Magazine | February 25, 2013, Issue

From the Desk of President Barack Obama

TO: V. Jarrett; D. Axelrod

RE: Gun nuts


Need to do something about the gun thing. Looks like we may be slipping here. Have written up a kind of article/feature piece I think will address the gap. Thinking it should be titled something like “Barack Obama, Sportsman-in-Chief: My Outdoor Adventures by President Barack Obama” but open to suggestions as long as “Barack Obama” appears there twice.

Maybe talk to Alter re: placement? He’s always loyal. Could also be a NYTimes Sunday Magazine deal. Everybody reads that, right?

Let me know your thoughts ASAP.


PS: These are just fragments. Will need someone to knit them all together. Again: Alter?


“Pull!” I shouted to the man behind the wind-up thingy that sends the Frisbee-ish thing into the air.

It whirled away, whistling as it sliced through the early Camp David mist. I do this all the time.

I trained my sights on it, placing the whirling Frisbee-type disc in between the two little toothpick doo-dads that you’re supposed to put the thing you’re shooting at between and slightly above, and I followed the object with the gun, peeking at it with one eye and the other eye sort of shut, as we sportsmen do. Then, suddenly, I pulled my finger and the trigger went off.

Bang! Bang! went the gun. It does that all the time.

The skeet shattered into a million pieces as the gun smoked in my hands. Honestly and truly, there’s nothing I love more — or respect more — than shooting a rifle gun at a skeet ball. It’s a terrific way to relax on a weekend. Ask any sportsman!


The deer was dead. My single shot had felled her, and her antlers were still sharp and pristine. “These will make a fine wall sconce for the Oval Office,” I thought to myself, ever mindful of the hunter’s creed to use every part of the fallen prey.

“Girls, find Daddy’s knife. It’s time I taught you how to field-dress a deer,” I said, as my daughters happily reached into my rucksack and removed the sharp blade I use all the time for procedures such as this.

Let me be clear: I love to kill big animals with horns and antlers that can be used decoratively. And the meat that I harvest from their bodies is also delightful to cook up and serve in a meal — or several — which is why I do it all the time.

With a quick slice, I removed the deer’s head and tail, as is traditional (ask any sportsman!), and began to remove its inner organs, which I handed to my daughters for proper coiling and safekeeping.

#page#They’re sportspersons, too. And despite some initial misgivings, they’ve really taken to joining me in my outdoor lifestyle pursuits. Kids are like that: They resist initially, but eventually they come to love something the way their parent (of either or both genders) does. Fellow sportsmen, am I right here?

Cloaked in the warmth of the newly shorn deerskin, and arms full of delicious venison steaks, the girls and I headed back to Camp David, where we cooked up a delicious dinner and snuggled under our new furry deer blankets as Michelle fashioned the antlers into fun napkin rings. We do this all the time.


“Shhhh,” I said, shushing my best friends from childhood, whom I see all the time, as we crept through the overbrush along the river bank.

My best friends and I have always been close — closer, even, than my many ex-girlfriends. (Guys, am I right? Back me up here!) We get together all the time for outdoor stuff like shooting skeets and hunting for deer horns. A lot of you fellow sportsmen will relate to this, I know.

But my friends were making a little too much noise as we crept along the river bank, in search of ducks to kill.

We do this all the time.

Although I am a well-known shooter and gun-firing expert, I often like to change it up and hunt with other types of hunting implements. Ducks, especially, are sort of easy to hit with the tiny bullet balls that are inside most shotgun bullets, so when my friends and I want to have some more challenging outdoor fun, we opt for broadswords.

Hunting ducks — or any kind of water bird, for that matter — with a broadsword is a terrific way to spend an afternoon reconnecting with close old friends. In addition, the use of a broadsword in no way violates the proposed gun legislation I’ve submitted to Congress, which isn’t very sweeping anyway. Fellow sportsmen, am I right?


In This Issue


Politics & Policy

Coal Meets Markets

While Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign fades in the rear-view mirror, the issues he ran on — particularly, his charge that President Obama is engaged in an economically disastrous “war ...


Politics & Policy

Amnesty Anew

On consecutive days in January, two immigration proposals were put forward. The first was by Senators Chuck Schumer and Marco Rubio, representing the Gang of Eight — Democrats Schumer (N.Y.), ...
Politics & Policy

States of Conservatism

Inauguration Day 2013 was a moment of jubilation for conservatives. After four years of lackluster economic growth and a series of personal and policy mistakes, the incumbent chief executive, a ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

It’s Not about Bigotry

‘What we have come to call the gay-marriage debate is not directly about homosexuality, but about marriage,” declare the authors of this timely polemic. Few advocates of same-sex marriage will ...
Politics & Policy

Movie Crazy

Over a lifetime of moviegoing, I’ve seen more heartwarming flicks about the mentally ill than I care to admit, but until now I’m not sure I had ever seen one ...
City Desk

Iron Men

I see my trainer, Shawn, three days a week, and one day he told me something that had happened the last time he had been at the new Barclays Center ...


Politics & Policy


Keeping Up with the Trapps My six-year-old daughter and I both enjoyed your reprint of Aloïse Buckley Heath’s piece on trying to emulate the Trapp family’s Advent activities. I, too, have ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Chinese hackers penetrated the New York Times system. Maybe they wanted to be Tom Friedman for a day. ‐ Who is that, clinging to his shotgun? It looks like President ...

The Magic Bullet

Why does President Obama want to put weapons of war into the hands of criminals? What sort of craven, stone-hearted monster can be so beholden to the cackling goblins of ...
Politics & Policy


SMOOTH AS A WHISPER The North Star, being the one around which the others appear to circulate, is the one by which we actually navigate, and have for millennia. A deep-seated awareness of thunder in the distance will not ...
Happy Warrior

Ghost Cities

In a dispute between Hamas and Fatah, it’s tempting to take the old Kissinger line re the Iran–Iraq War: It’s a shame they can’t both lose. But, in fact, only ...

Most Popular

White House

Nikki Haley Has a Point

Nikki Haley isn’t a Deep Stater. She’s not a saboteur. She wouldn’t undermine the duly elected president, no siree! That’s the message that comes along with Haley’s new memoir With All Due Respect. In that book, she gives the politician’s review of her career so far, shares some details about her ... Read More