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Obama supports admitting women members to all-male Augusta National, spokesman says

On the first day of the Masters golf tournament, President Obama is weighing in on the debate over the all-male membership of the tournament’s host country club.

Obama believes that women should be admitted as members at Augusta National, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday.

The president’s “personal opinion is that women should be admitted,” Carney said, noting that he discussed the issue with Obama.

“It’s long past the time when women should be excluded from anything,” Carney said, about Obama’s views.

Augusta has maintained an all-male membership policy during its 80-year history, and Chairman Billy Payne declined to answer a question about the policy during a news conference Wednesday.

The issue flared up again after Ginni Rometty was named Chief Executive Officer of IBM, a longtime sponsor of the tournament whose previous chief executives have been admitted to Augusta National.

“Once again, that deals with a membership issue and I’m not going to answer it,” Payne said.

The country club allows women to play its famed golf course if invited by a member. It admitted its first African-American member in 1990.

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