Washington (CNN) - The photo that the White House released Saturday of President Barack Obama skeet shooting at Camp David did little to shoot down skepticism that he has fired a gun before – instead inspiring conspiracy theorists, critics and comedians on the Web.
The controversy circles around the timing of the photo release, which occurred after Obama responded to a question about whether he had fired a gun before. "Up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time," Obama said in an interview published January 27th by The New Republic.
The following day, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn challenged Obama's comment during a CNN interview.
"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 asked on "Erin Burnett OutFront."
Blackburn said she thinks Obama "should invite me to Camp David, and I'll go skeet shooting with him and I bet I'll beat him."
Five days later, the White House posted the image of Obama shooting a gun wearing a black polo and blue jeans. Within minutes, the validity of the photo was questioned, some calling it staged and others saying it was edited.
National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told CNN, "One picture does not erase a lifetime of supporting every gun ban and every gun control scheme imaginable."
When asked in Monday's press gaggle aboard Air Force One about the photo's release, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said "there were persistent questions about this so we decided to release a photo of the president shooting at Camp David. He has enjoyed competing with friends up there at Camp David. As you probably know, the president likes competition of all kinds."
A follow up question asked Carney how good of a shot the president is, his response: "he has gotten better."
Here are how readers and tweeters have responded to the image:
After they shot skeet together RT @CNNPolitics: When did Kerry become Obama's choice to replace Clinton? at.cnn.com/09PMSvE— Logan Dobson (@LoganDobson) February 03, 2013
After they shot skeet together RT @CNNPolitics: When did Kerry become Obama's choice to replace Clinton? at.cnn.com/09PMSvE
@CNNPolitics Skeet shooting is fun. I want to see him playing paintball with his minions!— Jon Richards (@Pinster56) February 02, 2013
@CNNPolitics Skeet shooting is fun. I want to see him playing paintball with his minions!
@CNNPolitics Did Dick Cheney teach him to shoot?— Glenn S (@GlennSpeck) February 02, 2013
@CNNPolitics Did Dick Cheney teach him to shoot?
@CNNPolitics 1st Beyonce had to prove she sings...now POTUS proves he shoots...any questions?— sam haywood (@HaywoodSamiam) February 02, 2013
@CNNPolitics 1st Beyonce had to prove she sings...now POTUS proves he shoots...any questions?
And this will calm white right wingers how? "@CNNPolitics: White House releases photo of Obama shooting shotgun at.cnn.com/Vc4dzEJ"— Carl Schultz (@CarlSchultz2) February 02, 2013
And this will calm white right wingers how? "@CNNPolitics: White House releases photo of Obama shooting shotgun at.cnn.com/Vc4dzEJ"
@CNNPolitics im not anti gun i shoot skeet is the new im not racist i have a black friend— Zachary Zawadski (@clownbabyy) February 02, 2013
@CNNPolitics im not anti gun i shoot skeet is the new im not racist i have a black friend
As long as it's not Cheney (then-Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a hunting companion in 2006).
Of course I believe President Obama is an avid skeet shooter. I bet he's also a huge rodeo fan, and I've seen him participating in several tractor pulls.
OK, we've seen Obama with a gun. Now how about we get to see a Republican with a brain?
Who cares if he shot skeet, he's the elected president, he has to be held accountable but he doesn't need to pander to some congressperson. If Obama was an avid shooter and had a skeet shooting blog you Republicans would still be after him because he's attempting to take away your assault rifles.
I'm not sure President Obama drink beer, either. He should invite ME to Camp David for a cold one, so we'll know for sure.
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.
Is he shooting at the targets or the man working the trap?
Amazing, the first time the right wing has doubted a black man with a gun.
So Rep. Marsha Blackburn asked "Why have we not seen photos?"... I guess she was trying to beat out Donald Trump in being first in line for this particular bit of stupidity....
Hey, I think that photo was taken in Kenya, beside a mosque, while some Marxist music was playing...
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!"
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams enjoyed skeet shooting too. That's why they wrote the 2nd Amendment. To protect the right of all Americans to shoot skeet. Isn't that a fact? (Well, that's what the President would have us believe, anyway.)
Where's the picture of him defending himself from a gang of home invaders?
Old White Conservative Male wrote:
Has he completed a gun safety course yet? The NRA has a very good course to offer if not.
Can you say photo op
What a horrible thing to show off his shooting when 20 babies were just killed by guns. I will not be
voting for Obama again!
Wait he's left handed.
If only the caption was: "Joe, Nancy, come back. I was only kidding..."
Let's hear your best line in the comments
No win situation. No photo: He's lying. With photo: He's not an avid shooter.
He responded to a question and he produced the evidence to prove that his answer was true. Enough said.
If a state issued birth certificate and a third party validation in the form of a newspaper article won't suffice, why would a picture? They hate the President of the United States and no matter what he says or does that hate won't subside.
D@mned if he does, d@mned if he doesn't... Life goes on, Republicans complain... Sun still rises.
Oh.. and did anyone complaining about the angle of his weapon alos notice the angle of the grass in the background... looks like the photo was either shot level to the weapon, or straightened to match it. Either way.. it looks like the weapon is angled up, but the photo is rotated down. But what do i know, I'm just a photographer.
He is not promoting a ban on shot guns, but assault rifles and high capacity magazines. Those are the ones that are a favorite of mass killers. Our forefathers had no clue such weapons would ever be created. You know anyone that owns an F-22 jet with balistic missils? No, becuase you're not allowed to but they can be considered "arms" also. The president cannot take anything away from you, but congress can. Place blame where it belongs.
Is that his shotgun? Did he pass a background check for it? :)
For the conspiracy theorists saying this can't be the President shooting skeet at Camp David, it bears noting that Carney never said this was the President shooting skeeting. He said this was the President shooting at Camp David.
Also, insofar as the angle is wrong for skeet, Carney also basically admitted the President isn't very good at it, so... there you have it. You don't have to worry that he'll shoot you with your guns after taking them away from you because he's got poor aim. ;)
Republicans, calm down. Obama has not claimed that he is an expert at skeet shooting. Lots of people do things recreationally, but that does not mean that they are good at them. You are allowed to do things without being an expert. For example, Romney was a terrible candidate, but that should not stop him from running for president. In fact, if Romney wants to try again, tell him to go ahead.
Im not an Obama supporter but they do launch skeet low to the ground as well and the firearm he is using is an over under shotgun which is what many skeet shooters use.
For all you experts out there,the weapon is a shotgun,a nice one, over under twin barrels! And in the article they said he's getting better,a common fault of a beginner is to shoot late ,as the clay approaches the ground.
The President is not "shooting a rifle not a shotgun", it IS a shotgun – a Browning in fact. Take a closer look. It's time to put the conspiracy theory and paranoia blocks away and go eat your milk and cookies.
The question should be "what is he shooting"? Having shot a lot of different guns and shotguns, I have never seen one blow smoke like that. The industry has been using smokeless powder for many many years now. It sure doesn't look like a musket. US Army Ret.
"a lifetime of supporting every gun ban and every gun control scheme imaginable." Come on NRA, this lie is a whopper even for your particular brand of irrational hysteria.
I think you are on to something Mikey.......that would be the NRA's worst nightmare. A gay militia roaming the streets.......just the visual on that would change their stance on the 2nd amendment........funny stuff my friend!
For those wondering, the gun looks like a Beretta Onyx (retails for $2500-$3000), over under shotgun. obviously its posed, but they picked a very very nice gun for the photo op. please stop calling it a rifle.
On this episode of "Things Only Bitter Conservatives Care About" we will discuss whether or not the President is an avid skeet shooter! And they wonder why they can't put anyone in the white house.
That's the silliest picture I've seen since Michael Dukakis in a tank. LOL
Hey it could have been left by the previous administration.
This is likely the first time he ever shot skeet, amateurish at best. You don't aim a shotgun, you point it and an amateur mistake shooting late; they should have rehearsed. Sunglasses? Really? LOL
Clearly the photo is real; the real weapon is not the gun in Obama's hands, it is the camera in his staff's hands. Much like the president's passion for accurate target practice this photo is accurately displaying the idiocy of disbelievers.
The shot was totally on target.
So, he's shooting a SHOTGUN, am I correct? If so, the picture was taken at the moment the gun would be at it's "point of recoil" ( the gas is coming out of the barrel ) so why isn't he showing ANY sign of the guns recoil? I smell a doctored photo!
I'm confused. If he is pulling this publicity stunt as a way of showing that he is only interested in banning guns used in mass killings then why is he shooting a gun that was used during the Columbine massacre? (Shotgun) Is he for or against real assult weapons or what?
Yawn. CNN stirring the pot on behalf of the Teatrolls again. "These conspiracy theories and right wing whackadoo reality-denial tantrums need more air time. Let's help them broadcast their hateful nonsense and refusal to accept facts at face value. More people need to be convinced that it's perfectly ok to simply invent and fabricate BS left and right instead of dealing with reality head on. In fact, the more we can do to make this a feature of mainstream American thought, then the better we'll be able to sell our particualr brand of crazy...what with all the manufactured controversies and false equivalencies we're selling to these idiots....errr, um....I mean, viewers."
When someone calls you a liar as the congress woman did to Obama. They then say there are not no pictures.....the NORMAL response is to give them what they ask for!!!! So now step up and apologize!!!! Bet she just can't....
Just like him a fake
Mr. President, take your cheek off of the weapon. With form like that, obviously this is not a high powered weapon.
It's about time that people who think he's so cool acknowledge how uncool he really is. He released this photo himself – no one forced him to do this. The most revealing moment is usually self-incrimination. Like Hilary belowing "What difference does it make?"