The media calls National Rifle Association members "extremists, whackos and just about every other nasty, mean name in the book," NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre said Friday at the annual National Rifle Association Conference in St. Louis.
He -- and the other speakers at the conference -- had some choice words for the media too, along with President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department's fumbled gun-smuggling Operation Fast And Furious.
Chris Cox, the chief lobbyist of the NRA, spoke of Operation Fast And Furious, alleging a cover-up after the government lost track of some weapons that were later linked to crimes.
"To cover their tracks they tried to blame NRA members and the Second Amendment...Why did they do it? According to their internal emails, it was to advance their gun control agenda," he said. "If you or I did this, we would be in jail. you know how many of Eric Holder's henchman have even been fired? Zero. That's right. Not one. Hell, some have been promoted."
He then took a shot at major news outlets, claiming that they've ignored the story despite widespread media coverage of the failed gun-running operation on the U.S.-Mexico border. "Of course the networks, NBC, ABC, CNN; they've barely covered the story at all. That is a disgrace. But your NRA has covered this story and I promise you we will not stop," he said.
Cox spoke directly to the media: "I want you to see who fights for your First Amendment freedom no matter how much you mock, ridicule, and try to destroy our Second Amendment freedom," he said to loud applause.
"We all make the freedom to do your job possible. So as our members leave here today, please make sure to say thank you," he said.
Later, LaPierre continued the media bashing. Speaking of the Second Amendment, which grants the right to bare arms, he said, "If the media doesn't like it, I know where they can go. They can go straight to Concord bridge and take a flying leap." The crowd applauded.
Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney called LaPierre an "extraordinary man." Romney's wife was a surprise guest at the podium with her husband, who has recently dominated the news cycle over Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen's comment Wednesday that she'd "never worked a day in her life."
"Let me give you a shot out to all moms that are working and by the way all dads that are working!" she said.
Her husband's prepared speech included the word "gun" once and was largely a case for his election. He applauded "NRA leadership for being among the first and most vocal in calling upon Attorney General Holder to resign."
Newt Gingrich, still plowing along in the presidential race despite acknowledging being nearly $4.5 million debt, said the United Nations should draft a treaty allowing everyone on the planet to bear firearms.
President Barack Obama was also a target of the speakers, who accused him of trying to squash gun rights even though he has very seldom talked about the subject as president. On the contrary, Obama signed legislation allowing gun owners to bring their weapons into national parks. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which advocates for stiffer gun controls, gave Obama an "F" in preventing gun violence in 2010.
Cox called him the "the most anti-gun, anti-freedom president we've ever seen." LaPierre said "all across the country people are worried" that Obama will nix gun rights. Romney said Obama has not stood up for the "rights of hunters, sportsmen, and those seeking to protect their homes and their families."
Rick Santorum, recently out of the presidential race, announced that his three-year old daughter, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder, had joined the NRA.
"Karen and I are life members of the NRA and we wanted to announce today that I talked to Chris and now Bella is a life member of the NRA too. And I hope it's a long life," he said.