The PJ Tatler

Obama on Golfing After Foley Murder: 'I Should Have Anticipated the Optics'

On this morning’s Meet the Press, Chuck Todd asked President Obama about golfing directly after addressing last month’s beheading of journalist James Foley:

TODD: I’ve got to ask, like, so during that vacation, made the statement on Foley, you went and golfed. Do you want that back?

OBAMA: You know, it is always a challenge when you’re supposed to be on vacation, because you’re followed everywhere. And part of what I would love is a vacation from–

TODD: You want us to stop following you.

OBAMA: — the press, because–

TODD: I promise you in two and a half years I think that happens.

OBAMA: Because the possibility of a jarring contrast given the world’s news, there’s always going to be some tough news somewhere, it’s going to be there.

But there’s no doubt that after having talked to the families, where it was hard for me to hold back tears listening to the pain they were going through, after the statement that I made, that I should have anticipated the optics. That’s part of the job.

And you know, I think everybody who knows me, including, I suspect, the press, understands that you take this stuff in. And it’s serious business. And you care about it deeply. But part of this job is also the theater of it. Part of it is how are you–

TODD: You hate the theater.

OBAMA: Well, it’s not something that always comes naturally to me, but it matters. I’m mindful of that. So the important thing is in addition to that, is am I getting the policies right, am I protecting the American people, am I doing what’s necessary?