The NRA is at odds with Bloomberg over his efforts to try and strengthen gun laws -- a cause the billionaire is so passionate about that he is the driving force behind Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization dedicated to this cause.
The NRA, the nation's most influential gun rights advocacy organization, is using the first Republican presidential debate to tease the idea that Bloomberg may run for president, or in the very least, use his money to influence public officials to support his beliefs.
The 30-second TV commercial shows workers setting up a presidential announcement event with signs proclaiming "Bloomberg for President." The commercial charges that Bloomberg is not only trying to "dismantle your gun rights," but also "outlaw your snack foods."
"Even if he doesn't run for president, Bloomberg will try to pick the president," the moderator says. "Bloomberg spends his billions backing politicians who want to take away your rights."
In addition to airing Thursday night nationally on CNN, Fox News and on Fox local cable in Washington, the NRA said it has purchased time on DirecTV and Dish Network this week as well as cable ad time in Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire for the next three weeks. An NRA representative described this initial ad buy as a first phase and noted it would contain a digital component.
"Michael Bloomberg thinks he knows what's best for everyone else," said NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker. "He wants to tell us what to eat, what to drink and how to protect ourselves. If he can't be president, he will try to pick the president, just like he tried to pick the U.S. Senate in the last election, and we expect he will lose, just like he did in 2014."
Howard Wolfson, a Bloomberg adviser, dismissed the NRA commercial.
"We love the spot," Wolfson said. "We are thinking of doubling their buy and running it in full."
The NRA ad comes at a time when there have been several high profile shootings involving guns in Charleston, South Carolina, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Lafayette, Louisiana, that have renewed pressure on how to address gun violence.
But the public is split over enacting stricter gun control laws. A CNN/ORC International poll conducted in late June showed that 49% of Americans favored stricter gun laws, while 49% of people opposed the idea.