How Obama Could Have Avoided Golf-Game Hazards

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Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- For all its social-media and communications skills, the Obama White House remains politically tone deaf.

This impairment was on display last weekend, when President Barack Obama played a round of golf with Tiger Woods and big campaign contributors at a posh Florida resort, with the draconian budget cuts under the sequester slated to take effect in less than two weeks. The press corps was shut out, and the White House even made sure Woods wouldn’t be seen leaving the club.

Understandably, this didn’t play well. Yet there was a simple way to avoid all the bad feeling: Asking Republican Jeb Bush to join the golf round. Obama and the former Florida governor could have discussed their shared agendas on immigration and education. But this White House doesn’t like to reach out to Republicans, especially during what Obama regards as his private time.

(Albert R. Hunt is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)