In a chapel on Rikers Island today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the press shouldn’t be irked about being barred from photographing a round of golf between President Barack Obama and Tiger Woods.
“I don’t know why the president has to have people watch what he does,” said Mr. Bloomberg, responding to a question from CBS’s Rich Lamb during a press conference introducing an anti-recidivism program. “He has a right to a vacation. You take a vacation occasionally, you don’t work 24/7. He does. He works very hard and he certainly has a right to his private life.”
Mr. Obama and Mr. Woods golfed last weekend and some media outlets were frustrated that they were not granted a glimpse of the two together. Indeed, Fox News’ Ed Henry, president of the White House Correspondents Association said they were just asking for “a brief exception, quick access, a quick photo-op on the 18th green.” He added, “It’s not about golf—it’s about transparency and access in a broader sense.”
But even though Mr. Bloomberg is an avid proponent of being open to the press–he held two question-and-answer sessions today alone–the mayor said Mr. Obama should be allowed a little down time once in a while.
“I don’t know why you, the press, have a God-given right to follow him every minute,” Mr. Bloomberg said as the reporters in attendance burst into laughter. “You know you’re gonna run the picture of when he misses the ball and slices it into the woods. It’s hard to argue you’d be fair that way. It doesn’t sell any newspapers or minutes. Come on, the guy deserves a chance to have a life and have a vacation. He was away for three days, if I remember, and you know the number of people that travel with the president, it’s hard to argue he ever is really away. He does not have a vacation in the same sense that you do where you just forget about it. He’s gotta be there all the time and and there’s no reason he can’t play some golf at the same time.”