White House releases photo of Obama shooting shotgun
February 2nd, 2013
12:06 PM ET
2 years 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. No Magic Underpants

    Noooooo! This is a travesty! It can't be the real Obama!

    February 2, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  2. zen guerrilla

    i guess all the tea-baggers will cry "photoshopped!". wait, do tea-baggers even know what "photoshopped" means?

    February 2, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. Chuckie

    I thought I read somewhere that this photo had been photoshoped and was taken from a web site.

    February 2, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. Laughing

    That's a shotgun.

    February 2, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. valandlover

    If he is shooting skeet, I would think his gun would be aimed higher-at the clay pigeon-not level.

    February 2, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. iBod

    LOL! I love my President!

    John Doe: "He's going to take away our guns!"
    *WH Releases a picture of President shooting shotgun to shut up critics*
    John Doe: "He's going to take away our guns so he can use them against us!"

    ^Watch. I bet, amidst all that has already been said by this administration, people will still find reason to believe what they so vulnerably already believe.

    February 2, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Jeff in oregon

    It was his birthday and of all the things he could have been doing on his birthday, he was out there shooting. That says a lot.

    February 2, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  8. NameTomo

    That should scare those white GOP Tea Partiers! A black man shooting a shot gun. Next thing you know he will be wanting to sit in the front of the bus.

    February 2, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. John

    Re: "Rifleman Obama revealed in photo"

    Shotguns are not rifles... They contain no rifling in their barrels. I realized its a bit of semantics but these are the sort of details to confuse and confound the gun control debate. More subtle and less damaging than "semi-automatic" followed by phrase like "no one needs to own a weapon that can fire a stream of bullets at the pull of a trigger" (or similar, which would more aptly describe a automatic, or sometimes "fully-automatic" weapon)

    February 2, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Sheepleherder

    Where's the picture of him defending himself from a gang of home invaders?

    February 2, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. Surthurfurd

    Well we all know the NRA hero, Cheney, shoots his friend in the face then blames the friend.

    February 2, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. Mike

    You gotta watch the daily show. John Stewart makes fun of "being able to shoot a gun is like a badge of honor". He says your only qualification needed for shooting a gun "is a finger"...and he compares the skillset to...pause for dramatic effect...(and he sticks his finger in his ear and wiggles it.) Wake up people!

    February 2, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. Coroner

    Sooooooooooo the blocks are right beside the roadway? Where are his vest and shells? 1 photo means he shoots all the time? Looks like the preezy made a quick trip this week.

    February 2, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. Ajax

    Blackburn is a goof ball!!

    February 2, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. CaptD

    He has nothing to prove to Rep Blackburn! Stop talking to these representatives that will do anything to be on TV.

    February 2, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. ConservativesBl0w

    Ok, now lets listen to all the sore-loser, whining & crying by all the conservative, racist, bigots. "Conspiracy!!" "Lies!!" "Communist!!!" I'm so sick of these GOP sore losers.. just absolutely pathetic.

    February 2, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Yeah.. How many knew that Jimmy Carter was a hunter?

    February 2, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  18. Diogenes

    As a trap shooter, there are Lots of Things I could question about that picture that He obviously posed for.

    February 2, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  19. PhillyGuy

    Well, Pres Obama proved some of you wrong again, that he was telling the truth about firing a gun. But of course, those of you that believe he can do nothing right will probably say this was doctored or photoshoped in some way. Just like the birthers that still believe Obama is a Kenyan.

    Some people will just be difficult, just because they can, and never had any true intentions of wanting to hear the truth. It's ridiculous that people want to challenge everything that this White House says, just to suite their opinions.

    February 2, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. OhComeOn

    Oh come on now, Next we will HAVE to see him smokin a blunt or sukin a dik because he supports weed reform or gays? Everyone sayin without pics it didnt happen can now shut it but I guess it wont happen. I will say that I personally think this is a staged photo because of the debate about gun control measures. So when the debate about finalizing gay rights make head lines again I will fully expect to see that dik sukin photo...you know cause he does suk!

    February 2, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  21. Bill

    Camp David walk-by shooting!

    February 2, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  22. sly guy

    The Repukicans are a dying breed, so let rave and rant and shout.

    February 2, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  23. Pat in IL

    Marsha Blackburn's comments and challenge were disrespectful and idiotic. Just because you don't have immediate, first hand, knowledge of something doesn't mean it's automatically untrue. She sounds like she's a jealous, bullying 4th grader.

    February 2, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  24. John

    The gun is too high on his shoulder, and a little too far out from properly tucked in his shoulder...that's going to hurt. But all this nonsense about whether we've seen or heard about the President shooting (or not shooting), makes me sick. "Why haven't we seen a picture?" BECAUSE IT DOESN'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH RUNNING THE COUNTRY!!!

    February 2, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. BobbaFett

    I think the point is not whether or not he's been skeet shooting, but that it's curious why it's never been a point before. After he mentioned it, it kinda exposed that he's a lightweight. If you're not a shooter, no problem- just don't make it sound like you're totally into it when you aren't.

    February 2, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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