April 13th, 2012
03:15 PM ET
3 years ago

Romney NRA speech marks general election kick-off, advisers say

St. Louis, Missouri (CNN) – Mitt Romney fired off on the Obama White House while speaking at the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting in St. Louis on Friday, tearing into the president for what he called the administration's attack on freedom.

"The right to bear arms is so plainly stated, so unambiguous, that liberals have a hard time challenging it directly. Instead, they've been employing every imaginable ploy to restrict it," he said.

His speech marks the launch of the general election campaign against the president, his advisers said Friday.

"This, is in our view, is the beginning of crystallizing for voters the choice that they are going to have in the fall between a big government liberal, represented by Barack Obama, and somebody who believes in the freedoms which are an essential part of our Constitution, which are consistent with our founders, and that would be Mitt Romney," said a senior adviser to Romney who briefed reporters before the speech but would only speak under the condition of anonymity.

The NRA speech is the first in a series of speeches that Romney will deliver in the coming months to "clearly define the choice in this race."

The adviser would not announce dates and topics for the future speeches.

Though Romney spoke before an audience of gun enthusiasts, a constituency he has awkwardly courted over the years, his remarks focused not just on Second Amendment rights.

Instead, he framed his remarks in the broader context of the Constitution and accused President Obama of attacking "economic freedom, religious freedom, and personal freedom."

"This President is moving us away from our Founders' vision," Romney said. "Instead of limited government, he is leading us toward limited freedom and limited opportunity."

Asked which specific gun rights the president has abridged since taking office, a Romney adviser would not say, but pointed to the Justice Department's handling of the "Fast and Furious" scandal and "the way in which that was used to provide cover for potential efforts to restrict Second Amendment rights."

The advisers were also asked to elaborate on two shotguns that Romney now owns.

The former Massachusetts governor announced in February that he owns the guns, but his campaign offered few details on when he acquired them or where they are kept.

"I am not going to disclose where those are kept for safety an security reasons," one Romney adviser said.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • NRA
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Has this moron ever spoken the truth?

    April 13, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    "The right to bear arms is so plainly stated, so unambiguous, that liberals have a hard time challenging it directly."
    ------------------–
    When the 2nd Amendment was written the definition of a firearm was a musket, which had no machined parts nor bullets. You can have all of those that you want. Somehow, I don't think assault weapons and semi-automatic pistols with 31 round clips in them is what they had in mind.

    April 13, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. Nate

    So now Romney likes guns? His love of firearms certainly explains why it is so easy to own firearms in Massachusetts, oh wait...

    April 13, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. SUBS 4 VOTES

    Willard, so having a 32 shot clip for a handgun is just fine with you? After the tragedy in Tuscon last year, I thought you would take a harder stance, but nope. Pander, pander, pander.

    April 13, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  5. Biotechdev

    The CNN Moderator won't let this through. Go to "Obama's Complete List of Historic Firsts"

    April 13, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    So Mitt is all about Freedom but only if it is a Freedom he agrees with...strangely enough he isnt about personal freedom (right of choice, right of anyone to get married, etc) or maybe he will change his mind as he quickly runs back to the middle over the coming months.

    April 13, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  7. Scott

    I talked to Obama this morning, and he specifically told me he wanted to take away everyones freedom. I said, Mr. president, what do you hope to accomplish in your second term, and he looked at me right in the eye and said, "I want to take away your freedom." So apparently Romney is spot on in saying that the President of the United States wants to take away our freedom!

    April 13, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  8. Jonathan

    This is typical republican pandering to a sure fire (no pun intended) group of voters. What us bizarre is that Obama has relaxed guncontrol laws more than Bush did, and has no intention of trying to restrict gun ownership beyond its current controls. Mitt is basically saying that even though Obama has not shown through any words or actions an intent to restrict gun purchases and ownership he just might. Well that is basically total BS. But then again what else would expect from a party that gets its news from a tabliod style entertainment organization (Fox).

    April 13, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    The NRA speech is the first in a series of speeches that Romney will deliver in the coming months to "clearly define the choice in this race." – which is white

    April 13, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  10. woodofpine

    The new phase means? Distortion??

    After all, gun owners know that Illinois (Obama's home) is far friendlier on the NRA legal scale than the state Romney governed (Massachussetts).

    Federal firearms legislation has loosened under Obama; its not his 'thing'. But now we have Romney and the wingnuts making love. A Mass gov pandering is Etch-a-Sketch.

    April 13, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. Rmoney can go shoot himself

    What's interesting is that Obama has not passed even a single law preventing people from buying guns. Looks like Romney has run out of things to complain about.

    April 13, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. Bill

    I never need an excuse to buy another gun but hear them daily. Two full gun safes at two different houses and still going strong – haha...

    April 13, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  13. Jules

    And just what has Mitt done for freedom? Oh, that's right – nothing. Want to talk about protecting our freedoms – try laying your whole political career on the line to take out Osama Bin Laden and the other top honchos from Al Quida. Romney has made it plain he wants to use more guns and weapons, like in Syria, Iran, North Korea. This man knows nothing about protecting this country. Does he want to do anything differently than what was done during the George W. Bush admin. when it comes to taxes and the economy? If we elect this guy or the GOP to anything until they become more moderate, we deserve every single thing that is going to be done to us, our families and our money.

    April 13, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  14. woodofpine

    To the second amendment freaks...

    Q: What are the first substantive words of that amendment??

    A:"WELL REGULATED"

    April 13, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. Patriot

    O.M.G. This as we have 3 shot in an Ohio restaurant, 2 shot and killed at a Coast Guard station, the Tulsa massacres, and the Traynon case dominating the news. Great timing Mitt, you idiot.

    April 13, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  16. todd in DC

    Because the Stand your Ground law worked EXACTLY as intended – the right to kill black people with impunity.

    April 13, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. Jerry

    Romney is a liar. Any one from the NRA cannot trust this man. Here is PROOF http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWjWjOk3KCk

    April 13, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  18. john

    Send the legal bills for the Trayvon Martin case to the NRA. The NRA pushed this "stand your ground" law through with republican support so they can sell more guns. Now we're all stuck with a law that makes it legal to gun people down wherever you want. So the taxpayer gets stuck with the bill for lawyers arguing whether or not Zimmerman has the right to kill people. The NRA is directly responsible for this colossal waste of taxpayer money. This Martin case is just the beginning and we have to pick up the tab while the NRA makes money.

    April 13, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. NC Mom

    In Massachusetts he opposed NRA, now he's with them. Can't believe a word this panderer says. Who is this guy?

    April 13, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. wade

    Obama has done nothing but wage war on all Americans, black m,white, brown and all woman in fact on all except UNION members. Anyone saying other wise is brain dead to the facts.

    April 13, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. FelixCat

    "...liberals have a hard time challenging it directly. Instead, they've been employing every imaginable ploy to restrict it."
    Translation: Well, they haven't done anything we can POINT to, but they're liberals and liberals hate guns and the Second Amendment (because we SAID they do), so they must be working on it behind the scenes.
    You got nothin', Mitt.

    April 13, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  22. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    When you are hunting varmints, 31 bullets is helpful if you can't hit the broad side of a barn from 10 feet.

    April 13, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. Tyrone

    Yo Bisop Tabby Nackle, how bout you takin way the rights of voters, You are bought & paid for by the Koch Brothers & Rove. A true puppet.

    April 13, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. Truth001

    Romney's speeches have no vigor because he doesn't speak from his heart. This is a new era (social media), people have access to information like never before. Truth is not apart of Mitt's forte, he should outline his vision which we still have yet to hear. All we hear is distorted facts about Obama and how he caused this terrible economy, lies, lies, lies and more lies!

    April 13, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. Kevin

    so question for the public: what reporter at CNN is for Romney? You know the answer

    as they say(and do) "....doing anything necssary to get him re-elected!"

    April 13, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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