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Obama plays another round of golf with Hawaii friends

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 08:16 a.m. HST, Feb 17, 2014

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. >> President Barack Obama is wrapping up a three-day holiday weekend in Southern California with another game of golf.

Obama was scheduled to return to Washington late Monday.

The White House says Obama was playing on the nine-hole course at the sprawling Sunnylands estate in Rancho Mirage. Childhood Hawaii friends Bobby Titcomb, Greg Orme and Michael Ramos rounded out the foursome.

It was the 163rd golf outing of his presidency, according to CBS News White House reporter Mark Knoller, a respected keeper of presidential statistics.

The group has teed off every day of the long weekend.

On Sunday Obama and his buddies played on a private California course owned by supporter Larry Ellison, the billionaire co-founder of the Oracle software company and the owner of the island of Lanai.

Ellison ranks third on Forbes' annual list of the 400 richest Americans, with an estimated $41 billion fortune.

His 249-acre desert property in Rancho Mirage came with a 19-hole private golf course. The extra hole is available for playoffs.

Obama played all 19 holes.

The president stayed behind in California after holding talks at Sunnylands with Jordan's King Abdullah II on Friday night.

Obama has spent two long weekends at Sunnylands since June, mixing diplomatic duties with the pursuit of a favorite pastime: golf.

By comparison, he visited the real Camp David, the official mountaintop presidential retreat in Maryland, three times last year. He most recently took family and friends to the secluded compound in August to celebrate his 52nd birthday but has yet to visit this year.

Obama is the eighth American president since the mid-1960s to enjoy the 200-acre Sunnylands property, which includes philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg's 25,000-square-foot home, a nine-hole golf course, tennis court, 11 lakes, a swimming pool and a mausoleum where the Annenbergs are interred. The property also has many walking paths, reflecting pools and multiple varieties of wildlife and arid-landscape plants.

Obama welcomed China's new president, Xi Jinping, here last June for a two-day summit that was partly designed to help them start to build a personal relationship even as they hashed out thorny issues between their countries.

Besides his charitable giving, Walter Annenberg was a diplomat who entertained royalty, presidents and celebrities at Sunnylands. The Annenbergs willed the property to a family trust in hopes that U.S. presidents and other high-level U.S. government officials would use it for retreats that further international diplomacy, said Janice Lyle, director of the Sunnylands Center & Gardens.

Lyle said the center was thrilled by Obama's visits.

"People are just taken by this beauty, and it allows them to relax and to interact in more meaningful ways than they might somewhere else," she said.

In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, celebrated every New Year's holiday during his two-terms in office at Sunnylands. Reagan and Walter Annenberg, who also lived in the Philadelphia area, had a decadeslong friendship that started before Reagan gave up acting for politics.

In 1990, George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, held a state dinner at Sunnylands for Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu.

Gerald and Betty Ford also visited. They had a home in Rancho Mirage, where the Betty Ford Center is also located.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was a former president when he came in 1966. He also had a home in the area.

President Richard Nixon drafted his final State of the Union address while at the property in January 1974. He visited in August of that year he had resigned the presidency in disgrace. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also have passed through Sunnylands.

After his meetings with Xi and Abdullah, Obama chose to spend the weekend on the property instead of immediately returning to Washington. Both times, a trio of childhood friends from his native Hawaii flew in to tee off with him on the estate's nine-hole golf course despite the desert heat.

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sluggah wrote:
"Let them eat cake."
on February 17,2014 | 07:03AM
scooters wrote:
He's having a good time on our money. Amazing
on February 17,2014 | 07:14AM
Ewaduffer wrote:
Ah yes, the terrible pressure and strain of responsibility that goes with the office of President of the US.
on February 17,2014 | 07:34AM
kekelaward wrote:
Good thing everything is peachy keen in the US and the rest of the world.
on February 17,2014 | 07:58AM
st1d wrote:
titcomb probably bought, i mean brought the callgir, i mean caddies to carry the players' clubs and balls.
on February 17,2014 | 08:16AM
calentura wrote:
To Obama now, the world is just one big bath house. Lower the flags for Whitney Houston, completely ignore Ambassador Shirley Temple Black.
on February 17,2014 | 08:43AM
cojef wrote:
Wow! A block-buster! Too bad for Barry that he did not grow during Shirley Temple's generation, then he could order with by his Big, "EXECUTIVE PEN" that the flag over the Capitol Building be flown at half-mast. He likes the Titcomb company because they are just that, "laid back locals", or yokels from the sticks.
on February 17,2014 | 10:45AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
And ignore American Olympic athletes. Don't even send an important government official as representative.
on February 17,2014 | 11:39AM
ohelo wrote:
I admired Shirley Temple as an actress, but not as a diplomat. Too many people get appointed as Ambassadors whose only QUALIFICATION is contributing to the winner' political campaign or being a political FUND raiser. In other words, you can "BUY" an ambassadorship. While we criticize other nations for corruption and graft, we are just as guilty. I also admire Obama, but he is probably the worst in appointing political people to Ambassadorships to nice positions (e.g., western Europe), while sending qualified, career, Foreign Service personnel to a back water areas, like parts of Africa, or even the Marshall Islands!
on February 17,2014 | 03:15PM
Upperkula wrote:
This president is a looser, Obam makes every other bad president look like angels. He has no shame what so ever slapping people in their face with the things he does for his pleasure. To H with everbody main thing he's happy. sazaframagaxoenhelandjur,amhfythe najeismfjjfoo, Lets see if SA sends this for approval.
on February 17,2014 | 01:23PM
false wrote:
working on his handicap while single handedly handicapping the country...
on February 17,2014 | 02:23PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Front page headline news on Investor's Business Daily, February 18, 2014: ObamaCare Costs $56,819 For Every Enrollee in Hawaii
on February 17,2014 | 03:47PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
This article states that the national total per enrollee costs to build state-run exchanges ranges from a high of $56,819 in Hawaii to a low of $1,463 in California, with the national average being $1,789. Needed to have run it through the federal government instead of a grant of $200 million and rising to Hawaii. Not to mention of course the thousands being raked in by HSA on their daily top of the web page click ad, lol. I guess this is called "taking care of the homeland", right Barry?
on February 17,2014 | 03:52PM
samidunn wrote:
Bobby Titcomb isn't that the guy that got arrested for soliciting a prostitute? Obama's probably talking to him about being an Ambassador.
on February 17,2014 | 03:52PM
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