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Gun control is an especially thorny issue for Senator Barack Obama, even as he tacks to the center for the general election. At least it was. That controversial April 16th fundraiser speech about bitter clinging to guns was a shot of adrenaline to the moribund Clinton campaign. What role will Obama's stance on gun control play on his attempts to remake the electoral map in places like the Rocky Mountain West, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia? From our favorite Dickensian villain, Robert Novak:
"After months of claiming insufficient information to express an opinion on the District of Columbia gun law, Barack Obama noted with apparent approval Thursday that the Supreme Court ruled the 32-year ban on handguns 'went too far.' But what would he have said had the high court's five-to-four majority gone the other way and affirmed the law? Obama's strategists can only thank swing Justice Anthony Kennedy for enabling Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion to take the Democratic presidential candidate off the hook.
"Such relief is typified by a vigorous supporter of Obama who advised Al Gore in his 2000 presidential campaign. Believing Gore's gun-control advocacy lost him West Virginia and the presidency, this prominent Democrat told me: 'I don't want that to happen with Obama -- to be defeated on an issue that is not important to us and is not a political winner for us.' He would not be quoted by name because he did not want abuse heaped on him by gun-control activists.
"This political reality explains the minuet on the D.C. gun issue danced all year by Obama. Liberal Democrats who publicly deride the National Rifle Association privately fear the NRA as the most potent of conservative interest group. Many white men with NRA decals on their vehicles are labor union members whose votes Obama needs in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. That is why Obama did not share the outrage of his supporter Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty over the Supreme Court's decision."