Obama intervenes in Augusta golf dispute

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
Font Size:

The White House’s spokesman said Thursday that the president believes that a golf club in Augusta, Ga., 551 miles from the White House, should change its membership rules and admit women as members.

The golf club in question is the Augusta National Golf Club, which is hosting the high-profile Masters tournament this week.

“It is obviously up to the club to decide, but his personal opinion is that women should be admitted to the club,” Obama’s spokesman, Jay Carney, said in response to a question from a reporter.

The private club does not invite women to be members. Feminist groups are pressuring the club, and its corporate sponsors, to change its long-standing rule.

However, Obama is trying to bolster support with feminist groups, partly because he’s trying to maximize favorable turnout among women in the November election.

Obama “believes Augusta should admit women. We’re kinda long past the time when women should be excluded from anything,” Carney said.

The new announcement reflects Obama’s view that the administration should play a larger role in the nation’s economy and civil society.

This week, the president twice urged the nine judges on the Supreme Court to act responsibly by approving his 2010 health care reform law.

On Feb. 10 Obama announced that he would have his deputies decide which religious organizations are eligible for an exemption from new federal health insurance regulations.

On Feb. 23 Obama used a Rose Garden event to announce his interest in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. The shooting is already being investigated by state and federal investigators.

The leading feminist pushing for the change is Martha Burk, who directs the corporate accountability project for the National Council of Women’s Organizations.

Obama’s intervention in the golf club’s membership policies comes as gas prices, the national debt, long-term unemployment and student debt reach record levels.

Follow Neil on Twitter