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. LegalizeReason

    "The assault weapons ban was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in September 1994, but it expired 10 years "

    Funny, but the world did not fall apart during those ten years because Americans could not obtain assualt weapons. Of course the gun dealers were a little miffed, but they are the ones who are behind the NRA.

    October 17, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  2. Teresa

    Gov. Romney lacks integrity. Aside from his lack of understanding about complex social issues, it is his lack of integrity that will lose him this election. Had the Republicans chosen a pro-gun, anti-choice, anti-equal pay for women, anti-reproductive justice, anti-immigrant, anti-tax revenue candidate with INTEGRITY, they could possibly win the White House. But thanks be, they didn't.

    October 17, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  3. Eric

    I expected the NRA to react yhid way... People went without assault weapons for ten years and the world kept turning. LoL!

    October 17, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  4. Christopher

    I canceled my NRA membership 20 years ago when they became a mouthpiece for right wing ideology. Despite their mission statement, they are not just about gun rights anymore!

    October 17, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  5. Frank

    This is so sad. The NRA is trying to overwrite the constitution of the United States of America and the President is trying to defend it. Give it a break NRA. WE CITIZENS are not MILITIA.

    October 17, 2012 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  6. Bob

    Name one gun control law passed under Obama? What's that. None. That's right. Gun laws have been looser under Obama than under Bush (and we've had a direct increase in shooting deaths...). So any NRA nutjob trying to justify Obama being "anti-gun" is just using that as an excuse for being a racist.

    October 17, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  7. dee reynolds

    Has gallup released the new poll numbers yet?

    October 17, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  8. Anthony in California

    If the NRA is against it, then Obama is doing something RIGHT.

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

    Dear NRA supporters,
    After four years of keeping his promise to not seek new gun legislation and you running out and buying both guns and ammo because someone was so sure he would, you are probably contemplating purchasing an AK-47. It is a very rugged, dependable rifle admittedly even if it is the weapon of choice of America's enemies. Please do us all a favor and buy an American made one, made by Americans with American parts made from American steel.

    KThnxBye

    October 17, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  10. Former Republican, now an Independent

    The NRA, once a rational organization, has become almost as fanatical as the neo-cons who are destroying my former party.

    October 17, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  11. Bilbo

    The right which gives freedom lovIng Americans their last chance in crisis to defend all others shall not be infringed.

    October 17, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  12. Name

    Are gun owners of the type that will be outlawed surprised; I think not.
    In fact I daresay that if a confiscation law was introduced both houses of what passes as Congess it would pass easily.
    That the Executive Branch does not legally need their approval still to provide an impression that we still have representational government and A Constitution with a Bill of Rights beyond executive decrees of privlege. the issue will be played to the hilt before final approval.
    While the childish games of names" Assault Weapons" in all likelihood while divisive to a small part of society, they of course can not do anything to stem the tide of eventual total weapons ban unless under direct priveledge to and by the Executive Branches Party loyals.
    The farce bring played out that the present Rulership will not remain in place shows just how controlled and corrupt our political procesd has become.
    The 2nd Amendment is no longer a viable means of anti corruption or to protect the state, Gor all the other Amendments and Civil liberties they once were to protect are no longer in place
    If they ban or confiscate. the loss of a piece of cold metal is not worth getting upset over.
    Neither is the passing of a once great nation of high Ideals.

    October 17, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  13. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The NRA has gone too far with protecting every weapon know to man. We shouldn't have assault weapons for an everyday weapon. They have gone too far.

    October 17, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  14. bpuharic

    The NRA is America's largest terrorist organization. It supports slaughter in the US equal to 3 9/11's every year.

    October 17, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  15. Hitler

    Thank you Obama, you're almost there!! Also, nice ophone sir!

    October 17, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  16. Dra

    I'm not into assault weapons but I also don't think it's a big deal to take them away. Unless Obama knows something we don't, then let the rednecks as the conspiracy nuts own what they want. They waste alot of money buying guns anyways. Alot of these folks are so worried about guns being taken away because of some government take over. Lol. In the end technology and money win wars from small to big. I'm still voting for Obama. Romney just seems like rich guy hooking up all his friends once he gets in office. I would rather of seen another republican run then maybe I would've voted for that guy.

    October 17, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  17. Alois

    The people all know by now crackhead obama is a chronic liar and cannot be trusted to be in the position he is .

    October 17, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  18. Hedred

    Get them guns Obama. You'd make h-ler proud!!

    October 17, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  19. Seth Hill

    When you shoot at a deer with a rifle, you might miss and only wound the deer. We hunters really need heavy military-grade assault weapons to make sure Bambi goes down right away, and doesn't get up.

    October 17, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  20. bigtbone

    If you think the nra is protecting your rights, you flat out admit that special interests are more powerful and important than our citizens, our govt and our constitution. They ensure nothing and have openly lied and misled people in order to sell sell sell.

    There should be 25 to life of hard labor for illegal firearm crimes. Toughen up the existing laws. The nra is irrelevant and supporting insanity in its culture. Tin foil hat conspiracy is the soupe du jour.

    October 17, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  21. N Vinny Veritas

    Forget that my mild comment below is being held "awaiting moderation"... Where are ANY comments on this "article?

    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 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  22. tammyk tammy

    NRA is nothing but paranoid white guys mostly from rural areas who think most blacks are criminals and that the Russians or the Taliban will drop by their house to take over Amurica. Ever notice that it is usually these very same paranoid white guys who go beserk and kill multiple people in public places with their huge caches of guns and self made bombs. The only non-white mass killers I can think of were the DC shooters. Generally black criminals kill other blacks and they don't drive miles ane miles out into the country to kill whites despite the discrimination you guys inflict on them. After decades of waiting for the Ruskies to show up on your doorstep, guess what? You're still waiting. We are still waiting for one example where an armed NRA member, outside of a police officer, was able to save the day and rescue the innocents from a crazy gunman. Meanwhile killings continue. It must be terrible to live with such fear and paranoia, no wonder so many of you go nutso and start spraying bullets.

    October 17, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  23. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    The NRA is an organization that does not realize we are not in the 1700's anymore. Enough said.

    October 17, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  24. DoseOfReality

    This was not a wise statement for Obama to make

    October 17, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  25. hot air warrior

    I am sick of the NRA and it's justification for guns, automatic or not. These people have a huge self image problem.

    October 17, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
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