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GOP to attack Kagan's gun control work for Clinton

Get ready for the next Republican attack line on Elena Kagan: 1990s gun control issues.

Kagan had a hand in multiple gun control measures during her stint in the Clinton administration, according to info from newly released Clinton library documents that was sent my way -- and I'm told Republicans will grab on to the revelations to paint her as hostile to the Second Amendment.

But a high profile member of the Clinton administration, in an interview with me, dismissed the notion that her work on these issues suggests she's hostile to gun rights.

As deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council under Bill Clinton, Kagan supervised work implementing the Brady law, which implemented a background check system, info from the newly released docs show.

Kagan also worked on a 1997 executive order related to the assault weapons ban -- an order that updated an earlier one prohibiting the importation of firearms not usually used for sporting purposes. And she worked on various Clinton-era poroposals to strengthen regulation of child-safety locks and to toughen up restrictions on adults from making guns too readily available to children.

Republicans are going to grab onto these issues to raise questions about her commitment to the Second Amendment, I'm told.

But Bruce Reed, who worked directly on these issues with Kagan, argues in an interview that she's in no way hostile to the Second Amendment.

"In all these cases, Clinton had already settled views on these questions," Reed tells me. "Our job was to make sure the government's policy reflected what he wanted. He'd already made up his mind on most of these contentious issues."

Reed adds that the policies Kagan did help draft had bipartisan support and weren't even particularly controversial. "We were facing a Republican Congress," Reed says. "The debates we had were kind of at the 50 yard line."

Indeed, the Republican plan to revive 1990s-era arguments about gun control seems more about riling up the base and appearing to take a stand against Kagan, and doesn't seem likely to create any real problems for Kagan with the mainstream.

By Greg Sargent  |  June 4, 2010; 1:32 PM ET
Categories:  Senate Republicans , Supreme Court  
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"The Republican plan to revive 1990s-era arguments about gun control seems more about riling up the base"

In that vein, the GOP is gleeful b/c the job numbers are bad. The GOP is beyond cynical. While the nation has enormous challenges Republicans only want Obama to fail. And these people want to run the country again?

Posted by: wbgonne | June 4, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Actually Greg, I'd argue this is a potentially potent line of attack. The point of riling the base is an incidental issue.

The key here is to get the NRA riled up which in turn gets Senators scared to vote for her. It may seem silly, but look at Sotomayor who had a ruling on nunchucks, and they turned that into a major issue which cost her a lot of votes. She passed, but it was 68 votes, not exactly a high number.

This could get ugly.

Posted by: calchala | June 4, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

What if they just write off this as GOP'ers giving into pressure from the NRA of veiled threats to not back them if they don't lash out at Kagan about this.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | June 4, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile; far more American Children, under the age of fifteen, have died from handgun violence, since 9/11, than the number of people who were killed in the Twin Towers, or the number of US Troops killed in Iraq.

One guy burns off his willie on an plane, and the Right Wingers drench their beds in Urine, but thousands of American children get slaughtered in American homes and streets, and those bed wetting right wingers, just completely ignore the slaughter of the innocents.


Just when are we going to respect the second amendment fully, and make all those who "keep and bear arms", do so in "a well regulated milita"?

Posted by: Liam-still | June 4, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Here's the thing, the primaries might be the wake up call some Democrats need to wake them up to their political realities. People aren't going to keep accepting them being DINOs and just letting it ride. Blanche Lincoln will probably not make it out of her primary in a week or so. Not because she isn't some left wing lunatic, but because she isn't a Democrat according to her voting record and her unhelpful rhetoric

The right wing and the GOP will find SOMETHING to hit Kagan on, its a matter of having the courage to vote for her in spite of whatever BS they come up with. It is what it is.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | June 4, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

A heartfelt silence prayer, said each morning in the executive offices of Goldman Sachs, and Toyota Motors;

Dear God,

Please do not let BP stop the oil spill leak, just yet.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 4, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Nikki Haley radio interview.

"Host: "If something comes out after you win the primary, or after you win the general election become South Carolina's next governor, if something were to come out that validates the claims that have been made against you -- in terms of stepping out on your husband and on your marriage -- would you resign as governor because basically the way you've handled it has been an absolute, 100 percent denial? Would you resign or would it be dragged out?

Haley: "Yes."

Host: "Yes, you would resign?"

Haley: "Yes."


If it never happened, then it could never be proven. Strange how Nikki did not point that out.

I think she just gave herself away.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 4, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Let's be real here: The Second Amendment is stupid. The Right Wing activist Supreme Court "discovered" after 225 years that there is a personal right to possess firearms. Can you imagine any other country in the world putting in its Constitution the "right" to possess deadly weapons? Repeal the Second Amendment!

Posted by: wbgonne | June 4, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

The gun scare is a reliable tool for the Republicans to stir up their wingnuts. Kagan will pass, this is just typical (and expected) RNC pandering to net some donations.

Let's hope no more police officers die as a result of the Republicans using the "they're going to take away your guns" fear tactic. It brings out the crazies every time and people die.

Posted by: Beeliever | June 4, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"Let's be real here: The Second Amendment is stupid. The Right Wing activist Supreme Court "discovered" after 225 years that there is a personal right to possess firearms."


Sandy Levinson, a far-left law professor, discovered the same "embarassing" thing in the 1980s when he looked into it.

Anyone who can read knows he was right.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 4, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Guns Beget Guns.

The main argument being offered for unlimited ownership of handguns is that there are so many people with guns out there.

NRA; In A Nutshell:

"We are scared of guns, so we must be allowed to carry some of those scary things, to protect us from those scary things, and once we own them, then more people will be scared of us, so they must also own some of them, and on and on, with the big unstoppable gun spill."

Posted by: Liam-still | June 4, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Let's review the Bill of Rights, shall we?

There is freedom of the press, right to assemble, freedom of speech, protection against illegal searches and arrests, the privilege against compulsory self-incrimination, the right to a lawyer in a criminal case, the right to an impartial jury, protection against cruel and unusual punishment and ... the right to possess deadly weapons.

Now one of those things isn't like the others.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 4, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

The same people who wrote the second amendment, also claimed the right to own slaves.

Scalia appears to believe that those guys were infallible, and that they were handing down sacred writ, to endure for all eternity.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 4, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"Scalia appears to believe that those guys were infallible, and that they were handing down sacred writ, to endure for all eternity."

Because Scalia, like other Right-Wing ideologues doesn't want to think. He just wants to be told what to do by some magic rulebook, whether it's the Bible or the Constitution. They are authoritarians, just like the Taliban use the Koran. Same mindset.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 4, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

The Two Tablets Of Stone story always cracks me up.

Their Deity, who they claim created the entire universe, and everything in it, was reduced to stone age carvings, when it came to documenting its commands, to be followed through the ages.

I would think that any ould creator, worth it's salt, would have been able to come with something more impressive, and durable, than a couple of flat rocks, which are no where to be found. Hmmmm!

If God handed you something that special, wouldn't you make sure that it never got lost, or destroyed?

Posted by: Liam-still | June 4, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

All, Liz Cheney is now attacking Obama for describing the loss of life in the Israeli flotilla raid as "tragic":

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 4, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

The constitution is the benchmark for democracy throughout the world.The reason that the US was never invaded is the same reason Switzerland was avoided by the Nazis.Read the dictionary's definition of "militia".It does not mean a standing army,a militia is armed citizens.

Posted by: ervinggarcias | June 4, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

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