Norm Coleman praises Obama gun control speech that didn't use the word "guns"

After his speech last night, Coleman characterized Obama as "a superb healing force in wake of the Newtown tragedy."
After his speech last night, Coleman characterized Obama as "a superb healing force in wake of the Newtown tragedy."

Last night, President Obama traveled to Newtown, Connecticut, and gave a speech at a memorial service for the victims of Friday's school shooting.

-- Al Franken didn't want to talk gun control on Friday; Betty McCollum did
-- Andy Parrish's response to Newtown school shooting: Arm teachers

His remarks received praise from both both liberals and conservatives, but some have dinged the president for not actually using the word "guns" in the course of making his strongest pro-gun-control statement yet.

First, here's a transcript of a passage reflective of the broader message Obama tried to convey (via Yahoo):

"We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them we must change," Obama said at a somber interfaith service.

"In the coming weeks I'll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this," he said. "Because what choice do we have? We can't accept events like this as routine."

But as PBS notes, critics like comedian/pundit Bill Maher pointed out that Obama never used the word "guns":

On the other end of the spectrum, the speech was surprisingly given two thumbs way up by former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, who in 2003 received an A rating for his support of pro-gun-rights policies from the NRA:

What do other Republicans think of the president's remarks and the broader post-Newtown push for tighter gun control? It's hard to say, because they aren't talking.

From the Humphrey School's Smart Politics blog:

While 27 percent of House Democrats issued official press releases on the Newtown, Connecticut murders, only 6 percent of Republicans did so and no GOPer mentioned the word 'gun' in their statements...

Statements from the majority of both caucuses were more inclined to offer their thoughts and prayers to the victims than use the policy window opened by the shooting to offer specific prescriptions to decrease the likelihood of them occurring in the future.

However, an increasing number of Democrats opted to use this opportunity to call for greater gun control.

In the same vein, David Gregory, moderator of Meet the Press, said his program invited 31 pro-gun-rights senators to participate in yesterday's show, but had no takers, the New York Times reports.

Will Coleman and other gun-friendly Republicans still thank the president, assuming Obama's words do indeed translate to some sort of action? It's hard to imagine they will, but perhaps Newtown really has shifted the terrain of America's gun control debate. Time will tell.

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