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White House says sports help POTUS 'clear mind'

President Obama delivered a speech Wednesday on the beheading of American freelance journalist James Foley by radical Islamist militants, and immediately headed out to play a round of golf on Martha's Vineyard
AP Photo/Steven Senne

President Obama has been roundly criticized for a myriad of reasons since taking office in 2009. One of the loudest criticisms of the president has been the amount of time he devotes to sports, specifically the extraordinary amount of time he spends playing golf. Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz fielded more questions from the press yesterday about the president's decision to play a round of golf immediately after delivering a lackluster speech on the beheading of American journalist James Foley.

Shultz defended the president's decision, saying, “I will say that generally I think that sports and leisure activities are a good way for release and clearing of the mind for a lot of us.”

According to a report from posted on the Drudge Report, Jonathan Karl, chief White House correspondent for ABC News, "questioned the optics of the golf outing especially right after his speech, and as the Foley family was grieving."

Shultz responded by saying, “First and foremost the president is focused on doing his job and to us that’s paramount. Just because the president is in a different location, doesn't mean he’s not doing his job.”

What it does mean is that Barack Obama appears to many Americans to be either completely detached from the seriousness of current world events, or that the president appears so relaxed because the turmoil and unrest happening around the globe now is exactly what he wants, so at least as far as Obama is concerned, everything is going precisely as planned. Why not play golf? It also shows a callous indifference for the grief currently being experienced by the family of James Foley.

Obama has played more rounds of golf than any other president before him by far, close to 200 rounds, including 8 in just the last 11 days. In contrast, Ronald Reagan, who loved the sport and was a decent golfer by most accounts, rarely played after he took office. Mainly an annual outing on New Year's Eve at a private course in California. President Obama has played nearly as much golf this week as President Reagan did over the course of his entire 8-year presidency.

Obama even promised he would give up his leisure time, including vacations, during the 2008 presidential campaign if he were elected. "The American people have no patience for what is going through your head," Obama said at the time, "because you have a job to do. And so, how I think about it is, that you don't make that decision (to run for president) unless you are prepared to make that sacrifice."

Barack Obama has been consistent at one thing other than playing golf on a routine basis: saying one thing, but doing another. His blatant hypocrisy is beyond that of any president in memory, and it comes across as pure arrogance. Apparently he does not even possess the self-discipline required to put aside his own addiction to golf at a time when the world is on fire and the United States is facing grave threats on several fronts.

***EDITED 8/22 at 5:54 p.m.

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