IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

First Read: Selective Political Outrage After Mass Shootings

First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
IMAGE: Fatal shooting scene in Columbus, Ohio
The scene of a fatal shooting Monday in Columbus, Ohio.Columbus, Ohio, Division of Police

First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.

Why the selective political outrage?

It says something about our current polarized politics, as well as the sheer number of violent killings in this country, when the left and right are picking which mass shootings to exploit and fit into their own worldview. We saw it play out last week after a deranged man killed three people at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado. And we saw it play out yesterday after we learned a Muslim married couple killed 14 in San Bernadino, CA -- though we’re still learning more about their actual motive. But here’s our question: Shouldn’t our national and political outrage be the same, whether the shooter cried out “No more baby parts” or whether the shooters were Muslim with Arabic-sounding names? In each case, innocent Americans were killed. And here’s another question: Shouldn’t the response from our political leaders be the same -- that they will explore every kind of public-policy solution to prevent these kinds of killings? As National Journal's Ron Fournier put it: “BREAKING: _________, a tragic situation leaving ___ dead and, with no known motive and few details, still confirms my opinion about ______.” Exactly.

The 2016 reaction to yesterday’s shootings

The reaction to yesterday’s shootings from the 2016 presidential field was divided along party lines, with Democrats demanding stronger gun-control measures and Republicans offering prayers and condolences. Most of these reactions, however, came before we learned the identities of the San Bernadino shooters.

  • 2:36 pm ET: Martin O’Malley: “Horrifying news out of #SanBernardino. Enough is enough: it's time to stand up to the @NRA and enact meaningful gun safety laws”;
  • 3:26 pm: Hillary Clinton: “I refuse to accept this as normal. We must take action to stop gun violence now”;
  • 3:34 pm: Mike Huckabee: “Praying for those impacted by the shooting in California today”;
  • 3:38 pm: Donald Trump: “California shooting looks very bad. Good luck to law enforcement and God bless. This is when our police are so appreciated!”
  • 3:39 pm: Jeb Bush: “Praying for the victims, their families & the San Bernardino first responders in the wake of this tragic shooting”;
  • 3:40 pm: Ted Cruz: "Our prayers are with the families… We're waiting to learn more.";
  • 3:45 pm: Ben Carson: My thoughts and prayers are with the shooting victims and their families in San Bernardino”;
  • 3:57 pm: George Pataki: “Praying for the victims and first responders in #SanBernardino for a quick resolution”;
  • 3:58 pm: John Kasich: “My thoughts & prayers go out to those impacted by the shooting in San Bernardino, especially the first responders”;
  • 4:00 pm: Lindsey Graham: “Thoughts & prayers are with #SanBernardino”;
  • 4:08 pm: Bernie Sanders: “Mass shootings are becoming an almost-everyday occurrence in this country. This sickening and senseless gun violence must stop”;
  • 4:25 pm: Chris Christie: Praying for all those victimized by the shootings in San Bernardino, California today”;
  • 5:10 pm: Rand Paul: My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families, and brave first responders during this unspeakable tragedy”;
  • 8:00 pm: Carly Fiorina: “Obviously, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of everyone affected and we certainly support all of our law enforcement who are looking for these perpetrators I think as we speak”
  • 10:22 pm: Marco Rubio (via spokesman Alex Conant): "Marco's thoughts and prayers are with victims, but we're going to wait until basic facts are known before issuing a statement."

