- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sen. Joe Manchin still believes the Senate can pass expanded background checks for gun purchases, even though public passion on the issue has died down in the months since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

But the West Virginia Democrat conceded Wednesday that President Obama probably can’t help him win over skeptical Republicans and Democrats from gun-friendly states.

“The president is not from a gun culture. The president doesn’t come from it. That’s not where they are,” he said during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program. “For the president to try and go out to convince [senators] — this is one time he might not be the person” to persuade senators who remain on the fence, or previously have opposed the bill.

Earlier this year, after the White House’s call for stricter gun laws, Mr. Manchin teamed with Sen. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, to put forward a bill implementing expanded background checks for all gun purchases.

The measure, overwhelmingly popular with the American people, failed to clear the Senate in an April vote.

Since that vote, the National Rifle Association has launched attack ads against Mr. Manchin and other supporters of the legislation.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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