President Obama asserted in a recent interview with The New Republic that he partakes in skeet shooting “all the time” at Camp David, a claim that has raised some eyebrows. He has never before mentioned his fondness for the activity, and, for four years in which his every move has been scrutinized, his hobby appears to have gone undocumented in pictures and videos and unmentioned by reporters.
In fact, New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper, appearing on the Chris Matthews Show last May after a visit to Camp David, explained that President Obama does not like the getaway because, while “it’s got skeet shooting, it’s got bowling, it’s got everything,” it lacks a golf course. President Eisenhower did build a four-hole pitch-and-putt golf course at Camp David in 1955, and on the president’s first visit to the retreat in March 2009, JET magazine reported that the president and his personal aide Reggie Love ”hit a few golf balls on the mini-golf course and played a little one-on-one on the basketball court.”
New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor, who has gained perhaps more access than any reporter to the president and his administration, does not mention any instances of skeet shooting in her national bestseller The Obamas. By contrast, when Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia took Elena Kagan to his gun club in Virginia for a round of skeet shooting shortly after her confirmation, the news was featured on the NBC Nightly News and NPR, as well as in the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.
Last night CNN host Erin Burnett challenged the president about the matter, asking, “So, now you’re going to say you [skeet shoot] all the time, don’t you have to kind of prove it?” Given the apparent lack of evidence that the president has ever been skeet shooting, his claim that he does it “all the time” challenges even the most gullible mind, as the skeet-shooting Justice Scalia might say.