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Obama golfs with female after media criticism. Coincidence?

President Obama invited a female staffer to join him for a game of golf yesterday. Melody Barnes is the first woman to golf with Obama since he became president.

By Jimmy Orr / October 26, 2009

Was it a coincidence that President Obama asked a female staffer to join him on the golf course yesterday or a move to squelch media criticism?

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So, by now you know that President Obama golfed with a [GASP!] woman yesterday. We told you about it here.

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But why would a golf game with Melody Barnes – his chief domestic policy advisor – be newsworthy? Was it because right before she faced a critical putt, he yelled out "Noonan!"

Although that would be a great news story – no.

No girls allowed

It was news because – for those of you keeping score – up until yesterday, all of his golf partners have been men. And this past week, there was also criticism that Obama only plays basketball with male counterparts. We told you about that here.

Even last March, Obama was criticized for not being an equal opportunity NCAA basketball bracket filler-outer.

Who cares? Many of you said that. One visitor yesterday commented: "How about reporting news, not things nobody cares about? Who gives a damn about who golfs with who?"

Networking

Others, however, say that it's important for the president to be more inclusive. And the sporting events represent a chance to network with the president. Therefore, they say, it's only fair that the president expand his chromosomal outreach.

So, at 1pm yesterday, Obama and Barnes (with two other guys filling out their foursome) played 18 holes at the Fort Belvoir golf course just outside of Washington, DC.

Coincidental that Barnes played yesterday? Or an attempt to get the media off of the topic? After all, it was the weekend after an NBC reporter put the president on the spot about his male-only basketball games and the New York Times ran an article on the same topic yesterday.

It was just a game

It crossed the mind of one reporter this afternoon during the press briefing on Air Force One. And, as you would expect, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs dismissed the thought of it being anything except a golf game. Ever. Period.

Here's the exchange:

Q Robert, what was behind the decision to have Melody Barnes play golf with the President yesterday? Was it in any way related to the --
MR. GIBBS: To play golf.
Q So it was not --
MR. GIBBS: And I'm told help the President take some money from fellow golfers.
Q So it was not a response to criticism at all of --
MR. GIBBS: No. She's just a good golfer.

Simmer down

So there, conspiracists! Take that!

We still like the Caddyshack scenario though...

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