NRA lobbyist: Ad citing Obama’s kids ‘ill advised’
January 25th, 2013
07:26 PM ET
1 year ago

NRA lobbyist: Ad citing Obama’s kids ‘ill advised’

(CNN) – Referencing President Barack Obama’s children in a recent television advertisement against gun control was not “particularly helpful,” one of the National Rifle Association’s top lobbyists said.

“I don't think it was particularly helpful, that ad,” said Jim Baker, the top federal government liaison with the NRA Institute for Legislative Action. He spoke in an interview with Reuters, the news agency said.

"I thought it ill-advised,” Baker, referring to the ad, said in the interview.

The ad, which appeared on the Sportsman Channel and was posted online, drew hearty criticism for the reference to Obama’s daughters. Describing him as an "elitist hypocrite," the narrator asks, “Are the president's kids more important than yours? Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools, when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?”

The organization has proposed what it calls a “school shield” program, which would include government offering every school nationwide an armed guard. The NRA, Obama and others have taken strong positions on gun control issues in the wake of the December 14 mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 elementary school students and several adults dead.

NRA President David Keene defended the advertisement in an appearance on CNN’s “The Situation Room,” saying, “We're not talking about the Secret Service. … What we're talking about is folks who have protections for their own children, send their kids to schools where they have protection, and then pooh-pooh the idea that the average American's children should have the same sort of protection.”

The White House blasted the spot, joining some members of both parties in criticizing it.

“Most Americans agree that a president's children should not be used as pawns in a political fight,” Press Secretary Jay Carney said. “But to go so far as to make the safety of the president's children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly.”

CNN was not able to immediately reach Baker for comment Friday.

But the Reuters report suggested Baker thought the ad could have been more effective without invoking Obama’s children.

"I think the ad could have made a good point, if it talked about the need for increased school security, without making the point using the president's children," he said.

Reuters reported that Baker voiced concerns about the ad, and that he responded to a question about whether those concerns were heard by saying, "Believe it or not, there are occasionally differences of opinion in this building."

Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the NRA, responded to the interview saying, “Differences of opinion are common to organizations throughout the country, from the White House to every corporation and association.

“Where there is no disagreement, however, is with NRA's belief that every child in America should be safe,” Arulanandam continued. “The president’s children are protected at their school – and they should be. The point of the NRA's recent ad is that the rest of our children should be protected at their schools as well.”

The NRA began running the ad several days after a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden, his gun violence task force, and other gun rights groups. Baker represented the NRA at that meeting.

After the meeting, the group issued a statement saying, “We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment. While claiming that no policy proposals would be “prejudged,” this Task Force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners - honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans. It is unfortunate that this Administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation's most pressing problems.”

– CNN’s Todd Sperry, Ashley Killough, Kevin Bohn and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report


Filed under: Gun control • NRA • President Obama
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Richard Wilcoxen

    That's a real nice speech Jim Baker, however Congress can't enforce the laws that are on the books; how are they going to enforce new laws? It's impossible! The system is broken on the street not in the Halls of Washington and until the NRA; the F.BI. ; The A.T.F. ; the Secret Service; the N.S.A. ; Congress; and the Citizens of this country recognize that fact no one is safe!

    January 25, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  2. Larry L

    That ad reinforced my belief the N.R.A. has no place at the table as we try to form rational policies. They have no leaders capable of making a responsible contribution.

    January 25, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  3. kmac

    Gun people need to abandon the argument of the 2nd Amendment. The government outlawed switch blades and its been upheld so eventually some gun ban will be upheld. What you boys need to do is claim 1st Amendment rights and freedom of religion. You worship guns and ammo. A Baptist Church in Dumas Texas (north of Amarillo) is urging all its members to get armed and is holding concelled gun classes in the church to further that concept. Seems Jesus said "turn the other cheek and draw from the hip" most people didn't know the draw part but they found it.

    January 25, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  4. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    "ill advised"? YA THINK?

    January 25, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  5. Ancient Texan

    The administration's all out assault on the second admendment is not an exceptionally smart approach to curtailing violence either. It justified the sharp increase in the purchase of guns after the President was elected and the purchasers are now saying "told you so".

    January 25, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  6. MaryM

    Yep, pretty dumb NRA. President H.W. Bush (papa Bush) turned in his NRA membership because of what Wayne LaPierre said way back when H.W. Bush was President of the U.S.. NRA leadership, get rid of LaPierre or he will destroy your organization just like the Tea Party destroyed the GOP.

    January 25, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  7. The REAL TRUTH...

    Of course it was ill-advised, but then the likes of such RW groups has no respect for this President. They have made that clear in many ways.

    January 25, 2013 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  8. tony

    Never trip while carrying a loaded gun. If you know you trip a lot, then a gun is probably a bad idea altogether.

