Newtown Mom Delivers Obama’s Weekly Address

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 13 2013 12:31 PM

Obama Turns Over Weekly Address to Newtown Mom, Who Delivers Plea for Gun Control

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Francine and David Wheeler walk through the U.S. Capitol while visiting members of Congress on April 11

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

With the Senate scheduled to vote on amendments to a new gun control bill this coming week, it’s hardly surprising that President Obama would dedicate his weekly address to pushing for approval of the legislation. But it seems Obama believed someone else could make the case better than him. Francine Wheeler, the mother of a 6-year-old boy killed in the Newtown school shooting, pleaded for action to fight against gun violence. It marked the first time since Obama moved into the White House in 2009 that he turned the weekly address over to someone who wasn’t Vice President Joe Biden, points out the Associated Press. The White House said Obama personally asked Wheeler to deliver the address and she and her husband, David Wheeler, wrote the remarks.

“Please help us do something before our tragedy becomes your tragedy,” said Francine Wheeler, alongside her husband. “We have to convince the Senate to come together and pass commonsense gun responsibility reforms that will make our communities safer and prevent more tragedies like the one we never thought would happen to us.”

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Wheeler’s address comes after a week in which the White House is widely believed to have managed to turn the debate over gun control in its favor. The White House has now “been pulling out all the stops,” points out the Hill, noting that the coordinated public relations strategy may have changed the political landscape around the controversial issue. Obama personally called senators, Michelle Obama made a poignant speech, and the White House united with the victims of Newtown families to lobby lawmakers.

Watch the full address after the jump:

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.