Things are getting pretty loosey goosey in the run up to the April 22 primary in Pennsylvania. Yesterday, talking about Hillary Clinton's support for hunter's rights, Barack Obama likened Clinton to Annie Oakley.

"She's running around talking about how this is an insult to sportsmen, how she values the Second Amendment, she's talking like she's Annie Oakley. That's some politics being played by Hillary Clinton."

Well, that's got some people upset. No, not the Clinton campaign. The historians are ticked off.

The History News Network's Sean Wilentz is defending Oakley as no careless sharpshooter, but as an American heroine:

Annie Oakley was one of the first great female superstars in American history. Born in poverty in western Ohio, she began hunting when she was nine years old, and sold hunting game to locals in order to support her siblings and widowed mother. Her sharpshooting abilities eventually led her to become the star act in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

Obama appears to think Oakley was some kind of wild shoot-'em-up desperado. But she was strictly an entertainer — and an enormously successful one. In addition to adoring crowds around the country, she performed before Queen Victoria and other crowned heads of state. Her aim was so true that, at the request of the Prince if Prussia, the future Kaiser Wilhelm II, she shot the ashes off of a cigarette he held in his hand.

Ah, let the silly season begin

-Elaine L.

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  • Carolyn Hahn April 15, 2008 at 9:00 am

    That said, it was disconcerting to see Hillary up there waxing nostalgic about shootin’ varmints with her dad back when she was a young ‘un, and adding warmly that it was a cherished part of American heritage, including hers to [kill things]. BLAM!