By Teresa Welsh |
On Tuesday, President Obama delivered his fourth State of the Union address (his 2009 speech was technically not a State of the Union). He followed the traditional path of laying out his vision with a laundry list of policy ideas and priorities. As he suggested, all are needed to create more jobs, encourage more economic growth, and to keep America safe, while protecting its values of fairness and equal opportunity.
It was not until he called upon Congress to take up new proposals to curb gun violence that he became emotional and animated. It was a stark contrast to his address in 2009, delivered shortly after the tragedy in Tuscon, Ariz., when he failed to mention any need for gun control at all.
Recent Quinnipiac University polling shows the majority of Americans are more supportive of a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons (56 percent to 39 percent) and more supportive of a nationwide ban on the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines (56 percent to 40 percent) than members of Congress, and overwhelmingly support the president's position to require background checks for all gun buyers (92 percent to 7 percent).
In having the confidence of knowing where the American people stand and with Gabby Giffords in the audience, along with many other victims of gun violence, the president said, "This time is different." In a cadence often reserved for the pulpit, he called out the names of those individuals and communities who have suffered tragic losses and repeated the simple refrain, "They deserve a vote."
It was a powerful moment in the speech, one that brought scores of lawmakers to their feet in thunderous applause, and one that the president can now use effectively to continue to build the necessary political support to pass common sense gun control measures.
About Penny Lee Democratic Strategist
Lara Brown Author of 'Jockeying for the American Presidency: The Political Opportunism of Aspirants'