The Washington Times - June 18, 2011, 11:29AM

President Obama hit the links on Saturday with a power foursome for his 73rd round of golf since coming to the White House. Vice President John Biden and two Ohio Republicans, House Speaker John Boehner and Gov. John Kasich played 18 holes at a course at Andrews Air Force Base, outside Washington, D.C.

The Secret Service had their hands full as Mr. Obama and the next top two men in line for the presidency took a motorcade together from the White House at 9 a.m. 


The golf carts were divided by power and political party, with Mr. Obama and Mr. Beohner riding together and Mr. Biden and Mr. Kasich in another cart. 

They played on the base’s East course which has a par of 72. On the first hole, the president, the speaker and the governor all shot par, which is five. The vice president made a bogey, but hit a 15-foot putt to get it. 

Mr. Obama got all Tiger Woods fancy on the first green by crouching down to line up his 12-foot shot. He missed, then tapped it in for par. 

The president is an avid golfer, having played 73 rounds, which averages about every other weekend in the two and half years that he’s been in office. In comparison, President George W. Bush played only 24 rounds in the same time frame. Mr. Bush stopped playing golf entirely in August 2003 out of respect for the families of military fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

“I feel I owe it to the families to be…. in solidarity as best i can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal,” Mr. Bush said at the time. “I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf.”

The golf summit with the most nation’s most powerful Democrat and Republican was supposed to give the two time to discuss the president’s need to raise the debt ceiling this summer. As the men walked back to the golf carts from the first hole, President Obama patted Speaker Boehner on the back. Hopefully this sign of congeniality from the Duffer-in-Chief gave the top Republican the opportunity to drive a hard bargain on the green today. 

Mr. Boehner has said that any increase in the nation’s borrowing limit must be matched by even greater spending cuts. Mr. Biden is leading the bipartisan, bicameral group negotiating the spending cuts, Democrats’ need for tax hikes and Republicans want for entitlement reform. 

At the end of the almost five hour round, the team of Mr. Obama and Mr. Boehner won and got $2 each from Mr. Biden and Mr. Kasich. Unfortunately, the four bucks wasn’t given to the Treasury to put a teeny-tiny dent in the current public debt of $14.3 trillion.