Washington Times: “Obama skips Polish funeral, heads to golf course”

The Washington Times must have come up short when it went looking for opportunities to criticize President Obama today.

A number of world leaders, including President Obama, were slated to attend the funeral of Polish President Lech Kaczynski today in Krakow but were thwarted by volcanic ash from an eruption in Iceland, which has grounded many flights in Europe. The Associated Press reported that "[a]ll airports in Poland were closed Saturday to flights above the cloud level of 20,000 feet because of the ash cloud, including Balice in Krakow, where most of the dignitaries were expected to arrive Sunday morning." French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, along with “numerous” other world leaders, also cancelled plans to attend the funeral.

So what is the Washington Times headline of Joseph Curl's article on the subject?

“Obama skips Polish funeral, heads to golf course.”

With a headline that makes it sound like Obama just decided he'd rather go play golf than attend Kaczynski's funeral, it seems that the Times is trying to suggest that President Obama is responsible for the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Kind of a stretch, even for the desperate-to-attack-Obama Washington Times.

The article itself isn't much of an improvement. Stopping just short of calling on Obama to hop on the White House paddleboat and pedal himself over to Europe, it seems to imply that Obama should have made the funeral in Poland by any means necessary:

But Russian President Dmitry Medvedev flew by plane from Moscow for the funeral. Other foreign leaders used different modes of transportation to get there. Slovenian President Danilo Turk decided to drive the 500 miles to Krakow. Romanian President Traian Basescu traveled to northwestern Romania by helicopter and then continue by car through Hungary and Slovakia.

Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip made the 18-hour drive to the funeral, while Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus made the trip by car and train. Former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko left Kiev with his wife at 7 a.m. Saturday for the long road trip.

To top things off, the remainder of the article is an attack on President Obama's golf habits. Curl notes that Obama has played 32 times since taking office, then devotes the latter third of the piece to unfavorably comparing Obama's golf habits to those of President Bush:

Mr. Obama has played golf far more often than former President George W. Bush. In his eight years in office, Mr. Bush played just 24 times. His last time as president was Oct. 13, 2003.

He said in 2008 that he gave up golf “in solidarity” with the families of soldiers who were dying in Iraq.

“I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” Mr. Bush said in a White House interview Saturday with the Politico. “I feel I owe it to the families to be as -- to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”

He stopped playing after he received word of a deadly attack in Iraq while playing golf during a stay at the family ranch near Crawford, Texas.

“They pulled me off the golf course, and I said it's just not worth it anymore to do,” Bush said in the interview.

Since Mr. Obama took office, 397 soldiers have died in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Another 151 have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom.