Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said on Saturday that President Barack Obama’s plan for universal background checks failed in the Senate last month because “he didn’t do a good job in dealing with his own party.”
“The president did a great job engaging the public on the issue,” the Democratic former governor told MSNBC.
The bipartisan proposal to expand background checks failed by a 54-to-46 vote in the Senate on April 17. Five Democrats voted against it, while four Republicans supported it.
One Democratic legislator Obama should have courted heavily was Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Rendell said. She voted against expanding background checks.
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“Bring her in. Talk to her,” he told MSNBC. “Show her the polls again. She knows the polls. Ninety-four percent of North Dakotans were for universal background checks, period.”
Rendell added that Obama’s skill in rallying the American public would also help him avoid becoming a lame duck in his second term.
“He can do that as well in his last year in office as in his first year in office,” Rendell said, noting that by 2015 most of Congress will be eyeing re-election.
“If he has a good proposal, and they don’t act on it, it’s at their peril, too.
“Lame duck is as lame duck acts,” Rendell concluded. “I don’t think he’s going to be a lame duck in his own mind for any day of the eight years.”
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