NBC: NRA 'Getting Personal' With Gun Ad 'Targeting' Obama Daughters

At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer hyperventilated over a newly released ad from the National Rifle Association pointing out the hypocrisy of President Obama on gun control: "Getting personal. The National Rifle Association out with a powerful new ad this morning, bringing the President's family into the gun debate." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

The ad in question simply noted that Obama's daughters were protected in school by armed guards while the President was pushing for gun restrictions. Introducing a report on the ad, co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed that it "gets very personal." Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd followed: "...the NRA is signaling it intends to fight the President, and it's using this new web video that hits close to home, targeting his daughters."

ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday used similar talking points on the NRA ad, labeling it a "harsh personal attack" that "viscously" went after Obama.

Meanwhile, Todd touted Obama's expected gun control proposals as "surprisingly bold" and "the most sweeping gun reform since 1968." Todd further declared: "Fulfilling a promise he made one month ago in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama will unveil a series of proposals today to curb gun violence."

After reciting a list of new gun restrictions the President would offer, Todd eagerly promoted the stagecraft around the upcoming Wednesday announcement:

Those policies will likely spark a heated political debate in Washington. But it's a debate the White House is signaling it's ready for, ramping up the pressure with an elaborate role-out today, including an audience of children from around the country who wrote the President letters about gun violence after Newtown. The White House released some of those letters late Tuesday.

Here is a full transcript of Todd's January 16 report:

7:00AM ET TEASE:

MATT LAUER: Getting personal. The National Rifle Association out with a powerful new ad this morning, bringing the President's family into the gun debate.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN [NARRATOR, NRA AD]: Are the President's kids more important than yours?

LAUER: This, on the very day the President outlines his plan to curb gun violence, the most sweeping plan in decades.

7:03AM ET SEGMENT:

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: President Obama will unveil his proposals for new gun control legislation later this morning, in the aftermath of last month's tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. And the National Rifle Association is already taking the President on with an ad that gets very personal. Chuck Todd is NBC's chief White House correspondent and political director. Chuck, good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Curbing Gun Violence; President Announces Sweeping Gun Control Proposals]

CHUCK TODD: Good morning, Savannah. Well, the President will be unveiling what one person tells NBC News is a surprisingly bold set of new proposals intended to curb gun violence. And it's gonna kick off a big political fight. And before the President has even had a chance to unveil those bold proposals, the NRA is signaling it intends to fight the President, and it's using this new web video that hits close to home, targeting his daughters. Here's a clip.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN [NARRATOR, NRA AD]: Are the President's kids more important than yours? Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their schools?

TODD: So while the NRA is hitting the President on one proposal, he is not endorsing armed guards at schools, the President is set to unveil a laundry list of plans that one activist said, if made law, would be the most sweeping gun reform since 1968, which followed the public outcry after the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.

BARACK OBAMA: These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.

TODD: Fulfilling a promise he made one month ago in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama will unveil a series of proposals today to curb gun violence.

JAY CARNEY: The President has made clear that he intends to take a comprehensive approach.

TODD: Sources familiar with the President's plan tell NBC News he will ask Congress to pass significant reforms, including: Universal background checks on gun buyers anywhere, including at gun shows. A crackdown on gun trafficking, imposing harsher penalties on gun sellers who fail to perform background checks, targeting those folks who sell multiple guns to potential felons. A ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines. And a push for a renewed assault weapons ban.

Those policies will likely spark a heated political debate in Washington. But it's a debate the White House is signaling it's ready for, ramping up the pressure with an elaborate role-out today, including an audience of children from around the country who wrote the President letters about gun violence after Newtown. The White House released some of those letters late Tuesday.

It's been nearly 20 years since Washington last made a serious attempt to put new restrictions on gun ownership.

BILL CLINTON: Today, at last, the waiting ends.

TODD: While President Clinton was successful in getting an assault weapons ban passed in 1994, Clinton recalled how Democratic leaders feared the ban would cost them control of Congress, writing in his book, "If we made them walk the plank, many Democrats who voted for it would not survive the election in November." Democrats' fears were realized that year. This time, Democratic leaders say they'll proceed carefully.

HARRY REID: In the Senate we're going to do what we think can get through the House. I'm not going to be going through a bunch of these gyrations just to say we've done something.

TODD: And the House will be a challenge.

TIM HUELSKAMP [REP. R-KS]: People in Kansas are not looking for new laws out of Washington, they're looking for more involvement in their communities, in their families, and at the state level.

TODD: But some aren't waiting for Washington to act. Two Democratic governors are going beyond what President Obama is likely to propose. Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley says he'll push for tighter gun restrictions in his state.

ANDREW CUOMO: This is common sense.

TODD: And in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a sweeping new gun control bill into law Tuesday that the NRA blasted, saying it will have no impact on public safety and crime. And Savannah, besides those new laws he wants Congress to pass, he will announce some executive actions, including telling his Justice Department to go after those folks who fail background checks, criminally go after and prosecute those people.

GUTHRIE: You started, Chuck, by saying these are sort of once-in-a-generation type of proposals in terms of its sweep, that's because the politics are so hard, as you've just outlined. Is there anything that has changed, in terms of the dynamic, that makes this more likely to pass?

TODD: Well, it depends on how they go about the order with which they try to get these proposals passed. If the assault weapons ban is the lead, I've had plenty of Democrats tell me, then gun control, any new gun control measures, the whole thing will die. If they go after, say
– and go in an order that says universal background checks, that on that front, the closing gun show loophole, things like that, that that actually has a shot at some bipartisan support. So it really depends, Savannah, on how this proceeds in Congress and we know sometimes Congress can act in very mysterious ways.

GUTHRIE: Indeed. Chuck Todd in Washington for us. Thank you.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC