Saturday, December 22, 2012

President Obama Kicks Off Hawaii Vacation With Golf, Joined By White House Chef Sam Kass

The Senior Policy Advisor frequently takes on his boss in sports...
After a grueling week, President Obama got right to work on relaxing late on Saturday morning, starting the first day of his Hawaiian vacation with golf at the championship Kaneohe Klipper course on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, a favorite place for recreational activities in his beloved home state.  His fivesome for the five hour-plus game included White House Assistant Chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass, who is a regular golf partner in Washington and while accompanying the First Family on vacations in Hawaii and Martha's Vineyard.  (Above, the president and Kass, r, playing together on Martha's Vineyard in 2009)

The President's party also included Hawaii pals Bobby Titcomb and Mike Ramos, and White House aide Marvin Nicholson.  They arrived at the Base at 11:40 AM, and departed at 5:35 PM.  Their game was played in balmy, wet weather:  It was about 79 degrees, with a combination of sun and light drizzle.

The very fit Kass once dreamed of a career as a professional baseball player, and thanks to his boss, he took up golf after going to work at the White House, he told Obama Foodorama.

"I'm an improving golfer," Kass said about his game in June.  "I'm always inspired by the President of the United States."

Both the President and Kass are, coincidentally, lefties.  The White House never releases scores for the President's golf games, and Kass declined to say if he ever bests his boss. 

Longtime friends Titcomb and Ramos last joined the President on the campaign trail as he huddled with advisors during his extended "debate camp" retreats in October, ahead of the three face-offs against challenger Mitt Romney

Kass and the President play other sports together, too:  Kass was among the players during the President's "good luck" basketball game in Chicago on Election Day this year, which also included former Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen(Above:  Kass is in orange as he and the President try to block a shot during the game)

During last year's Hawaiian vacation, President Obama, Kass, and Ramos were photographed playing a rough and tumble game of beach football, with other White House staff.  The President and Kass were both shirtless, which caused headlines.

The Marine Base is a short motorcade from the President's vacation rental in the picturesque town of Kailua, on the windward side of Oahu.  The President and First Family, including First Dog Bo, arrived at their vacation residence on Saturday morning at 12:54 AM local time, after an uneventful flight aboard Air Force One from the chilly confines of Washington, DC.  The flight to their fourth Hawaiian vacation of the President's first term was close to nine hours long.  It is his 13th winter vacation in Hawaii.

The President has no public events scheduled while on vacation, but he will be receiving the Presidential Daily Briefing each day, according to the White House, and he is also accompanied by advisors.  First Lady Michelle Obama has already revealed the First Family's Christmas Dinner menu; they will celebrate with a feast that ignores the Let's Move! campaign, she said.

The President has vowed to return to Washington after Christmas to continue work on swinging a deal with Congress to avoid the fiscal cliff. 
 
*Top photo by pool; second by Pete Souza/White House

*Updated