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Sunday Study Guide: Rubio, Gillibrand, Lee, Roundtable, and the legacy of Jackie Robinson

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)

  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), in his first term in the U.S. Senate, is a member of the “Gang of Eight” senators working on a comprehensive immigration reform bill that is expected to be released next week. Rubio, who fellow “Gang of Eight” members have called “extremely important” and “a game changer,” raised some concerns recently over whether he would ultimately sign onto the bill after his “tepid comments” regarding the group’s progress. However, according to Politico, “after offering lukewarm support until now, Rubio is preparing to fully embrace a measure that is the most significant of his political career so far. The gambit could pay off in spades by crowning a leading presidential contender in 2016, or it could permanently damage the Republican’s brand with conservatives.”
  • Rubio was among the senators who threatened to filibuster gun legislation before the chamber voted this week to move the legislation to debate. He released a statement that read, “We should look for ways to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill prone to misusing them, but I oppose legislation that will be used as a vehicle to impose new Second Amendment restrictions on responsible, law-abiding gun owners.” 
  • He is the author of “An American Son.” Watch Sen. Rubio’s last appearance on the show here.


Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY)

  • Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) won her first elected six-year term in the Senate last November; she was previously appointed to serve in Hillary Clinton’s vacated seat. Sen. Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said she was “optimistic” about the prospects of gun control legislation because of several factors: the background checks compromise from Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), the Republican senators who opposed a filibuster of the legislation, and the presence of the Newtown families. Gillibrand also said, “Having states lead [on gun control] is not a bad thing … if we can see movement on a state-by-state basis on assault weapons or on magazine clip sizes that will strengthen the federal debate.”
  • Watch Sen. Gillibrand’s most recent Meet the Press appearance. 


Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)

  • Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) was elected to the Senate in 2010 and serves on the Judiciary Committee.  On the Senate floor Friday, he said he was concerned that the text of the Manchin-Toomey background checks compromise had not yet been released. “We should not be legislating by negotiating closed-door backroom deals away from the eyes of the American people. We should not be voting before we read and understand exactly how these proposals will affect the rights law abiding citizens.” Sen. Lee was among the group of senators that pledged to filibuster gun legislation. He said he would “resist an immediate vote on any new restrictions that would serve primarily to limit the freedoms of law-abiding citizens rather than reduce violent crime. Unfortunately, the current gun control proposals do just that.”
  • Watch Sen. Lee’s latest appearance.


Roundtable: Todd, Brooks, Kay

  • NBC News Political Director and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd said this week, “Immigration reform efforts appear to be at a tipping point. The public is now in favor of some form of legalization for those that are here undocumented and with more Republicans getting on board, hopes are high for a bill that can become law.” He also took a look at the latest NBC/WSJ poll. Watch his latest appearance.   
  • New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote Friday, he has “generally come to celebrate, not criticize” the president’s budget, but it “takes small steps to address both problems when big strides are needed.” Rather than debate taxing and spending, lawmakers should find “a balance between greater discretionary spending in exchange for structural entitlement reform. … This deal wouldn’t represent the moderation of the mushy middle. It would represent muscular moderation that is bold on both ends.” He is also the author of “The Social Animal.” Watch his most recent appearance here.
  • BBC World News America anchor Katty Kay talked this week about former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. She said, “The fondness for Margaret Thatcher is almost universal in America.” Although viewed as a “divisive figure in British politics …  she was transformative. She took Britain from the stale, economic chaos of the 1970s … She transformed it, by the end of her time in office, into a dynamic, modern economy. The way she did that was tough.” Kay also co-wrote the book, “Womenomics.”  Here is her most recent MTP appearance.


Rachel Robinson, baseball player Jackie Robinson’s widow, attended the White House for a screening of her husband’s biopic, “42,” and a workshop with students. First Lady Michelle called her “a woman of strength, of courage, conviction; a woman who paved the way for me, but she paved the way for millions of Americans all across this country.” 

Actor Harrison Ford stars as Dodgers executive Branch Rickey in “42.” He said Jackie Robinson’s story is “one of those stories that deserves a retelling … It may be something that kids are taught in school, it may be a footnote in history of civil rights and American history. But in a film, you have the opportunity to reach kids emotionally, viscerally, and give them the opportunity to feel the experience Jackie Robinson had with the kind of behavior that was prevalent as he was going through this experience.  

Filmmaker Ken Burns is out with a new documentary, The Central Park Five, the story of five African-American and Latino teenagers who were wrongly convicted of raping a woman in Central Park. He said, “It was a fantastic narrative because it fit in with all of [the public’s] worst fears. So rather than question anything, we permitted this improbable story of five kids who'd never been in trouble before, and that's what made them vulnerable. No cop, no prosecutor, and no reporter challenged it.” Burns also made the documentary “Baseball” and will be out with one about Jackie Robinson in 2015. Watch his most recent appearance here.


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