President Barack Obama said in an interview that aired Sunday that he should have foreseen the criticism that would come from going golfing after making a statement on the beheading of journalist James Foley.
"I should have anticipated the optics," he told NBC's "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd in an exclusive interview on Saturday. "That's part of the job."
Obama spoke out last month soon after Islamic State militants released a video of Foley being beheaded. The president promised the U.S. would "vigilant" and "relentless" in its response.
He earned criticism for going golfing later that afternoon. Obama was on a trip with his family to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Although presidents work during their vacations, criticizing their vacations is a time-honored tradition.
Obama said vacationing while president can be difficult because there is always the potential for news in the U.S. and the world.
"Part of what I'd love is a vacation from the press," he said.
But he told Todd that although he understood the bad optics of golfing, what was more important was the policy.
"I think everybody who knows me, even, I suspect, the press, understands that you take this stuff in and it's serious business, and you care about it deeply," he said. "But part of this job is also the theater of it. ... It's not something that always comes naturally to me, but it matters, and I'm mindful of that."