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Rasmussen: Holder not so popular; NRA’s Cox says he should have been fired

Attorney General Eric Holder took a hit from a Rasmussen poll, and from NRA's Chris Cox.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla

A new Rasmussen poll released today says Attorney General Eric Holder “remains one of the best-known and least-liked members of President Obama’s cabinet,” and considering remarks made by top National Rifle Association lobbyist Chris Cox at the association’s convention over the weekend, he will get no sympathy from gun owners.

Rasmussen revealed that a telephone survey conducted April 23-24 – on the eve of the NRA’s 143rd annual meetings and exhibits in Indianapolis – found that 43 percent of the respondents look unfavorably at Holder while only 24 percent of America’s voters have a “favorable opinion” of the attorney general. Surprisingly, 33 percent of the respondents “don’t know enough about Holder to voice any opinion,” Rasmussen reported.

Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, obviously does not belong to that one-third of the voters. In a rousing speech that brought several cheers and a couple of standing ovations, Cox portrayed Holder as an ardent anti-gunner who “tried to equate self-defense with gun violence.” Cox quoted Holder, who last year stated, “It’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sew dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods.”

To that statement, shown in a large screen image over the stage at the members’ meeting on Saturday alongside Holder's photo, Cox responded, “Self-defense is not a concept, it’s a fundamental human right. You didn’t give it to us and you’re sure as hell not going to take it away from us.”

That brought applause from the audience of about 2,000 NRA members. Cox’s follow-up remark kept them cheering.

“Congress was right to hold you in contempt,” Cox said, as if publicly addressing Holder, “and you should have been fired a long time ago. But Obama won’t fire him because he agrees with him.” His speech can be seen here.

Holder is the only U.S. attorney general ever held in contempt of Congress. He is the target of a federal lawsuit over his refusal to turn over subpoenaed documents related to Operation Fast and Furious to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

While pounding on Holder, Cox saved a little brimstone for his boss, contending, “If you think universal health care is a disaster, how do you think his universal gun registration would work out? The truth is, gun control is the unfinished business of Barack Obama’s presidency, and it’s up to us to stop him.”

Holder abruptly cancelled an appearance in Oklahoma last week, and there is some speculation about the reason why. Politico reported that decision at the time.

Billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who recently launched a $50 million political campaign “to beat the NRA,” also came in for some heated criticism. Cox accused Bloomberg of hypocrisy for surrounding himself with armed security while spending a fortune to deny average citizens the tools with which to defend themselves.

“He thinks that with enough deceptive TV ads, political contributions and self-serving press conferences, he can buy the hearts and minds of the American people,” Cox asserted. “He thinks he can buy freedom that countless Americans have given their lives to defend.

“Let me tell you something,” he added. “The five million members of the National Rifle Association will not allow Michael Bloomberg to lie his way or buy his way or bully his way into taking our Second Amendment rights.”

Bloomberg’s so-called “grassroots” effort was the subject of considerable ridicule among NRA members in Indianapolis over the weekend. Several people told Examiner that $50 million can hardly be pandered as a grassroots effort.

What got their attention was the anti-gun rally Saturday a couple of blocks from the convention center, sponsored by Bloomberg’s “Everytown for Gun Safety” project. It essentially turned into a rout when gun rights activists grabbed the “Everytown for Gun Safety” title and created dozens of Facebook pages loaded with pro-gun messages.

The anti-NRA protest was led by Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a Bloomberg-funded group. They did not venture near the convention center, because a considerably larger contingent of pro-gun women were waiting for them.

The looming summer promises to be politically hot, as Bloomberg’s well-funded political machine will battle genuine grassroots gun rights activists on several fronts. Included in that will be Washington State, where the dueling initiatives campaign promises to be an election year hot potato.

Over the weekend at the Washington Arms Collectors gun show in Puyallup and a commercial gun show at the Tacoma Dome, more than 6,000 bumper stickers were handed out by volunteers. The stickers carry a simple message: “Protect Your Rights. Yes on 591 – No on 594.”

Initiative 591 is a simple measure that prohibits government gun confiscation without due process, and requires that background checks done in Washington conform to a uniform national standard. I-594 is an 18-page gun control measure advertised as a “universal background check” initiative. I-594 is sponsored by the Seattle-based Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, to which Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns contributed $30,000.