WASHINGTON -- Steadfastly refusing to weigh in on the gun rights debate following the deadly shootings in Tucson, the Obama administration now finds itself behind not only former Vice President Dick Cheney but also the head of its own party committee.
Appearing on "Political Capital with Al Hunt," airing Friday night, Democratic National Committee Chair Tim Kaine said that he supports measures to restrict the number of bullets that can be fired from a single magazine.
"[The proposal by Carolyn McCarthy is the] kind of legislation that I've long supported," Kaine said, of legislation that would limit high-capacity clips to no more than ten bullets, "back from the days when there was an assault weapons ban, before it expired."
"I have long been a supporter of what I think are reasonable regulations, the kind of contemplated, frankly, by the Second Amendment, and I think those and others would be reasonable," Kaine said, according to an advanced transcript. "In Virginia we worked in the aftermath of Virginia Tech to do some important things here and nationally on the databases of folks who have been adjudicated mentally ill and dangerous so that they couldn't purchase guns."
Kaine's backing of McCarthy's measure is not -- at least in these times -- necessarily surprising. Though he is a prominent supporter of the Second Amendment, other gun rights enthusiasts, notably Cheney, have said they are open to the idea as well.
All of which has made the White House's silence that much more conspicuous. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has declined to give any indication as to whether the president or his legislative team supports the McCarthy measure, let alone a policy prescription of their own.
"I have no doubt that there will be proposals offered as a result of different circumstances that would have happened in Tucson. And the administration will evaluate those proposals," he said during Thursday's briefing.
Was there any possibility of the president being proactive and proposing something on his own?
"I have not heard anything particular in here," Gibbs added, giving off the distinct sense that there won't be anything unveiled during Tuesday's State of the Union address.