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Ladies who've got game, too

At left: Melody Barnes plays golf with President Obama on Sunday. Kathleen Sebelius (top right) and Susan Rice (bottom right) both played basketball in their student years. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst; Richard A. Lipski/The Washington Post; Reuters/Larry Downing)

That didn't take long. After a few news cycles of Beltway buzz about President Obama's all-male basketball games and golf trips, the White House promptly sent Melody Barnes, the president's chief domestic policy adviser, out to join him on the links Sunday at Fort Belvoir.

Finally, a glass ceiling (grass ceiling?) broken for lady duffers! Press secretary Robert Gibbs insisted Monday there was no symbolism intended ("she's just a good golfer"), though Barnes may have paved the way for other qualified female cronies to golf with POTUS. Women like...

Hmmm. Here's the problem. The great female golfers in politics are all Republicans. Golf Digest last year ranked D.C.'s best: John McCain's pollster Linda DiVall was the top-ranked woman (No. 7 with a 2 handicap). The others -- Condi Rice, Rep. Mary Bono, PR exec Sheila Tate -- are all GOP.

"It's hard to get women to golf," said Maura Keefe, an accomplished golfer and chief of staff to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). "Women are perfectionists. If a woman is golfing and she hits a tree, she feels bad, she thinks she's made a mistake. If a guy hits a tree, he blames the groundskeeper." Keefe's trying to get more women out on the links, but no success yet with her own boss.

Obama may have better luck integrating his all-guy basketball game. His health secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, played college ball at Trinity Washington University. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.) captained her high school team -- though as the mom of a 10-month-old, she might not have much free time. Then there's U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, a player for the National Cathedral Eagles so formidable she was nicknamed "Spo" for "Sportin'." Only downside: She might beat him.

By The Reliable Source  |  October 27, 2009; 1:04 AM ET
Categories:  Politics  
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If Melody Barnes is such a good golfer, then why is she holding her golf bag backward?

Posted by: Ouiser306 | October 27, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Backwards or not, SHE's playing golf with the POTUS.

Actually, all of this wailing about the President not playing sports with women is amazing. Once I get these other pesky issues like keeping my business solvent, paying my exorbitant health care premiums, rebuilding my retirement, etc., I promise to care about Obama playing sports with women. Honest.

Posted by: yeswecan3 | October 27, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

This is just silly!

Posted by: minco_007 | October 27, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget another female basketball player on the far side of the ideological spectrum - Barracuda Palin! Now THAT would be a match! Maybe when the discourse gets more civil - otherwise either Obama is a bully if he wins or a wimp if he loses.

Posted by: cpusss | October 27, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Who the hell plays basketball with girls???

This is the stupidest issue ever.

Posted by: pgr88 | October 27, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"The great female golfers in politics are all Republicans."

Perhaps the GOP has too much time on their hands if they have time to be the best golfers.

Perhaps just a good golfer and not a good political golfer is what is needed to play with the POTUS.


Posted by: patmatthews | October 27, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Screw the Boys Club nonsense. In fact it is a Club of self admitted Radicals, Marxists and Communists that disdain this Nation. Barry and his gaggle of South Chicago Street Agitators & Thugs resent America and are intent on weakening her. The real story is who Barry is and his Shadow Govt of Czars and what their true ideology and objective is. The media needs to get up off their collective Liberal butts and do their job. Even if it offends them to uncover the truth in order to protect this Nation and preserve our Freedoms.

Posted by: FraudObama | October 27, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

People are dying in Afghanistan and Iraq and their playing golf. How wonderful. Maybe we can get our hands on a few of those exploding golf balls like they used in Caddy shack.

Posted by: askgees | October 27, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Who cares? Items like this will leave most readers thinking the Post is overstaffed.

Posted by: hambya | October 27, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me Mr. President, we have men and women dying in Afghanistan waiting for your (new) strategy decision and 20 million unemployed Americans.

Thanks in advance for your prompt attention.

Posted by: fury60 | October 27, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

This is an employment issue.

If obama wants to golf with just males, stop using his male employees and appointees-- granting them great access, bonding time, etc.

imagine if a president had excluded all blacks..

Posted by: tru-indy | October 27, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

talking about good women golfers is pretty funny given obama has the highest handicap given

Posted by: tru-indy | October 27, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

You really believe that Golf is the only thing that they are doing? Interesting that her picture appeared in the paper several months ago and it's surprising that they hardly said anything about her and she is going to play golf with Obama and being sent from the White House to do it when she has a job to do ? hmmm hmmmm hmmmm Really Golf ? that is what it is called now.....Watch out Michelle she is going to too many places with your hubby..... ;).....

Posted by: amapola11 | October 27, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

....and she is prettier than you are too Michelle!

Posted by: amapola11 | October 27, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me? when Bush dared to play golf, he was lambasted, by this paper, for not acting like a war time president. But the chosen one, Obama, is above criticism and, aside from the fact he is not playing well with girls. Give me a break! At least try to look objective!

Posted by: liberalbias1 | October 27, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

That looks like a brand new golf bag, too, but really - what a great story to tell her grandkids one day. She's golfing with the POTUS under a great deal of media scrutiny and will probably have to deal with a lot of backstabbing from jealous colleagues. I hope she enjoyed the game.

Posted by: Voter4Integrity | October 27, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

The silly season now extends past Labor Day? White shoes for all!

PS_ Isn't Rice based out of New York City? Not very convenient for a pickup game. Oh, lord. I can't believe I had to waste my time thinking that.

Posted by: dadada | October 27, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Keefe's generalization about women being perfectionists and therefore unable to play golf is astounding. Assigning a characteristic to half of the earth's population (while noting that the other half is simply incapable of accepting blame for his own actions) is just as sexist as saying that women can't play golf because they lack proper hand-eye coordiantion.

Posted by: jess9 | October 28, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

People! For those of you who are concerned about the President playing golf and the world affairs are unattended, you really have issues. The President does have a life that includes golf, family and whatever the hell he chooses to do. There are people employed,appointed and elected in positions to ensure that jobs get done. some of you have way too much time on your hands.

Posted by: ddavis805 | October 28, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

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