The National Rifle Association is taking the unusual step of launching a multimillion-dollar ad campaign designed to turn Michael Bloomberg into a political bogeyman in this year's midterm elections, and beyond.
The group, which announced its plans Tuesday, will begin its efforts with a $500,000 TV ad buy attacking Bloomberg -- one of the most vocal gun control advocates in the country -- and not just on guns. It's a new tactic for a group that typically focuses its political efforts on supporting or opposing candidates for office. Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, is not running for anything.
The new ad will air in in several states, including Colorado -- where an effort to tighten gun control laws led to the recall of two Democratic state senators last year. The spot aims to tie Bloomberg's attitude on guns to other policies, including his push as mayor to ban the sale of large sugary beverages.
"Bloomberg tries to ban your snack foods, your soda and most of all, your guns," says the narrator of the ad.
News of the campaign was first reported by USA Today.
Bloomberg is a leading figure in a national push to tighten gun laws, and plans to spend $50 million of his personal fortune this year to press lawmakers to support tighter gun restrictions. His group, Everytown for Gun Safety, is surveying lawmakers to judge where they stand on gun laws -- echoing the approach taken by the NRA , which has rated candidates on an "A" though "F" scale for years.
"Michael Bloomberg has declared war on the NRA and our five million members. We will not sit back and let him use his billions of dollars to impose his radical anti-freedom agenda on the American people," Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement.
The NRA also plans digital ads in several states, including some where key midterm battleground races are underway such as Colorado, Kentucky and North Carolina.
"We've successfully linked several candidates that we helped defeat to the NRA," Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser, told USA Today. "This November, we will help defeat others who have made the mistake of aligning with the NRA."