Six weeks after their reelection, President Obama put Joe Biden in charge of the most serious push for gun control in decades after the massacre of children in Newtown, Ct., It seemed like the moment when outrage might lead to congressional action, reports Politico. Biden did not deliver. Four months after he took on the mission, a modest measure to require expanded background checks died on the Senate floor. Politico says Biden made strategic missteps that delayed action and may have sacrificed the emotional pull that offered a chance to break a historic logjam. He urged grieving families who wanted to take their case to Capitol Hill to leave, trying to protect them from difficult conversations. Known as a deal-maker, he tried to build consensus the old-fashioned way, schmoozing ex-colleagues to change positions. The process dragged on so long that Biden may have lost his moment of opportunity.
Biden attended only a few of the 20 meetings with advocates from both sides of the debate and deferred to Senate Democrats to make some of the most important strategic decisions. No one close to the negotiations holds Biden personally responsible for defeat in another battle with the gun lobby, but how Biden handled a tough, some believe impossible, assignment offers a window into his leadership style at a moment when he is weighing a possible run for the presidency. “There is no cause that matters more to Vice President Biden than guns,” said a Biden spokesperson. “He has been in this battle for a long time and is the author of the last significant gun control legislation. Since Newtown, he worked to get 25 executive actions implemented and spent countless hours working with Congress to pass legislation to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally unstable. And that is why he has continued to press for additional actions. This fight is a long way from being over.”