President Obama’s skeet shooting photo: A staged political lie?

President Obama's claim to be a gun enthusiast. Is it real? (White House photo)

President Obama’s claim to be a gun enthusiast. Is it real?
(White House photo)

President Barack Obama’s claim to be an active gun enthusiast who shoots skeet at Camp David “all the time” is coming under fire and ridicule not only from the always vocal National Rifle Association (NRA) but also from other gun supporters and groups.

A photo released by the White House this past week shows Obama awkwardly  firing at clay targets and suggests the photo, which officials claim was shot on Aug. 4, 2012, was staged.

“Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do sheet shooting all the time,” Obama said in answer to a New Republic magazine question on whether or not he had ever fired a gun.

It was the first time that Obama had ever mentioned using a gun.

Micheal Hampton, executive director of the Texas-based National Skeet Shooting Association, says that Obama, at best, is a novice at firing at clay pigeons.

“This isn’t sometime he he’s done very often because of how he’s standing, how he has the gun mounted,” Hampton told The Associated Press.

At a press briefing last week, reporters asked White House press secretary Jay Carney why the president’s suddenly-announced passion for shooting skeet had never been mentioned before.

Carney claimed Obama’s trips to Camp David are for pleasure, not photo ops.

But a Capitol Hill Blue review of White House photo practices found at least one White House photographer is always with the President on Camp David visits and that dozens of photos have been provided to the press of various activities at the Maryland retreat.

But the release of the skeet shooting photo was the first ever claim that the President is a gun enthusiast.

The NRA isn’t buying the photo either.

“One picture does not erase a lifetime of supporting every gun ban and every gun-control scheme imaginable,” says Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the NRA.

Capitol Hill Blue spoke to a number of White House staffers who have been to the presidential retreat with Obama but could not find one who was willing to swear publicly that they had ever seen the President using a gun.

One said privately that the uproar over the shooting photo has been compared to the infamous Michael Dukakis “tank photo.”

A staged photo of former governor Dukakis riding in a military tank became a laughing stock during his losing campaign against former President George H.W. Bush.

Doomed presidential candidate Michael Dukakis and the staged photo that helped kill his campaign. (AP Photo)

Doomed presidential candidate Michael Dukakis and the staged photo that helped kill his campaign.
(AP Photo)

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18 Responses to "President Obama’s skeet shooting photo: A staged political lie?"

  1. woody188  February 3, 2013 at 11:29 am

    I didn’t know Obama was left-handed.

    • Willie Buck Merle  February 3, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      yeah he’s a lefty. What a stupid phot-oh

  2. Andy  February 3, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    He clearly doesn’t know how to shoulder a shotgun. The top of the butt plate is positioned above his shoulder, that would hurt a lot.
    Modern shells don’t produce smoke.. hehe they use smokeless powders. And where is the movement from the recoil, he should be a blur.
    This is a staged shot with a blank shell in the barrel.
    I live in the UK and shoot shotguns a lot, and I have no political bias on the US legal question. But putting a staged picture up is just dumb.

    • woody188  February 3, 2013 at 2:59 pm

      Yeah, he also appears to be resting his cheek on the shoulder stock. It’d hurt worse than getting punched in the face, and not something even a novice would do more than once.

    • Danny Adams  February 4, 2013 at 9:17 pm

      “Modern shells don’t produce smoke.. hehe they use smokeless powders.”

      Some do, but not all. I actually skeet shoot occasionally with my wife’s family, using an automatic 12 gauge shotgun, and it smokes when I fire.

  3. woody188  February 3, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Here’s a reminder about firearms from a founder:

    “A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government,”
    — George Washington

    It isn’t about hunting. It isn’t about fun. It isn’t crazy. Free men are armed men. It’s pure and simple logic.

  4. egc52556  February 4, 2013 at 5:25 am

    Woody188 — if everyone was a responsible and disciplined gun owner I would agree with you. But can you apply pure and simple logic to how to keep guns out of the hands of undisciplined and irresponsible gun owners?

    • griff6r  February 4, 2013 at 9:44 am

      One immutable truth – in a free society, one hundred percent safety and security is not possible. Hell, it isn’t even possible in a closed, totalitarian society, the only difference being the State has the overwhelming advantage in firepower and, as history shows, the State is never afraid to abuse such powers once they are attained.

      But this is America, right? We have a responsible government and a Constitution, right? We have legal recourse and protection, right?

      Ha.

      • egc52556  February 4, 2013 at 2:54 pm

        griff6r — So your point is… what? That since 100% safety isn’t possible let’s opt for 0%?

        The NRA could have made itself the hero in all this by being the leader in RESPONSIBLE gun ownership: leading in training, in educating safe use, in logical and reasonable measures to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of the crazies, in promoting sportsmanship, in promoting enjoyment of the wild outdoors.

        Instead the NRA has made itself into the villain by being the leader in UNFETTERED gun ownership, regardless of the consequences.

        • woody188  February 4, 2013 at 11:26 pm

          The NRA does sponsor classes and most all of the concealed carry classes are conducted by NRA certified instructors.

          I look at it like alcohol. If we tell people it’s bad and they can’t have it, they will only want it more and then abuse it once they have it.

          If we tell them they can have it but they have to learn the proper use and respect for it, problems and accidents will still occur, but maybe they won’t be as frequent or deadly.

