'Golf summit' brings out Obama, top Republican
Washington: President Barack Obama and his most powerful Republican critic met on the green in what was billed as the first US "golf summit" involving the fierce political foes.
While Obama and House speaker John Boehner are on par in their appreciation for birdies and bogeys, they have been at loggerheads over several wedge issues including taxes, spending cuts, and operations in Libya.
But the top Washington political adversaries joined forces and in the end came out on top in a foursome that included Vice President Joe Biden and Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich.
According to aides, the president and speaker won the match on the 18th hole, and collected $2 each in a friendly wager, before enjoying a cold drink at clubhouse of the course at Andrews Air Force Base outside the US capital.
There was no immediate word about discussions on a weightier topic -- including the political gridlock over raising the nation's debt ceiling of $14.29 trillion.
It was not clear if any political progress was made, but long walks or cart rides between shots are often seen as a way to improve relations.
"This is an opportunity that I think has value beyond the game," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Friday.
He added that "spending a number of hours together in that kind of environment I think can only help improve the chances of bipartisan cooperation," he said.
Boehner is among Capitol Hill's best golfers, with a 7.9 handicap, according to Golf Digest.
Obama, with a 17 handicap, is not in that league, but he has recruited Biden (6.3 handicap), who has been handling bipartisan debt ceiling talks.
Boehner recruited Kasich, reportedly an eight handicap, to round out the foursome.
While the White House has stressed that the outing is a "social" occasion, Boehner said last week that he was intrigued at the prospect of using his handicap advantage to help whittle down Washington spending.
"Mr. President, you can have all the strokes you want, it'll just cost you a trillion dollars a stroke," he quipped.