Obama trades White House for clubhouse this weekend
February 16th, 2013
12:19 PM ET
1 year ago

Obama trades White House for clubhouse this weekend

Palm City, Florida (CNN) - President Barack Obama won't be hanging by the beach during his Florida vacation this weekend – unless he ends up stuck in a sand trap.

While his wife and daughters are in Colorado skiing, the president will hit the course at the Floridian golf club, an expansive resort in Palm City, Florida.

Obama worked on his swing with legendary golf teacher Butch Harmon, who coached Tiger Woods and “rode along with the president for a few holes in the afternoon,” according to White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

"I've played golf with Ike, Nixon, Ford and President Bush 41," Harmon told the publication Golf Digest. "I know the president is a real keen golfer. I'm looking forward to it. It should be fun," Harmon told Golf Digest.

"If I had the opportunity to give the president some help, I would advise him to make a better turn on his backswing, both with his hips and his shoulders," Harmon said in a separate Golf Digest interview.

Earnest told reporters, "The president is looking forward to spending President's Day weekend with some friends in Florida, and I'm sure they'll take advantage of the opportunity to play some golf."

Temperatures were in the 70s and skies were sunny Saturday morning. Obama arrived late Friday night to rain after wrapping up his State of the Union tour in his hometown of Chicago.

The remote golf club is obscured from roadside view by gates, trees and brush. It sits alongside the St. Lucie River.

Several members of the administration are traveling with the president, but the White House made it clear that this is a vacation weekend.

"The president of the United States is the president of the United States 24 hours a day, and will fulfill his responsibilities as president even while he's getting some well-deserved downtime with some friends this weekend. I don't think the American people will begrudge him that," Earnest said.

His golfing five-some included one member of the administration – U.S Trade Representative Ron Kirk. Jim Crane, a Democratic donor who owns the resort and Houston Astros, played as well, as did three friends of the president: Dr. Eric Whitaker, Tony Chase and Milton Carroll.

Obama will golf again with Crane on Sunday, according to the Major League Baseball website, which reported the president called him earlier this week.

“I got a call on the cell phone last week and (Obama) said, 'Hey, thanks for letting us come in,'" Crane said, according to MLB.com. "It's going to be a fun weekend. I hope he gets some rest and relaxes. It's kind of a quiet place, so hopefully he'll be able to do that."


Filed under: Florida • President Obama
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. jas106

    Didn't he just take a vacation in Hawaii over the xmas holiday? I believe he returned a couple of days early due to the fiscal cliff issue but Michelle and girls stayed for the full two weeks. The recent increase in my health insurance premiums will wipe out my vacation funds so have to admit I'm a bit envious when I hear of anyone being able to afford two vacations in the last 3 months...

    Tam,

    I thought everyone was innocent until proven guilty. You asked for proof that Bush's brain wasn't on vacation even when he was at work. Has Obama provided any proof yet? If so, I would appreciate your sharing because it sure seems to me that the only work he actually does is campaign and he only has time for that when he isn't hanging out with his hollywood pals... Oh, I almost forgot! I guess there is some proof he is using his brain. He used it to come up with a plan to blame Bush for everything wrong in the world. Now that he's had 4 years himself his brain has worked hard to come up with changing the blame game to include all republicans no matter what. As an independent I'm not thrilled with the republicans at all but am amazed that Obama can blame everything on them and do it with a straight face...

    February 16, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  2. Lib

    So I suppose it is ok for the non working salaried GOP to leave DC before anyone. The "lawmakers". President Obama does not make laws. He has already given his list to the congress. But yet they all left. With the GOP first. But none of the complainers on here said a thing about that. I wonder what Boehner, Mcconnell, Cantor and the rest are doing. I will bet they have no Black box or red phone near them for an emergency. But I will be the President does. And I will be the president will spend much of his nite reading letters from Americans also. What complainers of the president. I request my tax money back from the GOP who have done nothing these past 14 years.

    February 16, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  3. Mack

    All these folks on here that have complained about the President taking a vacation, do you know where your Congressmen are?

    February 16, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  4. Pander Bear

    Let me sum up the collective right wing response: Derpa derpa derpa derpa der.

    February 16, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  5. jerome

    I wonder if the wife and kids took coach class out to Colorado.

    February 16, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  6. jane

    @Dean: Do you also remember Mr. Boehner, all smiles at the podium, saying "I got 98% of what I wanted!"?? He wasn't calling it "Obama's sequestration" then, was he???

