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Joining us now is Senator Barbara Boxer of California.
Senator Boxer, thank you very much for being here. It`s nice to have
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Thanks.
MADDOW: President Obama said this will not be just another Washington
commission whose ideas get pushed aside after months of study. What do you
think is possible to achieve?
BOXER: First of all, I want to say that Joe Biden is a no nonsense
person who I had the privilege of working with the -- authored the Violence
Against Women Act. He is as you said shepherded it through, Senator
Feinstein`s bill that banned the assault weapons. He created the COPS
program which we together worked to make sure that there were some grants
to make schools safer through that COPS program.
So he is giving the job to a can-do person who is well loved in the
Senate and in the House. And I think this signals that this issue, as you
say, is going to be front and center.
Senator Feinstein has been very overt about the idea that this is more
doable than people think it is. Obviously, there had been an attempt on an
assault weapons ban, shepherded by then-Senator Biden before Senator
Feinstein was successful with her bill in 1994.
Do you feel like there are lessons learned about how to get these
things done, how to find some common ground, how to find some Republicans
that will express not just support for this idea, but will actually go
there when it`s time to vote?
BOXER: Well, Rachel, one of the intriguing things about the vote on
the Feinstein amendment was it was not filibustered. It just got the 51
needed. And I remember, because she reminded me the other day that Carol
Moseley Braun was running late, and we held our breath and Carol came in
and voted aye.
So, one thing I would hope is we wouldn`t have to face a filibuster.
We`ve got to keep in our minds what just happened in Connecticut. We`ve
got to keep those children in our minds. And it touched the hearts of
everybody. And I think if we do that and we forget about our political
skins for five seconds, we can get something done.
And with Joe doing his work and Senator Feinstein and others like
Senator Lautenberg working on high capacity clips, I`m working on school
safety, Chuck Schumer is working on mental health help, we have a very good
team of people working on all these issues. And it should happen.
MADDOW: When you talk about what we need to put aside in order to
make this progress, I know that you tonight were one of the senators who
attended this big bipartisan screening for the Senate of the movie
"Lincoln." I just -- (a), I liked the movie. But (b), I liked that you all
went together, that it was Democrats and Republicans in the Senate going
together to find some common ground. I sort of think of it as a movie club
or a book club for you.
I wonder if that -- (a), how it went, and (b), if that made you feel
any differently than you might have before about whether or not Democrats
and Republicans can move forward together?
BOXER: I`m really happy that you asked the question, because when I
stood up to ask a question of a couple of the people on the panel who were
pretty fabulous, like Daniel Day Lewis and Doris Kearns Goodwin and Steven
Spielberg and Tony Kushner, and it was really quite a panel. The first
thing I said, was how great it was to see bipartisanship here.
But let me tell you what I think you know how great the movie is.
I`ve now seen it twice. It`s better the second time.
But it shows you that government can do important, good things for the
cause of human dignity. And that it takes work and it is hard. And it
takes focus and presidential leadership.
And you have to think about the good of the country. And it shows
that government can be a force of good. And, of course, you know, in my
work sometimes, it`s so exhilarating and sometimes it`s so frustrating.
And you get -- you just throw up your hands. But we can do it. If
Lincoln could do what he did, which was an amazing feat to outlaw slavery
when everything, all the cards were stacked against him -- as a matter of
fact, I think it was Tony Kushner who said tonight we had the fiscal cliff.
There it was the 13th Amendment cliff. No one knew whether it would pass
until the actual votes were taken.
So, we`re faced with these things, and we really do have to work
together as hard as it is. And sometimes it`s hard.
MADDOW: Senator Barbara Boxer of California -- thank you for your
time tonight. I`m sure this is the last thing you wanted to do after
seeing that film and being in that environment. I really appreciate you
taking the time.
BOXER: No, I`m delighted. Thank you.
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