After SOTU, Obama heads to Chicago to talk gun control
How is he going to spin this one? Obama's hometown has a sky-high murder rate along with some of the most draconian restrictions on owning a gun in the nation.
What can he possibly say to reconcile the two? He will ignore gun control and talk about the tragedy of gun violence.
President Barack Obama will visit Chicago on Friday, when he will discuss gun violence as he focuses on his economic message from Tuesday's State of the Union address, according to the White House.
Obama will "talk about the gun violence that has tragically affected too many families in communities across Chicago and across the country," a White House official said in a statement.
The mother of Hadiya Pendleton, 15, whose shooting death at a South Side park drew national attention to Chicago's gun violence, plans to attend the president's address in Washington, family spokeswoman Shatira Wilks said late Sunday.
The president's visit answers calls from Chicago anti-violence activists that Obama talk about the recent spate of gun violence in the city, several of the activists said.
"This is an important issue," said Cathy Cohen, founder of the Black Youth Project, which attracted about 45,000 signatures by Sunday night in an online petition that urges Obama to speak up. "We think of this as a victory for all of us."
The group posted the petition on change.org shortly after Hadiya, a King College Prep student, was slain about a week after performing with her school band at Obama's inaugural festivities.
Because the teen was shot about a mile from the president's Kenwood neighborhood home Jan. 29, during the deadliest January for Chicago since 2002, pastors, parents and activists have demanded that more be done about the city's violence.
First lady Michelle Obama attended Hadiya's funeral Saturday, but Hadiya's godmother, LaKeisha Stewart, said she hasn't heard whether the president will spend time with the Pendletons during his trip.
Aside from making the families of gun violence victims feel better, there's not much he can say to address the issue. Chicago's gun control laws are far stricter than anything he has proposed at the federal level.
Meanwhile, Chicago's mayor Rahm Emanuel recently sought to deny credit to gun manufacturers as a way to deflect attention away from his utter failure to get control of his city's streets. He wants to blame those who make the guns rather than his own ineptness in catching those who shoot them and kill people.
It was the deadliest January for murders in Chicago since 2002.