Tuesday, October 14, 2008

NRA Press Conference

Last week, the gunbloggers at the Gunblogger Rendezvous, were asked by the NRA to cover the final press conference of their McCain endorsement announcement event.

They started the day out in Pennsylvania, then proceeded through several critical swing states as the day wore on; hitting Springfield MO, Denver CO, and finally Reno NV.

You might note, all four are heavy hunting states, and critical swing states for this election.

It would have been a great day long event, but for the fact that they gave essentially the same announcement speech in each location. They ran through a littany of Obamas poor record on firearms, and announced their official endorsement of John McCain.

Not exactly a huge surprise.

After the event I spoke with the media relations rep, Ashley Varner (a great lady by the way), and I expressed my concern that they had wasted an opportunity there, by not staggering out more interesting bits throughout the day; instead basically blowing that major cross country effort, since AP had the story at 8am eastern.

Frankly, we were hoping for something bigger.

After the announcement, we had some time for Q&A with Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox.

Unfortunately, there were a lot of members of the audience, who didn't quite understand that the NRA is not an ANTI-OBAMA organization, they are a GUN RIGHTS organization; and some time was wasted dealing with people asking why the NRA wasn't trying to prove Obama was really a closet muslim, not an american citizen, and a communist.

To his credit, Wayne LaPierre made it very clear, the NRA isn't anti-democrat, or pro-republican by nature. The NRA is non partisan, caring not for party, only for the position of a candidate on gun rights.

When then right wing nutjob questions were over, this woman stood up:

Her name is Ly Chho, and she escaped from Cambodia as a child. She stood up to say that she had seen communism, how fast it moved from soft socialism to death camps, and that Obama made her frightened, because it had happened before... it could happen here (Kevin Baker has more).

I was able to ask three questions of Chris Cox and Wayne LaPierre:

1. Is the NRA currently pursuing, or will they pursue, an FEC complaint against the Annenberg foundation, for their actions in Chicago, and their explicit advocacy for a candidate within six weeks of an election, in violation of the BCRA (McCain Feingold); as well as their unlawful co-ordination with the Obama campaign directly.

2. Is the NRA currently pursuing, or will they pursue, an FEC complaint against the Obama campaign for their actions in Missouri, and other states, to influence and intimidate media outlets, and voters, through the improper use of state agencies and officials; as well as the unlawful direct co-ordination of the campaign with elected officials.

3. Is the NRA currently pursuing, or will they pursue, a civil complaint of malfeasance or misfeasance of office, ethics violations for abuse of public trust, or criminal complaints of conspiracy to deprive individuals of their civil rights; against those public officials involved in the actions of the Obama campaign.

Cox was unable to give me a direct positive or negative answer; saying that they were strongly pursuing all opportunities and avenues open to them.

I got the impression from the response that they WOULD be pursing an FEC complaint, and ethical complaints; but most likely they would not be pursing a civil suit, or criminal complaint.

After the questions were over, Chris Cox came up to me and personally thanked me for asking the questions (apparently no-one else had asked him that day), and for what I was doing for gun rights, with the various websites I write on.

Finally, we had a photo opportunity with Cox and LaPierre.

The first photo was taken by Ashley Varner, and includes me; and I took the second here, including Ashley in the picture: