President Barack Obama today gave a strong push for the nomination of B. Todd Jones to become permanent director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Delivering a major gun control speech in Minnesota, where Jones is the U.S. Attorney, Obama said: “And since Congress hasn’t confirmed a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in six years, they should confirm your U.S. Attorney from Minnesota, Todd Jones, who is here today and who I’ve nominated for this post.”
Attorney General Eric Holder accompanied Obama to Minnesota for the address, in which he pushed for universal background checks on gun buyers.
After acknowledging various Minnesota state, local and national figures – including former Vice President Walter Mondale – Obama gave a playful shout-out to Holder, his personal friend and, as attorney general, a top point-person for gun control measures.
“And I should acknowledge my outstanding Attorney General — what’s your name again?” The audience laughed. “He does a great job every single day, and I could not be prouder of Eric Holder for his leadership on this issue in particular.”
“We don’t have to agree on everything to agree it is time to do something,” Obama said at the Minneapolis Police Department’s Special Operations Center, as reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Each of us has a role to play.”
“We might not be able to prevent every massacre or random killing,” the president said, invoking the schoolhouse massacre in Newtown, Conn., without naming it. “If there is just one thing we can do, one life we can save, then we have an obligation to try.”
On the flight to Minnesota, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president remains committed to a ban on assault weapons ban in addition to universal background checks, according to the Star Tribune.
Obama and Holder met privately with Minnesota’s two Democratic senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken; Gov. Mark Dayton (D), former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, and other officials.
The nomination of Jones, who has been acting director of ATF, has hit rough going, with renewed questions about how he has run the U.S. Attorney’s office and fresh criticism from Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, as Main Justice reported on Friday.