Fox News' Monica Crowley defended a controversial ad by the National Rifle Association that used President Obama's children to criticize him over his support for strengthening gun laws. But just minutes later, Crowley accused Obama of exploiting children for political gain for inviting them to his press conference on gun violence.
In the ad, the NRA accuses Obama of being an “elitist hypocrite” for stating that he is “skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools” though his children attend a school protected by armed guards.
Discussing the issue on Fox's America Live, Crowley defended the NRA's use of Obama's children, saying:
CROWLEY: [Y]ou have to be very, very careful, especially when you're talking about the president's children, but the bigger point that they're trying to make here is that the president's children do not go to school in a gun-free zone. They are protected, they have secret service protection --
MEGYN KELLY (host): They're accusing him of hypocrisy.
CROWLEY: -- and that's totally fine. But, yes, what it's actually saying is his children are more worthy of gun protection than yours.
Minutes later, Crowley lashed out at the president, accusing him of exploiting children by inviting them to the press conference:
CROWLEY: Here is why it's so cynical to be using children in this context. Number one, because of the violence part of the gun control debate which is what we're talking about. But secondly because it's -- it puts the opponents of any of these gun control measures in a very difficult box.
I understand why the president did it and some could say he was very smart to do it, but it's very, very tough, if not impossible to argue against children. You saw those kids today. They're beautiful angelic children not unlike the ones gunned down in the Newtown massacre. Very difficult to argue against children. That's why they were used, but I find that use of kids really exploitative.
Later in the segment, Crowley again dismissed the use of Obama's children in order to promote the NRA's charge of “hypocrisy”:
CROWLEY: That is a powerful line because if you set aside the use of the Obama girls, and that is debatable, but the bigger point here is that so many of these people who are arguing for stricter gun control, they all have their own either private security, whether you're talking about the president -- and I'm not taking away their right, obviously, the president needs security. Obviously his family does as well.
But what we're arguing for is law-abiding citizens to be able to continue to have the right and the freedom protected under the Second Amendment. And so when there is hypocrisy here, whether it's a Hollywood celebrity or a leftist politician or the president arguing to you that you can't or that those rights should be curtailed, there is a huge element of hypocrisy.
Obama is not the first president to invite children to political events. In 2002, President George W. Bush had children attend the signing of the No Child Left Behind Act. Bush also invited children to more controversial events, such as his 2006 veto of federally-funded stem-cell research.