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. William

    Very convenient picture. The man doesn't skeet shoot but reacted by having this picture taken of him blasting away at who knows what. He doesn't even look comfortable holding it. Lame. He gets more lame and more transparent everyday. Seeing as he loves those Hollywood types so much i am surprised they didnt have him holding a pistol sideways all gangsta style, yo.

    February 2, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. michael guillot

    This picture is photo-shop! There is no signs of recoil or kick into his shoulder region or his side of his cheek. That shotgun has a powerful kick...this is a hoax to fool people who are not educated in gun control.

    February 2, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. texasnotea

    Well what do you know! He did tell the truth despite the allegations of lying from the GOP. Oh well now they will just say the photo is a fake or maybe, " he only did it one time" instead of all the time like he said. Why don't you gop'ers get a life instead of trying to discredit The President all the time? God loves The President too, you know.

    February 2, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. trickedstz

    I don't see how people can correlate gun ownership to supporting the 2nd amendment. I'll explain why the Magazine and 'Assault Weapons' ban will not pass. I can talk all day about what the 2nd Am really means, but lets cut to the chase: Basically, District of Columbia v Heller said that whatever firearms are most common are suitable for lawful purposes. AR-15 's are used for lawful purposes every single day. I use one for lawful purposes. I have three different AR-15s, one is used specifically for 3-Gun which is a very popular sport involving time, endurance, and accuracy. I use another one specifically for hunting. The .223 round comes in a heavier grain that is suitable for hunting. Just because I have a 30 round, 20 round, 10 round magazine, does NOT mean I am shooting a deer more than twice at the very most. The round is accurate and more than enough killing power to take down a deer or smaller game. Just to reinforce, in my home state of Texas it is illegal to shoot a deer in a inhumane manner, so 'pumping it full of lead' can lead to removal of ones license. This is fictional and people do not do this. Diane Feinstein would like to believe otherwise. Third, my other one is suitable for home defense. It's a fantastic weapon for self defense. I use frangible ammunition that breaks apart in drywall, brick and plywood much better than buck shot, 9mm, 45, and 40. It's also very ergonomic and I have the peace of mind knowing I can defend against multiple intruders.

    Back to my original point, Heller vs DofC covers the AR-15 and 30 round magazines because that rifle is the best selling rifle in America, has been for several years now and has been available since 1963 on the commercial market. It accounts for less than 1% of gun homicides according to the FBI, which does include law enforcement killings as they are all homicides in the lawful sense. 30 round magazines are factory standard and therefore are not 'high capacity' by definition. Well over 2/3s of all handguns purchased by Americans have a magazine from the factory from anywhere between 11-19 rounds. Again, factory standard, common and protected by the supreme court.

    Check and mate.

    February 2, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  5. PHILIP ONGAYO

    No american has never handled a gun

    February 2, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. Wes

    He even shoots like a girl.

    February 2, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. ams

    I hope Obama goes skeet shooting with Blackburn. Not to prove he does, but perhaps the two can leave with a better impressions of the other. Maybe even respect each other.

    February 2, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. The Truth

    "One could say this photo shoots down any remaining skepticism."

    The photo proves he fired a gun once, discuss amongst yourselves.

    February 2, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. i want it now

    Give me a break. How convenient.

    February 2, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. sqeptiq

    I wonder when the first comment will claim it's a doctored or staged photo.

    February 2, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. ug

    If he pointed the barrel the other way and shot himself I would sleep better.

    February 2, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. jms4177

    Blackburn will do or say anything to get her name in print.

    February 2, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. CT_Yank

    Wait for it...."this was Photoshopped".

    February 2, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  14. Brad

    I can't tell. Is that a shotgun or a lever action rifle?

    February 2, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. jerome

    Is he shooting at the targets or the man working the trap?

    February 2, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. Ted

    Rather curious about level angle of Obama's shotgun. The high launch is 18 ft off the ground and low launch is 10 ft offf the ground. How can one hit a clay pigeon with a level line of sight? Hmmmm

    February 2, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  17. Dave

    '"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.' Maybe he has a private life and doesn't want to share it with you? Or maybe he's hiding the skeet shooting photos along with his college transcripts. You right wingers are an embarrassment to the USA.

    February 2, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  18. 66Biker

    Rep. Marsha who? If she is such a prominent Republicon why have I not heard of her? Why have I not seen photos of her? OH, YEAH! She a member of the Party of No, and the Do Nothing Congress. I forgot...

    February 2, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. Pete/Ark

    What's that you said..."put up,or shut up" ? OK, part one is accomplished...time for the doubters to do part two.

    February 2, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. The Big Troll

    Just because I swung a golf club does not make me a golfer. I doubt he is a "Skeet Shooter"......

    February 2, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. Alex

    Amazing, the first time the right wing has doubted a black man with a gun.

    February 2, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. PaulG

    Hunting and sheet shooting is irrelevant to the debate at hand. Are Americans willing to take the blame for the actions of the mentally ill on shooting sprees, and just freely hand over civil liberties for the illusion of safety. The 2nd Amendment exists for a reason, and we need to insist our government is doing everything it can before ever considering infringing on that right more than has already been done. No more restrictive gun laws are needed, enforce existing law.

    February 2, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. João Paulo F

    Canibalism could be a tradition that "trace back in this country for generations" and would never be respect by our actual culture! Why hunting would have to be respect? Only because they are animals? Animals seens more worthy to nature than many humans...

    February 2, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  24. Don

    Shooting skeet ... YGTBSM ... is the secret service holding his box of shells? There is a difference between skeet and trap shooting. Does he know that? I've shot tens of thousands of skeet targets, ya can't shoot sheet without a way to hold a box of 25 shells. This definitely was a photo setup shot. The American people are being skeeted again ;)

    February 2, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  25. markhenry15

    Recent PR Stunt! Nothing more...

    February 2, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
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