WASHINGTON -- Denouncing President Obama as an “elitist hypocrite,” the National Rifle Assn. released a new video attacking the president for opposing universal armed guards in schools while his own daughters are protected by the Secret Service.
“Are the president’s kids more important than yours?” the ad asks, “Then why is he skeptical of putting armed security in schools, when his kids are protected by armed guards in their school?”
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, during the organization’s controversial response to the shootings in Newtown, Conn., called for armed guards to protect students in schools nationwide, and previewed the organization’s line of attack against the president.
“We care about our president, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents. Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by Capitol police officers,” LaPierre said in December. “Yet when it comes to our most beloved, innocent and vulnerable members of the American family, our children, we as a society leave them every day utterly defenseless. And the monsters and the predators of the world know it and exploit it. That must change now.”
Obama had previously declared his skepticism over the NRA’s idea during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in December.
“I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools, and I think the vast majority of the American people are skeptical that that somehow is going to solve our problem,” he said.
“This reminds me of an ad that somebody made about 2 o'clock in the morning,” he said.
And David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, said the ad falls “beyond the pale.”
"Generally speaking, a president’s family should not be subject to political criticism," he said.
The White House swiftly condemned the NRA’s ad.
"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 in a statement. "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."]
NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said that those criticizing the commercial for pulling Sasha and Malia Obama into the political debate are “completely missing the point” and that the ad is about ”keeping our children safe.”
“There is a double standard when the president said that he’s skeptical about having policemen in school yet his family is the beneficiary of multiple armed law enforcement officers,” Arulanandam said.
Arulanandam said the ad is currently running on the Sportsman Channel, as well as on its online site NRAstandandfight.org. He said the ad foreshadows an increased television presence from the NRA as the debate over gun laws moves over to Capitol Hill.
On the other side of the debate, Americans for Responsible Solutions, a group established by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly to counteract the NRA’s well-documented influence in Washington, is looking to comb supporters for possible solutions to the country’s gun violence.