POLITICS
06/12/2013 05:21 pm ET Updated Jun 13, 2013

Joe Manchin Targeted By NRA In New Ad

The National Rifle Association is out with a new ad going after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who until recently had a sterling record with the group.

Manchin earned the NRA's ire when he partnered with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and pushed to strengthen and expand background checks for gun sales.

The TV spot replays Manchin's famous 2010 campaign ad, in which he shot cap-and-trade legislation with a rifle and touted his NRA endorsement.

"Now, Manchin is working with President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Concerned? You should be," says the ad's narrator. "Tell Sen. Manchin to honor his commitment to the Second Amendment and reject the Obama-Bloomberg gun control agenda."

The TV spot launched Wednesday and urges viewers to call Manchin's office and tell him "to honor his commitment to the Second Amendment."

The NRA plans to spend $100,000 on the ad, according to the AP.

Despite the love lost between the NRA and Manchin, the senator remains a member of the gun lobby group.

"Why would I quit when I'm trying to change from within?" he said in April, shortly after his bipartisan legislation failed in the Senate.

Manchin has said that the NRA's decision to score the background checks vote was the main reason it failed. Without it, he argued, 70 senators -- well above the 60-vote threshold needed -- would have supported it.

Despite the NRA ad's claim, Manchin has actually been quite critical of Bloomberg and his group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, saying he wishes they would help educate voters about his legislation rather than air ads attacking lawmakers who didn't vote for the compromise.

According to the New York Times, Bloomberg is now asking Democratic donors to withhold contributions to the four Democratic senators who voted against background checks. The NRA, meanwhile, has been throwing its support behind the senators who voted against the measure.

UPDATE: 6/13/13 -- Statement from Manchin on the ad:

The Washington NRA could spend one hundred million dollars on ads against me; it still won’t make what they say true. If they were honest with their members they would see that my bill not only protects 2nd Amendment rights, it enhances and strengthens them.

Unfortunately, the NRA leadership in Washington has lost its way and is more concerned about political power than gun rights and gun safety. I am the same proud gun owner and NRA member that I have always been and I believe that criminal and mental background checks are a commonsense approach to protect our neighbors and children without infringing on our 2nd Amendment rights. I think most NRA members agree with me.

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