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David Taintor

David Taintor is a news editor at Talking Points Memo. Previously, he worked at NBC News and Adweek. He's a native of Minnesota. Reach him at taintor@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by David

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) on Thursday sent a letter to News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch, asking the media mogul and his Fox network not to broadcast a National Rifle Association-sponsored NASCAR race this weekend. 

"The race not only brings national attention to an organization that has been the face of one side of this heated debate, it also features the live shooting of guns at the end of the race," Murphy wrote. "This celebration of guns is inappropriate in the immediate wake of the Newtown massacre. But most importantly, broadcasting this race, which will highlight the NRA and its radical agenda during this time, sends a harmful signal to the families affected by gun violence, as well as the millions of Americans who support sensible gun control measures and enjoy your sports programming."

The race is scheduled to be held at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Tex. As USA Today reported earlier this month, the track's president, Eddie Gossage, contemplated nixing the ceremonial shooting by the event's winner, which occurs at the end of the race, but decided it was a celebratory event that should be continued.

Murphy added in the letter, "Considering your support of sane gun control measures and the extreme nature of the NRA, I urge you to not broadcast this race on April 13th. Inserting Fox Sports in this debate at this critical time will give credence to an extreme organization that is opposed to reasonable policies to stem gun violence."

Below is Murphy's full letter to Murdoch: 

April 11, 2013

 

Mr. Rupert Murdoch

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

News Corporation

1211 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10036

 

Dear Mr. Murdoch: 

 

I write today to urge you to not broadcast NASCAR’s NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 13th. This race, which is being sponsored by the National Rifle Association (NRA), is going to take place during the Senate’s consideration of legislation to reduce gun violence. The race not only brings national attention to an organization that has been the face of one side of this heated debate, it also features the live shooting of guns at the end of the race. This celebration of guns is inappropriate in the immediate wake of the Newtown massacre. But most importantly, broadcasting this race, which will highlight the NRA and its radical agenda during this time, sends a harmful signal to the families affected by gun violence, as well as the millions of Americans who support sensible gun control measures and enjoy your sports programming.

 

The horror that unfolded on December 14th at Sandy Hook Elementary School has sparked a national conversation about the adequacy of our gun laws. You, News Corporation and its subsidiaries, including Fox News, should contribute and continue to cover this discussion. Given that you have been outspoken in your support of gun reform, it is the height of irony that some would perceive that your company would now essentially endorse the NRA’s extreme position against such laws by broadcasting this event.

 

Shortly after the tragedy in Newtown, you called on policymakers and the President to strengthen our gun laws, asking, “when will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons?” This valid question will be answered when the Senate considers major reforms to our gun laws in early to mid-April. As a senator, I can tell you that many of us possess the courage, and will strongly advocate for sensible gun reforms to take assault weapons and high-capacity magazines off our streets and require all gun purchasers to submit for a background check. 

 

You also challenged President Obama to show bold leadership on this issue after he addressed the nation.  I believe that the President has shown incredible leadership since the tragedy by trying to help our country, my state, and the community of Newtown heal in the wake of this terrible event. I would like to make a similar challenge to you.  You should play a constructive role in our national dialogue by refraining from broadcasting the NRA 500.  By airing this race you will be strengthening the brand of a radical organization that is currently standing in the way of meaningful progress on this issue. Today’s NRA bears little resemblance to the one of its founding. It stokes fear and perpetuates a perverse interpretation of the Second Amendment in order to sell more guns and fuel larger donations from gun manufacturers. After the events of Newtown, Aurora, Oak Creek, and so many other senseless tragedies, the NRA continues to say that the only solution to gun violence is more guns. It even disavows common sense measures, like universal background checks for gun purchases - a policy that enjoys the support of 74 percent of its members and that it advocated for in 1999.  

 

Considering your support of sane gun control measures and the extreme nature of the NRA, I urge you to not broadcast this race on April 13th.  Inserting Fox Sports in this debate at this critical time will give credence to an extreme organization that is opposed to reasonable policies to stem gun violence.  Thank you in advance for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Christopher S. Murphy

United States Senator

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Thursday told reporters that the so-called Hastert Rule "was never a rule to begin with."

"And certainly my prerogative, or my intention, is to always pass bills with strong Republican support," Boehner said at a Capitol Hill press conference. 

