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Posted at 10:59 PM ET, 05/19/2011

Obama and Boehner’s golf game — we’re still waiting for it


President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner on the links. (Carolyn Kaster (AP)/ Douglas Graham (Roll Call))

It’s been more than four months since one of Congress’s best golfers was elected speaker of the House. But John Boehner has yet to hit the links with the Duffer-in-Chief.

Early on, Boehner suggested he’d be glad to play a few rounds with President Obama — whenever he was asked about it, anyway, by golf-fixated journalists. “Of course” he’d play POTUS, he told Fox’s Chris Wallace in January, though “I’m sure I’ll have to give him strokes.” White House officials made similar agreeable-sounding noises at the time.

But for all the talk, it hasn’t happened yet. Why?

Boehner press secretary Brendan Buck emphasized that the speaker never promised us a bipartisan golf game — just that he was “sure it will happen eventually.”

Buck said that it would be up to the White House to issue the invitation. The White House did not return our calls.


POTUS’s regular golf buddies: Marvin Nicholson... (Phipippe Wojazer/AFP/Getty Images)
It’s not as if the weather or world events have gotten in the way of such a historic outing: According to schedules kept by CBS Radio’s Mark Knoller, Obama has golfed nine times since early March, most famously on that Sunday morning when, as we later learned, he was waiting for the results of his command to strike Osama bin Laden’s hideout. Although a couple of VIPs — Ron Kirk, Ray LaHood — have joined him, Obama’s near-constant companions on these trips have been lower-level staffers: White House trip director Marvin Nicholson, press aide Ben Finkenbinder (an accomplished alum of the Macalester College golf team) and David Katz, a former campaign photographer now working at the Department of Energy.
... and Ben Finkenbinder (Saul Loeb/AFP?Getty Images)

(Unclear how much Boehner’s been golfing lately. “For obvious reasons, the speaker has had a lot less time than he’d like” this year, Buck said.)

The pressure, though, will soon be on. With the U.S. Open coming to Congressional Country Club next month, Golf Digest is lobbying for the cause, distributing buttons that read “2011 Obama-Boehner Let’s Play Golf.” In the magazine’s new issue, columnist Steve Rushin rhapsodizes about the pairing: “America has already witnessed a Beer Summit. Yours could be the Arnold Palmer Summit, as you rehash the round over iced tea and lemonade.”

By  |  10:59 PM ET, 05/19/2011

 
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