White House releases photo of Obama shooting shotgun
February 2nd, 2013
12:06 PM ET
1 year ago

White House releases photo of Obama shooting shotgun

(CNN) - One could say this photo shoots down any remaining skepticism.

The White House on Saturday released a photo of President Barack Obama shooting skeet last August, backing up a claim he made in a recent interview that some Republicans questioned.

"Up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time," Obama said, answering a question about whether he had fired a gun before. He said that his daughters had not participated but that he has "a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations. And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake."

The caption accompanying the official White House photo says it was taken at Camp David - the Maryland presidential retreat - on August 4, 2012, his 51st birthday.

Obama's answer drew skeptical reviews from Republicans, including Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, who spoke Monday on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront."

"If he is a skeet shooter, why have we not heard of this? Why have we not seen photos? Why hasn't he referenced this at any point in time?" Blackburn said.

Then she issued something of a challenge to the president: "I think he should invite me to Camp David, and I'll go skeet shooting with him, and I bet I'll beat him."

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told CNN's Jessica Yellin at Monday's briefing for reporters that Obama goes "to Camp David with some regularity, but I'm not sure how often he's done that" sport, which involves shooting clay discs with a shotgun.

He was also asked whether there were any photos, and if one could be provided to reporters.

"There may be, but I haven't seen it," he said.

Carney added, "When he goes to Camp David, he goes to spend time with his family and friends and relax, not to produce photographs.”

Carney said on Wednesday that he had no reaction to Blackburn's comments.

Reporters are not typically permitted to cover Obama's personal activities at the secluded retreat.

The release comes as Obama is advancing a slate of measures he says will prevent gun violence, including reinstituting an assault weapons ban, limiting the size of gun magazines, and requiring background checks on all gun sales. He also signed a series of executive actions relating to gun violence.

While the assault weapons ban has its proponents on Capitol Hill, some members of Congress are skeptical it will pass, considering Republican opposition and wary Democrats who represent conservative districts and states.

Vice President Joe Biden led Obama's gun violence task force convened after the December 14 shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

He acknowledged to reporters after a Thursday meeting with Democrats on Capitol Hill that "Nothing we are going to do is fundamentally going to alter or eliminate the possibility of another mass shooting or guarantee that we will bring gun deaths down." Obama had made similar comments earlier in the month.

The president will take his gun-related platform on the road to Minnesota on Monday.

National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam reacted to the photo, telling CNN, "One picture does not erase a lifetime of supporting every gun ban and every gun control scheme imaginable."

– CNN's Gregory Wallace, Shirley Henry, Ashley Killough and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (325 Responses)
  1. Ryan

    I didn't know Obama was left handed.

    February 2, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. wisconsin101

    Something tells me he doesn't shoot often for the way he is holding the gun is that of a very green novice. More proof that he does not do it as often as he implies. But who really cares, this issue has very little to do with gun control debate.

    February 2, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. Thomas

    National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam , live by the gun , die by the gun !

    February 2, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. jnpa

    Is the President going to get a public apology from Blackburn? Probably not. Repubs never say they're sorry.

    February 2, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. dannyC

    Look closer at the background. That doesn't look like Maryland. And that shotgun might be an 8 gauge, which combined with a slug cartridge, is commonly used for elephant hunting.
    So, is this a picture of Obama shooting sporting clays at Camp David, or is he shooting endangered elephants in his Kenyan homeland?
    I'm not saying it is or isn't. I'm just asking the questions.
    LET THE LUNACY BEGIN!!!

    February 2, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Pure trickery from the whitehouse again and again.

    February 2, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. Scott

    That's a shotgun, not a rifle as the CNN link says.

    February 2, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  8. Keep Fear ALive

    well of course they were skeptical ... they will continue to be skeptical about EVERYTHING until a White Male once again resides int he white house ... poor racists.. they are so obvious ... ..

    February 2, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. Democrat4Life

    What a wonderful photo.

    February 2, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. newtonfig

    its a conspiracy! Its photoshopped. hes a fraud! how could we ever trust a president to deal with the N Koreans, Syria, the Russians or domestic issues with the cloud of skeeter-gate over our heads. I cant even trust my own friends and family now.

    February 2, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. newtonfig

    its a conspiracy. this is so photopshopped. Lets have million dollar "independent" investigative hearings for the next 6 months to get to the bottom of skeetergate

    February 2, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  12. sg

    "Rifleman" is not correct,

    February 2, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. Dennis

    This proves that we were wrong about him all along. He really is a gun loving sportsman. Who would have thought it.
    I bet he really was born in Hawaii after all. I feel bad that I have miss-judged the man and his motives.

    February 2, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. George

    OK, so he shoots a rifle every now and then. I doubt he'll ever have to worry about protecting himself when someone breaks into his house, or if he's confronted in a road rage incident.

    February 2, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  15. Emily

    The reports are he has done this just twice in the last four years and at least one of those times it was just to put in a showing during the Marine Corps guard skeet contest and left nearly immediately.

    February 2, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. Cam Spurgeon

    Erin and Marsha Blackburn are a pair..couple of total witchipoos.Go talk about something else or better yet go away and mellow out,

    February 2, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  17. bibleverse1

    Sport shooting is fun. Gun being used responsibly in accordance with law. I do not see any problem. He was not posing like so many people do on twitter or facebook. I can disagree with some policies but there is nothing wrong with this.

    February 2, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  18. pevanb

    Proves nothing except that he had a photo op. I would wager my 13 year old daughter can out shoot him, any day and any time, any shotgun that he chooses. I believe he would hate to be shown up by a young lady.

    February 2, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. Jeff in Cincy

    Can one of you gun enthusiasts explain something to me? 1. Why is there smoke coming out of the side of the barrel? 2. Why is the tip of the barrel "orange" like they require on fake guns??? This better not be a "staged" photoshopped photo...

    February 2, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  20. Andrew

    That is a staged photo.. If he shoots skeet all the time he would have a pouch to carry his shells and he would also have a left handed gun so the shells don't eject into his face... fake

    February 2, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. mb2010a

    Oddly enough, I don't recall seeing any pictures of Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, shooting a rifle either (as she claims she does)...

    I haven't seen any pictures of the President using the bathroom either but I would still believe him if he said he does.

    Note to Republicans: Stop being "stupid".

    February 2, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. PJ

    Now maybe Marsha 'shoot her mouth off' Blackburn can get back to doing what she was hired to do and quit
    being petty and irrelevant.
    The Republicans want us to take them seriously? Phat chance!

    February 2, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  23. Tony

    NRA: "He doesn't shoot guns! He's a liar! Prove it!"
    White House: "Okay, here's a picture."
    NRA: "He's still a libby gun-grabber!"

    Folks, this is the level of discourse in politics in the U.S. right now. Sad, really.

    February 2, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. hammilton

    As if a picture of president Blackenstein with a gun would be useful in allaying republican fears about him...

    Beautiful shotgun, btw

    February 2, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  25. memyselfundI

    So by that logic, if a KKK grandwizard kisses a black baby in a picture, it proves he is not a racist.

    February 2, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
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