The most contentious moment of the night came after a question from Mark Kelly, the former astronaut husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., who was shot in the head at a 2011 political event. Kelly asked Obama how the government would hypothetically go about confiscating the nation's 350 million guns, as some conservative groups fear.It was nothing of the sort. That was a softball question from someone favorable to Obama's actions intended for Obama to illustrate those of us who point out Obama's affection for Australia or British style gun control, which did involve confiscation, are conspiracy nuts.
Obama flatly called that notion a conspiracy, even when Cooper called him out for the blunt description. "Are you suggesting the notion that we are creating a plot to take everybody's guns away so we can impose martial law is a conspiracy? Yes, it is a conspiracy," Obama said. "I mean, look. I'm only going to be here for another year. I don't know — when would I have started on this enterprise, right?"
It was clear from the first question that those on the pro-rights side were nervous in this environment which caused them to ramble at times. No one picked up on the obvious falsehoods or headed off situations like the president's response to the question from rape survivor Kimberly Corban when he pointed out nothing he was proposing would keep her from acquiring a firearm to protect her or her children. The environment was set up for someone like Obama who is skilled at deflection to stick to talking points. There is a propensity to show respect to the President of the United States whether you agree with him or not and while there were some pointed questions, he is always given the last word in this format and there is never the opportunity to challenge him.
Obama constantly set up the NRA as the foil claiming that he was open to meet with them but only if it is based on facts and not "imaginary fiction." This from a guy who regularly gets multiple "Pinocchios" from the Washington Post Fact Checker for his false statements related to firearms.
We learned nothing new last night. If the President was looking to open an honest debate, he failed miserably.