Bloomberg says Obama should be golfing every weekend
March 10th, 2013
12:35 PM ET
10 years ago

Bloomberg says Obama should be golfing every weekend

(CNN) – Many GOP critics say President Barack Obama should halt his golf games as the federal government weathers mandatory spending cuts, but one former Republican is taking the opposite tack, suggesting Obama golf more.

But there's one important caveat to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's advice: The foursomes can't be made up only of friends.

"I find it fascinating, people criticize him for taking people to dinner - he should be doing that every night. They criticize him for going and playing golf with people who he's got to deal with. He should be doing that every weekend. You always can work better with somebody that you have a chance to build a social relationship with," Bloomberg - who ran as a Republican in 2002 but later switched his party to "independent" - said on CBS's "Face the Nation." Bloomberg endorsed Obama in 2012's presidential campaign.

His remarks come as some Republicans cry foul over the expense of Obama's golf games in a time of government austerity - though the president has yet to play a round since the automatic spending cuts took effect March 1. Some in the GOP have chafed at the symbolism of the White House canceling tours, arguing the money spent on Secret Service protection for a presidential golf outing would be better spent on keeping the White House open to the public.

"The president will use up more Secret Service time guarding him while he golfs than it would take to keep the White House tours open all year," Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, said Friday on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, submitted legislation which would make it illegal for Obama to use federal funds for commuting to and from golf outings until the White House resumes tours. Reopening the White House for tours would only cost "one or two golf trips less" for Obama, he argued.

By Bloomberg's estimation, the cost of Obama's golf trips would be well worth it for taxpayers if they result in important compromises on the nation's toughest issues. Yet for that to happen, Obama would have to invite his opponents for a round, rather than the usual coterie of friends and staffers with whom he normally tees off.

In 2011, he played a much-hyped round of golf with House Speaker John Boehner and John Kasich, Ohio's Republican governor. But if the budget gridlock currently ailing Washington is any indication, that game didn't yield much in terms of compromise.

It remains to be seen if Obama's latest "charm offensive" will include rounds of golf with his political rivals. Thus far it's been centered on meals: dinner with a dozen Republican senators at a hotel in Washington on Wednesday, and lunch at the White House with Rep. Paul Ryan on Thursday. Both meals came at Obama's invitation. Later this week he'll meet with the full GOP contingents in both the House and Senate, along with the Democratic caucuses in both chambers.

The moves reflect a shift for the president, who has been criticized for not cultivating social relationships with members of Congress.

Filed under: Michael Bloomberg • President Obama
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Nick

    To a degree Bloomberg is right, but it has to be done with an understanding that he shouldn't be spending taxpayer money while other parts of the government are told to do without. For example, hosting dinners for celebrities while White House tours are canceled sends the message "let them eat cake". Celebrities are not people he has to "work" with – if anyone receives a dinner invitation it should be members of Congress, and for something more meaningful than a photo op.

    March 11, 2013 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  2. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    And what was GWB doing while our troops were dying in Iraq and Afghanistan??? He was attending two Superbowls, two World Series, one NBA finals O' and by the way, the Beijing Olympics. Furthermore, he has also COST the lives of thousands of U.S. troops and millions of American jobs. Let's face it, the whole world would have been better off had GWB been a professional golfer and not a politician.

    March 11, 2013 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  3. Billcody

    So the Republicans again are tearing down the strawman they built. Obama hasn't played golf this month but the Republicans continue to complain about the cost of it versus the cost of the WH tours. GWB could fly home every weekend but Obama can't play golf once a month or so?

    March 11, 2013 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  4. Richard Long

    They want us to consider that barrack's first 4 years a mulligan.
    barrack couldn't even pass legislation when it was a Democratically controlled House.

    March 11, 2013 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  5. Fair is Fair

    Agreed. He's far less dangerous on a golf course.

    March 11, 2013 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Get a clue wrote:

    Norma, wait until 2014 when those taxes kick in to pay for Obamacare and let me know what you think. You do realize the strategy is to bankrupt private insurance and force everyone into a privately run, tax payer funded (irony?) system
    You are arguing that it is better to allow private insurers to continue as they are, not covering customers and/or dropping them, so that the customers can go bankrupt trying to pay for end of life health care. That's what conservatives call supporting business and the job creators?

    March 11, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  7. Rudy NYC


    To a degree Bloomberg is right, but it has to be done with an understanding that he shouldn't be spending taxpayer money while other parts of the government are told to do without. For example, hosting dinners for celebrities while White House tours are canceled sends the message "let them eat cake".
    Studies have shown that people who only get their news from right wing media are less informed than people who don't pay attention to the news at all. The POTUS pays for his own meals at social events. In other words, when the President hosts a number of guests, the cost of the meals comes directly out of his pocket. However, since his salary is paid for by US taxpayers, you're correct...from a certain point of view.

    March 11, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  8. cynicaldude

    Keep him busy doing something besides trying to play politics. The country will be better off for it

    March 11, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  9. YBM

    Republicans; the "Not Intended to be Factually Accurate" Party

    I`m a scientist; I look at the data.

