NRA sharpens political attack on Obama
October 17th, 2012
06:39 PM ET
2 years ago

NRA sharpens political attack on Obama

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama's vow Tuesday to try and ban assault weapons prompted the National Rifle Association to immediately modify its political advertising campaign against Obama in seven toss-up states.

The NRA is spending $1.5 million on television commercials in Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin and an additional $800,000 on online ads in the aforementioned states as well as Colorado, Iowa and Nevada each week, an NRA official tells CNN. The initial ads featured a broad theme that blamed Obama for the country's debt, stated the nation's sovereignty was threatened and warned that people's rights were being attacked, including the Second Amendment during his presidency.

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But the NRA decided to focus the new ad campaign entirely on the people's rights to defend themselves after Obama mentioned a ban on assault weapons during the second presidential debate.

"What I'm trying to do is to get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally," Obama said in response to an audience question about assault weapons. "Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced. But part of it is also looking at other sources of the violence. Because frankly, in my home town of Chicago, there's an awful lot of violence and they're not using AK-47s. They're using cheap hand guns."

The NRA, which endorsed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney earlier this month, has been very vocal about trying to defeat Obama in November.

"Some gun owners took Obama at his word four years ago, when he said he wouldn't take their guns away," said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. "So, after years of paying lip service to the Second Amendment, President Obama finally let it slip last night that he supports the most draconian form of gun control – a gun ban."

The new commercial charges that Obama is jeopardizing people's rights to defend themselves and specifically mentions the president's nominations to the Supreme Court - Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

"Obama put two justices on the Supreme Court, who threaten our right to self defense," the ad's narrator says.

The assault weapons ban was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in September 1994, but it expired 10 years later during President George W. Bush's first term in office.

When Romney was asked about assault weapons during the debate, he repeated that he is against instituting any new gun laws.

"I'm not in favor of new pieces of legislation on guns and taking guns away or making certain guns illegal," he said.

When asked why he no longer supports an assault weapons ban after signing one into law as governor of Massachusetts, Romney said the law was a compromise between pro- and anti-gun advocates.

"In my state, the pro-gun folks and the anti-gun folks came together and put together a piece of legislation," Romney said. "And it's referred to as an assault weapon ban, but it had, at the signing of the bill, both the pro-gun and the anti-gun people came together, because it provided opportunities for both that both wanted."

In addition to the NRA's new ad campaign against Obama, the organization has hired political operatives to work in 13 states and expects to have reached 50 million homes through phone calls and direct mail by Election Day. The NRA is expected to spend between $30-$40 million on this election.

"NRA has an effective strategy with a heavy emphasis on our ground game," Cox said. "We will be working overtime to mobilize the gun vote in every state but paying very close attention and marshalling extra resources in key states."

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Filed under: 2012 • Ads • NRA • President Obama • Presidential Debates
soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. ebay pro

    "you know the president plans to take your guns because he hasn't yet tried to take your guns...." wow. how in the world are those nra nutjobs allowed to have drivers licenses let a lone actual fire arms?

    October 17, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  2. NameA Lifetime of Hard Work

    All of this effort against a President who has specically and personally expanded gun rights.
    Talk about pushing people to vote against their own interests !
    What is the REAL reason organizations & people who are pro-gun are against President Obama ?

    October 17, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  3. rs

    So, there are no legislative recommendations on the part of the President vis-a-vis guns or gun control; he has verbally affirmed his belief in the 2nd Amendment, and yet the NRA is throwing their support behind the candidate that once signed an assault weapons ban (appropriately), and bought his "life time" membership in the NRA after-the-fact.
    Wayne La Pierre is one sick dude!

    October 17, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  4. N Vinny Veritas

    President Obama has specifically [and personally through directives] only expanded gun rights.
    What is the REAL reason the NRA and their enthusiasts are working so hard against him?

    October 17, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  5. Confused

    Its interesting that the NRA will support Romney, who actually signed gun bans into law, and oppose President Obama, who has done nothing to restrict gun ownership. Do they want gun bans?

