggressive because the president believes according to them that you cannot reach a deal right now with the republicans in washington. they are vulnerable and divided and there's an opening for his agenda perhaps to be heard in this bully pulpit form of the state of the union . are members of the gop in your opinion just unwilling to agree on anything right now?
>> well, i don't know that -- you know, the president is the president of the entire country. and you would like to think that people could rally behind the president and we could do things in a bipartisan way. it's how the country should move forward, it is a common sense approach we take to running our lives. i would hope that the president has a conciliatory tone and get the financial house in order. we have to fix the finances and anxious to hear what the president says.
>> you are absolutely right. we would like to believe that things would run a bit more smoothly. that's what we would like to believe and whatnot what we have seen certainly in prior to this administration. prior to this president. certainly, in the last ten years if not longer. i want to play what david walker , said about sequester since you bring up the budget issues and the stalemate over the sequester. let me play how he sees when's happening there.
>> the sequester is much more likely to happen because of the failure of the president and the congress both political parties to come together to deal with the structural drivers. i think the president needs to step up tomorrow night, provide a framework, followed up with a responsible budget that bridges the ideological and partisan divides.
>> he believes that the sequester is a great example of why things are so broken in that town. do you agree?
>> the sequester basically we voted for it because it was a penalty we put upon ourselves. people have said it wasn't supposed to happen. i agree. if we did our job, if we took the approach of boewles simpson approach and quit worrying about the next election all the time, tamron , we would be much better off and now saying, okay, we just can't stand the sequesters. we tell the people that we penalized ourselves and didn't mean it?
>> i think there has to be a different way of approaching it and doing the sequestering, given them the flexibility so it's not across the board and as deep as it normally would be an a better way to manage it. doesn't make any sense to me just slashing across the board. i don't -- i think there's a much better way.
>> you mentioned folks worried about the next election. that brings me to the gun control debate happening. you have an a-rating for the nra . you came out i believe on " morning joe " saying something needs to be done here. now we have numbers in. 92% of the people out there support universal background checks . that's just one of the things here. where do you stand on an assault weapons ban ? i know that you and other senators and lawmakers have gotten together according to some reports and secret meetings. perhaps result in a bipartisan deal. what can you tell me about that?
>> here's the thing. i'm not going to comment on anybody's piece of legislation. i will tell you i'm working with my colleagues on the other side. we have a balanced approach we're taking to something that really will get to the crux of the problem.
>> how would you defined a balanced approach? would that include with the easy part and universal background checks . is that a part of the balanced approach?
>> criminaled background checks makes sense to everybody, i believe.
>> except for the nra right now.
>> not really. i'm an nra member.
>> the leadership i should say.
>> many like me.
>> wayne lapierre does not agree s. that right?
>> just because you have somebody in leadership that doesn't agree with that as far as speaking upon that, i'm not going to speak for them. i'm looking at it from a reasonable, responsible approach to be taken by legitimate gun owners like myself. we are protecting the second amendment rights and should be some gun sense and we are talking and i don't want to go in to specifics because we've been working pretty strongly for this and hopefully we'll have something soon.
>> you mentioned you're a member of the nra and universal background check is necessary and needed, something to support. that is counter to the head of the nra wayne lapierre . is there a clear divide? are you saying that the members of the nra are no longer willing to go with the leadership?
>> no. i'm saying that you can respectfully respect someone else's opinion.
>> i respectfully disagree on that. but i still respect their position on it. i don't agree with it. and that's the problem. we keep trying to drive wedges and drive people apart. and we're trying to bring people together. i'm working with republicans and democrats. another republican with an a-rating like myself.
>> that comes from a gun culture , tamron .
>> is it driving a wedge saying what legislation is likely to pass? when you have the leadership of the nra in wayne lapierre saying that's not something i believe is effective and will work, i don't know if that's driving a wedge opposed to saying what's the measures to be passed to save lives? that's not wedge. i would dare some say it's a right and a wrong approach. that doesn't mean you have to despise the person.
>> what we're trying to do is have a well balanced piece of legislation which i think makes sense and it will do an awful lot of good.
>> and then we have to work with the colleagues on the house to see if it would be acceptable to them. that's the process. it's political process that we're in. and you have to work through this process if you're going to be successful. i think that we can do something in a most constructive way while still protecting the law-abiding gun owners like myself all over this country. and that's what we're working for.
>> and before i let you go, just for clarification here, would you support an assault weapons ban at this point? have you said?
>> i do not support an assault weapon ban because the definition is still hard to come by so i'm not going to comment on people's legislation. i do not support that approach right now. i think there's a much more effective approach we can take.
>> thank you so much for your time. a laundry list of things to make it through an i appreciate it and you and others will have on the pins as a sign of bipartisanship in a town where sometimes we feel that's a dirty word .