Michael Bloomberg’s one-man crusade for gun control

December 18, 2012

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been everywhere in the days following the Newtown, Conn., mass murders.


New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I). (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

On "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Bloomberg insisted that curbing gun violence should be President Obama's "number one agenda" item, adding, “He’s president of the United States, and if he does nothing during his second term, something like 48,000 Americans will be killed with illegal guns.”

Then on Monday, Bloomberg held a press conference in New York with people who had lost loved ones to gun violence, again imploring politicians in the nation's capital to act.

"If this moment passes into memory without action from Washington, it will be a stain upon our nation's commitment to protecting the innocent, including our children," he said.

Bloomberg is, without question, one of the public faces of this tragedy -- along with President Obama and Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy (D) -- a prominence that raises questions about whether fighting for more strictures on guns might be his priority in his post-mayoral life.

Bloomberg has made clear in words (and deeds) that he has no plans to walk away from the national political dialogue once his third term comes to an end in 2013. Bloomberg started and funded a super PAC in the final days of the 2012 election, targeting a handful of races in which he felt as though one of the candidates had been overly loyal to the gun lobby. In a California House race, Bloomberg's super PAC spent upwards of $3 million to defeat Democratic Rep. Joe Baca, who had earned an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association. (And it worked.)

Those close to Bloomberg insist that while gun control has long been an issue of concern for the mayor -- he founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns in 2006, they note -- that he is unlikely to focus on this issue solely either in or eventually out of office,. 

"He is not in a position of having to make either/or choices if there are a number of issues he cares about," said Howard Wolfson, a deputy mayor to Bloomberg and also the man who ran the mayor's super PAC in the 2012 election.

Another source familiar with Bloomberg's thinking suggests that it's "doubtful" guns would become the dominant issue for a post-mayoral agenda, adding: "I think this will continue to be one of the items he focuses on."

That may be good news for those hoping for some sort of comprehensive deal in Congress on guns. The simple fact is that the mayor of New York City is not regarded as a credible messenger on the topic by many who live in the country's wide rural middle.  

That said, Bloomberg's prominence and his massive wealth (not to mention his demonstrated willingness to spend it on causes in which he believes) makes him a player on any issue that he chooses to be involved with. And, there's a very strong likelihood one of those issues will be guns and gun control -- at least for the foreseeable future.

Obama includes Social Security in new offer: We're getting closer to a "fiscal cliff" deal.

The evening after a meeting between Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, a new offer from the White House included dropping the amount of revenue it is asking for to $1.2 trillion and reducing the rate of inflation applied to benefits in several government programs, including Social Security.

The move is the first toe in the water for the White House when it comes to entitlement reform, and Obama has also lifted the threshold for allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire from $250,000 to $400,000.

Boehner's office said late Monday, though, that the offer isn't enough.

"Any movement away from the unrealistic offers the President has made previously is a step in the right direction, but a proposal that includes $1.3 trillion in revenue for only $930 billion in spending cuts cannot be considered balanced," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement. "We hope to continue discussions with the President so we can reach an agreement that is truly balanced and begins to solve our spending problem." 

Hanabusa leads Inouye successor watch list: Rep. Daniel Inouye's (D-Hawaii) death Monday has created another Senate vacancy that will be filled by gubernatorial appointment, on the same day South Carolina Nikki Haley (R) announced Rep. Tim Scott (R) would be appointed to outgoing Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) seat.

And as with DeMint and Scott, there may be an odds-on favorite to succeed Inouye shortly after the vacancy is declared.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) is a close ally of Inouye, and the senator helped her rise politically over the years. 

In addition, the state's other House member Rep. Mazie Hirono (D), who would otherwise be a strong contender, is already ascending to the state's other Senate seat in January after winning an open seat in November.

The House is very much a breeding ground for senators in Hawaii, not least because of the amount of travel involved. Hanabusa's name should figure prominently in talk about Inouye's successor.

The state Democratic Party will submit three names to Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D), who will then select from among them.

Fixbits:

Another new poll shows increased support for addition gun control measures.

Obama's picks for Secretaries of State and Defense may be announced Friday.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) sounds open to some debate on guns laws.

Continued silence from the NRA on social media.

Michael Dukakis (D), whose name has been floated as a potential temporary appointee to replace Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), says he's not interested.

Speaking of Kerry, Obama loves to appoint senators to his Cabinet.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) confirms that he's thinking about running for Sen. Tom Harkin's (D-Iowa) seat in 2014.

Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford (R) is reportedly eyeing a run for Scott's House seat in the coming special election. Sanford admitted to an affair while in office with a woman in Argentina.

Must-reads:

"Rehabbing Nevada GOP a Priority for Priebus in 2nd RNC Term" -- David M. Drucker, Roll Call

"Symbol of Pride, Inverted, Is Now Symbol of Political Dismay" -- Dirk Johnson, New York Times

"The GOP's Electoral College Scheme" -- Reid Wilson, National Journal

SECTION: {section=politics, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Comments
SECTION: {section=politics, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Show Comments
Next Story
Sean Sullivan | December 17, 2012