The New York Times on Thursday published a report on the House of Representatives' violations of the rule. According to the Times' tally, the House has passed legislation without majority Republican support four times so far in 2013.

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Thursday told reporters that he disagrees with the criticism of President Obama's budget from Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), who called the President's proposal "a shocking attack on seniors."

"I've made it clear that I disagree with what (National Republican Campaign Committee) Chairman Walden said," Boehner said at a press conference. "He and I have had a conversation about it. This is the least we must do to begin to solve the problems in Social Security."

Walden criticized Obama's proposed adoption of Chained CPI, which essentially cuts Social Security benefits. Walden has faced criticism from the right, including from the Club for Growth. The NRCC on Thursday said that Walden stands by his comments

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Thursday slammed President Obama's budget proposal, saying at a press conference "it's just not serious."

It's not a compromise, it's a step backwards," Boehner said of the President's plan, adding that it's not a compromise because it doesn't address "the spending problem in Washington."

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) on Thursday applauded Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) for voting to consider gun control legislation

 

Proud of my senators @senjohnmccain & @jeffflake for voting yes to continued debate on reducing gun violence.Tucson deserves a vote.Thanks.

— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) April 11, 2013

Americans for Responsible Solutions, the pro-gun control group formed by Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, praised the Senate vote and also warned the lawmakers who voted against the bill. "Americans deserve better than the loyalty to the corporate gun lobby that you displayed today. With our help, your constituents will be educated and reminded of your actions today and in the coming weeks ahead," the group said in a written statement

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White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Thursday commended the Senate's vote to consider gun control legislation. "We certainly welcome this development," Carney said during the White House briefing. 

While Carney said the White House welcomes the vote, he called it a first step, according to several tweets from reporters:

 

 

 

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Phoenix residents Caren and Tom Teves, whose son, Alex, was killed last year in the Aurora, Colo. movie theater massacre, have invited Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) over for dinner to share their son's story. 

"Yeah, we invited him over if he wanted to see what it was like to sit at a dinner table without your child," Tom Teves told Phoenix's KPNX in a report that aired Wednesday.  

"To sit in Alex's seat," Caren Teves added.

The couple supports stricter gun control measures in the wake of their son's killing, including a ban on assault weapons. KPNX's Brahm Resnik reported that Flake has reached out to Tom Teves twice, but they haven't connected yet. Resnik added that Flake's spokeswoman told him the senator will keep trying and they'll discuss meeting. 

TPM reported in February that Tom Teves had sent a letter to Flake and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), urging them to take action on guns. What he received from the senators were impersonal form letters that didn't even mention the Aurora shooting. They referred instead to the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. 

Flake spokeswoman Genevieve Rozansky apologized for the impersonal letter Tom Teves received. “While the letter from Senator Flake outlines his position on gun control as requested, Mr. Teves absolutely should have received a personalized response acknowledging his deep loss, and we’re very sorry that he received a form letter,” she told TPM in a written statement. 

Watch the KPNX report: 

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Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) on Thursday gave his endorsement to former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), who has admitted that he is thinking about running for mayor of New York this year. 

"Nobody here is perfect," Ellison said on "The Bill Press Show." "Anthony was a great congressman, in my opinion. And, you know, he's dealt with his … issues, and, and everybody has issues. So I'd love to see Anthony Weiner be mayor of New York. I hereby endorse Anthony!"

Watch: 

h/t Politico.

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Another news organization has revised its editorial style on immigration terminology. USA Today, according to a memo obtained by Jim Romenesko, will stop using the term "illegal immigrant" unless it is used in a direct quote.

"The term illegal immigration is acceptable, but do not label people as illegal immigrants, except in direct quotes," William Coon wrote in a memo to staff Wednesday evening. "Undocumented immigrant, undocumented worker and unauthorized immigrant are acceptable terms — depending on accuracy, clarity and context — for foreign nationals who are in the country illegally. An alternative is to use a phrase such as “people who entered the U.S. illegally” or “living in the country without legal permission.”

USA Today's decision comes on the heels of a similar move by the Associated Press, which dropped the phrase from its stylebook earlier this month.

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Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday stopped by a Republican leadership meeting, CNN reported, warning lawmakers of the threat that North Korea poses. "We're in deep doo doo," Cheney reportedly said.

Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL) told CNN that Cheney spent about 10 minutes in the meeting. Cheney also addressed how little the U.S. knows about North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un. 

Read more at CNN.

h/t Political Wire.

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