The National Rifle Association invested more than $2 million in the presidential race within 48 hours of endorsing Republican Mitt Romney last week, according to Federal Election Commission records.
The money was used for online and e-mail advertising, direct mail, bumper stickers and other printed material, the records show.
And, today, the group began a television advertising campaign on Romney’s behalf, debuting a 30-second commercial this morning in Cincinnati, according to Kantar Media’s CMAG, a New York-based ad tracker. Ohio is a hotly contested presidential battleground state, where polls show the race is a toss-up.
TV ad spending by the NRA hasn’t yet been documented with the FEC. As of the end of August, the NRA’s political action committee had about $10 million cash on hand.
The committee also is active in several Senate races. One online ad urges voters to “boot” Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown from office because he received a “F” from the NRA when it comes to gun rights.
The pro-Romney spot is simple and seemingly low-cost. It shows chunks of the words “2nd Amendment” crumbling as a narrator says:
“Mountains of debt. Trillions of new spending. Multinational threats to our sovereignty. Chipping away at your rights. Chipping away at your freedom. And now they’re attacking our Second Amendment rights. Chipping away at your future.”
Soaring music begins as a photograph of Romney and vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan is shown.
“But you can stop them, right now. Vote Romney-Ryan Nov. 6. Romney and Ryan will defend our Second Amendment rights.”
The NRA said in a press release Oct. 4 that it is backing Romney in part because he will appoint Supreme Court justices who strongly back gun rights.
Obama and Romney each made memorable gun comments during the 2008 presidential race.
Obama described some small-town voters as “bitter” and needing to “cling to guns or religion.” He was speaking at a fundraiser in San Francisco, where his remarks were secretly recorded.
And Romney in 2007 gave a rambling “varmint”-infested quote about his interest in hunting:
“I’m not a big-game hunter,” he said. “I’ve made it very clear, I’ve always been a, if you will, a rodent and rabbit hunter, all right? Small, small varmints, if you will. And I began when I was, oh, 15 or so, and have hunted those kinds of varmints since then — more than two times. I also hunted quail in Georgia, so I’ve — it’s not really big-game hunting, if you will, however. It’s not deer and large animals. But I’ve hunted a number of times of various types of small rodents.”
At an NRA conference in April, one attendee described voting for Romney as “hold-your-nose situation.”