CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin warned NRA members Friday that President Barack Obama wants to gut the Second Amendment and told a separate gathering that "mama grizzlies" will help Republicans win this November, sweeping away the Democratic agenda.
Palin, a potential 2012 presidential candidate, told National Rifle Association members during their annual meeting that the only thing stopping Obama and his Democratic allies from trying to ban guns is political backlash.
"Don't doubt for a minute that, if they thought they could get away with it, they would ban guns and ban ammunition and gut the Second Amendment," said Palin, a lifelong NRA member who once had a baby shower at a local gun range in Alaska. "It's the job of all of us at the NRA and its allies to stop them in their tracks."
Gun enthusiasts have trumpeted fears that their rights would erode under a Democrat-led White House and Congress, but President Barack Obama has largely been silent on issues such as reviving an assault weapons ban or strengthening background checks at gun shows. Obama also signed a law allowing people to carry loaded guns in national parks.
Palin, the GOP's 2008 vice presidential nominee, also praised tea party activism during an appearance in Charlotte, and scoffed at suggestions that the movement had roots in violence, racism or rednecks before adding: "I don't really have a problem with the redneck part of it, to tell you the truth."
She proceeded to read several redneck jokes off her phone and talked about how she could relate to some of them.
During an event earlier Friday in Washington sponsored by an anti-abortion group, she challenged Republican women to help the GOP "take this country back" and elect anti-abortion lawmakers. She praised female leaders of the tea party movement and invoked the 2008 acceptance speech where she compared herself to a pit bull.
"You don't want to mess with moms who are rising up," Palin said at the Susan B. Anthony List event. "If you thought pit bulls were tough, you don't want to mess with mama grizzlies."
Palin said she understood how some women might consider abortion, citing her own experiences as the mother of a child with Down syndrome and the parent of an unwed teen mother. Last year, Palin said that "for a fleeting moment" she considered having an abortion when she learned of her son Trig's prognosis.
But she said Friday that abortion is morally wrong and women should carry a fetus to term.
"It may not be the easiest path, but it's always the right path," she said.
She said Obama is "the most pro-abortion president ever to occupy the White House" and asserted that the health care law would fund abortions.
In fact, Obama's health care law would not allow federal dollars to pay for elective abortions. Catholic hospitals and organizations of Catholic nuns backed the measure. U.S. Catholic bishops and major anti-abortion groups opposed it, arguing that federal dollars could end up paying for abortions.
Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY's List, said Palin talks a good game, but her version of what American women want doesn't honor freedom and independence. She mentioned the Democratic lawmakers whom Palin had targeted for their votes for health care overhaul.
"First she puts targets on their back, then she wants the government in their bedrooms -- what is Sarah Palin doing to Western women?" said Schriock. EMILY'S List helps candidates who back abortion rights.
Palin also criticized the media, singling out their coverage of her daughter Bristol, whose pregnancy was announced days after Palin was named the vice presidential nominee. Bristol Palin is a single mother who works on an abstinence-only campaign.
She said some young women would see what happened to Bristol and perhaps be encouraged to seek an abortion instead of facing similar criticism.
Palin also said Friday that the United States should continue to drill for oil despite the Gulf spill.
She made the comments in an interview with ABC News.