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SALT LAKE CITY — The National Rifle Association has released a scathing ad that attacks the security provided to President Barack Obama's daughters.
The video calls out Pres. Obama for being an "elitist hypocrite" from not embracing the idea of armed guards or police officers in schools, but allows his daughters to use the protection of the Secret Service. The ad was posted to the NRA's Stand and Fight website, with the group using the ad to discuss ways to prevent shootings like the Sandy Hook massacre.
"Are the president's kids more important than yours?" the ad's narrator says. "They why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their schools? Mr. Obama 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."
The ad immediately drew criticism for its message involving Sasha and Malia Obama, especially since the president's children are typically off limits.
"Most Americans agree that a president's children should not be used as pawns in a political fight," said White House 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."
In December, Pres. Obama told Meet The Press he was not convinced placing armed guards in schools would be a viable solution to curbing school shootings.
"I think the vast majority of the American people are skeptical that that somehow is going to solve the problem," he said.
Most Americans agree that a president's children should not be used as pawns in a political fight. 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.
The NRA ad was intended to be used as a preemptive attack before Pres. Obama unveiled his plan to reduce gun violence.
NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told the Washington Post that the ad was not directed at Sasha and Malia Obama.
"The main aim of the ad is to make sure that we all act to keep our children safe. It's not aimed at anyone's child in particular," he said. "Anyone who claims otherwise is intentionally trying to change the topic or missing the point completely."
Arulanandam added, "The president and his family enjoy 24-hour-security from law enforcement at taxpayer expense, and this ad asks very real questions: If it's good enough for the president, why shouldn't it be good enough for the rest of us?"
In a letter sent to the more than 4 million NRA members, executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said the organization is in for the "fight of the century."
"I warned you this day was coming and now it's here," LaPierre wrote. "This is the fight of the century and I need you on board with NRA now more than ever. My strength, and the strength of our entire NRA organization, comes from you and your strong commitment to our membership. I need you in our corner TODAY."
The main aim of the ad is to make sure that we all act to keep our children safe. It's not aimed at anyone's child in particular. Anyone who claims otherwise is intentionally trying to change the topic or missing the point completely.
–Andrew Arulanandam, NRA spokesman
Pres. Obama signed an executive order Wednesday to curb gun violence and to press Congress to pass more effective gun control legislation. As part of the signed executive order, Pres. Obama is calling for improvements in school safety, which includes putting 1,000 police officers in schools.
The NRA released a statement Wednesday about Pres. Obama's executive order, saying "The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law.
"We look forward to working with Congress on a bipartisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America's most valuable asset — our children," the statement continued. "Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy."
Last week, Pres. Obama signed a bill to ensure lifetime Secret Service protection for all presidents elected after 1997. The law also gives children of former president protection until they are 16. Both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton extended protection for their children after their terms ended.