By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY
Mitt Romney is making his pitch to the National Rifle Association and framing the general election as a choice between his view of freedom vs. President Obama's record of too much government.
Shortly after being introduced, Romney turned the podium over to his wife, Ann, who gave a shout out to working moms and dads. There was an uproar yesterday after Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen said Ann Romney has "never worked a day in her life."
Mitt Romney, the likely GOP nominee, is seen warily by some gun owners. He plans to pledge that he'll "safeguard" the Second Amendment.
"We need a president who will stand up for the rights of hunters, sportsmen and those seeking to protect their homes and their families," Romney will say, according to speech excerpts released by his campaign. "President Obama has not; I will."
Romney will discuss what he views as Obama's "attack" on a variety of freedoms, including those economic and pertaining to specifically to gun owners and hunters.
He will salute House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on the failed gun-trafficking investigation known as Operation Fast and Furious and hail the NRA's call for the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder.
"The right to bear arms is so plainly stated, so unambiguous, that liberals have a hard time challenging it directly," Romney plans to say about the Obama administration and the Second Amendment. "Instead, they've been employing every imaginable ploy to restrict it."
Romney is viewed with some skepticism among gun owners, in part because of his record as Massachusetts governor and some of his previous comments about gun ownership.
In 1994, when Romney ran against Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy, the Republican said "I don't line up with the NRA." During his 2002 gubernatorial bid, Romney proclaimed: "We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts. I support them. I won't chip away at them." Gun-licensing fees went up during Romney's tenure.
He drew snickers for a comment made during the 2008 presidential campaign that he's "not a big game hunter. I've always been, if you will, a rodent and rabbit hunter all right, small varmints if you will."
Romney several years ago became a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. In a message to the group in 2007, he said he backs the Second Amendment "as one of the most basic and fundamental rights of every American."
During one of the GOP presidential debates last year, Romney said he had gone elk hunting with friends in Montana. He recently revealed for the first time that he owns two shotguns.