McCain Faces the NRA

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John McCain has had a rocky relationship with the National Rifle Association over the years, with his support for closing the gun show loophole at the top of the organization's list of grievances and his shepherding of campaign finance reform a close second.

On Friday McCain addresses the NRA's annual convention in Louisville. Perhaps the NRA is ready to kiss and make up in order to rally around the Republican nominee?

NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre told the AP said his organization and McCain will "agree to disagree" on some issues. "We're not foolish enough to ignore the vast areas of agreement in which John McCain has been a friend to gun owners."

McCain will get a less warm greeting from the American Hunters and Shooters Association, who have taken out an ad in the Louisville Courier-Journal calling on McCain to "come clean once and for all on the critical issue of background checks at gun shows."

Also making remarks: Former Govs. Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, both in the mix for McCain's vice presidential slot.

President Bush claims to not want to play the role of pundit-in-chief, but that has not stopped him from weighing in on the race to replace him in the White House. Today, perhaps antsy for the general election to start, the President started a heated debate on foreign policy and national security.

Speaking at Israeli Knesset today, President Bush said that negotiating with terrorists and radicals is a "foolish delusion."

"We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history," Bush said.

The White House denied that the President was speaking about Barack Obama, who has said he would sit down with leaders from Iran and Syria.

When asked about the President's comments today, McCain did not back down from them and in fact took it a step further by calling out Obama directly, saying his willingness to sit down with the president of Iran shows "naiveté and inexperience and lack of judgment." LINK

(Hmm…that sort of sounds like Hillary Clinton, circa July 2007:)

Hovell reports that McCain indicated he will make this issue front-and-center in the general election if Obama is the Democratic nominee. But perhaps this will help Obama in the short-term: Today the Democratic Party leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Joe Biden and even Clinton, all rallied behind the not-quite-yet-presumptive nominee and defended Obama against the President's comments.

The back-and-forth today was larger than Bush speaking out on Obama, of course – it was the Democrats against the Republicans on the larger issue of national security.

Said one White House official tonight, per ABC News' Jon Garcia:

"Did we know this could be construed as being about Obama? Yes, of course. But was this about just Obama? No, it was about Pelosi, Carter, Biden, Obama etc. When the line went in the speech, we made sure that it was the same as everything he (Bush) has said in the past. This was not about just Obama."

Stay tuned, this show will run until Nov. 4.

On the campaign front. . .

BARACK OBAMA -- 1:00 pm ET: Attends event with voters, Watertown, SD -- 9:00 pm ET: Attends event with voters, Sioux Falls, SD

HILLARY CLINTON -- No public events scheduled.

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