    February 16, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  7. J.V.Hodgson

    Enjoy the golf, and the president will be kept up to date with anything he needs to know Air force one is a flying white house.
    I am fed up of the blame game re the sequester. The origins if I get it right are:-
    A bi partisan senate comittee was tasked to come up with $1.2 trillion they could not make it.
    McConnell and Reid together came up with the poison pill version of the Budget act/ sequester it passed both the house and senate for which the deficit ceiling was increased temporarily.
    So far as I know the president was not involved in in the budget act/sequester design, ( he did sign the bill as he must if hethinks thats what was needed) and please face facts the presidents job is not to legislate especially on budget matters thats the House of representatives primary responsibility and Boehner wants the president to lead. He did check out his SOTU speech the guidelines are there.
    Both dems and republicans closing the house for 10 days are a disgrace when clearly this problem is not resolved.
    Anyone of them that says they care about America and americans is lying because if they did they'd be in session.
    Boehner version we have a budget and its in the senate to be passed , not true The senate proposed and altered bill and no one has gone to reconciliation because the republicans rejected the senate plan. = the usual stupid budget stalemate... so Ok lets go on holiday. no negotiation, no compromise, lets see who blinks first, and whatever happens follow the last two years rules of blame it all on the president.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    February 16, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  8. geggyg

    Some people on here are complaining about Pres Obama’s vacations, lets look at some figures
    -Pres GW Bush spent 487 days at Camp David , and 490 days at his Crawford hobby farm , add in days spent at Kennebunkport , Maine that total goes to 1020 days. Also the Crawford compound was renovated to add offices and a secure communication centre, and it was constantly staffed by the Secret Service and other staff. There was also a no fly zone around Crawford which would be expanded when Bush was in attendance. Many of these costs were considered one off costs, or continuing costs and weren’t allocated to individual trips.
    -Pres Obama Has spent 131 days on vacation , Hawaii, Chicago , Martha’s Vineyard etc and Camp David. On his non Camp David trips he used a mobile communication centre or Air Force One communication centre. Secret Service and other staff go there about a week before to set up temp offices.
    -Pres Carter spent 79 days on vacation in his four years .
    -Pres Reagon spent 335 on vacation at his California ranch plus time at Camp David
    -Pres GHW Bush spent over 550 days on vacation during his four years
    -Pres Clinton spent 155 days on vacation during his eight years .
    Looking at the figures recent dem Presidents have been sparing in their vacation time

    February 16, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  9. CJPA

    If I recall, Bush, the younger, or "Dubya" to you, spent almost every weekend at Camp David and the entire month of August in Texas "clearing brush," while the puppetmaster, Cheney, was running the country from an undisclosed location! Golf, anyone?

    February 16, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  10. hank

    Obama had to get away this weekend - he got a lot of criticisms this week, at the prayer breakfast (thank you God, its about someone lectures him instead of him lecturing everyone!!!, How does he like it?) I guess he had to run off 'cause the heat is on him about everything, poor guy, he works so hard lecturing everyone, the grump! I would love it if he never came back from Florida.

    February 16, 2013 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  11. Name Penney Wallace

    I think it is disgraceful with no viable budget, our country trillions of dollars in debt and our president and his family continue vacationing on our dime. Our politicians need to legislate how much money our first family can spend on these vacations and exactly how many vacations! As I said disgraceful!

    February 16, 2013 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  12. Independent in Illinois

    How nice of the right wingers to put their two cents in when the President takes a weekend trek to relax when their hero (Bush) took waaaay more vacation time down in Texas (working vacation, my ass). Of course, to them, it must mean that it was ok for another hero of theirs (Boehner) to call a Congressional Recess instead of a vote on the Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill. Yeah... You all make sense. Stay classy!!!

    February 16, 2013 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  13. Essie

    YOU PEOPLE SOUND RIDICULOUS...AND CHILDISH!!! ~Let this man have a break! He needs down time also. I would not want an overworked, tired, stressed president leading me! By all means, Mr. President, get your golf on! I totally understand that you need & deserve this peace of mind! ....TEE TIME–Fooore!!!! :)

    February 16, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  14. Evergreen

    This is President's Day weekend. For many workers this is a three day weekend. Enjoy your long weekend everyone.

    February 17, 2013 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  15. Dar

    This is just his way of staying on top of his game so he can join the senior tour after he retires.
    He is simplly thinking ahead for him and his family. What is so wrong with that? :)

    February 17, 2013 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
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