WASHINGTON - The mother of a Newtown, Conn., shooting victim is making a deeply personal plea from the White House for all Americans to take action on gun violence.
Francine Wheeler's 6-year-old son, Ben, was killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School. She's stepping in for President Barack Obama to deliver the president's weekly radio and Internet address. She is the first person to deliver the address other than Obama or Vice President Joe Biden since the two took office in 2009.
“We have to convince the Senate to come together and pass commonsense gun responsibility reforms that will make our communities safer and prevent more tragedies like the one we never thought would happen to us,” she urged. Discussing the cloture vote that occurred Thursday, she said, “that’s only the start. They haven’t yet passed any bills that will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. And a lot of people are fighting to make sure they never do.”
“Now is the time to act,” she said, echoing a phrase often heard from President Obama. “Please join us. You can talk to your Senator, too. Or visit WhiteHouse.gov to find out how you can join the President and get involved.”
Wheeler says thousands of families are drowning in her family's grief and asks for help to do something, in her words, "before our tragedy becomes your tragedy."
In the Republican address, congresswoman Jackie Walorski of Indiana criticizes Obama's budget blueprint as a blank check for more spending and debt.