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December 18, 2017
Thursday, April 5, 2012

Obama, Romney agree: Admit women to Augusta golf club

US President Barack Obama believes women should be allowed to join the all-male Augusta National Golf Club, the White House said on Thursday, adding pressure on the exclusive 80-year-old organization to drop its restrictive policy.

"His personal opinion is that women should be admitted," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters, saying he had spoken to Obama about the issue, as the prestigious Masters tournament got under way in Augusta, Georgia.

In a rare moment of agreement with Obama, Republican front-runner Mitt Romney, the Democratic president's likely opponent in the Nov. 6 election, said if it were up to him, "of course I'd have women in Augusta."

The question of whether women should be allowed to become members at the home of the Masters has been around for years. But it took on added significance after Ginni Rometty became chief executive officer of IBM, one the tournament's longtime sponsors, in January.

The White House weighed in on the issue during an election campaign in which Obama and his fellow Democrats are seeking to exploit a "gender gap" in polls showing the president ahead of Republican presidential contenders with women voters. Obama is hosting a conference on women and the economy on Friday.

Carney was asked whether Obama believed the men's-only Augusta club should open its ranks to women, especially given Rometty's position.

"It is obviously up to the club to decide," Carney said at the daily White House briefing. "He believes Augusta should admit women. You know, we're kind of long past the time when women should be excluded from anything."

Club chairman Billy Payne was pressed on the eve of the Masters on whether the club would alter its policy.

And in keeping with the club's secretive traditions, he refused on Wednesday to provide a clear answer, saying only that membership issues were not for public debate.

 

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Tags:  golf  obama  romney  us  augusta  women  white house  





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