Boston, May 3: Between attending a glamorous White House Correspondents' dinner and meeting families of victims of the Alabama storms, US President Barack Obama successfully managed to put up a "poker face" for nearly 72 hours before he announced Osama bin Laden's death to the world.
The President had on Friday given the go ahead for the raids by US elite forces on the compound in Abbottabad in Pakistan where bin Laden was hiding with some members of his family.
Between then and till the time he announced late Sunday night that the Al Qaeda chief was dead, Obama had "balanced public events with a series of private military briefings.
But nothing leaked.
"All presidents keep secrets, but over a 72-hour span leading to Bin Laden's death, Obama's capacity to keep a poker face was tested as never before," the Los Angeles Times said.
On Friday, after signing off on the final plan to send intelligence operatives to kill bin Laden, Obama flew to Alabama where he toured areas affected by the devastating outbreak of tornadoes that killed at least 297 people.
That night, Obama gave a commencement speech at Miami Dade College. He also met with the crew of the space shuttle Endeavour, whose flight was postponed.
On Saturday night, he had hosted the White House Correspondents' Association dinner, which was attended by Hollywood celebrities, top journalists and politicians.
Comedian Seth Meyers had even quipped that Osama bin Laden was hiding in plain sight by hosting an obscure C-SPAN show that no one ever watched.
"One person at the dinner who clearly enjoyed the joke was President Obama," Los Angeles Times said.
Dressed in a tuxedo, Obama smiled broadly even as he had knowledge of a closely guarded secret.
"He knew where Bin Laden was living and he had already signed his death warrant, ordering a risky raid that would kill the world's most wanted terrorist the following day," the Times said.
On Sunday morning, Obama's motorcade left for Andrews Air Force Base for a round of golf.
He played nine holes and spent a little time on the driving range. The President was back at the White House in the afternoon for a meeting with senior officials to discuss the "final preparations" of the operation to kill bin Laden.
Through the day, he continued to get continuous private briefings on the military mission.
"Bin Laden's killing stands as Obama's biggest triumph as commander in chief, a role he has struggled with. The war in Afghanistan is deeply unpopular, while the one in Libya is stalemated. Whatever else happens, though, history will show Obama was the president who felled Bin Laden," the Times said. PTI