Fitzpatrick joins criticism of NRA

WASHINGTON -- Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, a Bucks County Republican, joined the growing chorus of public officials criticizing the NRA for its ad citing President Obama's two daughters.

Children, Fitzpatrick said in a telephone interview Thursday night, "are off limits," adding that he was "very disappointed" in the ad.

"We're about to engage in a very important debate about public safety ... and constitutional protections," Fitzpatrick said. "Inflammatory commercials detract from that debate."

Fitzpatrick, who has six children, aged 12 to 22, has received backing from the NRA in the past -- the group's lobbying arm spent $23,800 on his behalf in last year's election -- but this week he came out in favor of enhanced background checks and left the door open to considering other measures Obama has proposed to curb gun violence. Thursday night he criticized the NRA's tactics.

"Af a father of young children, I feel it's very important our children not be used to forward a political cause," Fitzpatrick said.

The video calls Obama an "elitist hypocrite" for allowing armed protection for his daughters while voicing skepticism about the NRA's call for putting armed guards in every school.

"Are the president's kids more important than yours?" the narrator of the ad asks.

The NRA has said the ad is about the principle of armed protection, not Obama's daughters. But many officials, including Republicans with NRA ties, have expressed anger. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ripped the NRA earlier Thursday, following similar criticism on Wednesday from Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and South Jersey Congressman Jon Runyan, another Republican who also has been supported by the NRA in the past.