Tales from the Trail

Woman joins Obama golf entourage for first time

October 25, 2009

President Barack Obama’s weekend outings to play golf have become regular events, especially when the weather cooperates.

OBAMA/But Sunday afternoon, an almost picture-perfect fall day, marked the first time in Obama’s presidency that a woman joined the golf game.

White House domestic policy aide Melody Barnes was among those who headed out to the Fort Belvoir army installation in Virginia to play golf with the president.  White House aides of varying levels of seniority typically play golf with the president but until Sunday, the games were all male.

“He golfed with women on the campaign trail but not until Melody this year,” White House spokesman Bill Burton was quoted as saying by Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times/Politics Daily. Sweet was part of the pool of reporters who covered Sunday’s golf outing.

The golf game came on the same day that The New York Times featured on its cover a story looking at whether Obama’s White House was too much of a “man’s world.”

The Times article cited complaints that arose after Obama hosted a high-level basketball game that included no female players. It also quoted some women Democrats raising concerns that women advisers to Obama do not seem to be as visible as their male counterparts or wield as much influence.

Women voters are a crucial part of the Democratic base because they tend to support the party in greater numbers than men.

During his presidential campaign last year, Obama made a concerted effort to court women voters by emphasizing issues such as pay equity and telling how he was raised by a single mother with considerable help from his grandmother.

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Reuters photo by Jonathan Ernst (Melody Barnes and White House Trip Director Marvin Nicholson walk up the White House driveway for a golf outing with President Obama).

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