This morning in an interview with NBC's Meet the Press, President Obama defended his decision to golf immediately after making a statement on the beheading of American journalist James Foley. "[T]here's always going to be some tough news somewhere," he said.
But the president did have some regret. He should have, he admits, better "anticipated the optics."
Obama seemed to blame the press for making a big deal about the golf game when he told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd that he'd "love" a vacation from the press.
And here's a transcript:
CHUCK TODD: I got to ask, so-- so during that vacation, you made the statement on Foley. You went and golfed. Do you-- do you want that back?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, it is always a challenge when you're supposed to be on vacation. Because you're followed everywhere. And part of what I'd love is a vacation from--
CHUCK TODD: Yeah, you want to--
PRESIDENT OBAMA: --the-- the press and-- and-- because--
CHUCK TODD: I promise you, 2 1/2 years, I think that happens.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Because the possibility of a jarring contrast given the world's news, is always-- there's always going to be some tough news somewhere-- is going to be there. But there's no doubt that-- after having talked to the families, where it was hard for me to hold back tears listening to the pain that they were going through, after the statement that I made, that you know, I should've anticipated the optics.
You know, that's part of the job. And you know, I think everybody who knows me, including, I suspect, the press, understands that that you know, you take this stuff in. And-- it-- it's serious business. And-- and you care about it deeply.
But part of this job is also the theatre of it. A part of it is, you know, how are you, how, how are you, well, it's not something that-- that always comes naturally to me. But it matters. And I'm mindful of that. So the important thing is, in addition to that, is am I getting the policies right? Am I protecting the American people? Am I doing what's necessary?
And when it comes to the policies, when it comes to the actions we've taken, I have no higher priority than keeping the American people safe. I think I've done a very good job during the course of these last, close to six years, doing so. And I intend to continue to meet that responsibility or meet that duty, for as long as I have the privilege of holding this office.