Manchin on offense to defend gun safety position

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

Months after the Senate voted down legislation that would strengthen gun laws in the U.S., Sen. Joe Manchin, W.Va., who authored a key amendment to the bill, is attempting to fight off blowback from his position on background checks, combating a series of NRA attack ads with a new television spot of his own.

According to Jonathan Kott, a campaign aide for Manchin, the Manchin campaign is shooting an ad today in West Virginia. He said it is expected to air this week and will be a buy of at least $100,000.

"The Washington NRA leadership is clearly out of step with the American people and law abiding gun owners, and is now attacking Senator Manchin for a position they once supported," Kott said in an email to CBSNews.com. "The Washington NRA leadership is trying to distort Senator Manchin's commitment to the [Second] Amendment because they know he is one of the most credible defenders of gun rights who also believes that it just makes sense to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those found severely mentally ill."

Manchin, a moderate, pro-gun Democrat who has an "A" rating from the NRA, worked with Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., on an amendment that would expand background checks for gun buyers in the U.S. By the standard of many gun control advocates, the measure was considered to be very moderate.

Nevertheless, the NRA is launching ads attacking senators who supported the legislation, and Manchin is no exception. He's being hit with $100,000 worth of NRA-sponsored ads in West Virginia blasting him for "working with President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg" on issues related to gun rights.

"Tell Senator Manchin to honor his commitment to the Second Amendment," the NRA ad urges.

According to an NRA spokesman, the ad is running for two weeks in West Virginia on four local news markets. The NRA told CBSNews.com it has also added spots in the Clarksburg, W.Va. market for the week of June 19-25.

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