TODAY | February 03, 2013
>>> president obama heads to minneapolis tomorrow to promote his plan to battle gun violence . it is a photo of him firing a shotgun that is getting all the attention. peter alexander is at the white house .
>>> tomorrow marks the first time that the president is going on the road to push for stiffer gun laws . there was a detour in this debate when the president insisted that all the time he shoots skeet at camp david , all the time, his critics were skeptical. the white house quickly pushed back trying to put the argument to rest.
>> reporter: the white house wanted to silence the sceptics. instead, the release of this photo, the president firing a shotgun on the range of camp david on his 51st birthday unleashed a new round of attacks. the nra telling the news, one picture does not erase a lifetime of supporting one ban and every gun control scheme imaginable. the controversy first exploded last week. they asked mr. obama if he ever fired a gun. the president boasted, up at camp david , we do skeet shooting all the time. i have profound respect for the tradition of hunting that traces back for generation. gun rights advocates were unimpressed including marcia blackburn.
>> i think he should invite me to camp david and i'll go skeet shooting with him and i bet i'll beat him.
>> even the late night comedians took aim.
>> since when did the ability to fire a weapon become a badge of honor, a patriotic achievement. all you need is a finger.
>> with questions lingering, the white house pushed back at calls for photographic proof.
>> when he goes to camp david , he goes to spend time with his family and friends and relax, not to produce photographs.
>> reporter: politicians have come under fire for claiming to be experienced sportsmen. john kerry was mocked for wearing camouflage to go hunting before 2004 . and mitt romney in 2007 in his first presidential bid.
>> i have always been a rodent and rabbit hunter, small varmints.
>>> the white house tried to shut down the doubters and referred to those who still question where mr. obama was born. attention, skeet birthers, make our day.
>> reporter: the white house disputes the nra for guns. from representative blackburn, the white house con seecedes, he would likely use.
>>> chuck todd filling in for david gregory on meet the press. nice to see you today.
>> good morning.
>> the white house essentially pressured into releasing this photo? should they have done it? was it in the administration's best interest?
>> i done know. they thought it was catching too much tracks in some circles. they have always been this way when it first started back when they were running for office. the first time the birth certificate question started. they feel as if they have to do something, quote, unquote, feed the beast. i'm sort of amused by the kur fufl over all of this.
>>> a bit of a tough week in washington if you are looking at chuck hagel this week. with those hearings. will he end up, in fact, being confirmed.
>> i think he is going to end up getting confirmed. i talked with one republican senator, roy blunt , who said he is going to vote no on hagel but not going to support a fill fillibuster. the bigger question, is he politically strong enough to do the things that need to be done in the defense department ? there will be some huge budget battles. considering how badly he was treated by republicans and this relationship being as bad as it is between senate republicans and chuck hagel , can he he be effective in the job?
>> open and very important. we will check back with you to see what's coming up