To gauge how well the Newtown massacre translates into political reality, keep an eye on the special election to fill the congressional seat vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr. in Chicago, reports Politico. Its story says New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pouring up to $2 million into the race via his super PAC to defeat Democratic frontrunner Debbie Halvorson, who gets an A rating from the NRA. The gun lobby group hasn't joined the fight by putting up ads for Halvorson, but Politico sees the race nonetheless as "ground zero of the national gun debate."
An adviser to Bloomberg agrees: “The fact that it’s a special election, the fact that it’s in the middle of a national debate over the president’s plan … [there is an] understanding that it’s both a bellwether and a harbinger." The election is Feb. 26. President Obama, meanwhile, returned to Chicago last night to make his case not only for stricter laws but for stronger community intervention to fight gun violence, reports the Chicago Tribune. One of his key quotes:
- "There was something profound and uniquely heartbreaking and tragic, obviously, about a group of 6-year-olds being killed. But last year, there were 443 murders with a firearm on the streets of this city, and 65 of those victims were 18 and under. So that's the equivalent of a Newtown every four months."