The journalists at Good Morning America on Wednesday howled with outrage over a new ad by the National Rifle Association, deriding the commercial as a "vicious," "harsh" and "personal" attack on Barack Obama. The just-released spot wonders why the President isn't more supportive of armed guards in schools, pointing out that his daughters attend are protected with such security.
White House correspondent Jon Karl railed, "And in a sign of just how tough this fight will be, the NRA is greeting the President's announcement this morning with a harsh, personal attack on the President." The reporter complained, "The NRA video viciously attacks the President." Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos echoed, "Very tough, very personal video. It even invokes the President's children." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Parroting the White House, Karl explained that Obama is "hoping for assists from kids like 11-year-old Julia." The correspondent read from the letter "obtained by ABC News." Karl lectured, "[Julia's] idea, 'It should be very hard for people to buy guns.'"
After quoting from children, Karl found time for just one clip of former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese who insisted that the President's actions could be "impeachable offenses," should he go to far.
Karl, in his new role as chief White House correspondent, has already developed a reputation as a stenographer to Obama.
To see how the NBC covered it, go here.
A transcript of the January 16 segment is below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're just hours from the President's big announcement on gun violence. And the NRA is taking a hard first strike overnight. Very tough, very personal video. It even invokes the President's children. We're going to have all the details ahead.
ELIZABETH VARGAS: The NRA calling the President an elitist hypocrite in that ad. It was tough.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to turn now to that major announcement from the President this morning on gun violence. He's expected to call for a mix of legislative and executive action, including bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. That's on the heels of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, signing the toughest gun control measures in the nation into law on Tuesday, the first since the Newtown shootings. ABC's Jon Karl is covering all this from the White House. And Jon, the President knows he's in for a fight.
JON KARL: Oh, that's for sure, George. And in a sign of just how tough this fight will be, the NRA is greeting the President's announcement this morning with a harsh, personal attack on the President. The NRA video viciously attacks the President.
NRA AD: He's just another elitist hypocrite.
KARL: The attack comes just a week after the NRA was invited to the White House to meet with Vice President Biden. Even without a personal attack like that, taking on the NRA isn't easy. In trying to convince Congress to vote for gun control, the President is hoping for assists from kids like 11-year-old Julia, who wrote the President in a letter obtained by ABC News, "I have four brothers and sisters and I know I would not be able to bear the thought of losing any of them." Her idea, "It should be very hard for people to buy guns." Eight-year-old Grant wrote the president, "There should be a limit on how many guns a person can own." The President's plan won't go that far. It will call on Congress to require background check on virtually all gun purchases, limit the number of bullets in a magazine clip and ban so-called assault weapons. The President will also take steps without Congress, acting on his own to improve current background checks and to more vigorously enforce gun laws already on the books.
BARACK OBAMA: I'm confident there's some steps we can take that don't require legislation. And that are within my authority as President.
KARL: Gun rights ad advocates are vowing to fight hard. Former Reagan Attorney General, Ed Meese even raised the possibility Tuesday of impeaching the president if he goes too far.
ED MEESE (Former U.S. Attorney General): It would not be constitutional and, indeed, if he tried to override the Second Amendment in any way, I believe it would be an impeachable offense.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Wow. So both sides digging in already, Jon. And the president has a lot of power behind him as well. Remarkable cover of Time magazine this morning. You see Vice President Biden there, Mayor Bloomberg of New York City and look at Gabby Giffords right there. She is going to join the lobbying effort, as well.
KARL: That's right. We actually expect to see Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, in the halls of Congress, knocking on doors, talking to members, urging them to support the President's proposal. Of course, George, the President will need all the help he can get. Democrats in the Senate say at this point he probably doesn't have 50 Democrats in the Senate to support what he is going to outline today.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And the president already said he didn't know how much of this could pass. Okay, Jon Karl, thank you very much.
ELIZABETH VARGAS: That's quite a cover of Time magazine.