    1st President Bush = ONE WAR
    2nd President Bush = TWO WARS
    A 3rd President Bush = . . . Do The Math.

    Bushes are beholden to the military Industrial Complex. Elect another one, no matter how balanced he may seem and America will be at war again in Iran, North Korea, Syria, somewhere. The Presidency is not a Bush birthright.
    You must be a poor scientist. Though I agree with your last sentence.

    March 11, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  10. Dr Matrix

    Tommy G

    Do you remember Bush's your're for us or against us? Anyone who disagreed with a manufactured war in Iraq that he was intent on was anti-American. The real purpose of the war was to tranfer the wealth of our nation to private industry by privatizing war and government programs. Then run the wars off the books so the deficit doesn't look so bad and no notices the treasury is empty until it's over. Obama is trying to work throught he legeslative process, he didn't declare himself king as so many people seem to think since they let Rush, Sean and Bill do their thinkiing for them.

    March 11, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  11. Mark

    Right on. You need to have a camaraderie with folks if you're going to be going through tough negotiations. I don't golf; in fact I'm awful at golfing. If it were me, it would be taking folks out for a craft beer or throwing a football around in order to ease up tensions and allow for discussions as pals, not as political adversaries. Without that camaraderie, these negotiations will go nowhere and future artificial disasters will loom.

    And maybe if I want to consider running for president in the future I should learn to play golf. Seems like all of the Washington folks bond over the game. Good thing I have no presidential aspirations in my future.

    March 11, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  12. Guest

    obama just sent the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt 250 million in New aid and Syria, 60 million. It has really been hidden from the American people. Obama's travel budget is unscathed.

    March 11, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  13. avalanche

    Every time someone criticizes Obama the "What about GWB and his wars, vacations, etc" is rolled out as a diversion.

    News flash. GWB was an awful president. Defending Obama by comparing him to GWB is like comparing brain cancer to liver cancer. You do not want either.

    March 11, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  14. Quixote

    Bloomberg is right.

    He is planning to run in 2016, if you had notnfigured that out yet. As a Democrat.

    March 11, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  15. Quixote

    Atually avalanche, comparing bush to Obama is like comparing brain cancer to an all expenses paid vacation in the tropics. bush nearly killed us, as brain cancer has a habit of doing. But Obama is on track to be in the near great category of presidents.

    March 11, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Many deals are cut on the golf course, so I concur with Bloomberg. However...the President needs to decompress, and feel the love just as often if not more than the average Joe, to that effect he shouldn't just restrict himself to playing with those that put the "thug" in Rethuglican.

    March 11, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Mr. Mayor has a most interesting follow-thru with his swing.

    March 11, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    comparing bush to Obama is like comparing brain cancer to an all expenses paid vacation in the tropics. bush nearly killed us, as brain cancer has a habit of doing. But Obama is on track to be in the near great category of presidents.
    Excellent analogy Quixote, and your prediction as to what place Obama will occupy in history is right on the mark.

    March 11, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  19. Sagebrush Shorty

    Have a Big Gulp Mr. Mayor, and shut up.

    March 11, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    Apparently in GOPerville, GOPers have replaced grumbling about the Obama teleprompter with grumbling about the Obama golf outings.

    Not quite sure what the grumblers think they're achieving, but CNN apparently finds GOPers (and their grumbling) fascinating ...

    March 11, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  21. critical thinking

    If he played anymore golf, he would be eligable to get his PGA tour card.

    March 11, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  22. Joi Gibson

    When it comes to President Obama, there is no pleasing the majority of Republicans. All they do is complain. If I had a nickel for every time they complained, I could retire; as it is, I'll be dead and still have to get up and go to work while these Congress folks enjoy nice pensions and healthcare.

    March 11, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  23. Pete

    You know its funny republican posters here didn't rant foul when their idol in Bush was in Crawford,Texas or else where over 450 days his first two years,don't like that fact do yah hypocrites!!Golf,basketball is just a stress relief for him and do you have any problems with Boehner or others getting drunk all the time you don't again do yah!!Never met a bartender or son of one that wasn't a drunk themselves and maybe that's the reason for his orange tinted skin maybe cirrohsis of the liver,seen that from his kind..Quit being so anti Obama posters because no matter what you say negetively against Pres.Obama we have a republican rep or president from you that's worse and you know it so back off..Just remember for you to throw stones you better get out of your own glass house so quit being hypocrites!!!And also remember who his golf partner is in your speaker Boehner,any thing now to say nitwits!!

    March 11, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  24. enuff

    What is this obsession with golf games? Congress disappears weeks at a time and nobodyis tracking their movements.

    March 11, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  25. Dirk

    It's better to have a president doing his job rather than playing golf. George W. Bush spent 42 percent of his first 8 months in office on vacation. Then 9/11 happened. When I vote for a president I want him giving us his A game, not spending a huge amount of his time on the golf course.

    March 11, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
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