Since returning from a trip to Southeast Asia on Nov. 21, President Obama has managed ­­­­­to play three rounds of golf but has met face to face only once with House Speaker John A. Boehner, the man with whom he is trying to strike a deal on taxes and spending that could prevent another recession.

With the deadline for averting the “fiscal cliff” less than three weeks away, the president’s schedule this week is exceptionally light. It does not include any time on the links with Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, who is also an avid golfer.

On Monday, Mr. Obama’s only public event was a trip to Detroit, where he held a campaign-style rally with union autoworkers that was ostensibly a push for middle-class tax cuts but mainly showcased Mr. Obama’s criticism of Michigan’s new right-to-work labor law.

“It seems to me, that time would have been better spent here in Washington, D.C., working on the fiscal cliff, but he was in Michigan,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican.

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