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NRA ad attacked for including President Obama's daughters
January 16, 2013 at 12:14 PM


The National Rifle Association on Tuesday released a controversial new ad that makes reference to President Barack Obama’s daughters - sparking outrage from critics who charged that the spot is over the line.

“Most Americans agree that a president’s children should not be used as pawns in a political fight,” White House 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.”

The video calls Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for not embracing armed guards in schools even as his daughters enjoy armed protection at their schools.

(Also on POLITICO: W.H.: NRA ad on Obama daughters 'repugnant')

“Are the president’s kids more important than yours?” the ad’s narrator asks. “Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their schools? Mr. Obama demands the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, but he’s just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to a fair share of security.”

The gun group’s spot came under immediate attack.

Former White House Press Secretary and Obama advisor Robert Gibbs slammed the ad on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday morning.

“I mean, it is disgusting on many levels,” Gibbs said. “It’s also just stupid.”

(PHOTOS: Politicians speak out on gun control)

He added, “This reminds me of an ad that somebody made about 2:00 in the morning after one too many drinks, and no one stopped it in the morning.”

“What’s wrong with these people, Mika? What’s wrong with these people?” Joe Scarborough, host of “Morning Joe,” asked co-host Mika Brzezinksi in disbelief.

“They are out of step, out of the mainstream, totally out of sync with what’s going on in our society, and quite frankly after seeing that, I think some of the people who run that thing are sick,” Brzezinski said. “I really do. I think they are sick in the head.

“And I’m serious,” she continued. “I am embarrassed right now.”

Later, replaying the ad, Brzezinski added, “It may disgust you. It terrifies me.”

(Also on POLITICO: NRA knocks Obama on daughters’ security)

According to MSNBC, the NRA swung back in a statement provided to the network.

“Whoever thinks the ad is about President Obama’s daughters are missing the point completely or they’re trying to change the subject. This ad is about keeping our children safe,” said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam.

The NRA did not immediately respond to POLITICO’s request for comment.

Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, defended the ad Wednesday in an appearance on Fox’s “America’s Newsroom.”


”I think the ad is spot-on,” Pratt said. “It points to the hypocrisy that we see so much from our ruling class, and it underscores the need that we’ve been pointing to that if we’re going to get serious about protecting our children, we’re going to do away with the ‘gun-free zone’ requirements in federal law, which have created a magnet for these mass murders.”

When asked about discussing the president’s children, Pratt added, “This is a democracy. This is a country where we are all equal before the law, and to have special privileges for others that wouldn’t necessarily extend to us common people goes down a little hard.”

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Melody Barnes, the former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said the country should brace for more ads like the NRA spot.

“And that’s what’s going to infiltrate the debate,” Barnes said. “Those are the kinds of visits members of Congress are going to get, and that’s why people have been scared to take on this issue even after tragedy after tragedy in our communities around the country, and the American people have to be prepared for that and make a decision what kind of country do we want to live in and the message that they want to convey to their policymakers about the kinds of laws and the kinds of policies that we’re going to have.”

Sasha and Malia Obama attend Washington’s posh private Sidwell Friends School.

”Their whole goal is to ratchet up the rhetoric,” Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) said on CNN’s “Starting Point” about the NRA ad. She added, “Let’s stay calm. Let’s look at the function of these weapons… we need to ban those weapons that have the functionality that can kill a whole bunch of folks in just a few seconds.”

David Frum blasted the ad in a blog post.

“…the NRA’s sneering references to the president’s family are beyond the pale,” Frum wrote. “As the makers of the NRA ad should know, and probably do know, the First Family has come under years of racially coded attack for their ‘uppityism,’ as Rush Limbaugh phrased it. This latest attack ad looks to many like only one more attempt to enflame an ancient American wound.”

Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, added, “Generally speaking, a president’s family should not be subject to political criticism. That rule was honorably upheld in the case of the Bush daughters, who grew into fine young people, and the rule should be same for the Obama daughters - especially if it’s true, as has been widely reported, that this first family has faced a unique degree of threat.”

Twitter reaction also took off after the video dropped.

CNN’s Piers Morgan, who has taken heat from gun advocates for his position on gun control, ripped the video in a tweet.

“This new @NRA ad is just disgusting,” he tweeted, linking to the clip.

Kathleen McKinley, a conservative blogger for places including the Houston Chronicle, bashed the use of Obama’s children in the ad.

“Here’s an idea. How about the NRA and Obama NOT use children at all to promote their agenda?” she tweeted.

“This is not an SNL skit. This is a real NRA Ad,” tweeted actor Zach Braff, linking to the clip.

“Trying to figure out what NRA is thinking with web ad targeting Obama girls. Who thinks that’s appropriate? #mitchellreports,” offered MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.

Ron Fournier of National Journal group called the ad “low” in a tweet.

In a follow-up tweet, he added, “”Has the NRA Finally Gone Too Far?” My take: Hell, yes.” Fournier included a link to a post that further took the NRA to task. “The ad is indisputably misleading, and is arguably a dangerous appeal to the base instincts of gun-rights activists,” he wrote.

