Presidential Hopefuls Bust Some Claybirds

Presidential hopeful Lindsey Graham on the skeet range. Photo from the New York Times.

Some Republican contenders for the White House in the 2016 campaign want to relate to their constituents through the familiar song of: "Pull!….BANG."

Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson held a rally at the Chase The Adventure Hunt & Gun Club in Iowa earlier this month. The day was documented in a video posted on Carson's YouTube page. He discussed Second Amendment and national security issues, among other topics. At the end of the video, he fires off a couple of rounds at the skeet range.

Meanwhile, this story documents a New York Times reporter's skeet-shooting excursion with another Republican presidential hopeful, Lindsey Graham.

Ashley Parker tells how, while covering a retreat of Republican donors and operatives convened by Mitt Romney, she was roped into Graham's "enthusiast session" where donors could choose to participate in various activities with the event's headliners, such as flag football with Sen. Marco Rubio or sunrise hikes with the Romneys. These events weren't open to the press, but Graham invited Parker and other reporters along for some predawn skeet shooting.

"Mr. Graham had grown up hunting with his father, and his favorite gun had been a gift from his dad on his 16th birthday, a Browning Sweet 16 shotgun," she writes. "'Are you guys coming?' Mr. Graham hollered. 'Katie Couric is coming! I need to invite Sarah Palin. That'd be fun!' And so that is how I found myself, as the sun poked up above the mountains, gathered with Mr. Graham, about two dozen donors, and a smattering of reporters, getting ready to shoot at clay pigeons that Mr. Graham urged us to view as terrorists."

"My shooting turn did not last long," Parker continues. "Suffice it to say I embodied just about every stereotype you'd expect from an urban-dwelling New York Times reporter...but I was glad that I went."