Potential 2016 presidential candidates talk gun control

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While Vice President Joe Biden continues to push for stronger gun control laws, two main contenders for the 2016 Republican nomination have joined forces to try to block any new gun legislation.

On Wednesday, Biden participated in a conference call with gun control advocates and expressed optimism that the Senate would move quickly on new gun legislation when it returns on April 8.

"I think we're on the verge of getting a serious, thorough universal background check system in place," Biden said. "And it will, emphasize it will, save lives."

Biden joined President Obama at an event at the White House Thursday calling for stricter gun control.

But the same day, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., announced he was joining an effort by fellow Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Ted Cruz R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, to block any legislation that they believed "would infringe on the American people's constitutional right to bear arms, or on their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to government surveillance."

Added Rubio, "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."

Although Rubio seems to have been playing catch-up to Paul on gun control (Paul, Cruz, and Lee first announced their intention to filibuster the gun legislation on Tuesday), the Florida senator was not afraid to show this week how he differs from his colleague from Kentucky - and he did it in Paul's backyard.

At a fundraiser for Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., at the University of Louisville on Monday, Rubio drew a contrast between his foreign policy vision and Paul's.

"We cannot retreat from the world," Rubio said. "It's not that America will continue to function as the world's police officer. The problem is that like anything in the world: If you pull back from it, a vacuum will be created."

That's a different message from that of Paul, who has recently called for a reduction in foreign aid and has referred to the George W. Bush administration as an "imperial presidency."

Here's what else the 2016 presidential contenders have been up to this week:

Fmr. Gov. Jeb Bush. R-Fla.: While the Supreme Court heard arguments in two high-profile same-sex marriage cases, the former Florida governor told Newsmax he believes states should be allowed to decide the issue for themselves. "Our federal system is a spectacular way to deal with changing mores - and states can take advantage of opportunities much better than federal government," Bush said. "When we talk about same-sex marriage, we ought to talk about it with a different tone - and we ought to talk about it recognizing that there is more than one point of view, and we should talk about it in a way that is not judgmental."

Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J.: A new poll from Quinnipiac University found that Christie continues to have the overwhelming support of Garden State voters. A whopping 70 percent approve of the job he is doing and 60 percent of voters favor him for reelection this fall over his likely challenger, Democratic state senator Barbara Buono. But when asked if they would support him for president in 2016, New Jersey voters are decidedly more mixed. Forty-one percent say he would make a good president, while 44 percent say he would not. Christie this week announced a state takeover of the troubled school system in Camden, N.J. And he also made sure residents knew "nobody's gonna get naked" when sometimes-party boy Prince Harry visits the Jersey Shore in May.

Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va.: Late Monday night the Virginia governor signed a bill that would that will require voters to present a photo ID at the polls. It's a shift for McDonnell, who had previously supported the state's less-stringent ID requirement. McDonnell also proposed this week that federal health insurance exchanges in Virginia not provide coverage of most abortions. The action on both the voter ID bill and the abortion amendments came in a flurry of activity before a deadline for McDonnell to veto or amend legislation passed by the General Assembly.

Fmr. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.: The 2012 presidential candidate visited South Carolina this week to campaign on behalf of congressional candidate Curtis Bostic. Bostic, a social conservative, is facing a runoff election against former Gov. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., on April 2 for the Republican nomination in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District.

Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis.: The Connecticut Republican Party announced that the Wisconsin Governor will deliver the keynote address at the party's annual Prescott Bush Awards Dinner. While not an early primary state, Connecticut is a fundraising hotbed for presidential candidates. Last year's keynote speaker at the Connecticut GOP dinner was Ann Romney. Walker's trip will come just three days before he delivers a speech in Iowa.

Vice President Joe Biden: On Monday, the South Carolina Democratic Party formally announced that the vice president will be the keynote speaker at its Jefferson Jackson Dinner on May 3.

Fmr. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: The former Secretary of State will give her first speech as a private citizen next week in Washington. She will speak at the Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards on Tuesday. Then on Friday, Clinton will address the Women in the World Summit in New York. And the Economic Club of Grand Rapids announced this week that Clinton will be the guest of honor at its annual dinner in June.

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    Caroline Horn is CBS News' senior producer for politics.

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