September 21st, 2007
04:25 PM ET
16 years ago

Protesters interrupt McCain at NRA

McCain's speech to the NRA was interrupted by war protesters. 

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. John McCain took a swipe Friday at those demanding that U.S. troops return from Iraq, saying, "We won't choose to lose."

After two members of the anti-war group Code Pink interrupted McCain's speech to the National Rifle Association, the Arizona Republican said, "Well, my friends, we beat you yesterday. We beat you the day before. We'll beat you today and we'll beat you tomorrow. We won't choose to lose. We won't choose to lose this conflict."

McCain seemed to address both the protestors and supporters of amendments offered by Senate Democrats this week that would have either cut funding for the war or called for a timetable for withdrawing troops in Iraq. All of the amendments either failed to get a majority or the 60 votes required by Senate rules to proceed in the face of a GOP filibuster.

The protesters were escorted out of the room after the disruption.

McCain was the first of four presidential candidate to address the NRA in person and the first to take a swipe at two GOP rivals.

"A number of big city mayors decided it was more important to blame the manufacturers of a legal product than it was to control crime in their own cities," said McCain, in a veiled attack on Rudy Giulaini, who initiated a lawsuit against gun manufacturers when he was mayor of New York.

McCain went on to attack former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and the former governor's recent admission that he likes to hunt "small varmints."

"If you show your bona fides by hunting ducks or varmints or quail it makes up for support of gun control," said McCain. "This myth overlooks a fundamental truth, the Second Amendment is not about hunting, it's about freedom."

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani also spoke at the event. Giuliani may have faced the most resistance from the group because of the lawsuit.

In his speech, Giuliani addressed those differences head on, saying, "There are probably a few things we disagree about. But there are many more things that we have in common."

Former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tennessee, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee also addressed the crowd and both touched on long-held beliefs in Second Amendment rights.

Thompson told the NRA audience that his position on gun control has not changed since his first days as senator.

"I will say the same things that I have been saying since 1994 and that I say in New Hampshire and what I say in Florida and all parts in between," Thompson said. "My philosophy does not depend on my geography and I thought it was time I laid down that marker early on."

Huckabee had a similar sentiment, telling the audience that he isn't a new member of the NRA, "I didn't just join last year. I've been a part of the organization for a while. Not only am I a member, but my wife is as well."

- CNN Producer Xuan Thai

Filed under: NRA • Presidential Candidates
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Andrew, Jakarta, indonesia

    Forgive my naivete, but I thought the NRA was the "National Rap Association". Or maybe there is no difference in the membership anymore.

    September 21, 2007 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  2. Donald Ancell

    I am tired of the bashing that the NRA receives by ignorant, uninformed people. The NRA has done more for this country than all you anti-gun complainers have. Check the facts for yourself, everywhere that trained law abiding citizens have the right to own and conceal-carry weapons there is less crime than where guns are outlawed. The NRA stands for our freedoms and our safety. Check out the facts before you complain or protest.

    September 21, 2007 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  3. TR Cat. Morton, Texas

    When I was young and in Viet Nam I though like everyone else it was an honorably thing and a good thing, we were fighting communism over there so we wouldn't have to fight it over here. Such bunk, if we had never went to Nam there wouldn't have been the bloodbath there was when we left, same applies to Iraq, we have no business over there and it is a shame that young people are so easily brainwashed. Of course that is why the military wants young people they haven't learned to think and the military discourages any kind of thinging that disagrees with theirs. On the subject of guns, I have a .22 rifle that I murder tin cans with and an shot gun I like to shoot clay pigeons with. I had enough killing living things in Nam to last me for the rest of my life. Why in the name of common sense doesn't anyone need an assualt rifle for? If they can demonstrate a legimate need for one then maybe they should be able to have one. A single shot rifle will shoot a hole in almost any tin can.

    September 22, 2007 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  4. c.t, tampa,fl

    anyone who believes we shouldn't have the right to have a gun(s) should be be deported to an island , then call the prez of iran and tell him to drop the nukes there!!!

    September 22, 2007 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  5. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Training the troops to kick down doors and take guns away from Iraqis is just practice for doing it here for the ATF.Wake up NRA,bush and the republicans are not on your side.They are the enemy of freedom,not the protectors.As for outlawing guns,Only a long gun is free from regulations where I live,and we all have them.It's a necessity in rural areas,like a wrench or pliers,a tool of country life.It's the phony war of fascism on America that threatens the 2nd amendment,the republican war on America.Democrats stand for our constitution unlike the reds.

    September 22, 2007 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  6. Wes, California

    Hey "Arizona"

    Thanks for the sarcasm, stereotyping, and, most of all, your right(eous)-wing indignations on your various posts. Anyhow, the word is stupid, not "stuoid." But I understand, you and Ted Nugent have probably been out all day hunting furry, four-legged creatures and your trigger finger is a little sore.

