‘‘Newtown, we want you to know that we’re here with you,’’ Obama said. ‘‘We will not walk away from the promises we've made. We are as determined as ever to do what must be done. In fact, I'm here to ask you to help me show that we can get it done. We’re not forgetting.’’
A group of Sandy Hook families originally planned to travel to Washington earlier on Monday, but the White House offered to give the families a ride so they could also attend Obama’s speech before their lobbying push. The White House lit up the steps of Air Force One with flood lights so photographers and television cameras could capture the image of Obama climbing the plane’s steps with the families at dusk.
Nelba Marquez-Greene, whose 6-year-old daughter Ana was among the victims at Sandy Hook, held up a sign that said ‘‘Love Wins’’ as she walked toward the steps of Air Force One.
The families’ lobbying trip was organized by Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit started by community members in the wake of the shooting. ‘‘The group is encouraging senators to come together around legislative proposals that will both save lives and respect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans,’’ the group said in a statement.
With time running out on negotiations, the White House is making an all-hands-on-deck push this week. Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder planned to promote their plan at the White House on Tuesday with law enforcement officials. First lady Michelle Obama planned to wade into the debate Wednesday with a speech on youth violence in her hometown of Chicago. And on Thursday, Biden was taking part in a discussion on MSNBC’s ‘‘Morning Joe’’ with people who have different views on gun control.
Organizing for Action, the grassroots group being formed out of Obama’s re-election campaign to support his agenda, said it was launching online ads Monday asking the public to urge their senators to support background checks. The ads will target 11 senators — all Republicans — through Facebook and search engines. An OFA spokesman said the group was not disclosing the cost of the ad campaign.
Gun control is divisive in Newtown, Conn., as in the rest of the country. Not all Sandy Hook families support gun control, and even those involved with the lobbying push organized by Sandy Hook Promise are not backing the assault weapons ban. But those families are asking lawmakers to expand background checks, increase penalties for gun trafficking and limit the size of magazines.
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