White House says it released skeet-shooting photo to quell ‘persistent’ questions

The White House says it decided to release a photo on Saturday of President Obama skeet shooting at Camp David in order to put to rest the questions surrounding the issue.

“There were persistent questions about this and we decided to release a photo of the president shooting at Camp David,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One on Monday en route to an event in Minneapolis.

Rather than bring the skeet-shooting episode to an end, however, the White House’s release of the photo seems only to have spurred even greater interest in the president’s shooting habits, and reporters peppered Carney with questions on the matter during Monday’s trip.

Does Obama shoot skeet or trap, one reporter asked Carney on Monday. The press secretary demurred and told reporters that he wouldn’t presume to call himself an expert on the topic, nor would the president.

“What I can tell you is that he has enjoyed competing with friends up there at Camp David. As you probably know, the president likes competition of all types,” he said.

Is Obama good at shooting, another asked.

Carney said he thought the president “has gotten better,” but then threw in a caveat.

“The president has made clear he grew up in Hawaii, he’s spent time in California, Chicago and Cambridge,” Carney said. “He never pretended to or suggested that he had grown up as a hunter or engaging in sports activities with weapons. He simply said that he had, and this is the truth, that he had enjoyed shooting at Camp David. That’s a fact.”

Does Obama personally own any firearms, another reporter asked.

“Not that I’m aware of,” Carney said.

Carney did say that the August 2012 Camp David visit wasn’t the only time Obama has shot a weapon – although he wasn’t sure whether Obama had done so before becoming president.

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Natalie Jennings · February 4, 2013