The Note: The Politics of Mass Shootings


--PRESIDENT OBAMA LAMENTS MASS SHOOTINGS BECOMING 'ROUTINE': A grim-faced and emotional President Obama spoke out Thursday after the massacre at an Oregon college -- lamenting that mass killings have become "routine" in the United States and blasting those who oppose tougher gun laws. "I hope and pray that I don't have to come out again in my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families under these circumstances. But based on my experience as president, I can't guarantee that," Obama said in the White House briefing room, ABC's ALI WEINBERG reports. "Someone will comment and say, 'Obama politicized this issue.' Well, this is something we should politicize," he said. "It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic." Rather than shying away from the political dimension to mass shootings, the president leaned in to it, saying that Thursday's events were direct products of political decisions -- those made by lawmakers and by those who elect them. "We collectively are answerable to those families, who lose their loved ones because of our inaction," he said.



PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES OFFER SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS OF OREGON SHOOTING. In the wake of a mass shooting yesterday at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, a number of presidential candidates took to social media to offer their thoughts and prayers to the victims and their loved ones. Jeb Bush was the first to take to Twitter to respond and following her event in Boston, Massachusetts on Thursday, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton said it was "beyond my comprehension that we are seeing these mass murders happen again and again and again." ABC's VERONICA STRACQUALURSI has more.

HOW TED CRUZ, RAND PAUL FRIENDSHIP IS TURNING NASTY. It was May 2012 and Sen. Rand Paul took the stage at a tea party rally in Texas, telling the crowd he wanted to introduce them to a "gentleman" and a "friend" who he joked might be "too smart to be in the U.S. Senate," but who would take seriously the oath to defend the Constitution. Back then, Paul offered gushing endorsement of a Texan named Ted Cruz who was in the midst of a tough Senate race. "I want to introduce at this point in time hopefully the next senator from Texas," Paul told the audience. Cruz shook Paul's hand, declaring "God Bless Rand Paul." ABC's JESSICA HOPPER has more on how their once-supportive relationship appears to be turning into a fierce rivalry.

WHY BEN CARSON KEEPS TALKING ABOUT HITLER. Ben Carson has been talking about Hitler a lot lately on the campaign trail. Yes, Hitler. ABC's KATHERINE FAULDERS reports, the retired neurosurgeon and GOP front-runner is attempting to send a clear message to his supporters: Nazi Germany can happen in America. Carson's campaign acknowledges the political perils associated with speaking of Nazi Germany and Hitler, and concedes that Carson should probably find a better example to make the same point. ;

AL GORE WON'T GIVE OUTRIGHT 'NO' TO PRESIDENTIAL BID. Is Al Gore running in 2016? According to ABC's ALANA ABRAMSON, he's been asked repeatedly --and often gives the same answer --but it is never a straight up "no." "I am a recovering politician. The longer I go without a relapse the less likely one becomes," the former Vice President and 2000 Presidential candidate told the Atlantic's James Fallows at the Washington Ideas Forum. Gore admitted that he had overused this answer, but said, "I'm gonna give it anyway."

HAPPENING TODAY: "MARCO RUBIO STEPS UP RHETORICAL ATTACKS ON VLADIMIR PUTIN," by the Wall Street Journal's PATRICK O'CONNOR. "Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination, plans Friday to step up his rhetorical attacks on Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Florida senator will use a foreign-policy forum in this first-in-the-nation caucus state to outline a series of steps he would take as president to isolate Mr. Putin and his inner circle in the escalating standoff between the two Cold War foes. Mr. Rubio will call for new sanctions against top Russian officials and companies, including oil and gas giant Gazprom. He will promise to provide arms and intelligence to Ukraine. And he will vow to work with European allies to exclude Russia from an exchange that allows banks to transfer money across borders."


"CAN DONALD TRUMP SEAL THE DEAL WITH EVANGELICALS?" by The Christian Broadcasting Network's DAVID BRODY: ";Donald Trump has proven the political world wrong. Not only has his iconic name and 'GOP frontrunner' appeared in the same sentence, they've stayed together. And his support is attracting evangelicals too, or as he likes to say, 'I'm leading with the evangelicals big league!' It's true. Poll after poll shows Trump ahead among 'self-identified' evangelicals. ... However, with proven evangelical-type candidates already out there like Carson, Cruz and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Trump has some work to do."


@JHoganGidley: "I refuse to walk my grandkids through the charred remains of a once great country," says @GovMikeHuckabee: ;

@KFaulders: .@RealBenCarson lists schools from best to worst: Homeschool is best, then private school, then charter schools followed by public schools.

@ryanstruyk: ABC/Post today in 2011: Romney 25, Cain 17, Perry 17, Gingrich 9. Quinnipiac last week: Trump 25, Carson 17, Fiorina 12, Bush 10, Fiorina 9

@LindseyGrahamSC: Watch my exchange w/ @WhoopiGoldberg about using the education of young women to combat radical Islam ;...

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