NRA Blasts John McCain
Saturday, May 19, 2001
Editor's note: NewsMax.com correspondent Wes Vernon is in Kansas City this
weekend with CEO and Editor Christopher Ruddy to cover the National Rifle
Association's annual convention. This article will be updated throughout the
Speaking to thousands of NRA members who packed the main convention center
hall here, CEO and Executive Vice president of the NRA, 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.
Pierre asked, "Is it possible that John McCain thinks you have too much
Pierre 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 Pierre said the outcome would have
likely been different and***would have won.
Praising McCain's war heroism, and the fact for decades he was an ardent
supporter of the NRA, Pierre expressed some exasperation, "But I gotta tell
you, I don't know what's happening to John McCain."
LaPierre 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 was enacted, the NRA might just put
to sail a boat called the "Good Ship NRA" and broadcast their views from
La Pierre said the effect of the new law would benefit the politicians and
major media conglomerates -- and not independent voters or groups like the
Pierre 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." Heston Won't Retire -- YET
NRA president Charlton Heston took to the microphone and quickly announed
that he had planned to make a farewell address after three years as the
"But I've been asked, and I've agreed, to stand for a fourth term."
The audience cheered in support.
Friday, 7:30 p.m. CDT
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
Friday, 5 p.m. CDT
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 ***ia, "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
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.***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.