April 13th, 2012
03:15 PM ET
2 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. MNTaxpayeros

    I wouldn't worry to much about what Romney said to the gun lovers. I'm sure if he ever speaks to a group with an opposing view he'll tell them the opposite. And I love how the campaign either couldn't respond to a direct question about which rights the Obama administration has infringed upon. They know it's bull.

    April 13, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    HEY Mitt, Ask the wonderful people at the NRA about the FLA Stand your ground law. How many criminals have been released because of the NRA pushing for this STAND YOU GROUND law. All the NRA cares about is GUN SALES NOT PEOPLE

    April 13, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  3. D

    No offense NRA people, but your Executive VP, Wayne LaPierre, is a stark-raving lunatic. We're talking beyond tinfoil-hat raving. Seriously.

    April 13, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. Vijay

    I want to make few things about christian philosophy.
    1. God happens to one day he has one big bread, instead of eating whole bread, he had given his fare share to all – do the conservative do this.
    2. God doesn't preach of having Gun – but conservatives loves gun
    3. God did not mentioned about Gay's – but conservatives doesn't like Gays
    4. God doesn't mention about abortion – but conservatives are for anti abortion.
    5. God doesn't mention about church and state should be together – but conservatives believes in that
    From the above stuff all the qualities only Liberals have. They are true conservatives not Mr. Romney, Rush, Bush and so on..
    Even 200 million people die because of Guns !! Republicans will support Guns a lot!! since they are being bribed by corporations and NRA's..
    I think one of top conservative son or daughter should be killed by Gunshot, then they might change their mind in this.

    This year please vote for 2012..

    April 13, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. Bob

    The entire speech was jingoistic with no specifis at all. In my view thw applause was staged and tepid. Surely this sort of simpleton speech is below the intelligence of the American voter.

    April 13, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  6. Seamus D. Dog

    What gun rights has Obama infriged? Romney, "I can has 2 shotguns"

    April 13, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. BJ

    Wonder if he will go to the NAACP? Probably not. He only wants the ignorant vote.

    April 13, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. Whoosh

    Mitt, what is your plan? We are still waiting for an outline of your better plan. Until then, you are attempting to ride in on
    Obamafear. Two words – won't work.

    April 13, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. Ewing

    Romney is a flip-floppin' kiss-a.. who shills for the vote of any group that he addresses. The NRA has pushed some very bad gun policies on our Nation and, as a gun owning Vietnam Vet, I would never join that organization. Or vote for Willard!

    An Independent

    April 13, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. DRod

    Republican Lies:
    1. the administration's attack on freedom.
    2. "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,"
    3. President Obama of attacking "economic freedom, religious freedom, and personal freedom."
    4. The former Massachusetts governor announced in February that he owns the guns

    Lie after lie after lie.

    April 13, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. orion7x

    Its so weird, I almost never hear Obama say anything about guns. Stop making crap up you moron?

    April 13, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    As a law abiding citizen of MA where Good ol Mitt was governor, it is absolutely the worst state in the union as far as gun rights go. They treat you as if you're a criminal when you just want it for hunting and sporting. But I'm sure no one will ever bring that up because I'm sure he'll take his Health Care stance on that too. On another note, reading these comments on here I see how separated we are as a nation now. Everyone seems so extreme from one end or another no one is truly in the middle anymore. Just educate yourselves people before just making statements that make no sense. God Bless America because we need it.

    April 13, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. Boytjie

    And what has Obama done to take away guns? Nothing.
    The nuts on the right yelled form the beginning of Obama's administration that he was going to take their guns away.
    Bunch of liars.

    April 13, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  14. NH Citizen

    I had hoped to read some insightful or thoughtful posts. Instead, there is a spewing of disrespectful blather here that furthers no one. If you want respect give respect. Don't demonize those that don't think exactly like you do. If you don't have something thoughtful to say don't say it. Be a citizen not some partisan terrorist.

    April 13, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  15. Cody

    "Asked which specific gun rights the president has abridged since taking office, a Romney adviser would not say"

    Typical Republicans. Make accusations but can never back them up.

    April 13, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  16. Drake

    To most of the NRA life members like myself this election will not be about guns for all you gun haters. It will be all about the incomptency of Obama on the economy and jobs. Life is too short to be a victim – arm yourself....

    April 13, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  17. The King

    "I say, who among us does not enjoy a brisk saunter about the estate with a firearm in searh of prey?" Mittens Rombot In great hunter/outdoor enthusiast mode.

    April 13, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  18. Ramrod

    What is Mitt crying about. He is free to keep his money in Cayman Island banks.

    April 13, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. eopinion

    How much did he get paid by NRA?

    April 13, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  20. Johnson

    Romney is such a phony. He could care less about the NRA and would never have endorsed them while he was Governor of Massachusetts. Anyone who believes anything this man says is a fool.

    April 13, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. AC

    Good God, having to keep listening to these GOP clowns for all of this year. Seems endless.

    April 13, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. sayer

    Mitt means white males will have freedom to say and do what they want. Women, minorities, poor, gay, and sick– not so much.

    April 13, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  23. Nick

    Mitt, how about the moronic "Stand you ground law" of Florida that gives paranoid people a license to kill?

    April 13, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. Amanda Wolf

    romney is wrong, perverse and speaks according to his convenience, he makes major mistakes; he probably supports the NRA :( 'guns and rifles account for our crime high rates :( all the youths killed are shot with weapons :( Our soldiers are killed with rifles :( female wives are shot with guns :( Yesterday, mitt romney posed with women! Today he claims to defend females! What a fake candidate:(

    April 13, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  25. Chipster

    "Asked which specific gun rights the president has abridged since taking office, a Romney adviser would not say..."
    And this is the problem, President Obama has not threatened the 2nd Amendment right in any way whatsoever. This accusation is baseless and devoid of facts!

    The adviser also suggested that the Justice Department's handling of the "Fast and Furious" scandal could in some undefined way have the "potential efforts to restrict Second Amendment rights." So, two points need to be made: 1) Still no effort whatsoever to restrict 2nd Amendment Rights and 2) "Fast and Furious" was part of the Bush Administrations "Operation Gunrunner!" It was not an Obama Administration operation in the first place!

    Republican "Don Quixotes" need to get a grip on reality.

    April 13, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7