    October 17, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  6. Melo-D

    The NRA is pathetic. I love guns. I hate the people that push their agenda. America has more guns than any other nation on earth. My God what does the NRA want? As soon as your child is born they get a glock for the crib??

    October 17, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  7. T'sah from Virginia

    ►"And it's referred to as an assault weapon ban, but it had, at the signing of the bill, both the pro-gun and the anti-gun people came together, because it provided opportunities for both that both wanted."◄

    Romney is so full of MALARKEY!!! So was the gun ban RIGHT or WRONG – If it was RIGHT, that proves both sides can get together and do things RIGHT – If it was WRONG, then why did both sides get together to do something WRONG!!! We do not need ASSAULT RIFLES in anyone's hands but the military!!!

    Romney flips so much he forgets what he said yesterday and then forgot he said it when it is brought up tomorrow.

    Obama/Biden 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!

    October 17, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  8. Rick from L.A.

    Ak-47's do not have a value for a hunter. Ar-15's however is a beautiful tool for a game hunter. Very precise, does not evicerate the meat. Easy to handle for even novice hunters. If Obama get's rid of AK's that's ok, go after my bushmaster 223 and it's time for change.

    October 17, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  9. Thomas

    My wish for every Jerk in the NRA who supports having the right to own an assault weapon is that there child is accidentally shot with a 5 round burst . I don't really mean that . Law enforcement doesn't want them on the streets , most people don't want them around. Yet the nut jobs that feel the need to have overweening over kill with firepower will never grow up.

    Go move to the tribal territories , walk around like a backwoods Martian with a AK 47 and a few bandalers . I'm sure the similarities are negotiable between the Taliban and the Tea Party .

    This is 2012 , not 1776 !

    October 17, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  10. Thomas

    NRA , please we need Teflon jacketed rounds , armor perching rounds , depleted uranium hollow points , 200 round clips, what about grenade launchers .

    And this is just for Deer season !

    October 17, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  11. NameRay

    The NRA is infested with mindless extremists to a greater degree than the Republican Party. Both these groups are bound to become extinct as the American become more enlightened.

    October 17, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  12. Thomas

    Did anybody ever free Charlton Heston from being buried with his favorite at M14 ?

    NRA. ... From My Cold Dead Hands

    Charlton is dead , and he's free at last , free at last .

    He's in Heaven with Dr. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy now . I'm sure he no longer needs his Assault Weapon .

    October 17, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  13. dewed

    Isn't this the article where people say "Obama hasn't tried to take my guns or your guns, so relax!" ?

    October 17, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  14. Dan5404

    Obama was asked a question about assault weapons, and that's why he answered. Anyone in his right mind knows they only have one purpose: to kill people, and in many cases, lots of people. There is no reason on Earth to have them available in this country.The self-defense argument may be OK for handguns, but the NRA is rabid about anyone, anytime owning whatever deadly weapon they desire, with no restrictions. . Even the guns kept for self defense are very often involved in deadly accidents among children or family members in domestic violence disputes. The idea that many of those extremist rednecks, skinheads and neo-Nazis actually hate their own government more than any external enemy. We kill ourselves more in this country every year than in countries where wars are going on.

    October 17, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  15. Dave in Arizona

    Anyone who thinks you need an assault rifle for home defense clearly has no idea how to defend their home.

    October 17, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  16. Denny

    The NRA seems to spend more time and money in politics than in promoting gun safety and sportsmanship...

    October 17, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  17. Ken

    I would rather give up my citizenship that my guns. So come and get it Barack Hussein Obama

    October 17, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  18. JCR

    Do not have a problem continuing my support of gun ownership although no longer support the NRA and gave up my membership years ago. Got tired of hearing the sky is falling all the time. Yes gun ownership is in jeopordy during any election, whether at the state or federal level. The NRA needs to do a better job of sitting down at the table to discuss all the issues and the facts at hand and believe if they took the time to do so, they would likely have better support from the public at large than they do now. We have a real problem in America with daily gun violence that needs to be addressed by at the table with both pro and anti-gun advocates. Have to ask, if the NRA has $30-40 million to spend on this election, wouldn't that money be better spent educating the American public on the benefits of Honest Gun Ownership and why we need to do a better job of getting the guns off the street from those who use them for criminal means?

