Some candidates earn their NRA endorsement; Mitt Romney just makes his up

If you believed Al Gore when he said he invented the Internet, Mitt Romney wants your vote!

By Chad D. Baus

The 2008 presidential primary season started earlier than ever this go 'round, allowing candidates an extraordinary amount of time to test which brands of makeup best covers their anti-gun warts.

I've made no secret of the fact that I am skeptical of Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney's election year conversion to support for gun rights. As I wrote last April ("Will you be Mitt Romney's cheap date?"), I find it incredibly insulting every time a politician expects America's hunters, sportsmen, concealed handgun license-holders and gun owners to fall for a couple of drunken one-liners in an election year. It's as if Romney (and Giuliani, and McCain, and Kerry, and all those who have come before) think we're all like some airheaded college girlfriend. They seem to expect that we'll watch as they repeatedly grope and fondle waitresses while we're out on a date together, but forgive them as soon as they say "I love you baby. Now go get me another beer."

At the time of my "Cheap Date" article, Romney was busy bumbling false claims about being a life-time hunter (In case you're wondering: No, he did not explain what he thinks hunting has to do with the Second Amendment). The perpetual 2007 campaign may have provided time to cover over that particular wart, but with Super Tuesday now just months away, I'm not sure they make anything strong enough to cover over Romney's nationally-televised lie about an NRA endorsement that never happened.

From the Washington Post:

    Maybe it was the pressure of the moment. Being under the Tim Russert spotlight can get to anyone. Under Russert's grilling about guns on this morning's "Meet the Press," former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney claimed an endorsement he'd never won.

"The pressure of the moment"? Gee, if Tim Russert can so easily crack him, do we really want him sitting across the table from the worst enemy of the United States as our President? But I digress...

Again from the story:

    In answer to questions about whether he would sign an assault weapons ban, Romney said: "Just as the president said, he would have, he would have signed that bill if it came to his desk, and so would have I. And, and, and yet I also was pleased to have the support of the NRA when I ran for governor. I sought it, I seek it now. I'd love to have their support."

    Later in the interview, he added the following:

    "I just talked about, about guns. I told you what my position was, and what I, what I did as governor; the fact that I received the endorsement of the NRA."

    The problem?

    He was never endorsed by the NRA, and didn't have their official support during his 2002 gubernatorial campaign. The NRA declined to endorse in that race, as was acknowledged by Romney's spokesman this morning.

    "The NRA did not endorse in the 2002 campaign," said spokesman Kevin Madden, when asked about Romney's comments.

Romney has always been a vocal supporter of gun control. In 1994, when expressing his support for the failed (and now-defunct) Clinton Gun Ban to the Boston Herald, Romney said "that's not going to make me the hero of the NRA." At another campaign stop that year, he told reporters: "I don't line up with the NRA."

The Post notes that Romney, as a U.S. Senate candidate in 1996, was in favor of several gun control measures.

And gun rights was an issue during his gubernatorial race in 2002. The following video clip shows how he answered his pro-Second Amendment critics, upset over Romney's support for a Massachusetts assault weapons ban, one of the nation's toughest gun control laws:

Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani want us to believe that they just coincidentally figured out the importance of the Second Amendment at the exact time they were deciding to run for President. But do they honestly think their election-year conversions will work on us any better than did John Kerry's Ohio goose hunting debacle in 2004? If Romney is willing to conjure up an NRA endorsement that never happened, there is no reason to think we won't next be treated to video of him sporting a fake southern drawl and saying "Can I get me a huntin' license here?"

Gun owners are far more intelligent than Romney and Giuliani give them credit for. Both men have (anti-gun) records, which can be easily verified with a few clicks on a search engine.

Gun owners know the difference between true supporters of the Second Amendment and politicians that are looking for a one-night stand. We aren't suddenly going to get in bed with Mitt just because he decided to join the NRA while preparing for a Presidential run, or believe him when he invents an endorsement that never happened, so someone should advise him to quit the cheesy pick-up lines.

Chad Baus is a Member of the Fulton County, OH Republican Central Committee and the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman and Northwest Ohio Chair.

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