President finishes round of golf and stops at the beach


POSTED: Saturday, December 26, 2009


President Barack Obama got in a round of golf with friends today and then briefly stopped at the beach without going into the water.

The president's motorcade left the rented Kailua vacation residence shortly after 10 a.m. this morning to the Marine Corps base where aides said he and friends played on the Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course. His playing group reportedly included Chicago friend Eric Whitaker and three friends from Hawaii: Greg Orme, Mike Ramos and Bobby Titcomb.

A press pool following the president was not allowed to watch the golf game and there was no word on Obama's score.

The motorcade left the golf course at 4:27 p.m. and made an announced stop at Pyramid Rock Beach on base. The president, wearing a white golf shirt, tan baseball cap and sunglasses, got out and checked out the waves as swimmers and sunbathers looked up in surprise to see the commander in chief. Obama waved at onlookers and got back into the car after a few minutes.

On the way to the golf course this morning, the motorcade traveled past small protests on the street corners at Kalaheo Road and the end of Kailuana Place, where the vacation rental is located, just outside where the Secret Service security checkpoint was set up. Anti-abortion groups stood at one corner across the street from groups opposing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Signs bore statements including: “;Stop the wars,”; “;peace, put it in action,”; and “;President Obama, baby killing is not health care.”; 

The demonstrations were peaceful, though witnesses said one car that slowed down so someone could make an obscene gesture was involved in a fender bender and a police accident report was filed.

The president's day began with an early-morning update on the investigation into yesterday's thwarted terror attack over Detroit, aides said.

No official statement from the president was expected, aides said.

Bill Burton, deputy White House press secretary, said Obama took a call at 6:20 a.m. with John Brennan, his Homeland Security and counter-terrorism adviser, and Denis McDonough, National Security Staff Chief of Staff.

“;He received an update on the heightened air travel safety measures being taken to keep the American people safe and on the investigation,”; Burton said in a statement. “;The president will continue to actively monitor the situation.”;

A Nigerian passenger on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam allegedly attempted to start a fire as the plane prepared to land in Detroit on Friday, according to authorities. The incident has sparked a major international terrorism investigation.

Shortly after taking the conference call, Obama and first lady Michelle Obama traveled to Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay for their morning workout. 

Also today, the White House asked journalists covering the vacation to respect the privacy of his 8- and 11-year-old daughters.

White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton and Michelle Obama's press secretary Katie McCormick Lelyveld issued a joint statement urging journalists not to photograph or film Sasha or Malia Obama when they are on excursions without their parents.

The White House made a similar request when journalists traveled with the Obamas for a summer vacation on Martha's Vineyard. Then, the White House invited journalists to cover the first daughters only when they went out with their parents.

The daughters regularly join their parents at public events.