    October 17, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  19. Jay

    I am not a big NRA fan but I do support the 2nd amendment and own numerous firearms including assult rifles. The issue is the assult rifle ban that the democrats put into place did absoluetly nothing to stop gun violence. The democrats that passed the bill admitted they did not own firearms nor did they even know how to load an assult rifle yet they passed a bill banning them. This is why most were voted out of office. If I have a 15 round semi-automatic Glock compaired to an assult rifle ban limit of only 10 rounds it makes no difference. People who want to shoot other people and commit crimes will do so and to say we need a ban is foolish. Thousands of people own assult rifles in the U.S. but if one person uses one to murder then there should be a ban? Should we also ban fertilizer so people can't make bombs? How about automobiles since they kill far more than guns ever will. This is what I want to know. Does Obama own a gun? Has he ever owned a gun? Has he ever shot an assult rifle? People who are against assult rifles and gun ownership in most cases have never shot or owned a firearm. Obama just lost the support of most gun owners in America. I understand he says guns are ok for hunting but doesn't understand why does someone needs an assult rifle? I use my assult rifle for hunting, target shooting and home defense. Using the president's logic, we should ban all cars that go over the speed limit too because why does someone need a corvette that goes over 100mph? History has shown that gun ownership is not the problem but rather the failure to enforce current gun laws already on the books. Today a woman said she agreed with Obama as she didn't understand why someone would need an assult rifle with so much ammo. Again, she has no understanding of firearms nor does she understand that assult rifles don't make up even 5% of the crimes in America. It just sounds good so uninformed people who have never owned guns support the idea while the millions who own guns know better. Obama made a huge mistake by saying he supported an assult weapons ban but I do give him credit for standing up for what he believes regardless of how misguided it may be.

    October 17, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  20. Ooooh, the NRA is "on the attack" - big f'ing deal

    Nobody really cares what the NRA thinks anymore. They have become as as irrelevant as their draft dodging, pants crapping, spokes person Ted Nugent.

    October 17, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  21. Dan5404

    Obama was asked a question about assault weapons, and that's why he answered. Anyone in his right mind knows they only have one purpose: to kill people, and in many cases, lots of people. There is no reason on Earth to have them available in this country.The self-defense argument may be OK for handguns, but the NRA is rabid about anyone, anytime owning whatever deadly weapon they desire, with no restrictions. . Even the guns kept for self defense are very often involved in deadly accidents among children or family members in domestic violence disputes. The idea that many of those extremist rednecks, skinheads and neo-Nazis actually hate their own government more than any external enemy is a sad comment on the macho personna that exists among extremist groups in our country. As far as I'm concerned, many of them are the same as Jihadist terrorists.. We kill ourselves more in this country every year than in countries where wars are going on.
    Those who think they could effectively defeat an invasion of the US by China or whoever they consider to be the enemy are delusional. They would be wiped out by missiles, bombs, and long-distance attacks before they could even fire their weapons.

    October 17, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  22. Name

    This attack should be on Mitt Dumney because he's the one said single mothers are the onrs with killers & murders...

    October 17, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  23. Marie MD

    Not going to work from my cold dead hands. I guess heston is already dust so so much for his pitch.
    The number of gun owners in the US compared to the whole population is small. Most of those rednecks are already going to vote for the twit so it's not like the President needs their votes.
    I wonder if the nrs knows that the twit was against guns before he who red himself to them at their killing convention.

    October 17, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  24. mirrorlogic

    NRA - Necon Republican A's...Romney doesn't even know the current law on automatic weapons. Shameful when stupidity wins over fools.

    October 17, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  25. David Mariscal

    And this is why I'm no longer a NRA member. They've stepped so far outside of their base issue (gun ownership) and have become heavily politicized in many issues. While I was comfortable having them represent me regarding the second amendment I am not comfortable with them attempting to tie me into other causes. I wish they'd stick to what they're good at and stay out of the rest.

    October 17, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
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