Why are Obama, Abdullah meeting in sunny California?

McClatchy Washington BureauFebruary 14, 2014 


President Barack Obama speaks at the House Democratic Issues Conference in Cambridge, Md. Friday, Feb. 14, 2014.


— Why is President Barack Obama meeting Jordan's King Abdullah II today in sunny California?

That is the question the White House has been asked over and asked again this week.

Abdullah spent the week in snowy, cold Washington when he met with Vice President Joe Biden, Cabinet secretaries and Capitol Hill leaders.

But Obama and Abdullah traveled separately to California for their meeting at Sunnylands, the estate of the late publisher and diplomat, Walter Annenberg that has been dubbed “Camp David West.”

Could it be for the golf?

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said it's likely Obama will play some golf, but he defended the venue, saying Sunnylands provides "the opportunity to sort of have an informal, intimate discussion.... out of the swirl of Washington."

Sunnylands, a desert retreat with a mountain view, has long hosted presidents. Obama  met Chinese President Xi Jinping last June.

Last year, protesters greeted the Chinese leader. Friday’s gathering was expected to more low-key, though a smattering of business owners complained in the local paper that Obama’s trip would disrupt tourist activities on a busy Valentine’s Day-President’s Day weekend.

"As you know, the president has enjoyed the golf course on Sunnylands before and I would not be surprised if he does that again this trip," Schultz said.

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