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April 17, 2013

Rand Paul says Obama uses Newtown parents as "props"

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., accused President Barack Obama Wednesday of using the surviving parents of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting as political props to gain passage of stricter gun control laws in Congress.

"I'm a parent, I have three boys, and I hate to see them using people, I think, as props and politicizing the tragedy," Paul said during a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor. "When I see the father and mothers and them testifying, I know they're coming voluntarily and want to be part of this debate. It still saddens me."

Paul continued: "I think that, it some cases, the president has used them as props and it disappoints me. The way I look at it in the sense of the tragedy, how could we have prevented the tragedy, that's why I come down on the side of not being for any of the proposals because none of the proposals really would address the tragedy."

Paul has been one of the more vocal critics of gun control measures currently being debated in the Senate. Several Newtown parents have been on Capitol Hill to pressure membrers of the House of Representatives and the Senate to support tougher gun control laws. Last weekend, Obama allowed Francine Wheeler, the mother of a six-year-old boy killed in the Connecticut school shooting spree, to deliver the president's weekly radio and Internet address.

When asked to elaborate about his "props" comment, Paul said he feels for the Newtown parents.

 "I'm someone who's presenting a face to the public," Paul told reporters. "The face I want to present is that I do care about those kids and I understand the grief that (the families) are going through. Politics isn't the only about facts. It is about whether you're seen as being empathetic and I do want people to know that I do care about those families and I care about their grief."







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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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