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 Jan. 27 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:
@LoganDobson: After they shot skeet together RT @CNNPolitics <https://twitter.com/CNNPolitics> : When did Kerry become Obama's choice to replace Clinton? http://at.cnn.com/09PMSvE
@Pinster56 Skeet shooting is fun. I want to see him playing paintball with his minions!
@GlennSpeck : Did Dick Cheney teach him to shoot?
@HaywoodSamiam : 1st Beyonce had to prove she sings...now POTUS proves he shoots...any questions?
@CarlSchultz2: And this will calm white right wingers how?
@clownbabyy 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..."