In front of more than 15,000 people Oct. 4 at the Augusta Expoland in Fisherville, Va, the political action committee that is the leading advocate for restore gun rights in America endorsed W. Mitt Romney, the GOP candidate, for president.
“Virginia is ground zero – the front line of this election. This is where the race could be won or lost. This is where the difference can be made. This is where gun owners must make that difference,” said Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association’s executive director, who was joined at the rally by Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.), the Republican candidate for vice-president, Christopher W. Cox, the chairman of the NRA’s Political Victory Fund and country music superstar Trace Adkins, a NRA lifetime member.
Adkins, one of many country music singers touring the country in support of the Romney-Ryan ticket, performed a mini-concert as part of the program.
Fresh off staggering President Barack Obama in the previous night’s debate in Denver, Romney said to the crowd, “Victory is in sight.”
Romney said the debate showed the American people that he and the president stand for two different visions.
Obama has had his chance to make the country better and failed, he said.
“When he described his vision for the future, it was more of the same,” he said. “He described a series of ideas that we’ve heard before.”
LaPierre sensed the crowd was still excited about Romney’s debate performance.
“In this election, there is no debate. There is only one choice – only one hope – to save our firearms freedom and our way of life,” said LaPierre.
“Get to the polls on Election Day and make the difference in this campaign. Help take back our country and protect our freedom. On Nov. 6, vote freedom first – Vote Romney-Ryan!” he said.
Taking his turn, Cox said, “Today, we live in an America that is getting harder to recognize every day led by a President who mocks our values, belittles our faith, and is threatened by our freedom.”
It was Cox made the announcement formal.
“On behalf of the four million men and women of the National Rifle Association, representing tens of millions of NRA supporters, it is my honor to announce the NRA’s endorsement of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for President and Vice President of the United States,” he said.
John R. Scott, the Expoland facilities manager, said there was a huge roar when the NRA endorsement was announced.
“The NRA had a huge presence here, they were passing out hats and signs and they were all over the place,” he said.
With the music, speeches and pumped up crowd, the campaign rally and concert had a festival atmosphere, he said.
“It was amazing,” he said. “We had to park cars in places we never parked them before.”