WASHINGTON -- A White House spokesman said Thursday that President Barack Obama believes women should be admitted as members to the all-male Augusta National, home of the Masters golf tournament.
White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that Obama's "personal opinion is that women should be admitted" to the golf club. Carney said it was "up to the club to decide" but Obama told him he personally thinks women should be welcome.
"We're kind of long past the time when women should be excluded from anything," Carney said.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Obama's likely challenger in the fall, said "of course" he would allow women in "if I could run Augusta."
"Of course. I am not a member of Augusta. I don't know if I would qualify. My golf game is not that good," Romney told reporters as he chatted with supporters after a campaign stop in Pennsylvania. "If I could run Augusta, which isn't likely to happen, of course I'd have women."
One of the club's longtime sponsors, IBM, has a new female CEO, Virginia Rometty. The last four CEOs at IBM, all male, have been invited to be members.
The chairman of Augusta National this week has said the club will decide for itself whom to allow into its ranks.