WASHINGTON — The golf summit on Saturday may not have resolved the partisan argument over the deficit and the debt ceiling or the legality of the U.S. military operation in Libya. But some good came of it, at least for the victors.
The bipartisan pairing of President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, won the 18th hole and the match against Vice President Joe Biden, thought to be the strongest player in the group, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican. To the winners go the spoils, in this case $2 each.
No trash talk or spiking of the football — Obama, in a different context, has said that's not his style. Even the post-match analysis was vetted first by the White House and Boehner's office before being released to the media in all its anodyne glory:
"The foursome had a great time and really enjoyed playing golf at Joint Base Andrews today," the statement said.
What a few hours on the links provided Saturday was what advisers had hoped for: 18 holes of back-patting civility, and a 19th hole of cold drinks and conversation with service members inside the clubhouse at Andrews.
The splitting-up of Republicans and Democrats avoided the awkward question —"Who won?" —that would have been asked had Obama and Boehner played against each other. Teaming up, the town's most powerful Democrat and Republican shared a win.
Advisers said they expected some discussion, perhaps in the side-by-side seating of the golf carts, of the debt ceiling and deficits, the war powers resolution and the war in Afghanistan. It 's unclear, though, how far along those talks got in a down-to-the-wire match.
In what little of the match that reporters could witness, Obama and Boehner shared a cart, with Obama behind the wheel early on.
Cooling off over drinks afterward, the foursome watched some of the U.S. Open on television with service members.
His advisers have said that, for Obama, getting away from the cramped confines of the White House grounds is as much a part of his passion for the game as the tee-to-green aspect.