Ayotte at center of negotiations: ‘Sometimes clarification can have the appearance of change’

The New York Times reports Sen. Kelly Ayotte is at the center of negotiations that could result in her support for legislation to expand gun background checks.

Ayotte’s spokesperson, Jeff Grappone, denied she is participating in the talks, but other senators confirm the discussions are underway and say momentum is building.

Majority Leader Harry Reid acknowledged the effort but warned lawmakers he will not accept “a watered-down version of background checks.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) insisted proposed changes will not weaken the bill:

We have to give them a credible and commendable way to change their votes,” Mr. Blumenthal said of a handful of senators who could be persuaded, starting with Mr. Begich and Ms. Ayotte. Such modifications do not have to weaken the bill substantially, he added.“Sometimes clarification can have the appearance of change,” he said.