Obama Says He Was Too Busy to Tackle Guns Before Sandy Hook

(Photo: Getty)

(Photo: Getty)

Earlier today, President Barack Obama announced Vice President Joe Biden would be tasked with heading his administration’s efforts to reduce gun violence, an issue that he had not previously focused on. Directly asked about his relative silence on gun policy before the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school last Friday, Mr. Obama aggressively pushed back, telling ABC’s Jake Tapper, “I don’t think I’ve been on vacation.”

“It seems to a lot of observers that you made the political calculation in 2008, in your first term and in 2012, not to talk about gun violence,” Mr. Tapper began. “You had your position on renewing the ban on semi-automatic rifles that then-Senator Biden put into place. But you didn’t do much about it. This is not the first issue, the first incident, of horrific gun violence of your four years, where have you been?”

Mr. Obama answered by pointing to other pressing issues facing the country and argued his other policy initiatives, like those addressing healthcare, the economy and education, were also designed “to keep our children safe.”

“Here’s where I’ve been Jake. I’ve been President of the United States dealing with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, an auto industry on the verge of collapse [and] two wars,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve been on vacation. I think all of us have to do some reflection on how we prioritize what we do here in Washington and as I said on Sunday, this should be a wake-up call for all of us…It’s my commitment to make sure that we do everything we can to keep our children safe. A lot of things are involved in that, Jake. Making sure that they got decent healthcare, making sure they’ve get a decent education, making sure that their parents have jobs, those are all relevant as well. Those aren’t just sort of side-issues. There is no doubt that this has to be a central issue and that’s exactly why I’m confident that Joe is going to take this so seriously over the next couple months.”