Nightly News   |  February 18, 2013

Cameras banned as Obama golfs with Tiger Woods

The White House says cameras weren’t allowed because the President was playing on a private golf course. Obama was playing with Tiger Woods, an indication of a different second term where Obama isn’t as concerned about things that may reflect negatively on him. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>>> president obama returns to washington tonight following a presidents' day weekend golf vacation in florida. yesterday's for some was a memorable one, since one of the four was tiger woods . that's a first for both men. the presidential golf outing is a long-time tradition. so is the desire to stay out of camera range, most of the time. though this might be a little different. nbc's andrea mitchell is with us tonight from washington with more. andrea, good evening.

>> good evening, brian. the president's downtime is very special time. the white house also has made a commitment to have a small group of reporters following him everywhere he goes. all that blew up this weekend in florida when white house reporters were locked out of an exclusive golf club and only found out that the world's most powerful man was playing a round with the world's most famous golfer on twitter from the golf channel . when fdr died in warm springs , georgia in 1945 , white house reporters were in washington . when president eisenhower had his first heart attack after playing 27 holes of golf outside denver in 1955 , the press corps was first told it was indie jegs. ronald reagan rode horseback at his ranch out any coverage. president bill ton had to be carried off tearing his achilles tendon . the traveling press corps, miles away . most americans understand, the presidency is 24/7. presidents deserve time off beyond weekends at camp david . there is also something else at work here, historians say. be prepared to see a different barack obama in the second term compared to the first term. willing to do things that may reflect negatively on him, like playing golf with a controversial figure like tiger woo woods.

>> it's true that if he had played golf with tiger woods during the campaign, it might have been interpreted differently. and anything was fair game or a source of controversy in a campaign. so, of course, he feels more liberated now to do something like that.

>> reporter: the white house president corps only found out from the golf channel 's tim roseford on twitter and then on air.

>> to see them drive off to the first tee, tiger in the passengers seat to play together and they had a blast.

>> reporter: while cameras are never howed to see much, president bush 41 welcomed coverage in kennebunkport, president's clinton and obama have seen on martha's vineyard. and president bush 43 talked about terrorism on the golf course .

>> i call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. thank you. now watch this drive.

>> reporter: and this white house was eager to show the president enjoying quality time with john boehner and bill clinton .

>> this is not about a trivial issue like a golf game. we don't really care about the president's score. what we care about is access to the president of the united states . whether it's a democrat or a republican.

>> reporter: tonight the white house says that cameras were kept out because the president was playing on a private course and they were planning to announce the round with tiger woods at the end of the day , had it not been tweeted out first. brian?

>> andrea mitchell in our d.c.