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Obama, golf buddies hit links in Florida

Faced with a long weekend in an empty White House, President Barack Obama figured he needed a getaway, too, so he put together a golf outing with some buddies.

He went to Florida to spend the long Presidents Day weekend staying and playing at the Floridian, an exclusive and secluded yacht and golf club on the state’s Treasure Coast. He arrived Friday night after a speech in Chicago and wasn’t expected to be seen again in public – including by the members of the news media traveling with him – until he returns to Washington on Monday.

“At this time, there are no public events scheduled or plans for the president to leave the grounds of the golf club,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Saturday.

First lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha are on an annual ski vacation out West.

Obama’s longtime friend from Chicago, Eric Whitaker, joined him on the flight from Chicago to Florida. The two have played golf together in the past. Another regular member of Obama’s golf foursomes is White House trip director Marvin Nicholson, who also traveled with the president on Friday.

Earnest said Obama got some instruction and played a few holes with Butch Harmon, Tiger Woods’ former swing coach.

Barker opposes possum drop

Former game show host Bob Barker is telling North Carolina lawmakers that caging a live possum for a New Year’s Eve event in the mountains isn’t good show business.

Barker wrote last week to a state Senate committee’s members asking them to oppose a bill that would let the organizer of the Brasstown “Possum Drop” keep suspending a possum in a box every Dec. 31 and lowering it gently to the ground. Barker says the event is inhumane.

PETA released the letter. The 89-year-old Barker is a longtime animal rights activist.

Grant a baby-daddy once again

Hugh Grant says he has become a father for the second time.

The “Four Weddings and a Funeral” star used his Twitter account to announce Saturday: “Am thrilled my daughter now has a brother. Adore them both to an uncool degree.”

He said both children “have a fab mum” and: “To be crystal clear, I am the Daddy.”

The birth was confirmed by Grant’s publicist, Carrie Gordon.

Grant’s sometime girlfriend Tinglan Hong gave birth to the couple’s daughter in 2011.

The birthday bunch

Actor Hal Holbrook is 88. Singer Bobby Lewis is 80. Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan is 50. Comedian Larry the Cable Guy is 50. Actress Denise Richards is 42. Singer-guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) is 41. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is 32.


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