NRA sharpens political attack on Obama
October 17th, 2012
06:39 PM ET
8 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. yasmine

    ummm? the NRA was going to do this anyway.... they did the same thing in 2008...

    October 17, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  2. yasmine

    ooooooooooooooh the big bad NRA

    October 17, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  3. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    The NRA should be held accountable for every killing spree massacre that takes place.

    October 17, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  4. aaron

    The NRA is apparently a tool of the Repubs. Obama has unfortunately done absolutely nothing to curb weapons in this country. Romney is fact did more than Obama when he signed the assault weapon ban as Mass. governor.

    October 17, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  5. Willie Floyd

    Keep'm armed and dangerous!!! We need a few more innocent men, women, and CHILDREN killed needlessly. Too bad NRA members aren't included in these mass murders.

    October 17, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  6. NameChi

    The NRA is so pathetic, go get a life and stop acting as if u r so concerned about people, when they just want the money from selling guns, get over it and move on!!!

    October 17, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  7. ill

    um.. nothing bad for obama.
    just shows how corrupt the organization is with the way it changes its ads..

    October 17, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  8. becky

    Of course hunters need assault weapons! How many people will be killed before the NRA decides to join with the government to do something about the murders. Another group which cannot sit down with others to solve problems. It is their way only. With each new innocent victim the NRA still continues to tell us that it is people and not guns. However, if the guns being sold have no purpose for gathering food it is hard to understand why they need to be sold.

    October 17, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  9. Namejkane sfl a vote for lady parts romney the tax cheat and lyin lady parts ryan willcut your moms medicare and soc sec . .can you afford to pay for them???

    Who cares what the goofball nra lobbist say ,their probably responsible for more death in the USA then in Iraq .traitors !!!!

    October 17, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  10. mhklein

    I don't understand why assault weapons are necessary for self defense. Obama doesn't want to ban ordinary handguns, so why is the NRA so agitated?

    October 17, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  11. craig

    Obama is not gonna do a thing about guns. NRA knows it, I am a member and voting for him. Romney will tell them no bans, and then flip flop and ban them. Do you think mitt or Obama can even load a gun.

    October 17, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  12. David

    Why, Obamas position was the same as Romneys in the dbate, with Romney making the one mistake on the present legal status of assault weapons. Romney also has a more liberal record than does Obama in this area.

    October 17, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  13. craig

    Obama is not going to do anything with guns, the nra knows it, I am a member and voting dem. Kurt will eventually flip flop on the gun laws. Think he could even load one?

    October 17, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  14. Dusty

    Obama should audit the NRA and find out where they got that 1.5 million to spend. I'm sure we could use that money to help pay back some of the debt and suits that take place due to gun violence by assault weapons . ; )

    October 17, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  15. A Grandma

    And your average citizen needs an assault weapon why? The NRA yields way too much power in this country. My family happens to have deer hunters. An assault weapon has no place in our homes. I don't always agree with Obama, but on this he's absolutely right. Romney is way out of touch from most of us middle class folks, he will not get my vote.

    October 17, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  16. Andrew

    the NRA has nothing to do with guns anymore!!! It stands for National republican association ! GET LOST NRA

    Please remind your members you scared them into buying guns when Obama was elected and he never passed a single ANTI GUN law ! even with those super majorities Republicans talk about ! NOT 1

    October 17, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  17. Pete

    NRA is picking the best to back in Romney,his state was the toughest not letting anyone permitted for guns,only police and other security officials.That's your Nugent,Norquists ,Norris and Tom Sellack the extremist that hate the black man in the WH and will say or do anything to forward their extreme gun agendas.Pres.Obama has said nothing against their cult in which I will never join being a life long gun owner simply for this point,that they're racist ,conservatives that have too much money and time on their side to do anything responsible but being trouble,its their MO and they have no plans of changing anything ,even their extremism!!

    October 17, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  18. Dan

    If they outlaw guns, only criminal's kids will accidentally shoot themselves with their parents gun.

    October 17, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  19. Nate

    Is the NRA expecting Democrats to take control of the Senate and Congress again? Not many people are, so maybe they should have held on to that $30-40 million.

    October 17, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  20. em1911

    I love guns and never again am I voting for Obama

    October 17, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  21. windman4US

    this is absolutely crazy!!! The NRA is no DIFFERENT than Grover Norquist, the Koch brothers, Sheldon Aldeson, Karl Rove, Eric Cantor and the rest of these ZEALOTS... How can this minority group continue to hold so much power??

    It is time that the rest of us Americans put aside our social issues to show these anti-American thugs the door – let's vote in folks that want to see ALL of America Free, porsperous AND THRIVING!!!

    October 17, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  22. Four and The Door

    I do not own a gun and probably never will. But I welcome help doing what is best for America: Defeating Obama decisively.
    I don't want just a 2 or 3 point defeat. I want to see Obama shellacked. Maybe 10 points. In order to be most effective, Mitt Romney needs the kind of congressional support Obama had for 2 years. A 10 point Romney win would carry over to bring a Republican Senate also.

    October 17, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  23. NameBuzz Cut

    I support Mr. Obama in every way but his proposed assault weapons ban. I intended to vote for him but this is an absolute deal breaker. I am not a criminal, I am a responsible citizen. I own a gun and I vote. Romney is a stooge of the Koch brothers and big oil but my freedom is to precious to risk.

    October 17, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  24. Common sense grandma

    Blah, blah, blah. Can anyone give me a GOOD reason to worry about people owning AK47 weapons when there are real problems to concern us?

    October 17, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  25. Craig RB

    Wow!! What a revelation it is that the NRA doesn't support a Democrat. Fascinating news.

    October 17, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
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