Updated: 6:26pm ET, Jan. 16, 2013: The National Rifle Association is getting personal. In a new web video the gun lobby calls President Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for using the Secret Service to protect his two children, Sasha, age 11, and Malia, age 14.
The ad, posted to the NRA’s Stand and Fight website Tuesday night, criticizes Obama for opposing the NRA’s proposal of increasing the number of armed guards in schools as a way to prevent shootings like the Sandy Hook massacre.
“Are the president’s kids more important than yours?” asks the voiceover on the ad. “Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?” It continues, “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. Protection for their kids and gun-free zones for ours.”
The video does not show pictures of the president’s daughters, using instead images of outspoken gun control advocates such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Vice President Joe Biden.
The White House slammed the NRA for bringing the Obama girls into the fray. “Most Americans agree that a president’s children should not be used as pawns in a political fight,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in response to the ad on Wednesday. “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 ad apparently served as a preemptive strike against President Obama, who unveiled his highly anticipated proposals to reduce gun violence on Wednesday.
“There are a lot of differences in the lives of presidents’ children than for our children,” MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell noted on The Last Word. “And for the NRA to drag them into this and compare their Secret Service protection to what the NRA says we should have in schools is the most ugly and profoundly stupidest thing I have heard the NRA say.”
Last week, Obama signed a bill to restore lifetime Secret Service protection for presidents elected after 1997, which includes himself and George W. Bush, and presidents in the future, along with their wives. The law gives children of former presidents protection until the age of 16.
George W. Bush signed a directive four days before he left office, authorizing the Secret Service to provide a period of extended protection for his daughters Jenna and Barbara. Bill Clinton had also authorized extended coverage for his daughter Chelsea when his term ended. The Secret Service asked that the period of additional protection be kept confidential.