West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D), co-sponsor of a controversial gun background check bill that failed Senate passage two weeks ago, said that Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor (D) could be a swing vote after changes to the bill are made.
Pryor, who voted against the Manchin-Toomey bill, has already indicated he is open to amendments to the measure, which fell five votes short of a 60-vote threshold. The bill would expand background checks of potential gun owners, but Pryor had signaled in his opposition that he didn’t feel current laws were being properly enforced. Pryor voted for a different gun regulation measure sponsored by Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley (R ).
Manchin told a panel on Wednesday that his background check bill was “coming back.”
MSNBC reports on Manchin’s comments:
“Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor is one of the most beautiful people you’ll ever meet,” Manchin noted, before ticking off the reasons that Pryor should reverse his vote.
The “hardcore right” will never vote for him anyway, Manchin predicted, “because he has a ‘D’ by his name.” So Pryor could come around for background checks, solidify his centrist standing and get re-elected.
Last week, Pryor told Talk Business Arkansas blogger Michael Cook that he was open to amendments to the bill.
“After the vote Senator Manchin has talked about maybe reworking his bill possibly. There’s some discussion of maybe taking the best parts of Grassley [Amendment] and the best parts of Manchin-Toomey and trying to put something together. And that may happen. I don’t know if that’s happening right now because we’re all on recess right now and listening to the folks back home. If someone wants to put something together I’ll certainly look at it and I’ll make a judgment based on what they put together.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s aides met recently with staffers of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to warn them: Targeting vulnerable Democrats like Arkansas’s Mark Pryor on gun control could backfire on the party.
Apparently, the warning didn’t work. Politico reports more here.
Also in an interview on MSNBC’s Hardball, former Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) suggested that Senate leaders “find the middle” and “bring in people like Mark Pryor.”
Watch her interview here.