The Obama administration on Monday brushed off Republican criticism that the president should be spending less time on the golf course and more time focusing on the Gulf, saying it did the country more good than harm for Obama to get some "alone time."
"All of those issues that the president is dealing with, I think a little time to himself on Father's Day weekend probably does us all good as American citizens that our president is taken that time," said spokesman Bill Burton, who was filling in for White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs at the daily briefing. "I don't think that there is a person in this country that doesn't think the president ought to have a little time to clear his mind."
Over the weekend, the Republican National Committee hammered the president for playing 18 holes with several friends on Saturday. The golf-centered critique has been levied during previous outings -- owing primarily to the semblance of hypocrisy (George W. Bush was often ridiculed by Democrats for his golf and ranch outings). But the voices grew louder once the Obama White House rebuked BP CEO Tony Hayward for attending a yacht race two days earlier.
On Monday, Burton seemed to moderate that Hayward criticism (perhaps aware of the optics of Obama's golf outing). The BP CEO was welcome to bring his boat to the Gulf, he said, provided there was a skimmer on it.
"For starters, I welcome his yacht to the gulf," said Burton when asked about the comparison between Hayward yachting and Obama golfing.