Sen. John McCain is trying to set himself apart from his potential presidential opponents as a friend of gun owners, reports the New York Times. He reached out to the National Rifle Association last week and warned 6,000 people at the group's annual convention that a President Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton would put the rights of “law-abiding” gun owners at risk. McCain mocked Obama before the gun lobbying group he has tangled with in the past, but whose endorsement he now needs to help shore up conservative support.
“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,” McCain said, “even though few gun owners fall for such obvious political theater.” He said Clinton was acting “like she's on the duck blind every Sunday, packing a six-shooter.” McCain has not always been a favorite of the country's largest gun lobby, and was once branded by it as “one of the premier flag-carriers for enemies of the Second Amendment.” But this week the N.R.A.'s executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, told The Louisville Courier-Journal that there were “vast numbers of areas” in which McCain and the gun lobby agreed.