White House produces photo of skeet-shooting Obama

After a week of skepticism about the president’s claim that he shoots skeet at Camp David, the White House on Saturday unexpectedly released a photo of Mr. Obama, gun to shoulder, getting in some target practice in a shot dated Aug. 4, 2012.

The president, in a recent interview with The New Republic, said he and guests at the presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains go skeet shooting “all the time.”

The comment, coming in the midst of the ongoing debate over gun control, was seen by some critics of the president as an attempt to ingratiate himself with gun owners.

“I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations,” the president said in the interview.

Mr. Obama went on to say that the reality of guns in urban areas differs from that in rural areas. “So it’s trying to bridge those gaps that I think is going to be part of the biggest task over the next several months,” he said. “And that means that advocates of gun control have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes.”

The White House had initially refused requests for a photo of the president shooting, fueling some skepticism among late night comics and gun rights advocates.

Pro-gun Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Republican, went on CNN to issue a skeet-shooting challenge to the president.

“I tell you what I do think,” she said. “I think he should invite me to Camp David, and I’ll go skeet shooting with him and I bet I’ll beat him.”

The National Rifle Association, responding to the skeet-shooting photo, on Saturday released the following statement to NBC News: NRA on skeet shooting photo: “One picture does not erase a lifetime of supporting every gun ban and every gun control scheme imaginable.”

Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart on Thursday lampooned the idea of the president attempting to connect with gun owners — “Itls a fool’s errand,” he said.

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