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. HunterPSU

    Disgusting how B.O. tries to drive wedges between americans. The Buffet rule is phony...B.O. even trying to claim that Reagan was for it...totally a misrepresentation of the truth...B.O.care will lower the deficit...a total lie....Even the Washington post is part of that lie. Romney accused B.O. of raising taxes on millions of americans...the washington post tried to debunk that fact...I can say my taxes have been raised by B.O. this year because of B.O. care. He raised by taxes by taking away a deduction for healthcare millions of people like me have. Our healthcare savings account deduction has been reduced by 2500 bucks. that means max is 2500 when last year it was 5000. that is a tax increase anyway you look at it. Washington post complicit in B.O.'s lies.

    April 13, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. Patriot Awesome

    Poor timing Mitt. Poor timing.

    April 13, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. EricNY

    I personally go to church still, make my own financial decisions and received a tax cut courtesy or President Obama. Not sure what exactly Mr. Romney thinks I have lost....

    April 13, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  4. Whoosh

    @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..." You should forward this to the Romney camp, they seem to think(bashing the POTUS) at every turn is a sucessful strategy. It isn't, I am tired of all of it from both sides. The only candidate I would voted for against the president has opt out early.

    April 13, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. Khaleeshi

    Mittens entire speech is about something that didn't happen – President Obama has not taken away any gun rights. He's just saying what he thinks the NRA wants to hear. What a stooge.

    April 13, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  6. MaryM

    @imputt, are you really that ignorant?? guess so.
    Oh and Mitt, Please ask the NRA about the stand your ground law. Its has allowed more criminals to walk because they said they were afraid. NRA only cares about guns sales, it does not care about people

    April 13, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. dustin

    The second amendment only guarantees the right to keep and bear arms as part of a "well-regulated militia." It says nothing about ownership or the keeping of guns for personal protection. I have guns for hunting and do not want to give them up. That said, I realize that the second amendment does not protect right. However, the whole issue is really a red herring that the republicans pull out every election to scare the uninformed into voting against their financial interest. President Obama has not enacted, nor even suggested a single piece of anti-gun legislation.

    April 13, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. Sal

    How these republicans suck up to the NRA and all the rest of the gun freaks in this country! Do they have no shame and self respect? When are you all going to realize that guns are the problem in this country? 

    April 13, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. Vijay is Wrong

    Vijay ...

    Each and every point you make is incorrect. It's okay to disagree with Romney, but if you're going to state why then you should have your facts straight. It's clear you don't know "christian philosophy" nearly as well as you believe you do.

    1. Yes, even conservatives give to charity and pay taxes that go to programs for the needy. The key difference here is, conservatives like to ensure they're not giving money to people who are lazy and would rather take than give.

    2. The Bible says "an eye for an eye". That means if someone is shooting a gun, then I have a right to shoot back.

    3. Oh, yes ... the Bible does talk about gays in very direct terms. "Man shall not lay with man" ... how clear does it have to be?

    4. Abortion ... you will argue this is open to definition, but to me it's very clear (and you will accuse me of being small-minded, I'm sure). Scientists declare that something that is growing is alive. But they don't give the same credit to a human fetus. From the moment of conception, the baby is growing. Is it not alive?

    5. God didn't have to mention anything about church and state to the Hebrew people...their entire government was based on their religious beliefs. Hebrew law was the law of the land. There was no need to talk about it then.

    I really do suggest you study up on your "christian philosophy" before you post about it again.

    And as far as your wish to see someone's son or daughter killed ... geez... I guess that just about tells us everything else we need to know about you.

    April 13, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  10. Darw1n

    @HUNTER – Lol, that's awesome.

    April 13, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  11. NameMorpunkt

    How many of you pro Obama bloggers receive a government paycheck?

    April 13, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Keith

    If I were to guess the intentions of our forefathers I would not think that they wanted a bunch of scared people clinging to a hand gun.. I imagine they were talking about rifles. Something that would be used to defend the country if ever invaded. Not to be carried to Walmart

    April 13, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. NOvember 2012

    MITT! All you need to do is stick with the facts...pull the blankets off obama and show America who and what he is...facts facts facts...vette the facts and use them relentlessly and honestly...and this fraud-in-chief is finished. America is not about marxist ideology or racism...and we are standing up to show you and the world.

    April 13, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. Iamnotfooled

    President Obama is fighting for peoples freedom against the big corporations and health insurance companies. He has done nothing to infringe on peoples 2nd amendment rights. (Wish he would) Guns should be left to law enforcement.Not to wanna -bes.

    April 13, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. rs

    Funny, this isn't what he said 4 years ago or while he was Governor of Massachusetts.

    April 13, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. The REAL TRUTH...

    Mittens is telling 'em what they want to hear again!!
    Watch out red states... Obama's coming, coming to take your GUNS away!! NOT !!

    April 13, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  17. once upon a horse

    so now "severe conservative:" Mitt Romney has to pander to the gun lobbey, eh? If they weren't home clinging to their guns and religion before they BETTER start if this guy gets in the White House.

    April 13, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  18. jamie

    I agree with nh citizen. Other than spewing venom try having a decent conversation about what does matter !! Who cares when where and how many guns he has. Let's listen to what's important health care, the military, education taxes, economy, jobs, our rights as being a citizen of the USA and GEEE helping those hundreds of thousands of people STILL without homes from the tornadoes, anything but rantings and ravings. I'm a stay at home mom of 2 with a husband in the military gone for a year at a time,I can run my household and another families home while the their mother or father is recovering wounded in a hospital because of their service to this nation and YOUR freedom. Or try telling a family that the cannot "bare arms" after they have had a home invasion! Why don't you try stopping for a minute and think about everything u do in a year and the freedoms u have because of our men and women soldiers and their or their families sacrifice. Then let's argue about when where and how many?? Think about the food u have everyday on ur table but u turned a blind eye to the homeless in ur town ? About ur job that comes with healthcare but there's millions of families that don't have ANY and desperately need it!! GROW UP let's talk about something that matters

    April 13, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. The REAL TRUTH...

    @NOvember 2012 – "MITT! All you need to do is stick with the facts...pull the blankets off obama and show America who and what he is...facts facts facts...vette the facts and use them relentlessly and honestly"
    There's nothing to hide.. that's why Mitt tells everyone what they want to hear! There ARE NO FACTS to support Romney's strategy against Obama. Mittens, doesn't stand a chance...

    April 13, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. rs

    Meanwhile on the "Freedom Front", Romney represents the worst of the GOP philosophy: His economic freedon comes at the cost of the majority of Americans- in other words he stands for the majority's rights to be poor; be unable to afford health care; be unable to afford higher education; have their children attend failing schools; for the elderly to live in poverty and more.
    Meanwhile, he and his wife (worth more than $250,000,000 and their trust-fund children (worth $110,000,000) won't struggle at all.
    Vote Republican, and you vote against yourself!

    April 13, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  21. Sal

    NRA = more killings and murder in the country. 

    April 13, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  22. Senor Ed

    And today's Etch-A-Mitt is firmly against gun control. Tune in tomorrow for a new Etch-A-Mitt.

    April 13, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  23. houbie

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

    Right, the Republicans can't afford another Cheney moment. Mitt is allowed to have them, but not use them.

    April 13, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  24. catwill

    Mitt accused president Obama of a war on freedom and we were the ones who were slaves, imagine that from a privileged white man and he may want to rephrase that argument. Unbelievable

    April 13, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. Richard Broderick, Jr.

    Hey Mitt, after you came back from your stay in France during the worst days of the Vietnam War draft and later became a Governor, didn't you sign an increase in GUN REGISTRATION TAX?

    April 13, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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