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NRA Blasts John McCain

Friday, 18 May 2001 12:00 AM

Interior Secretary Gale Norton says

Rep. Bob Barr says

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Speaking to thousands of NRA members who packed the main convention center hall, CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre blasted Sen. John McCain.

The NRA chief harshly criticized McCain's efforts on behalf of the McCain-Feingold bill that would reform campaign financing.

LaPierre asked, "Is it possible that John McCain thinks you have too much freedom?"

LaPierre said McCain's new law would effectively shut the NRA out of the political system by not allowing independent groups from buying TV or radio ads 60 days before a general election.

Had this been true in the last election, LaPierre said, the outcome would have likely been different and Gore would have won.

Praising McCain's war heroism, and the fact for decades he was an ardent supporter of the NRA, LaPierre expressed exasperation. "But I gotta tell you, I don't know what's happening to John McCain."

He took the senator to task for appearing in public service commercials for a radical anti-gun group called Americans for Gun Safety.

McCain aroused even more anger from gun rights supporters earlier this week when he co-sponsored legislation with Sen. Joe Lieberman that would ban private gun sales at gun shows unless a background check was completed.

LaPierre wondered if McCain was becoming a point man for both an anti-First and Second amendment effort.

Clearly the campaign finance proposals have the NRA worried.

LaPierre said to cheers that if the law is enacted, the NRA might just put to sail a boat called the "Good Ship NRA" and broadcast its views from international waters.

He said the new law would benefit the politicians and major media conglomerates - and not independent voters or groups like the NRA.

LaPierre said: "Just think - eight weeks before a general election, the 4.3 million members of the NRA must shut up and step aside ... while Rather, and Couric and Gumbel and Rosie and Jennings and Hillary and Schumer hold court and won the airwaves without challenge."

NRA President Charlton Heston took to the microphone and quickly announced that he had planned to make a farewell address after three years as the organization's president.

"But I've been asked, and I've agreed, to stand for a fourth term."

The audience cheered in support.

NewsMax.com has learned that the NRA plans a major announcement at the convention at 10 a.m. Saturday CDT. Stay tuned to NewsMax.com for full coverage.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - More than 40,000 members and supporters of the National Rifle Association have converged this weekend for their annual meeting, which began today as a political victory party.

This is no run-of-the-mill convention but a giant celebration reflecting the organization's role in the 2000 presidential and congressional elections.

Reflecting this celebration, members of the press have been given a "reporter's notebook" - a small spiral-bound writing pad with a picture of NRA President Charlton Heston on the cover. The organization apparently takes some glee in offering reporters introductory pages to the notebook.

One page is titled "How we won the fight they picked." It quotes a "60 Minutes" interview verbatim with Bill Clinton and Dan Rather. In it Clinton "blamed" the NRA for Al Gore's loss to President Bush and the Democrats' failure to take over Congress. Clinton told Rather about the NRA that "you've got to give it to them. They've done a good job. They probably had to do with more than anyone else the fact we didn't win the House this time. And they hurt Al Gore."

Another page from the NRA reporter's notebook reprints an article from USA Today of December 2000. USA Today said the NRA played a critical role in Gore's loss of Arkansas, Tennessee and West Virginia, "any of which could have delivered him the presidency."

Today at the opening ceremony, more than 10,000 NRA members jammed the city's convention center, and the meeting took on shades of a real celebration.

The crowd leaped to its feet and thundered a roar that almost brought the roof down as NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said: "We have a lot to celebrate. Gore is gone. Clinton is gone."

The celebration began with an appearance by Heston, the superstar president of the NRA, who also received a standing ovation. He then handed the show off to a string of entertgainers including Louise Mandrell, who said, "It's good to win, isn't it?" She did mention that she loved shooting sports, but the political meaning of her comment was not lost on her audience.

Among the people interviewed by NewsMax.com was Donna Stravers of rural Iowa, who talked about how she and her husband had played a role in helping to elect Rep. Leonard Boswell.

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Interior Secretary Gale Norton says Rep. Bob Barr says KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Speaking to thousands of NRA members who packed the main convention center hall, CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre blasted Sen. John McCain. The NRA chief harshly criticized...
Friday, 18 May 2001 12:00 AM
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