Byron York | Obama uses Clinton’s playbook to exploit shooting

In his news conference Wednesday, President Obama argued that because a deranged young man murdered 20 children and six adults in a Connecticut schoolhouse last week, Congress should immediately raise taxes on the nation’s highest earners.

No, it didn’t make much sense. But Obama is following the example of predecessor Bill Clinton, who in 1995 used the Oklahoma City bombing not only to press security-related measures but also to enhance his political clout in a desperate battle with Republicans. It worked for Clinton; the next few weeks will tell whether it will do the same for Obama.

The president called the news conference to announce he is forming a commission — a time-honored Washington delaying tactic — to come up with gun control recommendations in the wake of the Newtown killings. Asked afterward about the "fiscal cliff" talks, the president said: "Goodness, if this past week has done anything, it should just give us some perspective. If there’s one thing we should have after this week, it should be a sense of perspective about what’s important."

What’s important, Obama explained, is for Republicans to recognize that "what the country needs is for us to compromise, get a deficit reduction deal in place; make sure middle-class taxes don’t go up; make sure that we’re laying the foundations for growth; give certainty to businesses large and small … "

In all, Obama listed eight goals that Newtown should inspire lawmakers to accomplish. Gun control was No. 6.


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