April 13th, 2012
03:15 PM ET
9 years ago

Romney NRA speech marks general election kick-off, advisers say

St. Louis, Missouri (CNN) - Mitt Romney fired off on the Obama White House while speaking at the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting in St. Louis on Friday, tearing into the president for what he called the administration's attack on freedom.

"The right to bear arms is so plainly stated, so unambiguous, that liberals have a hard time challenging it directly. Instead, they've been employing every imaginable ploy to restrict it," he said.

His speech marks the launch of the general election campaign against the president, his advisers said Friday.

"This, is in our view, is the beginning of crystallizing for voters the choice that they are going to have in the fall between a big government liberal, represented by Barack Obama, and somebody who believes in the freedoms which are an essential part of our Constitution, which are consistent with our founders, and that would be Mitt Romney," said a senior adviser to Romney who briefed reporters before the speech but would only speak under the condition of anonymity.

The NRA speech is the first in a series of speeches that Romney will deliver in the coming months to "clearly define the choice in this race."

The adviser would not announce dates and topics for the future speeches.

Though Romney spoke before an audience of gun enthusiasts, a constituency he has awkwardly courted over the years, his remarks focused not just on Second Amendment rights.

Instead, he framed his remarks in the broader context of the Constitution and accused President Obama of attacking "economic freedom, religious freedom, and personal freedom."

"This President is moving us away from our Founders' vision," Romney said. "Instead of limited government, he is leading us toward limited freedom and limited opportunity."

Asked which specific gun rights the president has abridged since taking office, a Romney adviser would not say, but pointed to the Justice Department's handling of the "Fast and Furious" scandal and "the way in which that was used to provide cover for potential efforts to restrict Second Amendment rights."

The advisers were also asked to elaborate on two shotguns that Romney now owns.

The former Massachusetts governor announced in February that he owns the guns, but his campaign offered few details on when he acquired them or where they are kept.

"I am not going to disclose where those are kept for safety an security reasons," one Romney adviser said.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • NRA
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. Easy-Pushover

    The only ones that need to be concerned about law abiding citizens having defensive weapons are the criminals and a government elite that know an armed citizenry will not be easy pushovers.

    April 13, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |

    "The right to bear arms is so plainly stated, so unambiguous, that liberals have a hard time challenging it directly. Instead, they've been employing every imaginable ploy to restrict it,"

    uhmmmm, no we are not.

    April 13, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. jesse james. take them to street and shoot them like the dogs they are

    Mitt romney lies lies lies lies . No plans for the country . Only bashes the pres. Keep plans till after election. Like buying a cat in a bag

    April 13, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  4. Curt

    When are Americans going to get it. The right to bear arms was decided hundreds of years ago so people could protect themselves against foreign invasion. I'am sure the forefathers did not mean every nutbar should have the right to have a gun. Lets remember we have police forces and a highly capable military to protect us. Considering the U.S. has probably one of the highest murder rates per capita of any so called developed country how can any sane logical person not see that the lax gun control is the reason for this. Also sad that the NRA is so powerful, most politicians whimper around them. Seems to me that at one time women couldn't vote and slavery was allowed by the forefathers. Times change. The incident in Florida with Trayvon Martin is just a prime example of what happens when untrained people are allowed to carry weapons. No doubt in my mind that if Zimmerman had waited for the police to show up and an officer handled the situation Martin would still be alive. How many more shootings like that and mass shootings have to occur before something is done.

    April 13, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. MaryM

    @easy, really, ask George Zimmerman about carrying weapons

    April 13, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. NotFooledByDistractions

    Romney is such a freakin' phoney – how does he stand upright without a spine?

    April 13, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. San Jose, CA

    Mitt Romney is going to be the next president if he picks a minority American running mate. A woman would help him win too.
    Susana Martinez , Nikki Haley, Marco Rubio, or Allen West.

    Any of these would help him win. He is very smart. If he picks an old white dude[I am white] I will vote for Obama and switch to a non-partisan. The republicans will be the biggest fools if they don't.
    Don't F it up Mitt.

    April 13, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  8. retrostar1000

    There is nothing about his man that I like or trust.

    April 13, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. joesazza

    OH! Now ballsitics freedom is more meaningful than citizens' right to know how their president makes his money and if he evades tax or not. Romney should focus on meaningful issues.

    April 13, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. retrostar1000

    There is nothing about Romney that I like or trust.

    April 13, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. MaryM

    2nd Amendment as stated : A well regulated MALITIA being necessary to the security of a free state, rhe right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not bew infringed."
    I think the NRA forgot the MALITIA part, cause thats what gives the people the right to bear arms.

    April 13, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. Fran

    I say AMEN to that!!!

    April 13, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  13. joel

    This thing with the NRA and liberals taking away guns and the threat of freedom is a lie and a stupid argument.

    okay now here is a little fact
    Liberals in the white house as far as I know have not put much of an effort for gun control in fact some liberal politicians have actually joined the whole guns campaign thing. President Obama actually signed into law that you can use a gun in the state parks. That's right conservatives a liberal actually signed into law that you can carry a gun in a public park. Gun sales have gone up since Obama took office so really tell me where the heck is this guns being taken away thing coming from cause either guys need to catch up with the news maybe look at conservative news papers or something or get your fact straight oh yeah Obama actually got an F grade for gun control sheesh.

    April 13, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  14. apple pie

    So, now the GOP buzz word is "freedom"? LMAO Let's see.... we've gone through socialist, communist, Muslim, terrorist, un-American, death panels, (help me out I'm sure I'm forgetting some) and Republicans are still looking for some of their horse kaka to stick. Well, America isn't buying any of your crap, Mr. Etch A Sketch.

    April 13, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. joesazza

    We now have another low caliber aspirant who would end up being knocked out in round one. Go Obama, nature has presented you with another easily meal.

    April 13, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  16. Thinks2010

    For any Republican candidate to attack criticize anyone for attacking freedom is very hypocritical. They are the Orwellian Big Brother sprung to lift in this country.

    April 13, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  17. Mason

    I can't believe there seem to be so many people that get upset about lawful people owning guns. And the thought of them being so mad when there is not one thing they can do about it I guess really sends them over the edge.

    April 13, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  18. Name. money

    This is unreal, whats his record I want to hear more about Mitt church what is he hiding?

    April 13, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  19. Just Say No to Flipper

    "MITT! All you need to do is stick with the facts...pull the blankets off obama and show America who and what he is...facts facts facts...vette the facts and use them relentlessly and honestly...and this fraud-in-chief is finished. America is not about marxist ideology or racism...and we are standing up to show you and the world."

    MITT, this is the kind of crazy person your campaign is designed to appeal to. How can you live with yourself knowing that the only votes you can get are from deluded GOBP cult members who can't articulate the simplest rational thought?

    April 13, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  20. in Austin

    The Mormon Moron lies more, what can you expect?

    April 13, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  21. in Austin

    The M0rmon M0ron lies more, what can you expect?

    April 13, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
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