WASHINGTON, D.C.: US President Barack Obama on Thursday (Friday in Manila) vowed not to campaign or vote for any candidate who does not support tighter gun laws, as he rallied support for contentious executive measures.
In an article published before pressing his case in a prime time forum, Obama said he would blackball even members of his own Democratic party if necessary.
“Even as I continue to take every action possible as president, I will also take every action I can as a citizen,” he said in an opinion column published by The New York Times.
“I will not campaign for, vote for or support any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support commonsense gun reform.”
That list could include Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who voted against gun reform in 2013.
Obama later appeared on CNN in a town-hall style forum to challenge critics who he said have “mischaracterized” his position.
The appearance came after Obama announced executive measures regulating the sale and purchase of weapons, bypassing Congress.
He also challenged America’s most prominent pro-gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, for not taking part in the event.
“There is a reason why the NRA is not here,” Obama said. “They are just down the street. And since this is the main reason they exist, you’d think they would be prepared to have a debate with the president.”
NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told the event host that “the National Rifle Association sees no reason to participate in a public relations spectacle orchestrated by the White House.”
Earlier this week a tearful Obama said unilateral measures were needed to tackle US gun violence.