NRA Targets Obama-Biden in Ongoing Ad Buy
By Ed O'Keefe
The National Rifle Association is likely to spend "in the eight figure range" on radio and television advertisements in the next 42 days as part of its efforts to deter undecided voters from voting for Barack Obama, according to an NRA spokesman. The group will air a series of ads starring group members that openly question Obama's commitment to protecting gun rights. Ads will air on radio stations and during local cable television ad breaks in Colorado and New Mexico through Oct. 5 and in Pennsylvania through Sept. 28, with plans to expand to other battleground states in the coming weeks.
One ad stars former Marine and Iraq war veteran Kurt Rusch. "Like all the guys I fought with in Iraq, I was honored to defend my country and our freedom. But when I got back stateside, I learned that Barack Obama opposes my right to own a handgun for self-defense. It's ridiculous," Rusch says in the spot, adding later in it: "There's no way I'm voting for a president" who would take away "the freedoms that I fought for, that my friends died to defend."
Another ad, called "Hunter", stars Kurt's father, Karl Rusch. "I gotta tell you, with the high cost of gas and just about everything else, we're all feeling pinched," Rusch says. "And now I learn that Barack Obama supports a huge new tax on my guns and ammo."
"Where is this guy from?" Rusch later asks. "He's probably never been hunting a day in his life." He concludes: "You don't have to be bitter to know Barack Obama isn't the kind of change we need."
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign, an anti-gun violence group, says this ad "takes ludicrous liberties with the truth" and the Washington Post's Fact Checker gave the spot three out of four Pinocchios for its claims that Obama would take away guns and ammunition used by hunters.
The Obama campaign notes the senator has no plan to raise taxes on guns or ammunition and did not vote to regulate the sale of hunting ammunition but instead on "armor piercing" or "cop killing" bullets. It also cites several votes Obama has cast in favor of legislation the NRA supported.
In Pennsylvania the group will target Joe Biden with an ad that states that Biden "wants you to believe he shares your values because he was born in Scranton. But Pennsylvania gun owners and hunters don't share his values. Joe Biden voted to ban ammunition used for hunting and self-defense. Voted to ban standard-capacity magazines. Voted to band hundreds of models of common rifles and shotguns." NRA TV ads will air in the Erie, Harrisburg, Johnstown, Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre markets.
All of the NRA ads invite viewers to visit an NRA Web site called GunBanObama.com that says Obama would be "The Most Anti-Gun President in American History."
"Barack Obama has voted against the right of a law-abiding citizen to defend himself and his family while within his own home," said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam, referring to a 2004 Illinois General Assembly bill that passed. "That position is so extreme that it is out of the mainstream. Any reasonable American voter will agree that if they're attacked while they're in their home by a criminal, that the law should be on their side and not the criminal's."
The NRA's advertising follows the release of dozens of ads by other independent groups also hoping to sway undecided voters, and Arulanandam says "We believe that now is the right time to do it. Once we start we don't foresee ourselves stopping" and the group is "likely to spend in the eight figure range."
Posted at 7:51 PM ET on Sep 23, 2008
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