Why did Obama quit a golf game with Clinton?
January 17th, 2013
08:36 PM ET
10 years ago

Why did Obama quit a golf game with Clinton?

(CNN) - President Bill Clinton says President Barack Obama quit a recent golf round between them - and he suggested he might have a theory why.

"We played thirteen holes at Andrews Air Force Base the other day," Clinton said, "before he had to leave as a result of being reelected and getting ready for the inauguration, the legislature coming in and everything - the Congress coming in."

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"He had the lowest score by far he'd ever shot at Andrews," Clinton, speaking at an event in California, continued of Obama. "He was five shots ahead of me after nine holes - but I'm older. I start slow and pick up, so I picked up four of those strokes in the first three holes of the back nine."

That left him within striking distance when Obama pulled his move.

"I'm only one down and he leaves at (hole) thirteen - says, 'Gotta go,' " Clinton continued, laughing.

He stopped short of accusing Obama of quitting the game before chalking up a loss, but said he told Obama, "Hey, you're talking to somebody that's had this job and made that excuse."

They hit the links together on December 2, according to White House officials' accounting of Obama's golfing partners provided to pool reporters. That day U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe rounded out the foursome.

Obama was at the course just under four hours that day. He has been known to spend longer; his latest golf outing, on January 4, lasted six hours.

Clinton spoke in Palm Springs, California at an event associated with the Humana Challenge golf tournament, whose sponsors include the Humana health care company and his Clinton Foundation.

The former president took questions on golf and health care from reporters and said there is a realization that "we can't keep spending more of our income on health care."

It is an argument for Obama's health reform law, he said.

"I think that in the next four years, how this health care bill is implemented will determine whether people see it as I do: as a big step forward - assuming we implement it right - or whether they have their fears confirmed because they don't like the way it's implemented and they think it's more trouble and less good," Clinton said.

His advocacy for the law and Obama was motivated "because I thought it was the right thing to do. And I told him (Obama) when it was over - I said, 'Nobody owes me anything. I'm going back to do my foundation. If I can ever help you, call me, and if you don't, it’s fine with me.'

"I did this because it was right - end of story," Clinton added.

Clinton had no staunch position on one of the latest controversy in golf: the practice of “anchoring” putting clubs, which will be banned from the sport starting in 2016. Anchoring the putter grip in one's belly may give players an advantage, supporters of the rule change say, because it aids players' control of the club on critical shots. Opponents say an anchored club is not swung in the spirit of the game.

"I actually am one of those guys that ought to benefit from it because I have a condition that sometimes you get with aging," Clinton said. "You make have noticed it; my hand has a little tremor when I'm tired and a lot of people do when they're older. The first time it happened, I had to go get myself checked to make sure I didn't have Parkinson’s (disease) and I was so relieved (with a negative diagnosis) I didn't care how much it shook after that.

"But I've never been able to figure out how to use one of those things so I don't care."

Filed under: President Clinton • President Obama
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    way to go lance...how many kids did you give the "okay to cheat" speech?

    January 17, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  2. Wake up People!

    I see Fox-Lite is still attempting to stir the pot......

    January 17, 2013 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  3. UncleJoe

    Most of the greatest solutions to calamities come to mind after walking away then talk to someone about it then you tell that person about a grand solution and that your best ideas are created when you start the conversation with him or her with a subject that is unrelated to the calamities ! Playing golf or even playing Putt Putt with a child does the trick ! Another way is just before I fall asleep. I just missed a car during winter 6 yrs. Ago and I was positive as they pulled out in front of me that my car would smash in their rear door and cripple passengers ! I did not touch the brake pedal on the packed snow covered side street rather I cut the steering wheel and made a right turn where their car just came from then slid into the curb on the wrong side of that street. You guess what. I did not say or think OH MY GOD UNTIL IT WAS OVER WITH AND NO DAMAGE TO EITHER CAR ! Taking time to pray and ask GOD TO HELP OR ASK WHAT I SHOULD DO WOULD HAVE CAUSED A CALAMITY. Using the unseen power did the trick !

    January 17, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  4. Fed UP

    More garbage from Crudy News Network

    January 17, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  5. sb9054

    I love these guys! Glad to see Obama and Clinton taking time out of their busy schedules to golf and talk issues over.

    January 18, 2013 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  6. TomR

    He needed a smoke....

    January 18, 2013 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  7. Jay R

    It must have been a real emergency to get him to stop golfing! (Obama gets a pass on everything, Dubya golfs and is roundly criticized including Moore makes a movie about it. Obama sets records for time and rounds on the course,... no one cares.)

    January 18, 2013 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  8. Gurgyl

    .....bust with GOP idiots pranks.

    January 18, 2013 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  9. Donkey Party

    Thanks CNN for throwing meat to the rabid right-wingers.

    January 18, 2013 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  10. Buckhippo

    Come on media, try to actual report a real story instead of using misleading headlines to get more clicks. You guys are part of the problem with our country: always trying to stir the pot in the name of getting more viewers.

    January 18, 2013 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  11. Washington Is Out Of Touch with reality

    pics got it right this time, obama chauffeuring bill his savior around, thats about all obama is good at

    January 18, 2013 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  12. CWT

    Even Clinton was known for cheating at golf. Two cheaters together?

    January 18, 2013 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  13. Rope Hook

    He kept hitting it so far left that he just couldn't win….

    January 18, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  14. Debt - not important

    Holy crap! The MOST IMPORTANT NEWS EVER! Idol envy much CNN? How 'bout you actually do some reporting on issues that matter? Like the debt ceiling, wasteful spending, corruption in the administration?

    January 18, 2013 07:42 am at 7:42 am |