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Rendell: GOP Gov. McDonnell a 'coward and wuss'

Ed Rendell is not mincing words.

Ed Rendell is not mincing words.

The former Pennsylvania governor said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell “has been nothing but a coward and a wuss when he won’t confront and answer the question: 'Governor, give us one good reason why any law-abiding American should have access to a clip that has more than 10 bullets in it or a semi-automatic assault weapon.' There is no reason,” Rendell told Hardball’s Chris Matthews on Wednesday.

Earlier this week McDonnell told WTOP radio that more guns in public schools could prevent tragedies like the one in Newtown, Conn. A discussion about the issue is “probably timely,” Gov. McDonnell said.

“I know there has been a knee-jerk reaction against [more guns in schools], I think there should at least be a discussion of that. If people were armed, not just a police officer, but other school officials who were trained and chose to have a weapon, certainly there would be an opportunity to stop aggressors coming into the school,” he said. McDonnell also said on Monday that it was "way too early" to know whether new gun control legislation is necessary.

Matthews said Republican lawmakers don’t want to take on the gun lobby or they’re simply trying “dodge” gun control talks.

McDonnell’s comments come as President Obama tapped Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday to come up with new policies to decrease gun violence. The White House also said this week that Obama backed Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s effort to reinstate the assault weapons ban.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley told Matthews that such weapons have “no place in civilized society,” and that responsible weapons bans are crucial. There’s “no reason why we should have military assault weapons anyplace but on the battlefield,” the Democrat said, adding most of the hunters he knows agree.

Rendell cited a mother at a Sandy Hook memorial who said, “If we can pass sensible gun legislation, our kids won’t have died in vain”