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Skeeters Bit by Image of President Who Opposes Violence -- Not the 2nd Amendment

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Cross-posted from The Nation


Obama the skeet-shooter. (Flickr/White House)

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Forget the "birthers."

The tin-foil hat crowd demanding that President Obama produce evidence of his American birth is so 2011.

The whacked-out fantasists of the moment are "skeeters" -- Obama critics so unhinged that they have trouble imagining that a president who promotes gun safety would ever actually touch a gun.

When Obama mentioned in a recent interview that, like millions of responsible gun owners, he enjoys skeet shooting, it was open season for the skeeters. So incredulous were they about the notion that the president might actually enjoy shooting clays that a Republican congresswoman, Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), went on national television to join what was referred to as "a chorus of skeptics who questioned President Barack Obama's recent comments about his hobby of skeet shooting, a sport where participants fire shotguns to break airborne clay disks."

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"If he is a skeet shooter, why have we not heard of this?" grumbled Blackburn in a CNN appearance that mocked the president. "Why have we not seen photos? Why hasn't he referenced this at any point in time?"

So the White House released a photo of the president firing what looks to be a 12-gauge Browning.

Obama's stance may not meet Olympic skeet competition standards. But he looks comfortable enough with the gun. So comfortable that the photo might ease the concerns of a lot of gun-owning Americans who -- like most National Rifle Association members -- appreciate their firearms but are coming to accept that some regulations are necessary to protect against illicit trafficking in weapons and gun violence.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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