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Published by ax-is

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Published by: ax-is on Feb 26, 2008
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February 23, 2008Op-Ed ColumnistA Bad Year to Be a MallardBy GAIL COLLINS“I shot a banded duck,” said Hillary Clinton.Who says we have heard everything there conceivably could be to say from thepresidential candidates?There is something about an election year that makes politicians start braggingabout how many furry or feathered critters they’ve killed. Otherwise, God forbid,voters might think they were interested in doing something about gun control.So far, the most memorable gun comments during this campaign have been:“I’m pretty sure there will be duck hunting in heaven, and I can’t wait.” — MikeHuckabee“I’ve been a hunter pretty much all my life.” — Mitt Romney“I’ve always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints if you will.” — MittRomney, amending the record once it was pointed out that he had never had ahunting license.“Maybe he can get out his small varmint gun and drive those Guatemalans off hisyard.” — John McCain“My father taught me to shoot 100 years ago.” — Hillary ClintonThis last, which we believe to be a slight exaggeration, came last week inWisconsin. At another stop, when someone asked about gun control, Clinton told astory about how she went duck-hunting when she lived in Arkansas, and how the restof her group, all male, made her shoot first in an effort to embarrass her.Thence followed a happy ending for everybody except the duck.During this presidential campaign the nation has experienced an extraordinarynumber of grisly shooting incidents, including four mass murders on collegecampuses, two at suburban shopping malls and the slaughter of city officials at aMissouri town meeting.Yet the subject of gun control never comes up. If people ask, politicians who havenot been outdoors in months start tossing out hunter-talk in a manner thatsuggests that they’re driving around in a pickup with a deer carcass in the back.Clinton used to be very vocal about gun control when she was running for Senate inNew York, but now there’s nothing about it on her Web site. Barack Obama has a 64-page “Blueprint for Change” manual that you can download if you feel burdened byan excess of both leisure and paper. It does not mention gun control once.Obama, to be fair, does not tell any stories about shooting waterfowl, and hiscampaign says he has never been hunting. However, he shares the general enthusiasmfor avoiding the subject of gun control. In the old pre-presidential days, Obamaindicated support for a ban on handguns in response to a questionnaire. Askedabout that in Idaho recently, he said the form was filled out incorrectly by astaff member.John McCain ran afoul of the National Rifle Association when he tried to close a

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