April 13th, 2012
03:15 PM ET
6 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. AC

    Inducing FEAR in the masses has always been the main tactic of the GOP.
    Perhaps it is best to just OUTLAW the GOP.

    April 13, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  2. nolimits3333

    1,000,000 Americans have been killed by guns since 1960.

    The NRA has done more damage to America than Al Qaeda ever will.

    April 13, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  3. Name johnny

    They are all a big joke. Dem & Rep. Neither party makes any clear points on what they plan to do.

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

    Once more, Mittens shows himself to be the "master of the pander". He'll say anything to anyone (or any group) if he thinks it will get him a vote. The man has the core of an eclair.

    April 13, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. common sense

    Guns: Why are they needed? The cops are tired and nervous of getting shot every time they step out to help someone in thier homes. How many times as a person with a gun stepped out killed the person who is on a shotting spree.
    If u take away guns from all and tell the cops, shot and kill the moment some one has a gun, then it will be a safe place it think. This baloney of right to arms is nonsensical. I agree, i would like to see the NRA president's kids get injured by a bullet and then lets talk

    April 13, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. Senor Ed

    Q: So what gun rights has Obama taken away?
    A: Well, um, ah,he, um, well, ah, um .... he's thinkin' about it! Yeeehaaaaaw, y'all!!!

    April 13, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. Wake up people

    Blah blah blah Mittens! The intelligent people of the world see through your lies.

    OBAMA 2012!

    April 13, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Wasn't there a run on ammunition after President Obama was elected because someone spread the rumor that he would tighten regulations on the supply of bullets (that never happened)?"

    Too funny. My husband was an NRA member at the time. You wouldn't believe all the e-mails, phone calls, and other NRA generated nonsense he received back then. And, yes, he did "stock up" and soon "wised up", thank goodness. Since then, he's changed his e-mail account and we screen our phone calls. I'll give the NRA credit: they never, ever stop soliciting...

    April 13, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. adamcoasttocoast

    Funny - I don't remember the Obama administration infringing upon anything having to do with the NRA. Oh wait, it's just another baseless accusation with empty arguments. Romney 2012 woo!

    April 13, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    I thought Mitt said he would sign the NDAA?

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

    The NRA is lead by a raving madman and their opposition to even the most reasonable gun-control laws have contributed to the shooting deaths of many Americans. The NRA represents the worst part of country and whoever gets their endorsement immediately loses my vote.

    April 13, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. imputt

    Obama paid a lower tax rate ( 20.5% ) than his secretary. Shame on him for being so outspoken about the rich not paying their taxes.

    April 13, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. Concerned4Fla

    So, what actions has Obama taken that are an "attack on gun freedoms"? NONE! Good grief, OBAMA quietly passed three pro-gun laws last month! Maybe Mitt could try running on an issue that is actually, you know, AN ISSUE! Mitt is a buffoon. The pander-fest continues.

    OBAMA 2012: Seriously people.

    April 13, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. Dan LeMieux

    The nra is responsible for a;ot of our problems in this country. We need more gun control not less. Europe has half the gun crimes we do. It;s a lot harder to get a gun there. We need to move into the 21st century not the 19th.

    April 13, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. Scott

    You have to figure things are bad when you start the new phase of your campaign by condoning the killing of good Americans on a weekly bases. Just the numbers of Police officers alone that are killed because of Organizations like the NRA are depressing.

    April 13, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. Iamnotfooled

    He was for the ban on assault weapons before he was against it. Etch -a- sketch.

    April 13, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. Wolf needs to go

    I can't wait to see Romney in a South Park skit. Just put a talking stickman up there. Cold, calculating, stiff in a black suit. Panders to his audience... and today Ann looked like she was kissing up big time... it was actually embarrassing to watch.

    April 13, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  18. Steve

    The Romney advisor couldn't say which second ammendment rights the Obama adminstration has attempted to abrogate because there are none. Gov. Romney saying so is just another teapublican lie!

    April 13, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    A statement of principle coming from the well-oiled weather vane? Depends on who he's talklin to, and how much they are paying him: do you suppose the NRA will contribute to his lunch money fund, and help him break 300K in speaking fees again? Its not very much, folks.

    April 13, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. riley

    Wolf, i don't have many channels to choose from so here i am today watching your show. there was romney looking on while his wife was doing his speech making for him to the nra. look at how he was looking at her. now we have some foreign prime minister over here to visit with the romney presidency but we will his wife doing his talking for him. or he will have a script written out for him and he prays that his guest will stay on the script. romney is a waste of air. too bad there is not others we have more to choose from but if we did romney will have negative ads against everyone that stands up do him. must be nice to have that many bucks behind him.

    April 13, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. HUNTER

    There's about 5 stories on CNN right now about shooting deaths. This has got to stop. People who shoot people with a gun become criminals, so the NRA's mantra of "if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns" is a self fullfilling prophecy.

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

    romney will be for what ever the people want that he is speaking in front of

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

    Romney kicking off NRA Guns he need to be at the unemployment to see how many people need jobs.
    Romney you are for the rich and not the middle class.
    Romney you will never win my vote.

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

    Obama is too much of a politician to muddle into gun rights during his first term. That being said it is illogical to think the American government is ever going to take the large amount of guns away from all the people that have them so this is a idiotic argument.

    April 13, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  25. billy

    Romney will be ANYTHING you want him to be if only you'll vote for him.

    April 13, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
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