When Barack Obama went to Canada for the G-8 and G-20 summits, he went to the resort village of Hunstville, landing in Marine One. What did the President have foremost on his mind? The economy? The oil spill? The war in Afghanistan? Not exactly:

When U.S. President Barack Obama stepped off his helicopter in Huntsville on Friday, the first thing he said was, “You’ve got a lot of golf courses here, don’t you?” Industry Minister Tony Clement told the National Post in an exclusive interview.

“I told him, ‘We would really recommend and love it if you could come back here with Michelle and the kids at some point — we think you’d really love it here,’” Minister Clement said on the sidewalk of Huntsville’s Main Street, in his home riding. “I think I’ve planted a seed in the President’s mind.”

Actually, it’s been planted there a long time, as The Hill pointed out over the weekend:

But he has come under criticism from Republicans — and some in the media — for playing the country-club sport while millions of gallons of oil spew into the Gulf of Mexico.

Obama has played at least seven times since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded on April 20, according to a compilation of media reports. He has reportedly golfed a total of 39 times since his inauguration, though some rounds came during vacations.

“Very seldom do people look at a president golfing with admiring eyes,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University. “Like [Sen.] John Kerry [D-Mass.] with windsurfing and Obama with golfing, there’s a feeling that it is an Ivy League, country-club activity.”

Heck, even among the country-club set, they usually don’t make scouting locations their first priority on business trips.

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