The Sheldon Adelson Primary:

Today in DC, the entire Republican presidential field will speak at the Sheldon Adelson-backed Republican Jewish Coalition’s forum. The conventional wisdom is that Marco Rubio is Adelson’s favorite (inquiring minds want to know which Republican donor or donors gave millions to that dark-money group helping Rubio). But here is your speaking lineup via NBC’s Political Desk:

  • 9:15 am ET: Ted Cruz
  • 9:45 am: Lindsey Graham
  • 10:15 am: Marco Rubio
  • 10:45 am: George Pataki
  • 11:15 am: John Kasich
  • 11:45 am: Donald Trump
  • 12:15 pm: Ben Carson
  • 2:00 pm: Mike Huckabee
  • 2:30 pm: Chris Christie
  • 3:00 pm: Rand Paul
  • 3:30 pm: Jeb Bush
  • 4:00 pm: Rick Santorum.
  • 4:30 pm: Carly Fiorina
  • 5:00 pm: Jim Gilmore

By the way, Trump announced at his rally last night in Virginia that he will be going to Israel “very, very soon” to meet with PM Netanyahu, per NBC’s Katy Tur.

Hillary calls for federal investigation into Chicago Police Department

MSNBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald: “Hillary Clinton called for a federal investigation into the Chicago Police Department Wednesday night as her longtime ally, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, faces demands for his resignation over an alleged cover-up of the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by police. ‘Hillary Clinton is deeply troubled by the shooting of Laquan McDonald and the outstanding questions related to both the shooting and the video,’ said Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon. ‘Mayor Emanuel’s call for a task force to review practices of the Chicago Police Department is an important step, but given the gravity of this tragic situation, she supports a full review by the Department of Justice.’” More from Seitz-Wald: “Emanuel, who has been in the Clinton orbit for more than 20 years, said earlier that he opposes a federal investigation, preferring to focus on the task force he created to look into the shooting. ‘I think an additional layer prior to the completion of this, in my view, would be misguided,’ he said Wednesday during an event in Chicago hosted by Politico. He also said he has no plans to step down and added that he believes Clinton still has his back. ‘I still support her, and that question of whether I continue to have her support is up to her, but I feel pretty confident I do,’ he said.”

Clinton picks up endorsement from another Obama cabinet member -- this time from someone from Martin O’Malley’s backyard

“Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez, who has become one of President Obama's top emissaries to liberal, labor and Latino constituencies, is backing Hillary Clinton for president and plans to hit the campaign trail on her behalf,” the Washington Post writes. “Perez's endorsement is significant for Clinton considering his ties to one of her rivals for the Democratic nomination, former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley. Perez, who lives in Takoma Park and once was a member of the Montgomery County Council, served in O'Malley's cabinet as the state's secretary of labor, licensing and regulation.”

Today’s activity on Capitol Hill

NBC’s Frank Thorp reports: “The Senate will vote Thursday on both the long-term highway bill, as well as the bill being brought up using the reconciliation process that would repeal key parts of Obamacare AND defund Planned Parenthood for one year. Both are expected to pass. The Obamacare repeal bill is expected to see votes on a number of amendments from both sides of the aisle. One of those amendments was introduced by Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and would prevent possession of a gun by a person convicted of a misdemeanor under the freedom of access to clinic entrances act, language designed to protect abortion clinics in the wake of the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs, Colorado.” More Thorp: “The Obamacare repeal bill only needs 51 votes to pass, as the reconciliation process allows leadership to bypass the usual 60-vote threshold motion vote typically needed to avoid a filibuster. But it's expected to be a tight vote, as some Republicans, including presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, have said the Obamacare repeal language does not go far enough. More moderate Senators like Susan Collins (R-ME) have said the language defunding Planned Parenthood goes too far. Even though the House first passed this bill in October, because the Senate needs to change certain provisions in order to accommodate Senate budgetary rules the House will then have to pass the legislation again before it goes to the White House to be vetoed by President Obama.”

On the trail

Besides today’s Republican Jewish Coalition forum, Hillary Clinton campaigns in New Hampshire… And John Kasich also hits the Granite State after his RJC remarks.

Click here to sign up for First Read emails. Text FIRST to 622639, to sign up for First Read alerts to your mobile phone. Check us out on Facebook and also on Twitter. Follow us @chucktodd, @mmurraypolitics, @carrienbcnews