The American media rises above such pettiness, of course, content instead to admire the uber-coolness of his shorts.

He joined a group of friends at a private club near his £6million rented, beach-front holiday home in Hawaii yesterday.

Meanwhile, 9,000 miles away in the Middle East, Israel rejected any truce with Hamas today and said it was ready for ‘long weeks of action’ in the Gaza Strip…

Mr Obama has made the decision to leave all comments to outgoing President George Bush, who has so far chosen only to attack Hamas.

On the golf course, his security team even turned away a letter from pro-Palestinian campaigners urging him to help stop the four-day-old violence.

It’s a further gloss on the boss’s point about how workout regimens magically shift from “creepy” to “disciplined” when it’s Obama doing the push-ups instead of Bush: When Dubya plays a round while bombs fall in the Middle East, he’s lazy and callous, but when The One does it, he’s taking a much-needed break from the rigors of planning to run the free world. Like Geraghty, I don’t begrudge him the respite — after two years of campaigning and with tough times to come, he needs it — but there is of course the tender matter of how the left’s beloved “international community” is perceiving this. Answer, per Reuters’s anecdotal evidence: Not real well.

“If Obama continues to remain silent … his silence will be seen and will have the operational effect of providing an endorsement for Israel’s war on Gaza,” said Paul Woodward of Conflicts Forum, an organisation aimed at changing Western policy towards Islamist movements such as Hamas…

Walid Kazziha, a professor at the American University in Cairo, said Obama would have to take bold steps if he wants to restore U.S. influence in the Middle East, widely seen as having greatly declined during eight years of Bush.

But the first signs do not suggest Obama will do that, he added. “If he was going to take a stand he would have said something. When he wants to say something, he can,” he said.

Exit question: Has Zinni figured out a way to make it up to them?