TN lawmaker challenges President Obama to skeet shooting contest

10:35 AM, Jan 30, 2013   |    comments
By H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY
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By Michael Cass | The Tennessean


Camp David is known for its spacious mountaintop grounds, for its heavy security and for hosting historic Middle East peace talks 35 years ago.

Maybe one day it will add a new distinction: the place where a Democratic president and a Republican lawmaker from Middle Tennessee, divided on most every pressing issue, came together to shoot -- or fail to shoot -- clay targets whizzing by at about 45 mph.

After President Barack Obama said in an interview published last weekend that he and his guests "do skeet shooting all the time" at the presidential retreat, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn issued a challenge Monday on national television.

"I think he should invite me to Camp David, and I'll go skeet shooting with him," the Brentwood Republican said on CNN. "And I bet I'll beat him."

Through a spokesman, Blackburn told The Tennessean she's "not bad for a girl" at shooting skeet. She last went to a gun range nearly a year ago, but she used to co-host an annual "women's skeet shoot-off" at a range in Maryland, spokesman Mike Reynard said.

On CNN, Blackburn said she doesn't believe Obama's "all the time" claim, since there are no photos of the recently re-inaugurated chief executive firing a gun and he hadn't mentioned the hobby previously.

"Why have we not seen photos?" she said. "Why has he not referenced it at any point in time as we have had this gun debate that is ongoing? You would have thought it would have been a point of reference."

White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Monday -- before Blackburn did her best to ignite "Skeetgate" -- he didn't know how often Obama goes out on the gun range. He said he wasn't aware of photos of the world's most powerful man pulling the trigger.

"When he goes to Camp David, he goes to spend time with his family and friends and relax -- not to produce photographs," Carney said archly.

Joanna Rosholm, a White House spokeswoman, said Tuesday that Obama had not responded to Blackburn's challenge.

Reynard said he couldn't produce a photo Tuesday afternoon of Blackburn shooting, but he said such photos "apparently exist somewhere."

Contact Michael Cass at 615-259-8838 or mcass@tennessean.com. Follow him on Twitter @tnmetro

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