    You're the one missing the point: alcohol is a vice of criminals, NOT A TOOL, so why are you comparing the two? Whenever the subject of gun control comes up, the NRA crowd immediately talk about storm troopers "banging down doors to take our guns away." Contrary to what you may think, I never said I wasn't in favor of the second amendment. Let me extend the olive branch, Dan, and offer you this as a compromise: Give (or sell–just to make the gun makers happy) every man and woman in this country a six-shooter on their 16th birthday. Of course, if they need more than six bullets in a lifetime, they don't deserve a gun anyway because they're either criminals or have terrible aim. (in which case, they shouldn't have a gun anyway).

    Could you live with that???

    September 22, 2007 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  7. Moe, NY

    "We won't choose to lose this conflict." Mr. McCain this is not a is war and, I might add a war where American's are not wanted. Please pay attention to what the people of Iraq are telling us (America)...get out...we don't want you! Stop pushing GWB's war agenda for oil. Haven't you republicans earned enough money off of this war? ENOUGH!

    September 22, 2007 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  8. O.J. Las Vegas, NV

    HA! Coincidence: Protestors Interrupt McCain giving NRA speech; Rudy's Wife Interrupts him giving NRA speech.

    Personally, I think it was the same protestors who interrupted McCain who decided to call Rudy in the middle of his speech on the cell phone.

    September 22, 2007 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  9. Mindy, Gettysburg, PA

    The second amendment protects citizen rights in case the country is invaded or taken over politically. Wouldn't we want to protect our lives, families, land and freedom? Or would you rather sit aside...

    September 22, 2007 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  10. B. Eckert, Norvell, Michigan

    I am a member of the NRA. I am also a member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Believe me we are not a bunch of Elmer Fudds. And we have gone to court and won time after time after time. As for Iraq, and the Middle East I was there in the 70's and early eighties, and trust me the people doing the killing do not have a thing in common with you never been anywhere left leaning war activists. If we do not stop them now you will be losing your heads in the coming years because they'd as soon kill you as look at you. Unless of course you want to convert to their brand of islam which is NO rights for women NO music by your favorite artists, NO Movies, NO Internet. Despite all of this I won't vote for Mccain either. I'm a vet and he along with other key senators and congressmen abandoned veterans with the Gramm/Rudmann deficit reduction act. If you don't know what it is look it up. It's funny how this country NEEDS IT"S VETERANS AND THEN WHEN THE DANGER IS PAST WE CONVIENTLY THROW THEM AWAY. Thompson is my man.

    September 22, 2007 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  11. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    You stop them by not creating them.Killing theocratic looneys only makes more looneys.If we pulled out our troops and resources they'd crumble into a desperate famine stricken mess.What kind of mental midget would endorse the creation of mindless suicidal crusaders against our own country?Never been anywhere war activists need not look further than these posts to see that they're right and their detractors are mentally retarded.This war is what created this threat so let's use intelligence to eliminate it.I'm sure if we occupied every religious site in Iraq and held them hostage until the Iraqi's wrote a suitable constitution that provides them the right to practice the religion of their choice,they'd step up right away to get their intellectual laziness back.

    September 22, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. Van Raleigh, NC

    Ask the police in Miami if that city is safer with free access to automatic assault weapons. All freedoms have some limit (can't shout fire in a crowded theater). We should neither ban guns altogether nor allow unfettered access to nuclear weapons. We need to find a reasonable space in between those extremes.

    "We have to fight them over there so they won't come over here". What simple-minded crud. We are more hated by the world and less safe due to Iraq. Saddam never bombed us. Most of the 9/11 attackers were Saudis! Bush cites Iran, Iraq, and South Korea as the axis of evil–and then invades the only one of the three that doesn't have WMDs.

    We can't battle international terrorism by occupying a single country. Our military is not being directed to do anything in Iraq to prevent international terrorists from coming here. We needed to take action in Afghanistan and post our military strategically to battle terrorist hot spots around the globe. Instead we poured our precious resources into a country we already had hemmed in. Bush & crew turned Iraq into a hatchery for REGIONAL terrorists, and they haven't shown the judgment required to fix the problem they exasperated. "More of the same" has never been a fix for a failed philosophy and strategy.

    If we really supported our troops then we'd deploy them where they can be most effectiv–instead of risking them needlessly in no-win nation-building experiments. Democracy is a home grown delicacy. It took us nearly 2 centuries to attain full democracy in the United States. Maybe Iraq can do in 2 decades.

    September 22, 2007 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  13. Mark Covina, Calif.

    Save America
    Have your Cat, Dog and Liberal
    spayed & Neutered TODAY.
    When the < 9.0 Earthquake hits Calif. I will be ok. NRA Member
    Please if you hate guns put a sign on your home stating so. Owner is unarmed

    September 22, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. Bob, San Francisco, CA


    Save America
    Have your Cat, Dog and Liberal
    spayed & Neutered TODAY.
    When the Posted By Mark Covina, Calif

    Another example of the need for educational reform. Thanks for the thoughtful comments there,Mark.

