The National Rifle Association has released an ad in which a man portraying a mobster from New York says Virginia voters should support Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell if they "know what's good for you."
Watch the spot, which Politico reports is part of a half-million dollar campaign in Virginia by the gun-rights group, at left.
"A while back, our New York Mayor Bloomberg came down here to take away some of your Virginia gun rights," a man says in the spot, in a Sopranos-like accent. "You see, the mayor thinks you guys are responsible for our New York crime problem. But when Mayor Bloomberg got down here, your guy, Bob McDonnell, kicked him out of Virginia. Now that was very disrespectful."
Contacted about what the spot meant with the claim that McDonnell "kicked [Bloomberg] out of Virginia," an NRA representative said it was a reference to the fact McDonnell sent Bloomberg a "cease and desist" letter. He also pointed to McDonnell's work with the legislature to make sure sting operations would be illegal.
"So now I'm here to make sure Mr. McDonnell doesn't get in New York's way again," the man continues in the ad, as Italian-style music plays in the background. "Listen to me: When you vote, I strongly suggest you forget about your freedoms and your Mr. Second Amendment Bob McDonnell. I want you to do it for New York. If you know what's good for you."
The spot then cuts to a shot of McDonnell, who an announcer says is "defending Virginia's freedom" against the "New York mayor and his cronies." As he says "cronies," the mobster character is shown. As the NRA logo appears, viewers are encouraged to "send New York a message" and vote for McDonnell.
Contacted about the spot by CBSNews.com, Stacey Johnson, Traveling Press Secretary for the McDonnell campaign, said, "We are honored to have the strong support of the NRA in this campaign."
On Wednesday, Bloomberg announced an undercover investigation carried out at gun shows in three states. It found that "thirty-five of 47 gun sellers sold to people who said either they probably could not pass a background check or to apparent 'straw purchasers.'"
"The gun show loophole is a deadly serious problem – and this undercover operation exposes just how pervasive and serious it is," Bloomberg said in a statement. "…We'll encourage work with Congressional leaders to pass legislation closing the gun show loophole. This is an issue that has nothing to do with the Second Amendment; it's about keeping guns from criminals, plain and simple."
Bloomberg financed an ad in April in Virginia criticizing McDonnell for efforts to keep the gun show loophole open. It features the brother of one of the students killed in the Virginia Tech shootings and closes with this: "Ask Bob McDonnell why he's protecting criminals instead of protecting us."