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Glenn Beck and stagecraft wizardry: Why his NRA talk trumped all

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Here's one thing you can say about Republicans: They sure like their props.

First there was Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair at the Republican National Convention. Then there was Sarah Palin chugging down a Big Gulp at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March, and a couple months later, waving a tin of chewing tobacco at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston this past weekend.

But in the prop-toting antics category, Glenn Beck may take the cake. He used not one but five props at his keynote address at the NRA’s “Stand and Fight” convention Saturday, a rousing almost-two-hour talk during which he paced, mocked, pontificated, and of course, referred to props in classic Beck fashion.

He presented a series of firearms: the gun owned by serial killer Charles Manson before police confiscated it and Manson had nine victims slaughtered – with knives, not guns; a 9/11 first responder’s handgun, which Mr. Beck called a “small token of liberty;” and an antique rifle used by an American “the first time we fought against Muslim extremists” – the Barbary pirates.

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