The White House has responded to a provocative ad posted online Tuesday by the National Rifle Association, calling the video "repugnant and cowardly."
The ad labels President Obama an "elitist hypocrite" for letting armed guards protect his own school-aged children while expressing skepticism towards an NRA proposal to put armed security in schools.
"Most Americans agree that a president's children should not be used as pawns in a political fight," White House spokesman Jay Carney said. "But to go so far as to make the safety of the president's children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly.”
NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told the Post earlier Wednesday that the ad was not directed at Malia and Sasha Obama.
“The main aim of the ad is to make sure that we all act to keep our children safe. It’s not aimed at anyone’s child in particular,” he said. “Anyone who claims otherwise is intentionally trying to change the topic or missing the point completely."
The video takes issue with Obama’s comments in a recent interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” in which the president voiced uncertainty about the NRA’s proposal to put armed security guards in schools nationwide.
“I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools,” Obama said. “And I think the vast majority of the American people are skeptical that that somehow is going to solve our problem.”
A second, longer video released by the NRA only emphasizes the point, calling both Obama and "Meet the Press" host David Gregory hypocrites.
Carney's statement came shortly before a White House ceremony at which Obama formally proposed the most expansive gun-control policies in generations and initiated 23 separate executive actions aimed at curbing what he called “the epidemic of gun violence in this country.”
Obama was flanked by children who wrote him letters in the days after the massacre, pleading with him to do something to curb gun violence.