Obama backs off gun control: Aurora, Colo., alleged shooter James Holmes purchased much of his arsenal online, where he was “unhindered by federal background checks or government oversight.” With a few clicks of the mouse, the New York Times reports, he bought 6,000 rounds of ammunition, along with “bulletproof vests and other tactical gear, and a high-capacity ‘drum magazine’ large enough to hold 100 rounds and capable of firing 50 or 60 rounds per minute -- a purchase that would have been restricted under proposed legislation that has been stalled in Washington for more than a year.”
Despite that, White House press secretary Jay Carney said yesterday that Obama will not push any new gun laws. He said Obama is committed to preventing gun violence, but through “existing law” only. The president “believes we need to take steps that protect Second Amendment rights of the American people but that ensure that we are not allowing weapons into the hands of individuals who should not, by existing law, obtain those weapons," Carney told reporters on Air Force One.
Obama visits: Obama visited Aurora yesterday to meet with victims of Friday’s theater shooting. Obama met with survivors and those who lost loved ones during a visit to a hospital, and made a brief speech. “When you have an opportunity to visit with families who have lost their loved ones, as I described to them, I come to them not so much as president, as I do as a father and as a husband,” Obama said.
GOP challenger Mitt Romney said the presidential visit was the right thing to do.
Michele Bachmann’s base: The Minnesota congresswoman may have earned vociferous bipartisan condemnation in Washington for her witch hunt against Muslims in the federal government, but not so among her supporters. “If anything, the uproar seems to have galvanized her base. And the contrasting reaction demonstrates why Democrats will have a hard time in their latest effort to unseat the GOP lightning rod,” Politico reports after conducting over two dozen interviews with constituents. Supporters said they believe Obama is a secret Muslim, that they didn't think Bachmann would ever make anything up, and that they were glad she was exposing the Muslim Brotherhood.
Republicans snub farmers: Politico's David Rogers reports that “in the midst of a severe drought, the House Republican leaders are proposing to walk away from farm states and decades of precedent by not calling up” the reauthorization of the farm bill before it expires in September. Republicans are blocking the measure because its spending provisions would complicate their anti-government messaging, despite the real impact it would have on struggling farmers. “Never before in modern times has a farm bill reported from the House Agriculture Committee been so blocked. POLITICO looked back at 50 years of farm bills and found nothing like this. There have been long debates, often torturous negotiations with the Senate and a famous meltdown in 1995 when the House Agriculture Committee couldn’t produce a bill. But no House farm bill, once out of committee, has been kept off the floor while its deadline passes.”
Poverty rates headed toward new high: U.S. poverty rates are on track to climb to their highest levels in 50 years, “erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net.” Official data from the Census Bureau won’t be out until the fall, but the Associated Press surveyed more than a dozen economists, think tanks and academics and found a consensus: “The official poverty rate will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7 percent. Several predicted a more modest gain, but even a 0.1 percentage point increase would put poverty at the highest level since 1965."