Lobbyist close to White House behind effort of golfers to quell jokes about Obama

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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A coalition of golf lovers are asking Republicans to stop making so many jokes about President Barack Obama’s love for the golf course, saying such comments are bad for the golf industry.

But could politics be at play too?

The Daily Caller has learned that Tony Podesta, a well-known Democratic lobbyist with strong ties to the Obama White House, is behind the We Are Golf coalition of golfing organizations that has sent letters to Republicans such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio asking them to cut out the criticism of Obama’s golfing habits.

Melissa Low, a spokeswoman for the Club Managers Association of America, confirmed to TheDC on Thursday that Podesta was hired to help with the coalition. Other groups supporting the coalition include the PGA of America, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and the National Golf Course Association of America.

“The Podesta Group was retained to assist with advocacy and public relations for the coalition in early 2010,” Low said in response to an email from TheDC.

Tony Podesta formed the Podesta Group in 1988 with his brother, John Podesta, who led Obama’s transition effort. (SEE ALSO: Obama has golfed four times more than Bush did in eight years)

TheDC’s Matt Lewis broke the news this week that the “We Are Golf” coalition had sent a letter to Rubio asking him to stop making references to Obama’s golfing.

“As we enter the final stretch of campaign season,” the group wrote in a letter to the senator, “we write to make a request we hope you will receive in the same spirit in which it is offered. Please reconsider your political strategy of criticizing President Obama’s passion for golf.”

Rubio is among Republicans who have cracked jokes about the frequency Obama has golfed as president. “Our problem with President Obama isn’t that he’s a bad person,” Rubio said at the Republican National Convention. “By all accounts, he too is a good husband and a good father and — thanks to lots of practice — a good golfer.”

Asked about the coalition, David Marin, a spokesman for the group, said the campaign is not meant to target just Republicans.

“We Are Golf is asking all elected officials, Democrats and Republicans, for a political cease fire when it comes to golf,” he said.

“Even when meant to be humorous, this line of politicking reinforces misperceptions of the game that don’t square with the facts, and in turn can lead to unfair legislation and regulation,” Marin said. (RELATED: Obama golf foursome includes prostitute-mongering childhood friend)

“Both sides of the aisle do it. And when they do, the nearly 2 million Americans whose jobs are tied to golf want We Are Golf to ask them to please reconsider,” he said. “It’s really that simple.”

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