“@thedailybeast: NRA Ad Targets Obama Daughters http://thebea.st/U0y119 . Tasteless, mean spirited and totally out of bounds. Agree?” tweeted Democratic strategist and commentator Donna Brazile.

John Dickerson of CBS News said on “CBS This Morning” that the video “makes a larger argument. It’s not just about guns,” he said. “It’s going into… negative views about the president. It uses all the emotional — presses all the emotional buttons for those people who don’t like the president and the NRA is making this about hypocrisy, not about safety.”


Replies

  • LuvmyAiden
    January 16, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    He can use dead kids as pawns but his kids are off limits? That is laughable. HIM and HIS family having protection while the rest of us are not supposed to is hypocritical to the max. The ad is short and to the point. No smearing just truth, I have watched it. And for the record, the NRA has ALWAYS made it about safety. That is the biggest part of EVERY NRA event and class.

  • stormcris
    January 16, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    And thus the backfire...

    Obama is using other people's kids publicly and this is using his. 

    I find myself in agreement with Kathleen McKinley who is quoted in the OP.

  • ethans_momma06
    January 16, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    I think it's a fair question, though I usually oppose the use of a politicians child to push a political agenda.

    The fact is, Obama has espoused a very anti-gun pro gun regulation policy. His party has greatly opposed gaurds in schools- even though there have been several school shootings.

    So. Why aren't other parents afforded the same "rights" that he is?

  • Happymamax2
    January 16, 2013 at 1:32 PM


    Quoting LuvmyAiden:

    He can use dead kids as pawns but his kids are off limits? That is laughable. HIM and HIS family having protection while the rest of us are not supposed to is hypocritical to the max. The ad is short and to the point. No smearing just truth, I have watched it. And for the record, the NRA has ALWAYS made it about safety. That is the biggest part of EVERY NRA event and class.

    The rest of us haven't earned the honor of being the President of the United States.  There are crazy people with guns out there who would love to kill his children! Lol.  You are comparing apples to oranges.  Calling him a hypocrit for this IS laughable.

  • GLWerth
    by GLWerth
    January 16, 2013 at 1:45 PM


    Quoting Happymamax2:


    Quoting LuvmyAiden:

    He can use dead kids as pawns but his kids are off limits? That is laughable. HIM and HIS family having protection while the rest of us are not supposed to is hypocritical to the max. The ad is short and to the point. No smearing just truth, I have watched it. And for the record, the NRA has ALWAYS made it about safety. That is the biggest part of EVERY NRA event and class.

    The rest of us haven't earned the honor of being the President of the United States.  There are crazy people with guns out there who would love to kill his children! Lol.  You are comparing apples to oranges.  Calling him a hypocrit for this IS laughable.

    Heck, there are several people here on CM who I suspect would gleefully shoot the president's children to death themselves.

    If it were a Republican there would be a hue and cry that "kids are off limits!", but not so much for the Obama children.

  • Arroree
    by Arroree
    January 16, 2013 at 1:48 PM


    Quoting stormcris:

    And thus the backfire...

    Obama is using other people's kids publicly and this is using his. 


    The difference here being that he has the permission and support of the parents of the children he'll be with, the NRA had neither his permission nor his support to use his children to further their cause.

  • iloveashton804
    January 16, 2013 at 2:00 PM

     Well, the children of Sandy Hook were not the President's children. There are crazy people out there that would kill others' children obviously, not just the Presidents.

    Quoting Happymamax2:


    Quoting LuvmyAiden:

    He can use dead kids as pawns but his kids are off limits? That is laughable. HIM and HIS family having protection while the rest of us are not supposed to is hypocritical to the max. The ad is short and to the point. No smearing just truth, I have watched it. And for the record, the NRA has ALWAYS made it about safety. That is the biggest part of EVERY NRA event and class.

    The rest of us haven't earned the honor of being the President of the United States.  There are crazy people with guns out there who would love to kill his children! Lol.  You are comparing apples to oranges.  Calling him a hypocrit for this IS laughable.

     

  • BlueRay
    by BlueRay
    January 16, 2013 at 2:01 PM
    This president is gana turn me into a Republican!
  • talia-mom
    January 16, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Except the guards are employed by the school.  It has nothing to do with the President's kids being there.   They just have employed armed guards during the school.

    Quoting Happymamax2:


    Quoting LuvmyAiden:

    He can use dead kids as pawns but his kids are off limits? That is laughable. HIM and HIS family having protection while the rest of us are not supposed to is hypocritical to the max. The ad is short and to the point. No smearing just truth, I have watched it. And for the record, the NRA has ALWAYS made it about safety. That is the biggest part of EVERY NRA event and class.

    The rest of us haven't earned the honor of being the President of the United States.  There are crazy people with guns out there who would love to kill his children! Lol.  You are comparing apples to oranges.  Calling him a hypocrit for this IS laughable.


  • stormcris
    January 16, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Permission was needed by Obama because he chose to use their likenesses but not by the NRA because they used none. 

    Quoting Arroree:


    Quoting stormcris:

    And thus the backfire...

    Obama is using other people's kids publicly and this is using his. 


    The difference here being that he has the permission and support of the parents of the children he'll be with, the NRA had neither his permission nor his support to use his children to further their cause.


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