Obama hits the links with Bill Clinton

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md.-- President Obama and former President Bill Clinton hit the golf course on Sunday.

Obama is playing his round at Maryland’s Joint Base Andrews and it is the third presidential golf outing here since the Nov. 6 elections, under sunny skies with temperatures around 55 degrees.  

Clinton went to bat for the president in the just-ended campaign, delivering an well-received endorsement at the Democratic National Convention in September. Their partnership, which was initially rocky in the early days of the Obama presidency, grew stronger after a September 2011 golf game.

Clinton is also the last Democratic president to strike a mammoth budget deal with Congress. Obama will likely be discussing the looming “fiscal cliff” of tax increases and spending cuts on the links.

Rounding out the presidential foursome are U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic party chairman, who has announced his plans to run again for the governorship of Virginia.

McAuliffe lost his bid for governor in 2009, falling to Democratic state Sen. Creigh Deeds, in the primary.

McAuliffe is expected to face Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, to replace current term-limited GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell. Cuccinelli is popular with the state’s conservatives after he challenged the legality of Obama’s healthcare reform law.

Kirk, the former mayor of Dallas, is widely expected to step down from his post as Obama’s top trade negotiator. Deputy National Security Adviser Michael Froman is frequently mentioned as a replacement.  The administration is pressing forward with a trans-Pacific trade agreement and there have been rumblings of a possible free trade agreement with Europe in Obama’s second term.

The golf outing comes as deficit-deal talks with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) appear stalemated.

Democrats on Sunday pressed for Republicans to raise tax rates on upper-income voters in any deal, while GOP leaders dismissed an initial offer from the White House as insufficient on cuts and entitlement reform.

Obama’s golf outings have brought regular criticism from Republicans, many of whom have said he should have spent more time in his first term focusing on the economy and less on the course.

During the Republican National Convention in August, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said that Obama was “a good husband and a good father and, thanks to lots of practice, a good golfer.”

Obama and Boehner, though, hit the golf links in June 2011, joined by Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R).

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