NOW with Alex Wagner | February 15, 2013
>>> when they showed up for work at sandy hook elementary on december 14th of the last year, they expected a day like any other. they gave their lives to protect the precious children in their care. they gave all they had for the most innocent and helpless among us. that's who we honor today. the courageous heart, the selfless spirit, the inspiring actions of extraordinary americans.
>> that was president obama and a white house ceremony earlier this morning honoring the six teachers and administrators all female who lost their lives while trying to protect children at sandy hook elementary school on december 14th of last year. the six victims were among 18 people awarded the presidential citizens medal , which is the nation's second highest civilian honor. governor rendell, you have been outspoken in your belief that we need to have stronger gun safety laws. i think, you know, we see wayne lapierre on one hand giving his tone deaf rebuttal and then what is an emotional top ebbing for the president and a tribute to those people who lost their lives in the name of protecting the nation's children.
>> and it helps. as crazy as wayne lapierre is, he needs to stay crazy because it helps the goal.
>> we talk about whether or not this time it's different. certainly we're seeing more wayne lapierre and more crazy from wayne lawpierre and more -- i also think the tenor in the national conversation has changed in terms of gun safety .
>> i think you're -- partly what you are seeing is the contrast. it struck me watching the state of the union that president obama 's language on guns and particularly on newtown has been some of the most eloquent and moving language in his whole presidency, and that's saying a lot for someone like obama. i think he has been touched by this, and i think whatever happens in terms of legislature, he wants to be on the record as saying these things aloud as often as he can and letting people understand, letting liberals understand in particular, that he feels strongly.
>> and letting parents understand. i thought that was the most moving part, obviously in the state of the union when he points to the victims and said they deserve a vote. i mean, it's not even really political at that point. it's just give voice to this cause.
>> he has called that the worst day of his presidency, and you listen to a lot of political rhetoric fly back and forth. i'm starting to think that on some level this was transformative for him personally, and i don't think he is kidding. one other point is the state of the union i agree with you, i thought the newtown stuff was obviously the emotional high point of it, and he also had a new speechwriter, cody keen, who has taken over as the chief speech writer and cody was the one who wrote his tucson speech. i think it's clear we're seeing a different approach by the president to some of these speeches.
>> transformative was correct. after tucson and aurora, he gave great speeches, but didn't do anything.
>> and didn't address -- after gabby giffords , defendant's exhibit take it up in that state of union.
>> but, sadly, there was an element of politics in that state of the union speech and there had to be because obama can't force a vote. you had him imploring the congress.
>> imploring really harry reid as much as it is anybody else. bring it to the floor for a vote.
>> especially house republicans. i think that's testament to the fact that he can't do this on his own regardless of whether or not he has been --
>> that's hugely important. we're saying back home and for -- we're challenging our republican congress , will you sign a discharge petition to let high capacity magazine be voted on? sign a discharge petition . even if your leadership --
>> the local level may be where we see the most traction for this issue. all right. we have to leave it there. thank you to josh, governor rendell, radika, and