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Obama Wishes the Media Would Stop Following Him All the Time — And He's Not Exactly Sorry for Golfing Right after a Tragic Statement

"Part of this job is the theatre of it."

Last month, President Barack Obama took a lot of heat for issuing a solemn statement on the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley — and then scooting off to play golf.

President Barack Obama sits in a golf cart while golfing at Farm Neck Golf Club, in Oak Bluffs, Mass., on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. Obama is vacationing on the island. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) President Barack Obama sits in a golf cart while golfing at Farm Neck Golf Club, in Oak Bluffs, Mass., on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

On Sunday, during his hosting debut on NBC's "Meet the Press," Chuck Todd asked the president if he regretted the timing of the golf trip.

Obama didn't exactly apologize.

"It is always a challenge when you're supposed to be on vacation because you're followed everywhere, and part of what I'd love [would be] a vacation from the press," he said, adding that constant media presence means there's always "the possibility of a jarring contrast" as a president juggles global events and personal playtime.

He said Foley's death, and speaking with Foley's family, deeply affected him, though he didn't say he shouldn't have gone golfing — he said he "should have anticipated the optics."

"Part of this job is the theatre of it," Obama said. "It's not something that always comes naturally to me, but it matters."

Obama also congratulated himself on his national security performance.

"I have no higher priority than keeping the American people safe," Obama said. "I think I've done a very good job during these last close to six years doing so."

Watch the full interview here.

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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