The Breitbart empire isn't letting the massive humiliation following this month's Hug-gate manufactured controversy discourage them from further “Vetting” of President Obama and his administration. In their latest effort, they've discovered that as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia nearly 20 years ago, now-Attorney General Eric Holder publicly discussed a campaign to... wait for it... encourage people in that city not to break the law.
The premise of these Breitbart.com “Vetting” pieces is that decades-old comments and connections of Obama and his advisers somehow tell us more about their agenda than what they have actually done in office. Gun violence prevention is a particularly ripe area for this effort: conservatives have desperately tried to maintain their fiction that the Obama administration is on the verge of a confiscatory gun crackdown, even as the White House makes little effort to push for even the mildest gun control legislation.
Thus, as Breitbart.com editor-in-chief Joel Pollak breathlessly explains:
Breitbart.com has uncovered video from 1995 of then-U.S. Attorney Eric Holder announcing a public campaign to “really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way.”
Holder was addressing the Woman's National Democratic Club. In his remarks, broadcast by CSPAN 2, he explained that he intended to use anti-smoking campaigns as his model to “change the hearts and minds of people in Washington, DC” about guns.
Pollak goes on to write that in his speech, Holder said that he wanted a campaign involving television ads and celebrities to convince young people in D.C. that it is “not cool, that it's not acceptable, it's not hip to carry a gun anymore.” The implication from Pollak -- and the other right-wing media outlets now picking up on his post -- is that this is evidence that Holder is virulently anti-gun. Some are even echoing right-wing conspiracies to bizarrely link the video to the ATF's failed Operation Fast and Furious.
What the right-wing media never get around to mentioning is that in 1995, when Holder gave the speech, it was illegal to possess a handgun in Washington D.C.
In other words, in calling for efforts to teach young people that “it's not hip to carry a gun anymore,” Holder, the chief prosecutor for the District of Columbia, was discussing a campaign to encourage citizens of his jurisdiction not to break the law.
What a bombshell!
As Holder indicated at the beginning of his speech (the full version of which is posted on c-span.org), the office of U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia is “charged with the responsibility of enforcing not only federal law, as all U.S. Attorneys Offices are in the country,” but also “enforcing the local law here in the District of Columbia.” He explains: “I am in essence the D.A. [district attorney] as well as the United States Attorney.”
As such, Holder was responsible for enforcing the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975, the D.C. statute that banned the possession of handguns in the district. It's not particularly surprising to learn that as the person responsible for prosecutions under that law, he supported efforts to encourage D.C. residents not to violate it. (The Supreme Court later overturned D.C.'s handgun ban in 2008.)
Breitbart.com's editors are either ignorant of the facts, or are simply more interested in trying to smear Obama and Holder.
The rest of the right-wing media seems to be following their lead in attacking the Attorney General of the United States for past efforts to prevent illegal activity. The Drudge Report, Glenn Beck's The Blaze website, and smaller right-wing and gun activist blogs have picked up the story. And when there's an attempt to smear Holder, you can always count on the Daily Caller to play along.
UPDATE: On Fox News' America's Newsroom this morning, anchor Bill Hemmer aired a brief clip of the video, then said: “That comment about guns, will imagine a lot of reaction from Second Amendment hawks. Will it fuel the calls for Holder to resign? More details on that soon.”
Hemmer did not acknowledge that guns were illegal in D.C. in 1995 -- indeed, he did not even bother to point out that when Holder made those comments, he was U.S. Attorney for the district. Apparently encouraging young people in your jurisdiction to follow the law now disqualifies you from law enforcement work.
Pollak's story has also been posted to Fox Nation.