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RNC targets Barack Obama in gun ad as John McCain talks to the NRA

May 16, 2008 |  4:14 pm

It's almost like they had Friday planned out as "Second Amendment Day" on the campaign trail.

Barack Obama started the day in Watertown, S.D., where he wrangled with John McCain and President Bush over foreign policy and appeasement. But he also talked about guns -- just hours before McCain was to address the National Rifle Assn. convention in Louisville, Ky. And the focus made it clear that McCain hopes, if Obama is the Democratic nominee, to exploit Obama's electoral weakness with white, working-class men.

Our colleague Nicholas Riccardi is with Obama and reports that the Illinois senator staked out his turf early today -- seemingly anticipating both McCain and the Republican National Committee, which launched a Web ad today on Obama and guns. Said Obama:

"There are a lot of Republicans who are mainly Republicans because they're worried the Democrats are going to take away their guns. In Chicago, we've had a lot of deaths as a consequence of illegal guns and gang shootings. In a lot of the country you've got a lot of illegal guns falling into the hands of criminals and gangbangers and people with mental problems. I want to restrict their access to guns. But I will never take away the rights of lawful gun owners to hunt, to sport-shooting, to protect their family."

Then came McCain. Our colleague Noam Levey is with him, and his story on McCain and the NRA will be in Saturday's paper and available online later tonight. Levey reports McCain mocked Obama before the gun enthusiasts:

"It seems every election, politicians who support restrictions on the Second Amendment dress up in camouflage and pose with guns to demonstrate they care about hunters, even though few gun owners fall for such obvious political theater. After Sen. Obama made his unfortunate comment -- an inaccurate and wrong comment -- that Pennsylvanians 'cling to guns and religion' out of bitterness, Sen. Clinton quickly affirmed her support for the Second Amendment. That drew Senator Obama's derision. 'She's running around talking about how this is an insult to sportsmen, how she values the Second Amendment,' he said. 'Like she's on the duck blind every Sunday, packin' a six-shooter!' Someone should tell Sen. Obama that ducks are usually hunted with shotguns."

Which brings us to the RNC and its new web ad.

-- Scott Martelle