Obama apparently ready to talk about gun control — away from the spotlight of a SOTU address

But the White House now says such an omission was on purpose.  Newsweek is reporting in the next couple of weeks, the White House will unveil a new gun-control effort in which it will pressure Congress to strengthen some current laws under the books that allowed Tucson shooter Jared Loughner to obtain certain assault weapons, in some cases without even a background check.

The White House said that to avoid being accused of capitalizing on the Arizona shootings for political gain, Obama will address the gun issue in a separate speech, likely early next month. He’s also expected to use Arizona as a starting point, but make the case that America’s gun laws have been too loose for much longer than just the past few weeks.

White House adviser David Axelrod told a group of bloggers on Wednesday that the President will talk guns soon:

There's no doubt that he will," Axelrod said in the West Wing's Roosevelt room -- it's just a question of how."I don't know exactly how he will approach it but obviously these issues are out there and have been accentuated by the tragedy in Tucson," he added.

You could argue, like Simon does, that not speaking about the issue when the spotlight was on him on Tuesday, is an abdication of leadership.  On the other hand, Obama is trying to move to the center, and no doubt would energize and outrage a segment of the electorate with any discussion of gun control.  Then again, that's going to happen regardless, but the White House apparently would rather have people fight about that, after they grow weary of arguing whether he's tone deaf or not for arguing for more investing/spending, vs. moving out forward on trying to reduce the huge federal deficit.

Progressives have had serious issues with Barack Obama since shortly after his grace period ended and he was inaugurated as the 44th president of the U.S. almost exactly two years ago.

Amongst people I hear from, their issues are hottest about who Obama has selected to be his economic advisors, like Larry Sumners and Tim Geithner. Rahm Emanuel wasn't particularly popular with this group either.

Nobody seems to care that much about our continuing (and deeper) prescence in Afghanistan, but Obama did get some GLTB advocates back on his side when he signed a repeal of the much derided "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military last month.

But even though conventional wisdom (even among liberal Democrats like Kathy Castor) is that there really isn't any chance of a substantive bill on guns in the wake of the assassination attempt of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords nearly three weeks ago, there are those who think some sort of sensible legislation (like perhaps Carolyn McCarthy's bill in the House) has a chance to succeed.

But even though there was many, many items placed in the State of the Union address on Tuesday night to touch various demographic groups, the President angered that gun-control crowd when he (intentionally) avoided any discussion about guns.

Politico's Roger Simon ripped into Obama on Thursday for the omission in a piece titled, "Barack Obama: Tower of Jell-O."

I am baffled as to why so many commentators were so dazzled by this speech. No, scratch that. I am not baffled. It was a dazzling speech. It was designed to be a dazzling speech.

But when you dig the stardust out of your eyes, what do you find? You find a beginning that somberly and genuinely honored Gabby Giffords and the others who were gunned down in Tucson, Ariz., just 2½ weeks ago.

But do you find a single word about gun control? Do you notice any attempt to use the public outrage over the six dead and 13 wounded to make this country safer and try to prevent such slaughter in the future?

You do not — because that would be controversial. That would be a fight. Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, assured reporters Wednesday: “I wouldn’t rule out that at some point the president talks about the issues surrounding gun violence. I don’t have a timetable or obviously [know] what he would say. But I wouldn’t rule that out in the future.

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