The National Rifle Association is launching a multimillion-dollar ad campaign attacking former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, attempting to portray him as an out-of-touch elitist.
The campaign comes more than 18 months after the billionaire and former three-term mayor set his sights – and fortune – on gun control in the wake of the Newtown shooting, launching a series of gun control efforts and a super PAC, throwing millions behind Democrats, and running attack ads against pro-gun Republicans. Bloomberg has said he hopes to counteract the NRA’s influence in the political sphere by creating a movement just as powerful and moneyed.
The first ad of the “Meet the real Michael Bloomberg” campaign, “Insult,” debuts Wednesday, launching with a six-figure broadcast and cable ad buy in Colorado before moving on to digital and social ad buys in Iowa, Louisiana, Nevada, Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgia. It attempts to portray Bloomberg as a Manhattan elitist who considers the states “fly-over country.”
“This is a sign Mike Bloomberg’s efforts are working,” a spokesman for Bloomberg told msnbc in an email. ”We’ve successfully linked several candidates that we helped defeat to the NRA, including Representative Debbie Halvorson in Illinois, Representative Joe Baca in California and Attorney General candidate Mark Obenshain in Virginia, and this November we will help defeat others who have made the mistake of aligning with the NRA.”
The NRA said they hope the campaign will “expose” the former mayor as an “arrogant hypocrite.”
“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,” NRA Executive Director Chris W. Cox said in a release.
Colorado is a notable battleground for the gun control movement: Bloomberg supported lawmakers who passed some of the nation’s strongest gun laws after a movie theater massacre left 12 dead and many others injured. The NRA then successfully helped recall two Democratic state senators who voted for the law, despite Bloomberg spending more than $300,000 to try to help them keep their seats.
“Keep your politics in and keep your hands off our guns – and our freedom,” the ad concludes after complaining that the former mayor also wanted to deprive Americans of their snack foods and sodas.
Bloomberg indeed sought to prevent local New York City stores from selling massive soda cups, instead pushing businesses to stick with more realistic portion sizes. He also led the city to ban the use of trans fats, which are found in some snack foods – a move that dramatically cut the average fat content in customers’ meals in the city.
This isn’t the first time the NRA has targeted the former mayor – they’ve attempted to use him as a liberal bogeyman in television ads for years – but the latest campaign signals they are taking Bloomberg’s efforts to build a pro-gun control movement seriously.