In an 18-hole match on a course at the Andrews military base, the President and House Speaker took $2 each from Vice President Biden and Ohio Governor John Kasich.
The U.S. Open golf championship wasn’t the only well-publicized golf event in the Washington, D.C. area over the weekend of June 18-19, as President Barack Obama and Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner teamed up on Saturday June 18 to try to use golf to help build a friendlier climate for troubled talks on the federal debt and deficits.
In a match won on the 18th hole, Obama and Boehner, who represents Ohio’s 8th Congressional district that encompasses suburban areas and farmland north and west of Dayton, beat Vice President Joe Biden and Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich on a course at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, just outside of Washington.
The four hit the links as Democrats and Republicans were at odds over ways to cut the U.S. budget by trillions and to raise the $14.3 trillion ceiling on the nation’s debt. Since May, Biden has been leading talks with a group of lawmakers. Without a deal to allow the nation to issue more debt, the Treasury Department has warned the government will begin defaulting on obligations on August 2.
Kasich, a former congressman, is an expert on federal financial matters and a friend of the speaker.
On the first hole of the match, Biden, a six handicap, sank a putt of about 15 feet. “You all catch that?” Obama asked the reporters accompanying him.
Wearing a white polo shirt and tan baseball cap, Obama, a 17 handicap, then crouched down over his putt of about 10 feet, but then took two strokes to finish the hole.
When Boehner, a seven handicap, sank his putt from about the same distance, the speaker yelled, “Oh yeah!”
The rest of the match was then played without press coverage, but reporters were later told that the match came down to the 18th hole, where the Obama-Boehner team prevailed. For their win, Obama and the speaker each took home $2.
After the match, the four went to the patio of a clubhouse for cold drinks and to watch coverage of the U.S. Open golf tournament taking place at Congressional Country Club in nearby Bethesda, Md. Before leaving, they then visited with service members on the base.
Obama has usually used golf as a form of relaxation rather than politicking. In more than 60 rounds of golf during his presidency, he has typically played with close aides and friends.
U.S. presidents have played golf with friends and foes for years. Lyndon Johnson rounded up votes for the 1965 Civil Rights Act on the golf course, while Bill Clinton often used the game to negotiate with allies and opponents.
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