    September 22, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. Matt, Chico, CA

    Dan from Chandler

    As a CA resident, I could not agree more with what you have said about our insane gun laws. Now I see why my Dad moved to Mesa

    September 22, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. Adam, Syracuse NY

    It funny how these people who say that a population with small arms can not defeat the superior military might of the United States are the same people who say we have lost the war in Iraq. That is a contradiction of ones own logic right there. If we have lost the war in Iraq, then a population armed with primitive explosive and small arms can defeat the vast superior military might of the U.S. If that armed population can not win then how have we "lost" the war?
    Also, has anyone looked into the federal laws reguarding militia? Outside of the nationalized milita (read the military reserves – which were usurped from the individual states) every male citizen aged eighteen or older is a reserve member of the United States militia.

    September 22, 2007 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  17. Phil Kiver Manassas VA

    Code pink are the ones that are nuts. Democrats and there followers cannot surrender even with a majority. They want to surrender faster than a french border guard wearing running sures and holding a coupon for smokes!

    September 22, 2007 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  18. Steve, Billings, MT

    I like to shoot. I am going to shoot tomorrow morning. I have 5 different loads worked up with 140 grain nosler accubonds in a .270. A pro-NRA candidate gets my vote.

    September 22, 2007 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  19. Joe denver, co

    Ron Paul 2008! Eliminate the Federal Reserve and the IRS and give the people Real Freedom!

    September 22, 2007 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  20. Dave, Phoenix, Arizona

    This is a perfect example of why patriotic Americans need guns – to protect themselves from crazy terrorist sympathizers like code pink and their fans posting comments here. Thank God Senator McCain understands this.

    September 22, 2007 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Uhmmm, no contradiction. These are apples and oranges. With the "war" in Iraq we're trying to: 1) defeat local insurgents half way around the world (therefore somehow defeating international terrorists who are already based in locations around the globe) 2) Create a new democracy (which typically takes decades to establish) 3) Reform the political process of an entire region with a 6 thousand year history of hatred and unrest. What's flawed and defeated is our philosophy and theory of "fixing" the region.

    In the case of a bunch of yahoo traitors in the United States attempting to overthrow our government, our military would be: 1) Playing on our home field. 2)Able to prevent neighboring countries from supplying the traitors. 3)Most importantly, be highly motivated to fight an enemy attacking us on our home soil. If you disagree, feel free to take your chances acting a fool outside a federal building with your small arms. You might want to first check with M.O.V.E and the Branch Davidians.

    Besides, We've already won the war in Iraq. The war in Iraq was a route. We can't win the peace because ultimately it's the Iraqi's responsibility. Who helped us work out most of the kinks in our still evolving democracy? We spent a couple centuries pushing through it because ultimately enough of us thought it was important to make it happen.

    No one can establish a permanent democracy except the people who live there. We can help temporarily, but they have to take the lead. Otherwise we invite dependency and soon thereafter contempt. Don't believe this? Consider that after 50 years in Korea, the President of Korea thanks us for the sacrifice of our men and women by asking why Bush won't end the Korean War!

    September 23, 2007 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  22. Dan, Chandler, AZ

    Hey Wes, CA

    The comparison of alcohol vs gun laws seems valid to me because:

    Guns laws are passed to prevent deaths related to guns (tool), right?

    Why wouldn't people professing to want to save lives attack an available tool (alcohol) that causes many more deaths than guns???

    Why not sue the alcohol companies like some see fit to sue the gun manufacturers? You sue the bar owners don't you? Maybe you think the gun stores should be on the list?

    I'm sure you won't have trouble finding a CA politician to take up the cause. New laws solve everything or maybe a new government agency will solve it.

    If you read the NRA literature, you'd see how many crimes are prevented every day by legal gun owners but the liberal press won't report the majority of those.

    So, guns kill less and save some while alcohol kills many more and saves ???

    Why can't you see that? Or are those new CA gun laws clouding your view?

    FYI, Ted says hello. And we use bows.
    It's called "wildlife management".
    Would you prefer they just poison them when their populations can't be supported by there terrain?

    September 23, 2007 05:08 am at 5:08 am |
  23. GHMcNealus, Rochester NY

    "We beat you..." BLAH BLAH BLAH

    Senator McCain, you are a bully. Grow up.

    70% of us want the war over and the troops home NOW.

    September 23, 2007 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  24. Brianna Webb, McEwen, TN

    As one who boasts supposrting our troops I sure wonder why you would not help Seaman Apprentive Webb when he came to you begging for your help. How can you watch over the troops overseas when you won't even help one still on American soil? Praise God for Senator Clinton the only one who has both the courage and the integrity to run this country the way our founding fathers imagined it.

    September 23, 2007 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
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