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At NRA conference, Hillary Clinton jabs make easy applause lines

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks during the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum at the 2015 NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits on April 10, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

At the National Rifle Association (NRA)'s annual convention on Friday, a series gun rights advocates and would-be Republican presidential nominees rallied the thousands of attendees around conservative values -- at times using Hillary Clinton's presumed presidential candidacy to underscore their message.

"I vow on this day the NRA will stand shoulder to shoulder with you and good, honest decent Americans and we will stand and fight with everything we've got and in 2016, by God, we will elect the next great president of the United States of America and it will not be Hillary Rodham Clinton," NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said at the event.

Clinton is expected to announce her candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination on Sunday. The NRA, which reliably supports Republicans, would almost certainly oppose her presidential campaign or any other Democrat's.

LaPierre listed off the series of controversies linked to her, including "travel-gate" and "Vince Foster-gate," and "Benghazi-gate." His punchline: "Hillary Clinton has more 'gates' than a South Texas cattle ranch."

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a potential 2016 contender, opened his remarks at the conference by taking a jab at Clinton's infamous description of a "vast right-wing conspiracy."

While there's no conspiracy, Jindal joked, "this is a pretty vast group." He said NRA voters will "show her exactly how vast we are next year."

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, another prospective GOP nominee, used his remarks to promote the idea of shrinking government dependency.

"We've got a president, people like Hillary Clinton, who seem to think you seem to measure success in government by how many people are dependent on the government," he said. "I think you should measure success by just the opposite."

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said that one of the greatest challenges in the "age of Obama" is the size and intrusive nature of government. He criticized President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, Clinton, and "all the other people who want to take the guns out of the hands of the good guys, and the hands of law-abiding citizens."

Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, opened his remarks with a joke that targeted Clinton and the IRS: "Ready for Hillary had their first hire, the head of email security," he said. "It's very, very good Lois Lerner now has a job."