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George W. Bush defends Obama's golfing: 'It gives you an outlet'

U.S. President Barack Obama reacts after missing a putt on the first green at the Farm Neck Golf Club at Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard, Au
U.S. President Barack Obama reacts after missing a putt on the first green at the Farm Neck Golf Club at Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard, Au

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former President George W. Bush has come to the defense of his successor, President Barack Obama, where golf is concerned - saying it's good for any commander in chief to hit the links while running the country.

Bush, in an interview with Golf Channel host Jimmy Roberts set to air on Tuesday, said that he disagrees with critics who say that Obama plays too much golf.

"I see our president criticized for playing golf; I don't (criticize him)," Bush said in an excerpt of the interview released by the Golf Channel on Monday evening. "I think he ought to play golf."

Asked by Roberts why he believed that Obama should hit the golf course, Bush responded:

"Because I know what it's like to be in the bubble and I know the pressures of the job and to be able to get outside and play golf with some of your pals is important for the president. It gives you an outlet."

Bush gave up playing golf more than two years into his first term in office while American troops were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying it would give a wrong impression of the commander in chief.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Eric Walsh)

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