Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken the occasion of President Obama's most recent push for gun reform to continue pounding Bernie Sanders over lapses in his voting record on gun control, particularly his vote to grant immunity to gun manufacturers. Clinton made a special phone-in to Chris Matthews on Friday, and spent a good chunk of Sunday morning having a go at Bernie:
DICKERSON: On gun control this week, you have been pretty tough on Bernie Sanders, specifically on the question of legal protection to gun manufacturers.
He has now said that he would be interested in looking to changing the law to allow -- to go after gun manufacturers who act irresponsibly. So, isn't that what you want?
CLINTON: No, that's not what I want. And that's not what the country wants. And that's not what President Obama called for. And I think he has been consistently refusing to say that he would vote to repeal this absolute immunity from any kind of responsibility or liability.
It's the only industry in our country where we have given that kind of carte blanche to do whatever you want to do with no fear of legal consequences. You know, President Obama and I and Senator Sanders were all in the Senate at the same time. Two of us voted against what the NRA says was the most important piece of legislation in 20 years for the gun lobby.
Senator Sanders voted with them, and through this morning has been unwilling to join the president and me in saying that this should be repealed.
Hillary is absolutely right, but until Sunday morning, Sanders had cracked the door open enough to a repeal that it really wasn't fair for others to say he has ruled it out. He's been head-faking at repeal, but vaguely enough that he hasn't had to admit to a mistake.
That pattern continued Sunday morning, as Sanders tried to give the distinct impression that he would probably support repealing the immunity, again without admitting his original vote was wrong. To many, this appears to be fsce-saving stubbornness (that's the vibe I got from folks on Twitter), but if so, then listen to what he still says "makes sense" about that bill:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Did you get it wrong?
SANDERS: Well, what you had was a complicated piece of legislation. There were aspects of it that were absolutely right. There were aspects of it of -- that were wrong.
But as the Secretary knows, that for many weeks now, I said of course I'll be happy to take a look at that complicated piece of legislation and deal with it and get rid of those parts of...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Can you say right now...
SANDERS: -- parts of it...
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- that you would vote for it?
SANDERS: -- that are wrong. I will vote to revise that bill. There are parts of it that made sense to me.
Look George, if you have a small gun shop owner in Northern Vermont who sells a gun legally to somebody and then, you know, something happens to that guy, he goes nuts or something, and he kills somebody, should the gun shop owner be held liable? I think not.
On the other hand, if you have a manufacturer that is sending guns into an area and really knows that those guns are not being used by the people or bought by the people in that area but are being sold to criminals, should we hold that manufacturer liable? Absolutely.
What Sanders is saying, then, is that he would support narrowing the immunity to only include people who really aren't liable. The problem is that we already have a way to protect those people, and it's called a courtroom. There's no point in making a law that says people who aren't liable aren't liable, so Bernie's either stubbornly trying to salvage his position, or he really does favor something that would still shield someone who shouldn't be shielded.
Bernie's not stupid, so I believe it's the former, not the latter. He's certainly not going to gain any votes with this nonsense, and by continuing to give this issue air, he's giving Hillary an easy target, but more importantly, he's giving the media an excuse to focus on this foolishness, rather than on the Republicans' insane meltdown over guns. Bernie brags about his D minus NRA rating. He should make it an F and admit he got this one wrong.
Elsewhere on the Sunday shows:
John Dickerson asked Hillary if attacks on Bill Clinton over things like the Monica Lewinsky affair are fair game. Hillary's response? "More power to 'em!"
I can't run anybody else's campaign. They can say whatever they want. More power to them. I think it's a dead end, blind alley for them, but let them go. I'm going to talk about the differences between us, because I think that's what Americans care about.
Hillary also addressed the new emails that the conservative media are fapping about:
DICKERSON: This week, another batch of your e-mails were released by the State Department. One of them is a back-and-forth between you and a staffer about a secure fax that won't come through. And you directed him to -- quote -- "turn into non-paper with no identifying heading and send nonsecure." Aren't you ordering him to violate the laws on handling classified material there?
CLINTON: No, not at all. And as the State Department said just this week, that did not happen. And it never would have happened, because that's just not the way I treated classified information. Headings are not classification notices. And so, oftentimes, we're trying to get the best information we can.
And, obviously, what I'm asking for is whatever can be transmitted, if it doesn't come through secure, to be transmitted on the unclassified system. So, no, there is nothing to that, like so much else that has been talked about in the last year.
Speaker Paul Ryan Says "Of course I will" Support Donald Trump if He's The Nominee
There was one interesting moment in John Dickerson's interview of Paul Ryan that was otherwise two segments too long. It's no surprise that a guy who has, himself, campaigned on white resentment would "of course" support Trump if he wins the nomination, but I was a little taken aback by the pained whisper Ryan use in responding to the same query about Ted Cruz:
DICKERSON: Will you support Donald Trump if he is the nominee?
RYAN: Yes, I will support -- of course I will.
DICKERSON: And will you support Ted Cruz if he's the nominee?
RYAN: (sounding as if he's being asked to move his brother-in-law's sofa) Yes.
Chris Christie Gets Caught in Every Gun Control Lie
You wouldn't know it, though, from the way Dickerson lets him skate:
Marco Rubio Can't Substantiate His Assertion That Obama Wants to Take Away Your Guns
But George also lets him skate.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Fact checkers have called you out on that as well. Where has the president called proposals for taking away guns? He has not done that?
RUBIO: Well, his proposal for everything is to -- is to infringe on the Second Amendment. There’s a terrorist attack in San Bernardino; before even the facts are known he immediately jumps and says, we need gun control.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But take away our guns?
RUBIO: This is what he always resorts to. Well, if he could he would. Obviously he knows he’s constrained by the Second Amendment so what he tries to do is chip away at it every chance he gets.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you can see --
RUBIO: And he wants this debate to be about -- George, if he could he would. And let me tell you what he’s trying to do. He is trying to keep guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens by continuing to put new restrictions on our gun rights.
Jake Tapper Is a Fucking Saint
Please spare yourself the two-part shit sandwich that is this Ted Cruz interview, but I have to give poor Jake Tapper credit for hanging in there. Look at the pained expression on his face as Cruz blasts through another digression to avoid answering the question he was really asked. Jake looks like a guy who wishes he'd skipped this date and gone over to his brother-in-law's house to move the sofa: