Andrea Mitchell Touts Ad Exploiting Newtown to Push Gun Control

On her MSNBC 1pm ET hour show on Wednesday, host Andrea Mitchell lamented the "astounding lack of accomplishment" in Congress throughout 2013, especially on "any kind of new gun laws, despite what happened in Newtown." [Listen to the audio]

Talking to Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Mitchell promoted a new ad crudely exploiting the one-year anniversary of the school shooting to push gun restrictions: "There's a new public service announcement I want to share with you and our audience. This comes from the Moms Demanding Action for Gun Sense in America and the Mayors Against Illegal Guns....Let's watch."

In the ad, a female narrator declares: "On December 14th, we'll have a moment of silence for Newtown..." A clock can be seen ticking throughout the ad as a classroom full of school children are depicted observing the moment of silence. The narrator continues: "...but with 26 more school shootings since that day..." Someone dressed in black holding a large duffle bag is shown approaching a school – presumably the same one the children are in – and seen dropping the bag and entering the school as the narrator concludes: "...ask yourself, is silence what America needs right now?"

Mitchell praised the ad – seeming to imply another Newtown-style shooting – as "pretty powerful stuff."

She then teed up Schultz to bash the GOP over the issue: "I interviewed Nicole Hockley yesterday, whose son Dylan was killed among the victims. She's here in Washington trying to persuade people to take this up. What can you say to her?" Schultz replied: "What I say to her is that we need to make sure that the Republican leadership in Congress is hearing moms across the country like her."

Rather than make any attempt to challenge Schultz's partisan sniping, Mitchell instead followed up by hitting from the left: "...you're the head of the party. The gun lobby has been so successful because they're single-issue lobbyists. What do you say to Democrats who want to give an exemption, a pass to red-state senators like Mark Pryor who's, you know, up for re-election and won't support gun laws because of the Arkansas voters. Should he get a pass on guns?"

Schultz dodged the question by again slamming Republicans:

Well, what I say to the leadership of the House of Representatives is that we need to do – in order to pass legislation, we need to get rid of the Hastert rule, allow legislation to come to the floor that will be earning support of the entire House of Representatives....It's absolutely essential that we let the House and the process – the Democratic process work, instead of the Republican leadership, which only allows legislation to come to the floor if they have a majority of the majority. That's not what the Founding Fathers envisioned. It's why we are the do-nothing-est of do-nothing congresses. And the ball lies firmly in the court of John Boehner and the Republican leadership and his allowing a Tea Party stranglehold to control the agenda. And it's leaving so many people, like immigrants and moms who are concerned about their children not being killed by guns, twisting in the wind.

Here is a transcript of the December 4 exchange:

1:41PM ET

(...)

ANDREA MITCHELL: And one of the things that people are really frustrated about and the President addressed today already is the lack of accomplishment in Washington. Only 60 bills passed by Congress since last January. Tom Daschle was on the show just a few minutes ago talking about four or five days where both House and Senate are in session, only ten days by January 15th. It's really an astounding lack of accomplishment.

And one of the things that has not gotten done, as you know very well, is any kind of new gun laws, despite what happened in Newtown, it's almost a year anniversary. There's a new public service announcement I want to share with you and our audience. This comes from the Moms Demanding Action for Gun Sense in America and the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and it focuses on Newtown. Let's watch.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN [AD NARRATOR]: On December 14th, we'll have a moment of silence for Newtown...

[CLOCKING TICKING]

...but with 26 more school shootings since that day...

[A SHOOTER PORTRAYED ENTERING A SCHOOL FILLED WITH CHILDREN]

...ask yourself, is silence what America needs right now?

MITCHELL: That's pretty powerful stuff. I interviewed Nicole Hockley yesterday, whose son Dylan was killed among the victims. She's here in Washington trying to persuade people to take this up. What can you say to her?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ [DNC CHAIRWOMAN]: What I say to her is that we need to make sure that the Republican leadership in Congress is hearing moms across the country like her. The millions of people, the majority of the American people who believe that they support the Second Amendment and at the same time believe that when you purchase a weapon in this country, you should be required to submit yourself to a background check. That is basic common sense. It isn't intrusive.

Mark Kelly, my friend, Gabby Giffords' husband, has shown repeatedly in the last few months how quick it is to go in and get a simple background check done and purchase a firearm. That kind of protection to ensure that the people who should not have a weapon in this country because they're either felons or adjudicated as mentally ill cannot get access to it, would be a big step towards preventing so many of these mass shootings where we found that these were people that should never have had a gun in the first place.

MITCHELL: And briefly, you're the head of the party. The gun lobby has been so successful because they're single-issue lobbyists. What do you say to Democrats who want to give an exemption, a pass to red-state senators like Mark Pryor who's, you know, up for re-election and won't support gun laws because of the Arkansas voters. Should he get a pass on guns?

SCHULTZ: Well, what I say to the leadership of the House of Representatives is that we need to do – in order to pass legislation, we need to get rid of the Hastert rule, allow legislation to come to the floor that will be earning support of the entire House of Representatives.

Heck, Andrea, we need legislation to come to the floor, period, to give it an opportunity to have a vote like comprehensive immigration reform, which has passed the Senate and would pass the House if the Speaker would allow that bill to come to the floor. Or the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would prohibit gays and lesbians from being discriminated against in hiring and in housing.

It's absolutely essential that we let the House and the process – the Democratic process work, instead of the Republican leadership, which only allows legislation to come to the floor if they have a majority of the majority. That's not what the Founding Fathers envisioned. It's why we are the do-nothing-est of do-nothing congresses. And the ball lies firmly in the court of John Boehner and the Republican leadership and his allowing a Tea Party stranglehold to control the agenda. And it's leaving so many people, like immigrants and moms who are concerned about their children not being killed by guns, twisting in the wind.

MITCHELL: Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Thanks very much, Congresswoman.

SCHULTZ: Thank you.

— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.