Rand Paul: Obama used Newtown families as 'props'
April 17th, 2013
11:01 AM ET
2 years ago

Rand Paul: Obama used Newtown families as 'props'

Washington (CNN) - Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky argued Wednesday morning President Obama is using the families of victims from the Newtown elementary school shooting for political purposes and compared them to "props" in the ongoing gun control debate.

His comments later elicited a fiery response from Obama after the Senate voted down a proposal to expand background checks on firearm purchases.

Talking about the gun control legislation at a Washington breakfast with reporters, Paul said the issue is a legitimate subject to debate but said it was unfortunate that families who have suffered from gun violence are being drawn into the political scene on Capitol Hill.

"In some cases, I think the president has used them as props," he said.

A number of Newtown families traveled to Washington in recent weeks to lobby senators as the upper chamber considered tougher gun laws.

One of the main amendments of a gun package, however, failed to gain enough support in the vote Wednesday after nearly all Republicans and four Democrats opposed the legislation, saying it doesn't address the problem of gun violence.

(Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also voted no at the last minute for procedural reasons, allowing him to bring the amendment back up at a later date.)

"I've seen the fathers and mothers testifying," Paul said, adding he's aware they came voluntarily and wanted to be part of the debate. "It still saddens me just to see them."

Pressed later during the breakfast about his comment referring to "props," Paul said he wants people to know that he cares about those families.

"I'm someone who's presenting a face to the public. The face I want to present is that I do care about those kids and I understand the grief that (the families) are going through," he said. "Politics isn't only about facts. It is about whether you're seen as being empathetic and I do want people to know that I do care about those families and I care about their grief.

Following Wednesday's vote, Obama appeared in the Rose Garden with Newtown families and angrily chided those who opposed the measure. And in a somewhat veiled swipe, the president addressed Paul's comment.

"I've heard folks say that having the families of victims lobby for this legislation was somehow misplaced–a 'prop,' somebody called it," he said. "Are they serious? Do they really think that thousands of families whose lives have been shattered by gun violence don't have a right to weigh in on this issue? Do we think their emotions, their loss is not relevant to this debate?"

"So all in all, this was a pretty shameful day in Washington," he added.

Paul was one of the Republican senators who conducted a filibuster of the bill, preventing it from moving forward last week. However, their filibuster was overcome when the Senate obtained the 60 votes it needed to proceed with the legislation.

The senator said he didn't consider the background check proposal, which expands the system to cover private sales at gun shows and online, as a solution to gun violence, arguing those who commit mass shootings are going to do so no matter what.

Instead, he favors strengthening the current background check system and allowing teachers to keep guns in the classroom as a way to protect students.

The current actions on the Hill, he argued, are akin to "window dressing."

"It's a dog and pony show, it's a parade, it's theatrics," he said, adding some lawmakers just want to be able to say they "did something" on gun violence, even if it's not effective in the end.

Also at the breakfast with reporters, Paul confirmed he was considering a presidential bid and outlined further plans for his travel to early primary states this year.

"We're considering it, but we won't make a decision before 2014," he said at the breakfast, sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor.

Paul is scheduled to travel to the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire next month, but he said he's also adding South Carolina to his itinerary this summer.

"Whether I run or not, I would consider it as something that allows me to have a larger microphone," he said.


Filed under: Gun control • Rand Paul
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. ghostriter

    Rick, since conservatives lack brains, I doubt any washing will work on them anyway.

    April 17, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. Al-NY,NY

    acdcguy

    to all you Obama lovers........who are you people?? and where do you live? for the life of me, I cannot comprehend how you can support this man......
    -----–

    it's easy. even a child could understand, but I guess you can't. He speaks for a much greater part of the country and speaks about being "inclusive" and working together for the greater good. The GOP is "us" versus "them" and everything is "bad bad bad" and Obama is an evil outsider who isn't even american. Got it there Junior? I doubt it

    April 17, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. Warren

    acdcguy..

    We are the Majority, as reflected in the last election….
    Better question would be, Who are you people who stand behind the NRA??

    April 17, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. BLKmanWHOvotes

    OK so Mr. Paul you "used" Howard University AS WHAT?

    April 17, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. sonny chapman

    Obama would rather talk about trying to create a better world for the Middle Class than having to deal with the slaughter of 6yr. olds by a killing machine(AR-15 w/30 shot clip/magazine). Only folks w/little minds & no morality would say what Mr. Paul said.O

    April 17, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. freedom

    Obama always has props around him – even the night he won re-election (makes me nauseated to think about it) he had people in stands behind him. He has had the strangest presidential habits of never being able to address the nation by himself. Even at news conferences, he has people standing on small stadium stands behind him. Very strange. Romney came out on stage by himself to concede the election. A real man.

    April 17, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. rs

    "On the other hand, Obama is the biggest "brain washing" President in American history."
    ______________________
    The Right has apparently lost its mind.

    April 17, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  8. ghostriter

    I don't love Obama....Heck, the only guys I've ever loved were family members. I don't even know the guy. Why do you assume that because you hate the man that anyone who doesn't must love him?

