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NRA to target Obama in ad blitz

  • Story Highlights
  • National Rifle Association is taking aim at Obama's gun control stance
  • Obama says he supports legitimate gun ownership
  • NRA disagrees with McCain over his support for background checks at gun shows
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From Brian Todd
CNN Washington Bureau
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(CNN) -- The National Rifle Association will unveil a $15 million ad campaign against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama this fall over his record on gun control.

The NRA's Chris Cox says gun owners are "not only very loyal, they don't like being lied to, they're not easily fooled, and if Barack Obama thinks that he can fool them or if they have -- that they have short memories, he's mistaken."

"We're going to stand against anyone who attempts to throw roadblocks or hurdles between lawful Americans and this fundamental right," he added.

The NRA's beef with Obama: He supports a ban on semi-automatic weapons and on almost all concealed weapons, and a limit on handgun purchases to one a month.

Obama says he supports legitimate gun ownership.

"I'm a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but I do not think that that precludes local governments being able to provide some kind of common sense gun control laws ... that keep guns out of the hands of gangbangers or children," he said June 25.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll taken June 4-5 gauged opinion on waiting periods for gun purchases.

In the poll, 86 percent favor waiting periods, and just 14 percent oppose them. The poll had a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The same poll looked at gun registration: 79 percent favor it, with 20 percent opposing it.

Obama's remark that "bitter" voters turn to guns and religion could come back to haunt him.

His spokesman is unfazed.

"We think we'll get the votes of plenty of gun owners, and gun owners will have a home with the Obama campaign," Robert Gibbs said.

The presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, wins praise from the NRA for opposing bans on assault weapons, certain ammunition and handguns in Washington.

"For more than two decades, I've opposed efforts to ban guns, ban ammunition, ban magazines and dismiss gun owners as some kind of fringe group unwelcome in 'modern' America," McCain said May 16.

But the NRA disagrees with McCain over his support for background checks at gun shows.

In 2000, McCain told CNN that the NRA "is entitled to their advocacy."

"I don't think they help the Republican Party at all, but I don't think they should in any way play a major role in the Republican Party's policy making," he said.

Could the NRA's anti-Obama ad campaign make a difference?

"There's a lot of competing pressures for these voters. They're concerned about the economy; they're concerned about gas prices ... so I'm just not convinced that this issue will have the impact that it may have had in the past," said Amy Walter, editor in chief of National Journal's The Hotline.


The NRA is just one of many groups planning independent ad campaigns about Obama and McCain.

But in the 2000 election, it ran ads against Al Gore in Tennessee that some analysts think was a big factor in the crucial loss of his home state.

CNN political producer Ed Hornick contributed to this report.

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