Between golfing and vacations Obama must get a lot of briefings this way.
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Last weekend Barack Obama played his 175th and 176th rounds of golf as president. He played first at Sunnylands, the famously private course on the Rancho Mirage, California estate of the late billionaire Walter Annenberg. Obama next played at Porcupine Creek, the equally private course on the nearby estate of the very-much-alive tech billionaire Larry Ellison.

The White House said Obama received regular briefings on the worsening crisis in Iraq during his golf weekend. “The president directed [National Security Adviser Susan Rice] to continue to keep him apprised of the latest developments,” said spokesman Josh Earnest, “as his national security team continues to meet through the weekend to review potential options.”

Earnest’s report was the latest in a long tradition of presidents trying to assure the public they’re on top of things even as they hit the links for a leisurely round, sometimes in fabulously luxurious settings. Presidential golf can be a sensitive subject, especially if there is an international crisis at hand. Nevertheless, Obama continues to play, even as fears grow that events in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere have brought the world to a very dangerous point.

Some critics believe Obama’s high-visibility leisure sends a negative signal to foreign leaders who already worry that the president is not fully engaged or simply not up to the job.

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