    January 25, 2013 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  9. Ben

    Sensable gun control is not an attack on 2nd amendment. Unfortunately, the NRA is playing on the fear of its members. The truth is that no one need an assert weapon to hunt or do whatever you need to do that is legal. Every year, new laws guiding our driving are put in place. No one call it an attack on drivers right. Why does the NRA think that their product which undoubtedly are met for killing should not be better controlled. Americans need to tell the NRA that their safety is not more important than the lives of our kids.

    January 25, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  10. J.V.Hodgson

    What the NRA rely on is the fact that this type of legislation takes years to have any meaningful effect as the US will not and cannot do what Australia did which was a buy back of all assault rifles. The UK just banned guns after dumblane and it had immediate effects on gun death reduction. The UK does not have gang kids running around with guns as its too difficuly and far to expensive to get one illegally.
    However, what gets to me most is that when you get comments from gun rights people 90 % either point to cars that kill drunk drivers etc or worse still get totally uncivil in thier comments.
    And how the NRA can believe that arming every american with a weapon or multiple weapons = a well regulated militia defeats me.
    Regards,
    Hodgson

    January 25, 2013 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  11. Ben

    NRA's profit is not more important than the lives of our kids.

    January 25, 2013 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  12. @Marita

    What's wrong with stating the facts? – @Marita.

    January 25, 2013 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  13. F.Miller

    President Obama has been pushing his unconstitutional political agendas since he came into office. His political agendas have not been known by the people. With his latest push for gun control, what if there are going to be more extreme pushes in the future and the president wants to take away American's firearms because he fears his next wave of political agendas may incite a revolution or civil war. Before you discredit my comment, just think about it for a moment and it really won't seem far-fetched.

    January 25, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  14. Lisa

    Such pure BS! Freakin' unbelievable.

    January 26, 2013 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  15. cs

    Fascinating that an organization (NRA) that has traditionally had incredible influence on the Republican party, incredible loyalty from Republican congressmen, and blind loyalty from the sycophantic lap dogs in the Tea Party feels that expanding government is the right solution to protecting our children. The NRA is suggesting that the "government" should be offering every school an armed guard. Really? OK Tea Party loyalists, what do you think about that great idea? The government shouldn't infringe on your archaic second amendment rights; but, it is justifiable for the NRA to advocate for more government involvement in the safety of our children. Sounds like an expansion of government to me. Hypocrisy?

    January 26, 2013 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  16. Francisco DeCastro

    My kids don't have extremists out there like some crazy people and terrorists in the country and people around the world who considers them a target. Give me a break. Stop comparing apple and oranges. If you want to think like that, then we should have police officers on every street, in front of every house, in front of every single store, inside our cars. Being randomly attacked by someone, is different then those that have organizations and high level plans to kill the president's kids. They are a constant target, not a random target.

    This is just apple and oranges, end of discussion. I don't see how someone even sees this as reasonable. And on top of that, they make an ad about it. That's so embarrassing.

    January 26, 2013 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  17. We all know

    that the Presidents children are not more important, it's that they are more famous and therefore more at risk. They attend a school that specializes in that.

    January 26, 2013 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  18. Thomas

    What do the NRA Lobby and the Tobacco Lobby have in common ?

    January 26, 2013 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  19. Rogue351

    Actually, yes they are. The presidents children are a national security responsibility. The fact that the NRA cannot see that shows just how narrow minded they really are. Additionally, the NRA should be ashamed of involving the presidents family. Have some respect rather you agree with the president or not. Obama is the president of the United States of America. He was elected by popular vote as well as electoral. Disagree all you want but respect the office and the mans family. If the NRA has moved so far past the point of respecting the office you have to question if they really have your families best interest in mind. If the NRA can and will not respect the Presidents family why on earth would you expect them to care at all about yours.

    January 26, 2013 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  20. Rob Barr

    omg!!!! NRA, For real? Get out of your mountains please!

    January 26, 2013 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  21. Tracy

    Absolutely they are more important than mine! Yours too!

    January 26, 2013 04:27 am at 4:27 am |
  22. Bryan

    I am a member of the NRA, and I also believe that the point made by the ad could have been made without mentioning the president's children specifically. That said, the president must understand that in politics, sometimes your family becomes fair game for the opposition, as Ross Perot found out during his first run at the oval office.

    January 26, 2013 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  23. Name lynn

    people you put your kids on tv for the gun control, yours kids smarter than obama kids also yours kids will make people happy an the judge will agree with your kids. A the commericals will help the nra and the gun laws go ahead complainters the people is ready to see your kids on tv ads.

    January 26, 2013 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  24. Namejc

    but it's okay for Obama to parade our children on stage and have them read letters that agree with his antigun agenda I will bet those letters were carfully chosen,, what's funny is Adolf Hitler did the same thing in 1938 to band guns surround himself with children and stated it was because of the children we need a gun ban..... history always repeats itself

    January 26, 2013 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  25. Confused

    So, from what I gather, the POTUS can use children as props in the background when he is signing papers, but if another entity does the same thing, and makes mention the presidents kids, with no direct intent of harm or malpurpose (from what I have seen), it is wrong? Sounds like censorship from those who dont agree with the opinion, to me.

    January 26, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
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