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WASHINGTON, DC - Sept. 21: Former GOP Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks at a National Rifle Association meeting, "A Celebration of American Values," at the Capitol Hilton in Washington. Top Republican presidential candidates courted the powerful National Rifle Association on Friday, with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani trying hard to convince the group that he would support Second Amendment rights for gun owners. The NRA is a key constituency especially for GOP candidates seeking their party's nomination. The lobbying group has nearly 3 million members and a political action committee that raised more than $10 million for every election cycle since the 2000 presidential election, and has shown its ability to mobilize its constituency. Meeting in Washington Friday, NRA members received appeals from top GOP presidential candidates Sen. John McCain, Giuliani, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Duncan Hunter, D-Calif., provided videotaped addresses, while New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was the sole Democratic presidential candidate to address the association Friday, albeit in a videotaped speech. Each candidate sought to emphasize their credentials on guns and Second Amendment issues, but Giuliani faced the challenge of dealing with his past record, having been a strong advocate of gun control while New York's mayor and suggesting in a television interview that the NRA were "extremists." (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly).

WASHINGTON, DC - Sept. 21: Former GOP Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks at a National Rifle Association meeting, "A Celebration of American Values," at the Capitol Hilton in Washington. Top Republican presidential candidates courted the powerful National Rifle Association on Friday, with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani trying hard to convince the group that he would support Second Amendment rights for gun owners. The NRA is a key constituency especially for GOP...
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