Political Notebook

President Obama starts birthday weekend with golf

President Obama departed Joint Base Andrews, Md., aboard Marine One en route to Camp David, Md., on Saturday.
Olivier Douliery/EPA
President Obama departed Joint Base Andrews, Md., aboard Marine One en route to Camp David, Md., on Saturday.

WASHINGTON — President Obama began his birthday weekend with a round of golf Saturday and planned to spend time with friends at Camp David.

Obama, who turns 52 on Sunday, left the White House unusually early for the half-hour trip by motorcade to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to squeeze in some golf before the celebration was to shift to the presidential retreat.

Before the president left, officials said, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser updated him on a potential Al Qaeda threat that led the State Department on Friday to issue a global travel warning to Americans and order the weekend closure of 21 embassies and consulates across the Muslim world.


The White House said there were three golfing foursomes, which included some of Obama’s friends from Hawaii, where he grew up, and Chicago, where he lived before becoming president, as well as current and former aides.

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Among them were childhood friends Bobby Titcomb and Mike Ramos, and Chicago pals Marty Nesbitt and Eric Whitaker. White House aide Marvin Nicholson and Sam Kass, an assistant chef, rounded out the group, along with Reggie Love, who for years had been Obama’s personal assistant, or ‘‘body man,’’ and basketball buddy until he left the White House in late 2011 to finish MBA course work.

The White House said little about how Obama would celebrate on Sunday, but the birthday wishes started rolling in early. House Democrats presented Obama with a birthday cake when he went to the Capitol last week, and American Legion youth members sang ‘‘Happy Birthday’’ to him during a White House visit last month.

For last year’s birthday, which fell during his heated campaign for reelection. Obama also celebrated with a round of golf and quiet time at Camp David, proving that he is a creature of habit. But he later held several birthday-themed campaign fund-raisers in Chicago, including one at his family’s South Side home.

Obama is scheduled to return to the White House on Sunday.

Obama open to revising tax code for businesses


WASHINGTON — President Obama said Saturday that there are no gimmicks to expanding the economy — just difficult steps that require Washington’s focus.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama promoted a plan that he said can break through gridlock. He has called it a grand bargain for the middle class.

Obama said he is willing to work with Republicans to revise the tax code for businesses. That would mean lowering rates but ending many loopholes and deductions.

But Obama said he will do it only if money generated is used for infrastructure, training, and job growth.

In the Republican address, Senator Susan Collins of Maine said Obama’s health care law will cost jobs. She wants to change the law to require companies to provide insurance to employees working 40 hours a week, not 30.