NRA official calls group's ad on Obama's children 'ill-advised'

A National Rifle Association ad criticized by both Republicans and Democrats is now taking flak from a leader of the organization itself.

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Jim Baker, director of federal affairs for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, told Reuters that the ad referencing President Obama’s children was “ill-advised” and not “particularly helpful” to the group's cause. 

“I think the ad could have made a good point, if it talked about the need for increased school security, without making the point using the president's children," said Baker, the NRA's top lobbyist in Washington.

Baker met with Vice President Biden’s task force on gun violence the week before the ad aired.

Released last week, the ad calls the president an "elitist hypocrite” for protecting his daughters with armed guards in their school while not backing the NRA’s proposal to put an armed guard in every school.

The White House called the NRA ad “repugnant and cowardly” following its release.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said the ad was “reprehensible” and lowers the credibility of the organization in the gun debate.

Others have noted that while Obama’s daughters are protected by the Secret Service, the private school the children attend does not have armed guards. 

The organization itself has defended the ad and said it was making a broader point about armed security in schools.

“They know the point we were making is a very clear point,” NRA President David Keene said last week on CNN. “That we believe the same kinds of safety that elitist kids have should be available to the children of the average working American.”

But in the interview, Keene conceded the NRA’s point could be made without the reference to the president’s two daughters.

“That’s fair. You can make the point in a lot of different ways,” he said.

The president has expressed skepticism that putting armed guards in schools would cut down on mass shootings following the killing of 26 people in an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

On Thursday, Biden said the idea would be a “terrible mistake.”

“We are not calling for armed guards in schools. We are not calling for — we think it would be a terrible mistake,” he said.

In Obama’s proposal to reduce gun violence, the president does call for funding for school resource officers — specially trained police that work in schools. Biden noted Thursday that individual school districts could decide if those officers carried guns.