As much of the nation huddles in a dangerous deep freeze, vacationing President Obama on Saturday wrapped up his two-week Christmas vacation by playing his 160th round of golf in his sunny birth state, Hawaii. The temperature: 79 degrees.
His latest round means that Obama has played golf an average of once every 11 days in office.
During his break in Hawaii, Obama played nine rounds of golf. On Thursday, he played at Kaneohe Bay on Oahu with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who is also on vacation on the island.
That outing won the attention of at least one network. CBS This Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell reported Friday: “President Obama doesn't get a lot of time off, but when he does, there's a good chance he goes golfing. And the president has played 159 rounds since he took office, including 27 games in his home state of Hawaii. That's according to a CBS news count by Mark Knoller.” Knoller is the long-serving CBS radio reporter well known for his accurate presidential statistics.
The president doesn't just "play" golf. He agonizes over it, taking up to six hours per round of 18 holes, more than three times as long as former President George H.W. Bush would take on his vacations to Kennebunkport, Maine. Saturday's round, however lasted three hours. According to the press pool following him, "at just over three hours, clocks in as the fastest round of golf of the vacation (by far)."
Obama has been criticized for his golf outings, especially during the recession, but others say presidents need a break from all of their decision making.
But former President George W. Bush stopped golfing and many social events after the 9/11 attacks, saying, “Playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”
Obama has a long way to go before he tops well-known golfing presidents. Woodrow Wilson played about 1,200 rounds and Dwight Eisenhower 800.
Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.