Toomey gets SNL treatment

WASHINGTON – Here’s how you really know Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey was big news this week: he was the subject of a Saturday Night Live skit.

Bill Hader, playing the Republican senator with a Toomey-esque creased forehead, said the background check bill he proposed Wednesday means “No one individual can purchase a handgun from a private dealer without being asked, ‘are you a good person?’”

He added that the plan will “limit the number of guns you can shoot at once, to two.” (Video below).

A faux President Obama announced that West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin will “lose his job” for co-sponsoring the bill.

He continued, “Sen. Toomey, this man is a Republican who is willing to make just the slightest compromise on gun control. He’s going to lose his job too, but that’s what it takes to achieve compromise.”

Toomey is getting the full media treatment after the Republican this week agreed back a plan to expand background checks for gun purchases.

On CBS' Face the Nation Sunday he said he expects a vote on his bill by Wednesday or Thursday. Final passage could take far longer, since other lawmakers will be allowed to offer amendments, a process that could take weeks.

"It's an open question as to whether or not we have the votes," Toomey said earlier Sunday on CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley. "I think it's going to be close."

Manchin, appearing with Toomey on both shows, said a third senate Republican – Maine moderate Susan Collins – has endorsed their plan. Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk is already a co-sponsor.

On CNN Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) said he's "very favorably disposed" to the bill.

Toomey, on CBS, stressed that his proposal with Manchin won’t restrict rights of law-abiding citizens, a point he has emphasized over and over since introducing the plan Wednesday.

“It’s hard because people have misconceptions about what’s in this bill, what it does,” Toomey said. “For instance, they think there’s this whole new system we’re creating that they have reason to worry about. In fact, we’re just working within an existing system, the existing background (check) system.”

Speaking on CBS about the NRA reaction, Toomey pointed out that he previously had an “A” rating from the group. “We’ve had a good relationship over the years, we disagree on this.”

He told host Candy Crowley, "I'll I’ll just let the political chips fall the way they fall."

In today’s Inquirer and on, I have a story about his move and the changing politics of guns in Pennsylvania, and Toomey has an op-ed describing the reasons behind his plan.