    April 17, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  9. rs

    to all you Obama lovers........who are you people?? and where do you live? for the life of me, I cannot comprehend how you can support this man.....
    _______________________
    We aren't the people that feel everyone, including terrorists, criminals and the insane should have access to guns.
    We aren't for abolishing all laws "that don't work".
    We aren't the ones that support the rights of the insane to shoot up schools.
    We are the 90%.

    April 17, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  10. Craig

    Isn't he using them as props as well?

    April 17, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  11. Warren

    rs
    "On the other hand, Obama is the biggest "brain washing" President in American history."
    ______________________
    The Right has apparently lost its mind.

    Not sure they had one to begin with....

    April 17, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  12. rs

    Mr. Paul IS what's wrong with today's GOP.

    April 17, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. sonny chapman

    We are so lucky in this Nation to have someone as all-knowing & wise beyond his years as Rand Paul. He KNOWS the answers to ALL things that might ail America & Mankind.

    April 17, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  14. acdcguy

    Al-NY,NY.....then I guess you are ok with $16t debt, 48mm on food stamps, wasted stimulus money, higher taxes, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, obamacare, and so on...........oh and the obama phone you probably have........ now I'm waiting for the Bush reference.....and Warren, yes I am an NRA member, I own semi-auto rifles(or as you call them the scary "assault"), shotguns, hand guns, I hunt and I shoot for sport, as does my 9yrd old. Also, I carry everywhere that is legal, so yes, leave my rights alone..........

    April 17, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. Pandamonius

    Rand Paul is the type who'd likely hang a "Mission Accomplished" banner above the entrance to Sandy Hook when the gun control bill fails to pass.

    April 17, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  16. AZDesert

    Uhhmm... did Captain Obvious write this article?

    April 17, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. Oakspar77777

    Putting up grieving parents is using them as props (willing or not).

    They have no experience with firearms. They have no experience with law enforcement. Nor mental health, school security, or anything helpful to legislation.

    They have only the experience of sorrow and all they can offer is sorrow.

    They cannot craft better legislation, all they can do is craft more emotional legislation.

    That is why they are a prop to push an agenda that is unworthy to stand a logical assessment.

    April 17, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  18. Really

    freedom

    Obama always has props around him –

    ==

    Amnesia much? Remember the first responders on 9/11? How about the "snowflake babies"? Or the kids standing around when NCLB was signed? How about the lighted backdrop in New Orleans after Katrina? The cheesy landing on the aircraft carrier and all of the sailors in the background? The fake turkey in Iraq? Want more?

    April 17, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  19. Bill

    This Aqua Buddha is pathetic and the worst excuse for US senator. I really hope he runs in 2016.

    April 17, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Funny how I cant go to the liquor store and buy a bag of weed that isnt going to kill anyone, but I can go to the local Big R, get a gun, kill my neighbor and then blow my own brains out and there's nothing there to keep me in check.

    April 17, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. v_mag

    So, if Paul or some dipwad like him ever wins the presidency, are they going to remove "United" from the name of this country? The whole libertarian philosophy promotes the individual above society, so you could hardly call us a "United" States of America if he or his ilk were in office.

    The ideal of individualism is attractive on a certain level, until you realize the implications for people who were not born rich and/or healthy. Those are the folks the libertarians leave behind for the predators to pick off. Meanwhile the predatory individuals amass more wealth, thus leaving less for the unfortunate folks in the bottom 99%.

    April 17, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. Pam from Iowa

    How much did the NRA pay you to say that Rand???
    Those people are not props! They are real people who met with tragedy, and how dare you belittle them!
    Typical GOP'er who cares nothing for humankind!

    April 17, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. Al-NY,NY

    acdcguy

    Al-NY,NY.....then I guess you are ok with $16t debt, 48mm on food stamps, wasted stimulus money, higher taxes, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, obamacare, and so on...........oh and the obama phone you probably have........ now I'm waiting for the Bush reference.....and Warren, yes I am an NRA member, I own semi-auto rifles(or as you call them the scary "assault"), shotguns, hand guns, I hunt and I shoot for sport, as does my 9yrd old. Also, I carry everywhere that is legal, so yes, leave my rights alone..........
    ----------

    "debt doesn't matter"....remember? I don't like Benghazi but I am not looking to impeach Obama for it and what abuot the marine barracks in Lebanon? Did St Ronnie go down for that? GWB: Wasted Iraq $, Medicare Part B, Operation Wide Receiver, deregulate everything possible so "trickle down economics" can go. Defund programs because they don't agree with your morals.

    April 17, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. BrianMemphis

    Wow the left gets more vitriolic as the shame of their party comes through. Imagine how nuts they are going to be when they loose the senate next year. The left is the most intolerant group of people I've ever seen. When it comes to anything on the right, you're either with them or against them. Amazing.

    April 17, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. Boytjie

    Peoples State of Illinois

    Of course Obama did. His is the "never let a horrendous disaster go to waste," philosophy.
    =========================
    And GWB and the GOP did not use 9/11 and New York City for political gain?? Phuleeze!

    April 17, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
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