PoliticsNation | March 19, 2013
>>> there's big news today on the gun control fight in washington . senate democrats are dropping the assault weapons ban from their main bill on guns. instead, it will get a separate vote on its own. but with lower hopes for success. senator harry reid says he made the move to avoid republican obstruction.
>> i want people to have the ability to vote on assault weapons , mental health , safety in schools, federal trafficking, clips, everything. but i cannot do that until i get a bill on the floor. i want something that will succeed.
>> something that will succeed. the rest of the country wants that, too. in fact, a majority of americans, 57%, support an assault weapons ban . but apparently some in washington think that's not good enough. nearly 2,800 people have been shot and killed since the newtown tragedy. 2,800 reasons for our elected officials in washington to show some political courage. the time is now. americans want to move forward. lawmakers in both parties should move forward with the rest of the country. joining me now are mia malika -henderson and margie omar ra. thank you for your time.
>> malika , what's behind this on assault weapons ? why did it happen? i'm not sure i agree with this.
>> yeah. i think you heard senator reid say it when he said he wants something to succeed. the assault weapons ban in some ways was a poison pill . if that was added to this bill, it's likely that it would go down to defeat. it's likely that many democrats, especially democrats in red states , would not support this bill. remember, the president in his state of the union address , over and over again, he said that what he wanted for those kids slain in newtown and pendleton, all those other people killed by gun violence , to at least get a vote. bring a bill o tto the floor and get a vote. that looks like what will happen. there's still some disagreement about what will be the main focus of the bill. will it be gun trafficking or will it be background checks . but the white house is certainly pleased that there is movement on this. and i don't think the white house is surprised that the assault weapons ban has been dropped and will be able to -- you know, people will be able to vote for it as a separate amendment. and i think lots of democrats, especially, again, those in those red states , will actually vote against the assault weapons ban . but they will support this bill in large part because of the background checks , because of the tightening of restrictions around gun trafficking. and i think you'll be able to get some republicans to support that, too.
>> margie , you know, the senate's gun safety proposals, here are the proposals that are heading to a vote on the floor next month. gun trafficking and straw purchasing. expanding background checks . money for school security. magazines carrying more than ten rounds. assault weapons ban . these are things that are going to the floor either together or separately. did democrats sacrifice assault weapons in order to win support for these other measures? if so, did they really need to do that?
>> well, i think you've heard the white house say a couple hours ago we're still going to fight for this. so i would say it's too early to say assault weapons ban is off the table and it's over. there is still going to be a vote. the white house still has prioritized it. there are still people really fighting for it. i'm not surprised that this happened, but it's unfortunate that the politics hasn't quite moved as quickly as we see public opinion . because public opinion actually, a poll you showed, "the washington post "/abc poll, a majority support assault weapons ban . two-thirds of women and half of men support that ban from that poll. actually, 43% of republicans support an assault weapons ban . so it's really less controversial in the public than it is here in washington . so it's a shame that we're having this debate. because this is something that actually a lot of people support. so i think as you're -- we're going to continue to have this debate, and i'm optimistic that we can continue to show that this is something that people really support.
>> now, we also have immigration moving forward. the gop senator rand paul today implicitly endorsed a path to citizenship. and i emphasize implicitly. but i think it's significant. let me play what he said.
>> i think the conversation needs to start by acknowledging that we aren't going to deport 12 million illegal immigrants . if you -- if you wish to work w, if you wish to live and work in america, then we will find a place for you.
>> now, nia- malika , isn't that momentum when you start seeing a right wing senator like this using this kind of rhetoric? tea party guy like rand paul?
>> yes. i mean, this is a big surprise. that you have democrats and republicans really from both wings of the party, the far right as well as the far left , singing from the same prayer book on immigration. as you said, he implicitly seemed to support a pathway to citizenship. i think his aides later on sort of backed off of that and said they -- they support green cards . that really is the debate that i think you're going to have happen between republicans and democrats. are they for a full pathway to citizenship. the problem with that for republicans is that republicans hear citizenship, and they hear amnesty. then in their mind they also think that there are going to be lots of immigrants who are getting welfare, who are getting -- who are getting government benefits, and they don't want that to happen. so i think the white house is certainly pleased with where this is going. you have a bill probably that's going to be introduced next month in april, i think. it's a surprise that we're here. i think it's a surprise that we're talking about immigration. i think it's a surprise that we're still talking about gun control .
>> but, you know, margie , reince priebus, the chairman of the rnc, he said yesterday on cnn that romney's anti-immigration comments hurt the party. watch.
>> one of the issues that i think really cut pretty badly within the hispanic community is when mitt romney talked about self-deportation. and, you know, it's a concept that really doesn't -- it's not our party's position. but it was something that i think hit every hispanic kitchen table across america.
>> but i just want to tell you that he's wrong. it is the party's position. because if you read the party's platform, it says -- this is a direct quote from the republican party platform that was voted on and approved by the gop in august. quote, we will create human procedures to encourage illegal aliens to return home voluntarily. sounds like self-deportation to me. but i'm going to have to leave it there, unfortunately. i want to thank nia- malika henderson and margie omera for your time tonight.
>>> ahead, rush says the gop is being suckered into changing. pop some popcorn, folks. the gop civil war is getting good.
>>> plus, republican leaders tell a