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Plane intercepted near Obama vacation spot

PALM CITY, Fla., Feb. 16 (UPI) — U.S. officials said a plane was escorted from restricted air space in Florida, where President Obama is spending President’s Day weekend at a gated golf club.

Army Lt. Col. Mike Humphreys said an F-16 jet and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter intercepted a Cessna 152 around noon EST Saturday, as it entered restricted flight space over Florida’s Treasure Coast, the Los Angeles Times reported. The military escort forced the light plane’s pilot to land at Witham Field in Stuart, Fla., the newspaper said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it is investigating.

Obama is staying at The Floridian National Golf Club, an exclusive golf club owned by Democratic donor and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane, located on the St. Lucie River. The president and several friends and administration officials have set up camp at the club for the holiday weekend, while first lady Michelle Obama and the couple’s daughters were off to Colorado for a ski trip, the White House said.

The president played a round of golf Saturday under sunny skies with temperatures in the 70s. His golf partners included Crane, outgoing U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, campaign fundraiser Tony Chase, longtime Obama friend Dr. Eric Whitaker, and Milton Carroll, chairman of CenterPoint Energy and an Obama campaign donor.

Obama may have gotten a few pointers from acclaimed golf coach Butch Harmon, a longtime presidential swing confidante.

“I’ve played golf with Ike, Nixon, Ford and President Bush 41,” Harmon told Golf Digest. “I know the president is a real keen golfer. I’m looking forward to it. It should be fun.”

Asked what advice he would have for the president having seen his swing on television, Harmon — who once worked as swing coach for Tiger Woods — told CNN he’d advise the left-handed swinging Obama to turn his hips more on his backswing.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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