McCain backs gun decision, Obama straddles issue

The Democrat’s campaign said a spokesman made an “inartful” statement when he said in November that Obama believed the D.C. law was constitutional. But Obama himself did not correct a debate moderator who repeated the position in February.

“You said in Idaho recently, I’m quoting here, ‘I have no intention of taking away folks’ guns.’ But you support the D.C. handgun ban and you’ve said that it’s constitutional,” said the moderator, Leon Harris of Washington television station WJLA. Obama nodded as Harris spoke and said: “Right, right.”

“How can you reconcile those two different positions?” Harris asked.

Obama answered that the United States has conflicting traditions of gun ownership and street violence that results from illegal handgun use. “So, there is nothing wrong, I think, with a community saying we are going to take those illegal handguns off the streets,” Obama said.

The Obama campaign argued that Obama was simply acknowledging the question by saying “right.”

In other instances, Obama refused to articulate a position when asked whether he thought the D.C. ban was constitutional.

The campaign would not answer directly Thursday when asked whether the candidate agreed with the court that the D.C. ban was unconstitutional, simply pointing back to his statement.

AP
6/26/8