GOP candidates back female membership, private-club rights


Three Republican presidential candidates joined their potential November opponent in suggesting Augusta National should admit women as members.

'If I could run Augusta, which isn't likely to happen, of course I'd have women,' Mitt Romney said in a Pennsylvania campaign stop, according to The Associated Press.

He prefaced his position by saying, 'I am not a member of Augusta. I don't know if I would qualify. My golf game is not that good.'

Newt Gingrich’s wife, Callista, plays golf and tweeted her desire to join the club.

“I'm a golfer and I'd love to belong to Augusta,” she said.

Her husband, the former Speaker of the House from Georgia, agreed, tweeting in reply, 'I think Callista would be a great member #Augusta - maybe she would let me come and play.'

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum echoed the sentiments of Romney and Gingrich.

'I encourage Augusta to accept women members, but I recognize their right as a private organization to decide for themselves,' he said in an email statement, according to CNN.

Earlier in the day, White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama believed the home of the Masters should have female membership.