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. Paul

    I don't think there are any NRA members voting for President Obama anyway. I have received calls from the NRA and only in right wing world would that call be defined as support for the president.

    Vote Obama/Biden 2012

    October 17, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  2. popseal

    I'm "all in" against 'Bam's covert anti-gun actions. Check out his action at the U.N. and the 'small arms treaty' which is his next move.

    October 17, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  3. Natalie

    NRA argument – guns don't kill people – people do. My argument – nuclear bombs don't kill people – people ( who "push the button" do).....so let's just allow anyone who wants to – have atomic bombs. Make sense - right?
    What the h–l does the populace need assault weapons for? To go hunting for sport? To kill the robber who might one day come to steal your tv? Come on!

    October 17, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  4. tam

    How totally nuts do you have to be to defend having assault rifles?

    October 17, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  5. Alfredo

    So..... The NRA is becoming irrelevant. They are supporting a candidate that has passed laws to restrict gun ownership, something they hated at the time, and are trying to demonize the guy who's expanded gun rights. funny

    October 17, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  6. John

    You know Obama struck a nerve when the NRA starts yapping. Obama only told the truth and the republicans don't like it. New campaign slogan. " Romney/Ryan, you know they're lyin". Romney who's been on the campaign trail since Obama took office looked stupid last night.

    October 17, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  7. Spike2014

    I'm joining the NRA tomorrow.

    October 17, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  8. Slow

    Obama's slow but steady march:

    Slowly erode our freedom to make us dependent upon government. Weaken the economy to make us need the government for work, food, and other necessities. Take away our medical choices so we end up relying on the government for health care. Weaken our constitutional rights so "we the people" cannot check the government in its course to control more and more of our lives.

    Obama is right on track.

    October 17, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  9. Ivan

    I'v got a safe full of guns ,shot guns, rifles and one hand gun,and a bb gun.I don't give my mony to the NRA,because I don't need a organization to tell me what guns I need,or should have the right to own.I right and talk directly to my elected officals about this issue,and I do not believe my rights to own a gun is ever going to be taken away from me.The NRA is owned and run by the repubs.and there agenda on guns going to be band is hogwash and should be though out with the slop.And yes I'm a labor/dem.

    October 17, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  10. Scottt01

    Just remember when you pull that lever in November, are you willing to hold off on putting food on the table waiting on a successful green business to take-off or are do you want the businesses that are ready to start hiring.

    October 17, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  11. Mchael

    The NRA is out of touch with this gun owner.

    October 17, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  12. Martha in CF

    Why shouldn't assault rifles be banned? What common ordinary American trying to have in possession a fire arm need to have an assault rifle? Like the President said, the killings going on in Chicago are from use of hand guns. Americans are allowed to have in possession guns-legally that is. You NRA people are getting your feathers tied up in a bunch. Your man Mitt wouldn't know how to shoot a gun if you put it in his hands.
    Why don't you spend your advertising funds on something productive-like helping people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 17, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  13. semaj86

    So in effect, the NRA encourages mass murders in public theaters.

    These people are dangerous animals.

    October 18, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  14. Wisconsin Bucko

    Ban assault weapons. Anyone using these to hunt wildlife is not a sportsman. Second ammendment say that everyone can carry a 200 round per minute rifle. It says the people (The states) can raise a militia. We have seen way too many cases of mentally ill persons getting their hands on powerful, automatic weapons. I do not want myself or my loved ones to be caught in the crossfire of the next suicidal maniac. "Hunting"? Give me a break!!

    October 18, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  15. Wade Tritschler

    Frankly, it just sounds like an excuse from the NRA to cover a clear GOP leaning they have had for no particular reason till now. If I were an NRA member I'd be rather annoyed at them for this as they basically burnt the bridge to one of the major parties and not for good reason.

    October 18, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  16. Concerned...

    I am a proud member of the NRA for over 3 years now. I think the point Pres. Obama was making is that the work in gun control starts at home, not with new laws and legislation.

    Both parties appear to honor the 2nd Amendment. I believe we as a organization should market ads to these communities that do not have any gun discipline. If we challenge Romney or Obama, we will end up in another civil war to protect our preferred rights.

    October 18, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  17. Moosehunter

    The NRA has blood on its hands. They are no longer a sporting club, but rather a political entity, who thinks they are above the law. Every responsible gun owner, has nothing to fear from Obama,.. but the NRA seems to miss this point. Time to muzzle these merchants of death.

    October 18, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  18. Alicia

    Bunch of yahoos that need automatic weapons to shoot deer 20 times in a row? Or is it so your kid can one day take it out the closet and shoot up a school?

    October 18, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  19. truth hurts

    I knew Obama had stepped in it when he said he wanted to ban assault rifles, which are just guns that look like their military versions. He has now kicked a hornets nest that will cost him the election. He again exposed just who he is. Obama and the marketing of him has been the most dishonest act ever perpetrated on the American people by the Democrat Party and their minions in the LSM.

    October 18, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  20. bbrooker88

    NRA–"the most draconian form of gun control – a gun ban." What a bunch of freaks. No different really from the kind of Taliban idiot who would shoot a teenage girl to keep her from going to school.

    October 18, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  21. Mike

    NRA is divisive, should use contributions to support second amendment rights, not political campaigns. Republican bias reduces bi-partisan support for common sense measures to reduce unconstitutional limitations. Won't pay to renew my membership until they use funds appropriately.

    October 18, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  22. David

    I listened to the debates and don't recall Romney actually saying he was governor of the State of Massachusetts. He kept saying "In my state....." without reference to which one. Is that yet another attempt to hide his not so conservative background?

    October 18, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  23. Mick Swagger

    Wise investors should buy up stock in gun and ammunition companies (I'm sure Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox already have). When Obama is re-elected, gun-hugging paranoids across the nation will be selling their cars, homes, etc. in order to buy all the weaponry they can get their hands on. Then they'll hunker down in their bunkers to await the arrival of the STIS* gun-confiscation strike forces. (*STIS = Storm Troopers of Islamic Socialism)

    October 18, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  24. Brian

    I guess the NRA did not notice that Romney also voiced his support for banning all automatic weapons.

    October 18, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  25. REDFIRESTORM

    game over, mr. prez

    October 18, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
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