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. JohnRJohnson

    Marsha Blackburn asks, "If he is a skeet shooter, why have we not heard of this?" Marsha, if a list was made of all things you had not heard of, it would stretch from here to the surface of Uranus.

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

    Okay, I'm gonna switch sides here and take the Obama hater's slant before the comments come pouring in.
    1.) That's a fake gun.
    2.) That's fake smoke.
    3.) It was photoshopped.
    4.) The gun is from Kenya.
    5. The smoke is from Kenya.
    6.) He took Air Force One to South America yesterday and had the photo taken and flew back to have it released this morning... at tax payers expense, no doubt.
    7.) The target had a picture of a kitten on it.
    8.) The gun was a gift from Fidel Castro.
    etc etc etc.

    February 2, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. borat

    It looks so fake

    February 2, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. Chris

    LOL! Now Obama is a shooter? What a hoax this guy is. Everything is a show to get the emotional lemmings to worship him. Now we are supposed to think he is a level minded reasonable sportsman? His quote "we do skeet shooting all the time" is laughable in that no one who shoots skeet says "I do skeet shooting". Is he afraid to say he shoots something? No one who plays basketball says I do basketball. Looks like another White House production to me.

    February 2, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Improper hold on that rifle Mr president, the stock is not set in your shoulder properly. Meaning a novice shooter, or a politcian trying to get brownie points.

    Not impressed

    February 2, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. LOL cnn

    I guess he could be called a rifleman, but if you cant even get the type of gun right, how should i trust your other stories?

    February 2, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. yawn

    It wont be enough. Haters gonna hate

    February 2, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. Nate

    I guess now we have the smoking gun.

    February 2, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Improper hold on that rifle Mr. President, you don't have the stock fully or properly set in your shoulder. Meaning Novice shooter, or politician trying to make brownie points. So not impressed.

    February 2, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. RainCityLady

    Rep. Blackburn represents everything that is wrong with the Republican party. I suppose she'd like him to bring along his birth certificate too in this little challenge. I wouldn't turn my back on any Republican with a weapon if I were Obama. They would just as soon shoot him as look at him. Sore losers.

    February 2, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  11. Tracy Walters

    Sorry....releasing a photo of Obama shooting a shotgun does not justify his attack on the 2nd Amendment. If he really wanted to stop gun violence, he'd be all about ways to help the mentally incompetent and get the criminals off the street, not fixate on what means they use. Their implement of choice, be it gun, knife, bomb or crowbar is not the cause of the problem.

    Either the anti-gun crowd can't see that, or they want to disarm the public. Either stance is an issue, but they have all made their decision already, and anyone who doesn't follow their agenda has become their target for lies, accusations, marginalization and ridicule. They want 'compromise' but their compromise is 'do it my way'

    February 2, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  12. Rarius

    Improper hold on that rifle Mr. President, you don't have the stock fully or properly set in your shoulder. Meaning Novice shooter, or politician trying to make brownie points. So not impressed.

    February 2, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. Doc1

    It doesn't matter. They'll doubt it's authenticity, just like the birth certificate. I don't even know why he bothers.

    February 2, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. Robert

    The president needs to lean into the shot just a little more!

    February 2, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. BPepik

    You can tell that backlash of his anti-gun (really anti-freedom) policies is so bad – that the King Obongo has to “prove” his love of guns.. Totally hilarious!

    February 2, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. essmeier

    How long before the gun nuts declare the photo a fake?

    February 2, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. xfraublucher

    What a cow. Does she think she'll ever get invited to Camp David?

    February 2, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. BPepik

    You can tell that backlash of his anti-gun (really anti-freedom) policies is so bad – that the King Obama has to “prove” his love of guns.. Totally hilarious!

    February 2, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. James

    Wow! What a poorly staged photo, they can't even get that right!

    February 2, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. jim

    He must be shooting that pigeon when it's about four feet off the ground. But hey, it's not like he'd lie or pander.

    February 2, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  21. MagicPanties

    hey, I think that photo was taken in Kenya, beside a mosque, while some marxist music was playing...

    February 2, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  22. xfraublucher

    What a cheeky cow. Does she really think she will ever be invited to Camp David?

    February 2, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  23. Ralph

    Clarification, one picture does not a second ammendment rights suppoter make.
    Are there more candid photo's on variious days?

    I admit though our Presidents cheek to stock weld indicates some experience with shoulder arms (at least a shotgun).

    February 2, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  24. Matt

    Well this "story" gets more absurd with each new twist and turn. So because the president has shot a gun once or twice, therefore the rest of us should trust him on restricting our Second Amendment rights? David Axelrod must not be advising the White House on this one; he's craftier than this.

    February 2, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  25. Floyd from Illinois

    And the latest from Orly Taitz – "The photo has obviously been tampered with."

    February 2, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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