Politics

NRA ad brings Obama kids into gun debate; White House fights back

Jan. 16, 2013 at 9:00 AM ET

Updated 12:12 p.m.— The National Rifle Association has posted a new video on its website calling President Obama “an elitist hypocrite” for dismissing the group’s suggestion to put armed guards in schools while his own daughters have Secret Service protection.

“Are the president’s kids more important than yours?” the narrator asks. “Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?”

The video, which also is running on the Sportsman Channel, says the president "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."

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The NRA ad was released Tuesday night.

The White House responded Wednesday. "Most Americans agree that a president's children should not be used as pawns in a political fight," said the president's press secretary Jay Carney. "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."

President Obama unveiled his gun-control proposals Wednesday at a mid-day press conference where he also signed 23 executive actions. "While there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil," Obama said at the White House. "If there's even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there's even one life that can be saved, then we have an obligation to try it."

"I respect our strong tradition of gun ownership,” the president said at the conference, citing the millions of Americans who are "responsible gun owners."

The ad takes issue with recent comments Obama made during an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools," Obama said at the time. "And I think the vast majority of the American people are skeptical that that somehow is going to solve our problem."

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On Wednesday, NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told NBC News, "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. And the president said he was skeptical about the NRA proposal to put policemen in all schools in this country. Yet he and his family are beneficiaries of multiple law enforcement officers surrounding them 24 hours a day.

"That's the real issue. Anything else is an attempted calculated distraction."

The 35-second ad illustrates the recent escalation of rhetoric in the debate over gun control. TIME magazine addresses the issue on its latest issue, which features on its cover Vice President Joe Biden, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. All three are dubbed “The Gunfighters."

NBC News' Ali Weinberg contributed to this report.

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