The National Rifle Association is back on the airwaves, with a new ad targeting Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) for his unsuccessful effort to expand gun sale background checks.
The 30-second ad, titled “Tell Manchin to Stand with West Virginia,” begins by showing a clip from a 2010 ad in which Manchin declares his support for the Second Amendment (while shooting a copy of the “cap and trade” pollution control bill with a rifle), before slamming the conservative Democrat for teaming up with President Barack Obama and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg on gun reform.
By attacking Manchin — who will not face re-election until 2018, and holds an A rating from the NRA (although that is certain to fall in the wake of his background check push) — the NRA may be trying to send a message that no supporter of gun reform is safe from attack.
The gun lobbyists have faced a swift backlash for the ad. Manchin quickly fired back at the NRA in a statement to Talking Points Memo:
“The Washington NRA could spend one hundred million dollars on ads against me; it still won’t make what they say true,” Manchin said. “If they were honest with their members they would see that my bill not only protects Second Amendment rights, it enhances and strengthens them.”
“Unfortunately, the NRA leadership in Washington has lost its way and is more concerned about political power than gun rights and gun safety,” he continued. “I am the same proud gun owner and NRA member that I have always been and I believe that criminal and mental background checks are a common-sense approach to protect our neighbors and children without infringing on our Second Amendment rights. I think most NRA members agree with me.”
Manchin isn’t the only person to object to the commercial. On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough took issue with the way that President Obama is shaded in the ad, suggesting that the NRA intentionally made President Obama’s skin look darker than usual — just as Time magazine once shaded O.J. Simpson’s mugshot.
“Let’s just look at this and let it breathe for a few seconds. This picture and the Photoshopping brought to you by the National Rifle Association of Wayne LaPierre,” Scarborough said.
Video of the segment is below, via The Raw Story:
Correction: This story originally misstated Senator Manchin’s rating from the NRA. It is an “A,” not an “A+”