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Publico, Portugal

Yes, It’s True:
Obama Was Compelled
to Prove He’s Shot a Gun

By Alexandre Martins

Translated By Sarah Nissen

3 February 2013

Edited by Rachel Smith

Portugal - Publico - Original Article (Portuguese)

The U.S. president said that he's practiced skeet shooting, but gun ownership defenders didn’t believe it.

To put an end to the rumors that he has never shot a gun, the opposite of what he affirmed in an interview, the White House divulged a photograph of U.S. President Obama skeet shooting.

The controversy began with an interview Barack Obama gave for the magazine The New Republic, published last week. One of the questions couldn’t have been more direct: “Have you ever fired a gun?” The answer also didn’t leave room for doubts: “Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time.”

The interview was conducted by the journalist Franklin Foer and by the magazine’s director, Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook and the man responsible for the Internet strategy that helped Obama get elected in 2008. Obama took a moment to acknowledge the “responsible gun owners,” stating that those against the right to bear arms should listen more closely to the defenders of the law.

“If you grew up and your dad gave you a hunting rifle when you were 10, and you went out and spent the day with him and your uncles, and that became part of your family's traditions, you can see why you'd be pretty protective of that,” said Obama, after stating that has “a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations.”

As the interview with the president of the United States was being dispersed to readers, Republican member of the House of Representatives Marsha Blackburn, from Tennessee, was already expressing doubt: If Obama has fired a gun, where were the photographers?

"If he is a skeet shooter, why have we not heard of this? Why have we not seen photos?" Blackburn asked on the CNN program Erin Burnett OutFront. The representative of the Republican Party even challenged Obama: "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 was also questioned about the subject by CNN correspondent Jessica Yellin. "He goes to Camp David with some regularity, but I'm not sure how often he's done that," responded Carney. “Is there a photograph of him doing it?” she asked. “There may be but I haven’t seen it,” Carney replied. “And why haven’t you heard about it before?” “Because when he goes to Camp David he goes to spend time with his family and with friends and to relax, not to be photographed.”

As the responses weren’t sufficient to put away doubts, the press secretary published on Saturday, on his Twitter account, the photograph that he missed before, with the text “POTUS shoots clay targets on the range at Camp David on Aug. 4, 2012.” The photograph was published on Feb. 1 on the White House’s Flickr account, but the accompanying facts confirm Jim Carney’s information: “Taken on August 4, 2012 at 7:19 PST” by Pete Souza, the official photographer of the U.S. president. Souza, born in New Bradford, Massachusetts, is the grandchild of Portuguese grandparents that emigrated from the Azores.

But still, as you can imagine, the picture didn’t convince everybody, especially not the National Rifle Association, the powerful group defending the right to bear arms. “One picture does not erase a lifetime of supporting every gun ban and every gun-control scheme imaginable,” said a spokesperson for the association, Andrew Arulanandam, to CNN.

The picture of Barack Obama shooting a gun has been the star of social networks, principally on Twitter, where reactions multiplied, many of them with a sense of humor. The comedian Frank Conniff, for example, analyzed the image from another perspective: “Saw photo of president shooting skeet. I assumed Obama's preferred method for going after skeet would be a drone attack.”



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