Jake Tapper is ABC News' Senior National Correspondent based in the network's Washington bureau. He writes about politics and popular culture and covers a range of national stories.
Obama & Romney Misfire on Guns
February 04, 2008 11:03 AM
Perhaps no other issue causes politicians to shift to the right as they enter the national arena more so than gunsâ€?BR>
And perhaps no other issue so explicitly causes politicians attempting such a leap to shoot themselves in the foot.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was asked about the assault weapons ban on Meet the Press on December 16, 2007.
"I would have supported the original assault weapon ban," Romney said. "I signed an assault weapon ban in Massachusetts governor because it provided for a relaxation of licensing requirements for gun owners in Massachusetts, which was a big plus."
Asked Tim Russert: "So the assault ban that expired here because Congress didnâ€™t act on it, you would support?"
"Just as the president said, he would have, he would have signed that bill if it came to his desk, and so would have I," said Romney.
In the last few hours, Romney contradicted that in a podcast interview with Glenn Reynolds and Helen Smith of Instapundit fame.
"I know that a lot of the gun rights folks arenâ€™t sure about your position on gun rights," asked Smith. "Would you pledge to veto any new gun control bills that come across your desk as President?"
"Yeah," Romney said. "Yeah, I donâ€™t support any gun control legislation, the effort for a new assault weapons ban, with a ban on semi-automatic weapons, is something I would oppose. Thereâ€™s no new legislation that Iâ€™m aware of or have heard of that I would support. In regards to guns, I think we have enough legislation and should enforce the laws as they exist. I was pleased that when I ran for Governor that I received the endorsement of the NRA and I hope to receive their support now."
In addition to that apparent flip flop, it should be noted that the NRA did NOT endorse Romney when he ran for governor, as his campaign acknowledged when he said it last December.
This is a rank untruth Mr. Romney continues to peddle.
Said Mr. Reynolds: "I'm beginning to question his sincerity."
On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, campaigning in Idaho over the weekend said "there are people who say, `Well, he doesn't believe in the Second Amendment,' even though I come from a state â€?we've got a lot of hunters in downstate Illinois. And I have no intention of taking away folks' guns."
In 1996, however, Obama said in a questionnaire that he "supported banning the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns" -- a fairly extreme position.
"Well he has to speak to his own record, which has obviously changed over a relatively short period of time," shot Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY.
HOWEVER, it should be pointed out that this appears to be yet another example of Obama not being able to get good help.
You guessed it -- his campaign says this questionnaire was filled out incorrectly by a staffer. (Read more on that HERE.)
We've been following Mr. Obama's "The Buck Stops Over There" blame-his-staff trend since last June and, more recently, in December.