          Likewise, those that are trained need to take the initiative and have words with someone doing something stupid with a firearm. I dealt with this as a paintball enthusiast all the time. Some jerk always thought it was funny to shoot paintballs at people off the field. This is very dangerous, and it only takes being embarrassed by someone else once to straighten someone up. Idiots like this make us all look bad.

          Even someone highly trained can make a mistake and have an accident. I think that was probably griff’s point. This quest for total safety the government is selling is a lie used to steal our rights. With the assassin drones preparing to take flight in the continental US, are we really any safer?

    • woody188  February 4, 2013 at 11:39 pm

      Perhaps you have uncovered the real truth of the matter. Guns aren’t the issue. There is a lack of responsibility and discipline in our society.

      My father taught me how to shoot and handle a firearm. Sure, I’ve learned how to use other models/calibers. I’ve learned how to clean and repair them. I’ve learned many laws surrounding them. But my father taught me the basic rules firing .22 in the YMCA Indian Guides when I was 6-8 years old.

      How many kids today get to even speak to their fathers?

  5. egc52556  February 5, 2013 at 7:46 am

    All these comments are empty words without real legal consequences. If some crazy commits a crime with a deadly weapon there must be legal consequences for the person who helped that crazy acquire the weapon.

    Adam Lanza’s mother, Nancy, knew her son was unstable yet she kept guns in the house and encouraged Adam to learn how to use them. She paid the ultimate price for that recklessness. But if she had lived would she have faced any legal consequences? She should have. But what statute would hold her responsible?

    Ownership of dead weapons must carry extra legal consequences for what happens with those weapons. Otherwise these are all empty words.

    • woody188  February 5, 2013 at 10:21 am

      Maybe you should stop trying to make sense out of insanity and blaming the sane for the acts of those that are not. We can’t understand insane, unless we too are insane. We all would like someone to blame for the tragedy but there is simply no understanding why anyone would commit such a heinous crime. It’s senseless to disarm the law abiding for the acts of the insane, which is, in fact, another crime according to our Constitution. When did two wrongs ever make a right?

      • egc52556  February 5, 2013 at 11:32 am

        Heck, we restrict the rights of the sane because of the insane all the time. ALL laws are made because a few people are unable to restrain themselves. Most people don’t need a law to tell them to not use their right of free speech to incite a riot. Most people don’t need a law to tell them to not user their right of free exercise of religion to perform human sacrifice.

        But when it comes to deadly weapons we’re supposed to throw up our hands and say, “there’s nothing to be done”?

        To live in a society of more than 1 person in it requires some accommodations, some restriction of “rights” so the society can survive. (Your right to freely swing your arm ends at my face.)

        With rights comes responsibility, with consequences for being irresponsible. Even Constitutional rights.

        • woody188  February 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm

          And when the insane stabs a person with a knife, bludgeons them with a bat, hangs them from a rope, there must be 50 ways to kill your lover. Do we outlaw all those too? Or do we just outlaw murder?

          • egc52556  February 5, 2013 at 2:28 pm

            I’m aware of this kind of argument, all boiling down to “guns don’t kill people; people do”.

            I still contend that instruments designed to be deadly weapons are in a category of their own. Otherwise, what is the 2nd Amendment for? Why doesn’t it just say, “right to bear kitchen knives, ropes, pitchforks, or badminton rackets shall not be infringed”? Obviously the framers of the Constitution believed there was a difference.

            Viz http://factcheck.org/2012/12/gun-rhetoric-vs-gun-facts/ which concludes:

            [...]among advanced countries, the U.S. homicide rate stands out. “We seem to be an average country in terms of violence and aggression,” says Harvard’s Hemenway. “What we have is huge homicide rates compared to anybody else.”

            Says Wintemute: “The difference is that in this country violence involves firearms and firearms change the outcome.”

  6. richard french  February 5, 2013 at 10:33 am

    The Obama skeet shooting photo could certainly be used as a “what’s wrong with this photo” quiz.
    I’ve been a shot gunner for over 50 years so its not fair for me to claim a prize for these observations:
    1. Many shotguns do have small ports (holes) in the upper quadrants of the barrels near the muzzle. The purpose is to have the ejected gases counteract the upward flip of the barrel so that the shooter may acquire the second target without changing hold on the shotgun. Since ports are equally on each side of the barrel, its weird that gasses are seen shooting out only from the right side of the barrel.
    2.The butt of the shotgun is in contact with the shoulder at its toe (lowest point) which would still produce maximum muzzle flip by this time in the firing sequence. Not seen in this photo.
    3.A shotgun is pointed not aimed as is a rifle.
    4. The butt of the shotgun is always mounted several inches lower than shown;in the “pocket” between the upper arm and the front of the shoulder rather than at the top of the shoulder. This hold shown would HURT and is just not done by one who fired a second time much less “all of the time”.
    5.For balance and the ability to swing on the skeet’s flight path, the shooter leans forward.
    6.While sporting clays may have certain clay discs thrown below level (bouncing bunny), all skeet discs are thrown and shot at an upper attitude unlike that shown in the photo.

    While persons more expert may find other inconsistencies, my hope is that Obama,Kerry and Cheney NOT duck hunt together.

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