(Photo: Pete Souza, The White House via AP)
(USATODAY.com) - The combatants in the political debate over gun violence have a new issue: The White House photo of President Obama skeet shooting.
"One picture does not erase a lifetime of supporting every gun ban and every gun control scheme imaginable," said a statement from Andrew Arulanandam, spokesman for the National Rifle Association.
NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre dismissed the photo onFox News Sunday, saying Obama's call for universal background checks will lead to a national registry of guns. Said LaPierre: "I don't think you can trust these people."
Senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer tweeted out the photo on Saturday, responding to those who had questioned Obama's statement that he had shot skeet at Camp David. Wrote Pfeiffer: "For all the 'skeeters:' POTUS shoots clay targets on the range at Camp David on Aug. 4, 2012."
David Plouffe, a long-time adviser to the president, taunted the president's critics on Twitter. After the photoshop release, Plouffe wrote: "Attn skeet birthers. Make our day - let the photoshop conspiracies begin!"
Later, Plouffe tweeted: "Day made. The skeet birthers are out in full force in response to POTUS pic. Makes for most excellent, delusional reading."
The issue initially surfaced a week ago during an interview with The New Republic:
"The New Republic: Have you ever fired a gun?
"Obama: Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time.
"The New Republic: The whole family?
"Obama: Not the girls, but oftentimes guests of mine go up there. And I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations. And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake.
"Part of being able to move this forward is understanding the reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas. And if you grew up and your dad gave you a hunting rifle when you were ten, and you went out and spent the day with him and your uncles, and that became part of your family's traditions, you can see why you'd be pretty protective of that.
"So it's trying to bridge those gaps that I think is going to be part of the biggest task over the next several months. And that means that advocates of gun control have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes."