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Will 2014 Midterms Focus on Guns, Obama or Something Else?


Thought to be one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the upcoming election cycle, Arkansas's Mark Pryor was one of four Democrats who voted against gun control legislation strongly favored by the White House that did not make it through the Democratic-controlled Senate last April. Last week Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group strongly backed publicly and financially by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, released an ad targeting Pryor that featured Angela Bradford-Barnes discussing former colleague Bill Gwatney, the Arkansas State Democratic Party chair who was shot to death at the party headquarters in 2008. Gwatney was a good friend of Pryor, and the Senator eulogized him on the Senate floor.

Pryor called the ad "disgusting" upon its release, and responded with his own video Friday firing back at both Bloomberg and Democrats in Washington. 

“The mayor of New York City is running ads against me because I opposed President Obama’s gun control legislation,” Pryor says in his ad, adding that the legislation would not have prevented the mass shootings in Newtown, Aurora, Tucson or Jonesboro, Ark.

“I’m committed to finding real solutions to gun violence while protecting our Second Amendment rights,” says toward's the ad's sharp ending. “I’m Mark Pryor, and I approve this message because no one from New York or Washington tells me what to do. I listen to Arkansas”

Despite a great deal of attention to the issue at the start of the session, there has been little motion in Washington on stricter federal gun control laws since a bill on expanded background checks failed in the Senate last April. As early progressive campaign positioning has turned to gun control, The New York Times published an article Thursday weighing in with different Republicans if their party's efforts in the midterm should focus on or away from President Obama. Obama's likability ratings are in the 80s and the GOP memorably underachieved in the 1998 midterms after heavily campaigning against Democratic President Bill Clinton personally.

On 'Real News' Friday the panel discussed Pryor's ad and how Democrats and Republicans look to campaign for 2014.

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