Obama’s game of golf bumps Army cou­ple’s wed­ding spot

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY JOSH LEDERMAN AND JEN­NIFER SINCO KELLE­HER

A mil­i­tary cou­ple get­ting mar­ried near U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s va­ca­tion spot in Hawaii learned the hard way that the big day rarely goes ex­actly as planned.

Natalie Heimel and Ed­ward Mal­lue Jr. — both U.S. Army cap­tains sta­tioned in Hawaii — were sched­uled to tie the knot Sun­day at Ka­neohe Klip­per Golf Course, a mil­i­tary course with ocean views near Obama’s rented va­ca­tion home in Kailua.

But after their re­hearsal on Satur­day, they were told they’d have to move their wed­ding away from the 16th hole be­cause Obama and his friends planned to golf, Heimel’s sis­ter, Christie McCon­nell told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

“They’re

both

pretty

even- tem­pered and plan­ners,” McCon­nell said of the cou­ple, who met in 2011 while sta­tioned in Ger­many. “I’m sure it was a lit­tle bit of stress, but they seemed fine.”

The cer­e­mony re­lo­cated to another part of the course that of­fered bet­ter views than the 16th hole, she said, adding that some guests even caught a glimpse of Obama as he golfed.

After the cer­e­mony was done and mem­bers of the bridal party were tak­ing pho­tos, Mal­lue got a call from the wed­ding plan­ner ask­ing per­mis­sion to give the pres­i­dent his cell­phone num­ber, said McCon­nell, a brides­maid. Then, Obama called and Mal­lue put the call on speak­er­phone.

“We all hov­ered around, all ex­cited, lis­ten­ing,” McCon­nell said. Obama asked how long they had been “go­ing out,” chat­ted about golf and apol­o­gized for dis­rupt­ing their plans. “He was re­ally funny and nice on the phone.”

Typ­i­cally, when Obama is in­volved in recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties like golf or hik­ing, the events are con­sid­ered “un­of­fi­cial” and not an­nounced be­fore­hand on his pub­lic sched­ule. Keep­ing the events a se­cret un­til they take place al­lows the Se­cret Ser­vice to min­i­mize the costs and dis­rup­tion in­volved in se­cur­ing a lo­ca­tion for Obama’s ar­rival, but it also makes it harder for the pub­lic to an­tic­i­pate when a pres­i­den­tial visit might throw a wrench in their plans.

In this case, the White House didn’t know in ad­vance that the cou­ple was be­ing told they had to re­lo­cate, said a per­son fa­mil­iar with the chain of events, who wasn’t au­tho­rized to be iden­ti­fied pub­licly and re­quested anonymity. The White House de­clined to com­ment on the record.

AP

This Sun­day, Dec. 28 photo pro­vided by Keao’s Pho­tog­ra­phy shows Natalie Heimel, sec­ond left, and Ed­ward Mal­lue Jr., third left, both U.S. Army cap­tains sta­tioned in Hawaii, re­act­ing with their wed­ding party after get­ting a phone call from U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama dur­ing their cer­e­mony at Ka­neohe Klip­per Golf Course in Ka­neohe Bay, Hawaii.

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