The Ticket

White House defends Obama skeet shooting photo

The Ticket

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President Barack Obama shoots clay targets at Camp David Aug. 4, 2012 (Pete Souza/White House)

The White House was still answering for "skeet-gate" Monday following a photo released late Friday of President Barack Obama shooting skeet in August 2012.

"Why did the White House decide to release the skeet shooting photos three days before this trip?" a reporter asked White House press secretary Jay Carney during Monday's briefing aboard Air Force One. The president was en route to Minnesota, where he's delivering remarks on gun violence.

Carney said the White House had received questions about the president's skeet shooting "so we decided to tweet a photo of the president shooting at Camp David."

The president had been asked by the New Republic's Franklin Foer in an interview published Jan. 27 if he'd ever fired a gun. "Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time," Obama had said.

That comment sent gun rights advocates, the press and the general public searching for evidence.

Carney was asked by the press for photographic evidence, but none initially was provided.

And Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., asked to shoot skeet with the president, but the White House did not respond.

Complicating things for the White House, the president made the skeet shooting statement while pressing Congress and the public to support gun control measures following December's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which made it seem, some felt, like a PR move.

And on Monday, former senior Obama adviser David Axelrod added to the criticism, saying the White House should have put an end to "Skeet Gate" sooner.

“They should have put the picture out earlier. I don’t know why they waited five days to put that out,” Axelrod said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Because it just rekindled the whole story.”

Carney stressed Monday that the president's personal time spent with friends and family at Camp David is not publicized.

"I think he has gotten better" at skeet shooting, Carney said after failing to confirm whether the president shoots skeet or trap. He added that the president has never claimed to have grown up "a hunter."

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