I'm shocked that the Mitt Romney team has decided their candidate should address the National Rifle Association (NRA) now given that a good part of the country has been transfixed by the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Florida.
Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch coordinator as he returned from a convenience store to the gated community where he was hanging out with his father. He reportedly returned carrying Skittles and an iced tea. The shooter, George Zimmerman, has claimed self-defense. Rallies have taken place throughout the country calling for his arrest.
One of the main sticking points for the protesters is a law in Florida called "Stand Your Ground," which allows an individual to use lethal force if they feel their life is threatened - a law for which the NRA lobbied.
I understand Romney's need to get in with the conservative base that has remained wary of him during the Republican primaries. Since his win in Wisconsin, the GOP establishment has moved to coalesce around Romney as the presumptive nominee, and so he wants to seal the deal with base by an appearance at the NRA's annual meeting this Friday, the 13th in St. Louis, MO, even though we all know he's not much of a gun toter.
But where are his communications advisers on this I wonder? Should he be pushing his message that "he does not support adding more laws and regulations" as it relates to Americans' right to bear arms, according to his campaign website when the country is still reeling from the shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), as HuffPost's Sam Stein points out, as well as this incident in Florida?
It seems maybe Romney should stick to one of his other subjects like taxes, or heck education. Or perhaps, he'll wisely address some of these tragedies the nation has endured while at the NRA podium. Oakland comes to mind, as does Oklahoma, just to name the most recent mass shootings.
Unfortunately, I suspect we'll hear more of this: "As president, Mitt will work to expand and enhance access and opportunities for Americans to hunt, shoot, and protect their families, homes and property..."