• With: Dan Henninger, Jason Riley, Kim Strassel, Joe Rago

    RILEY: And individual rights. Right.

    GIGOT: Now, assault weapons are also in many places in common use. These so-called -- I mean, there are two million of them in circulation, Kim, so, this may not actually stand up to court scrutiny, if it passed.

    KIM STRASSEL, WASHINGTON COLUMNIST: Right. everything, actually, about this particular gun debate, which is the first one we're having in a decade, has to be seen in the light that Heller is now the law of the land in the Supreme Court. What the gun control community calls assault weapons are viewed by most people are semi-automatics. The particular ones that they ban happen to look more scary than other semi-automatics. But as you said, there are millions in circulation. And the burden upon the gun control crowd would be to explain why some of them should be OK to be out there and others not. That's a hard case to make in light of Heller.

    GIGOT: Kim, let's move on to the politics. You've been skeptical anything like the assault weapons ban will pass. Why?

    STRASSEL: You've got to look at Senate Democrats in particular.


    GIGOT: Democrats. Senate Democrats.

    STRASSEL: Senate Democrats. No, this is about Democrats, OK? In red states, in swing states, their communities are very pro-Second Amendment, and this is playing with fire in their reelection prospects if they want to go out and touch on gun control again. This is why even Harry Reid has not said he's going to embrace any of the measures that the president put forward. And when you add to that the fact you have a Republican House and there's no appetite to deal with this, this would be a very difficult slog to get through Congress.

    RILEY: Well, there's also, I believe, a racial element to this debate that --

    GIGOT: How so?

    RILEY: -- that the president and the left is not very eager to discuss, and that is the fact the large proportion of gun violence is taking place in our inner cities and it's black-on-black violence, is what we're seeing. And if you are black, your chances of being involved in gun violence, either as a perpetrator or a victim, are several times higher than they are if you are white. And that's a discussion that this president is uniquely qualified to have but doesn't want to have --


    RILEY: -- and neither does the left who likes to complain that we want to have discussions about racism.

    GIGOT: There's one element to the politics here, Dan, that's new. And one point, Michael Bloomberg, independently wealthy, is planning, willing, and has shown it in the past election, but maybe more so this next time, to put literally tens of millions of dollars on behalf of gun control against candidates. Couldn't this challenge the National Rifle Association, its influence?

    HENNINGER: It's ironic that Bloomberg is doing that. When you compare New York City to Chicago, which is headed for a record number of homicides, New York City recorded the lowest homicides since 1960. That's about effective policing by the New York police Department. And if Michael Bloomberg would put more into police departments in cities like, Chicago and San Francisco and St. Louis, it would be better spent money.

    GIGOT: OK. But I will say it. I think this is a real challenge, his money is a real challenge for the NRA's political clout. We'll see who wins.

    Still ahead, as President Obama prepares to be sworn in for his second term, what is he hoping to accomplish? We know that guns are on the agenda. But, from immigration to debt reduction, is compromise the name of his game or is taking back the House in 2014 his real priority.



    OBAMA: They have a particular vision about what government should and should not do. So they're suspicious about government's commitments, for example, to make sure that seniors have decent health care as they get older. They have suspicions about Social Security. They have suspicions about whether government should make sure that kids in poverty are getting enough to eat.


    GIGOT: That was President Obama Monday talking about congressional Republicans in the final press conference of his first term. If that performance is any indication for strategy for term number two, what's likely to get done in the next four years?

    So, do you recognize yourself, Jason, in that description?


    RILEY: The public says that the -- their expectations for the next four years are much lower than they were the first time. Which I guess is understandable, given the second-term presidents, that usually happens. What are your expectations for a second term?

    RILEY: Socialized medicine is expensive, Paul, so I expect Obama to aggressively try and fund his first-term agenda in the second term, and that means, raising more revenue, more tax hikes. I think we'll find out that people who make around $100,000 are really rich.


    He's got to go where the money is. And I'm looking for him to hit the middle class with more tax hikes in the second term. I think that's a top priority.

    GIGOT: He's got to find the money somewhere --

    RILEY: He's got to find the money, yes.

    GIGOT: -- to get to do this?

    Dan, what about the theory or the theme you're hearing from liberals, which is -- and they're cheering it -- no more Mr. Nice Guy? The president is going to take on Republicans. He was way too compromising in the first term, not that I recognize that president --


    -- but that's the line that they're taking. And so, look, he's going to put them in their place and demonize them and stigmatize them. Is that what we're going to see and what does that --

    HENNINGER: We are going to see it. The left has been looking for years for an answer to right wing talk radio, and they've got one, the president of the United States. He's like a left wing talk show host.


    But the idea is that we're in the midst of a social revolution and it's a take-no-prisoners revolution. When he talks about the elderly, he's talking about ObamaCare and Medicare, and when he talks about not caring about whether the poor get enough to eat, that's food stamps. As Jason suggested, he's looking for a way to transfer the wealth, not from just from the wealthy, but the middle class, the upper middle class and the wealthy, down below and create a permanent support system.

    GIGOT: But I have to tell you, Dan, he's popular. His approval rating is, what, 52 percent.


    GIGOT: And his personal approval rating is upwards close to 60.