A first for Obama: Woman joins presidential golf outing

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By Michael D. Shear
Monday, October 26, 2009

President Obama headed for the links again Sunday, but this time a woman joined him on the green.

Melody Barnes, the president's chief domestic policy adviser, was part of Obama's group of four, a rarity for a regular outing that has been dominated by the "boys" of the White House.

Obama departed the White House at 12:18 p.m. wearing a black short-sleeve shirt. Barnes was wearing a baseball cap, dark long-sleeve shirt and beige pants. Marvin Nicholson, the White House trip director, loaded the golf clubs into the motorcade.

The group headed for the course at Fort Belvoir on a chilly but clear day in Washington. They arrived just after 1 p.m. for several hours of golf.

Questions about the president's chumminess with the men on his staff -- to the exclusion of the women -- has become something of a buzz about Washington.

White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton said Barnes was not the first woman to play golf with Obama, but he later notified reporters that he had been wrong, and that Barnes was in fact the first woman Obama has golfed with as president.

"I was wrong about this -- all apologies," Burton wrote. "He golfed with women on the campaign trail."


© 2009 The Washington Post Company

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