President Obama seems to be enjoying the social perks of his presidency more than ever before.
Politico reports that Obama has been hosting “star-studded” dinners at the White House and beyond with more and more frequency, inviting NBA stars, Hollywood actors, and other celebrities. Though the Obamas may have previously been more cautious about wining and dining celebrities, this does not appear to be a concern anymore. Recently, the president attended an almost four-hour-long dinner in Rome, where the U.S. ambassador had invited a group of “interesting Italians” at the president’s request, among them architect Renzo Piano and physicist Fabiola Gianotti
Guests at these dinners say that Obama seems to never want them to end. The morning after his late night of socializing in Rome, Obama jokingly said that he was not looking forward to dealing with the reality of his job.
“Just last night I was talking about life and art, big interesting things, and now we’re back to the minuscule things of politics,” an aide paraphrased him as saying. At recent fundraisers, guests note that the president prefers to discuss sports, and quickly steers away from any conversations of policy.
Obama also has been enjoying more time on the golf course. Last year, he spent 46 days golfing, a big increase from 19 days in 2012, according to Politico.
“I needed this. I needed the golf,” Obama expressed to his guests at a dinner party during a golf getaway to Florida, which took place over a weekend amidst the escalating crisis in Ukraine. Aides noted that this trip probably would have been canceled earlier in his presidency, but this time Obama didn’t feel the need to stay in Washington.
Obama is already planning his post-presidency exit from Washington, mentioning New York City and Hawaii as possible locations for he and his family to settle. At a fundraiser in Manhattan, he said, “I just desperately want to take a walk through Central Park again, and just remember what that feels like.”