As the U.S. Congress debates gun control legislation, two of the countries’ leading advocates on the issue–Vice President Joe Biden and Mayor Michael Bloomberg–held a City Hall press conference today to pressure federal lawmakers to have enough “courage” to vote in favor of the bill when it hits the floor. Standing behind victims’ family members from last year’s massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, Mr. Biden and Mr. Bloomberg argued the measures being proposed are neither controversial or unconstitutional.
“There’s not one single thing being proposed–not one, not one , not one, not one–that infringes on anyone’s Second Amendment constitutional right. Not one,” Mr. Biden said. “Three months ago, a deranged man walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School with a weapon of war. That’s what he walked in with–a weapon of war. That weapon of war has no place on American streets and taking it off American streets has no impact on one’s constitutional right to own a weapon.”
Earlier this afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden attended a gun violence conference a few miles from the location of last year’s infamous Newtown school shooting massacre. And Mr. Biden, who has led the White House’s push for stricter policies on guns in the shooting’s wake, passionately argued that gun control is no longer the untouchable “third rail” in our political system. Indeed, Mr. Biden took his contention in the opposite direction and said politicians are now compelled to engage the issue.
“Our understanding assumption is–in American politics today–[is] that this is kind of a third rail of politics,” Mr. Biden declared. “That if you take this on, somehow there will be a severe political price to pay for doing it because that’s what happened in the past. That’s what happened in the past. People say–and you read, and people write about–the political risk and why they’re unacceptable to take on. I say it’s unacceptable to not take these on. It’s simply unacceptable.”
Cup of Joe
At the inaugural reception earlier this afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden proved he still has the ability to go off script.
As various speakers–including President Barack Obama–stood behind the room’s podium to offer toasts, Mr. Biden offered a heap of praise on Mr. Obama before quickly announcing his toast would instead go to one of his former colleagues in the U.S. Senate, New York’s Chuck Schumer.
Journeys With Joe
Vice President Joe Biden, fresh off voting for himself in Delaware, returned to the pivotal battleground state of Ohio this afternoon to do a final round of campaign stops before polls close. And, true to form, Mr. Biden seemed to be having fun.
Approaching a booth at a Greek diner in Cleveland, Mr. Biden apologized for causing a commotion, jesting diners just came to get some spaghetti, “and Joe Biden shows up.”
Next, the vice president met, according to a pool report, “the number one Biden superfan.” The supporter, “struggling to contain excitement,” offered Mr. Biden her food before chanting, “Biden! Biden!”
After Vice President Joe Biden infamously told an audience that Mitt Romney is “going to unchain Wall Street,” and concluded they are “going to put y’all back in chains,” Mr. Romney’s campaign cried foul. This was an obvious and unfair allusion to slavery, Mr. Romney’s surrogates argued.
Well, count veteran Congressman Charlie Rangel among Mr. Biden’s critics on the Democratic side of the aisle.
“The Vice President said he’s going to put “y’all in chains,’” Mr. Rangel told The Perez Notes in a recent free-wheeling interview. “Was he talking about slavery? You bet your ass he was. Was he using the vernacular? Yes, he was. Did he think it was cute? Yes, he did. Was it something stupid to say? You bet your life it was stupid.”
Although Democrats carpet bombed reporters’ inboxes yesterday with press releases slamming Mitt Romney’s vice presidential selection, it turns out that there isn’t complete unanimity among the party’s candidates when it comes to Paul Ryan. To wit, former Councilman Simcha Felder, a Democrat running for the State Senate in a heavily Orthodox Jewish district in southern Brooklyn, sent out a press release this afternoon embracing Mr. Ryan.
“Paul Ryan is a terrific pick for Vice President,” Mr. Felder said in the statement. “As Chairman of the Budget Committee he brings tremendous knowledge of fiscal policy and will be an asset to a Romney administration.”
Congressman Paul Ryan isn’t entirely new to New York’s political scene. Congresswoman Kathy Hochul won a ruby red Western New York district in a special election based on blasting Mr. Ryan’s budget and her GOP opponent’s support for it last year. Now, with Mr. Ryan named as Mitt Romney’s number two man as he faces off against President Obama, Democrats around the state are ready to fully embrace him as well, and their press releases have been pouring in.
Campaigning for a Staten Island-based district, Democrat Mark Murphy said the following about his Republican opponent, Congressman Michael Grimm:
Mitt Romney rolled out his running mate, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, at an event at the U.S.S. Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia this morning, but he made a slight mistake when introducing the man he hopes will serve as his vice president next year.
“Join me in welcoming the next President of the United States, Paul Ryan,” Mr. Romney said as his running mate took the stage.
Mr. Ryan began speaking and, a few moments later, Mr. Romney jogged back to the podium to acknowledge his slip of the tongue.