The president schedules a post-vacation vacation — Blues Brothers (Sweet Home Chicago) Music Video — Obama Curtails Vacation for Kennedy’s Funeral — Obama sticks with vacation — Marijuana growers may be adversely affected by Obama’s ‘private’ visit — Obama, Working Quite Hard at Taking It Easy — Bike-safety groups take President Obama head on after ride without helmet


The sun rising over the town of Vineyard Haven on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Getty Images

Six and three is nine
Nine and nine is eighteen
Look there brother baby and
you'll see what I've seen

Hida-hey, baba don't you want to go
Back to that same old place
Sweet home Chicago


President Obama is at the Vineyard Golf Club again Friday afternoon, making this the fourth day this week he’s gone golfing.

Clinton took a 17-day vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyo., in 1995, and went six times to Martha’s Vineyard, spending up to three weeks at a time in the bucolic spot. Both Presidents Bush enjoyed long vacations: George H. W. routinely spent the month of August at his family estate in Kennebunkport, Maine, while his son, George W., spent the hot summer month on his ranch… two of Obama’s friends, Harvard professors Charles Ogletree and Henry Louis “Skip’’ Gates, regularly vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.

Celebrity sightings don’t cause much of a stir on the island, where the 15,000 permanent residents and 85,000 summer visitors have an unspoken agreement to leave each other in peace…  Boston Globe


The president schedules a post-vacation vacation

USA Today, By Kathy Kiely, Aug 27, 2009

Let’s face it: In terms of downtime, President Obama’s vacation has been a bit of a gyp.

First, he had to interrupt his R&R to renominate Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Then he got the bad news about his friend Ted Kennedy.

And then there are the latest dispatches from the summer of no love for the nation’s lawmakers and what they might mean for the president’s No. 1 legislative priority, an overhaul of the nation’s health care system.

USA TODAY’s Rich Wolf, on Martha’s Vineyard, reports that the president and first lady Michelle Obama will interrupt their stay on the island to head to Boston tomorrow night. The president is scheduled to deliver a eulogy at Kennedy’s funeral Saturday.

So the president appears to be cramming in as much fun as possible, Rich notes in this file:

On Thursday, no sooner had he returned from bike riding at the far western end of Martha’s Vineyard than he embarked on his third golf game of the week at the eastern end. Today’s course: the 7,012-yard Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, known as the island’s toughest.

Even so, deputy White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters traveling with the president that Obama will take a few more days off once he returns to Washington next week: Obama will be headed home by Sunday but plans to head up to the presidential retreat, Camp David, in the middle of the week.

“He’s looking to get a break from his vacation,” Burton deadpanned. “Obviously, some things have come up over the course of the week.”


Good Bye Teddy, RIP…

Obama Curtails Vacation for Kennedy’s Funeral

By Helene Cooper, NYT Blog, 27 Aug 2009

OAK BLUFFS, Mass. — President Obama will interrupt his holiday Friday night to fly to Boston so that he can attend the funeral services of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, a White House spokesman said.

With Tropical Storm Danny heading toward New England on Saturday, Mr. Obama doesn’t want to take any chances, administration officials said.

So Mr. Obama, along with First Lady Michelle Obama, will fly to Boston late Friday night, leaving their daughters Malia and Sasha on Martha’s Vineyard.

The Obamas will spend the night in Boston and attend the funeral Saturday morning, when the president will deliver the eulogy for Senator Kennedy. The mass begins at 10:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica on Tremont Street…


Edgartown: Chappaquiddick Bill Greene / Globe Staff

Chappaquiddick received national attention in 1969 when Ted Kennedy drove off Dike’s Bridge and was charged with leaving the scene of an accident. Just over Dike’s Bridge is East Beach, a peaceful beach away from the crowded beaches on the main island.

Obama sticks with vacation

OAK BLUFFS, Mass. — He picked a Fed chairman and lost a close political friend, but through it all, President Barack Obama has tried to carry on with the vacation he set out to have here — strolling the beach, taking his daughters for a bike ride, playing golf.

More duties await — he’s working on the eulogy he’ll deliver for Sen. Ted Kennedy on Saturday. And there’s a chance Tropical Storm Danny will bring him back to Washington a day early. The White House is already saying Obama needs a “break from his vacation” — a way of explaining his third trip this month, on Wednesday, to Camp David, where he’ll stay through the weekend.

It all contributed to a sense, expressed by some on Martha’s Vineyard, that Obama was here but never really here — a visitor who ventured out, to be sure, but rarely plunged into public view.

And for some, it drew the obvious comparison to the last presidential tourist, Bill Clinton, who often was seen about town during his two vacations here, even at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. It is likely the result of both temperament and timing that had one president traipsing about the island and seeing the locals in all six towns and another mostly dining and golfing in private.

The locals and tourists are still hoping for a glimpse, passing around tips about where Obama might show up next. Yet, as Obama prepares to wrap up his vacation, there have been few sightings, and even fewer opportunities for locals and tourists to actually meet the president during his family vacation.


“I just sense a disappointment. Everyone was so excited to see him and there is all this space between him and the crowd,” said Nancy Shai, who has owns Vineyard Jewelry and has been on the island since 1997. “But I don’t know what people expect — he has kids with him, his wife, and to be part of the regular crowd, I don’t know how safe that is.”

Shai also said that the Obama economic boomlet proprietors had hoped for never materialized — people are looking, but not buying so much.

During his stay, Obama has spent about 10 hours at various golf courses, dined out with his wife, Michelle, and got take out from Nancy’s, a local restaurant, then went to senior adviser Valerie Jarrett’s home to eat. He also went to the private beach near his Chilmark rental, had a bike ride with Malia and Sasha and toured a historic lighthouse.

Summing up his stay so far, the local paper, The Martha’s Vineyard Times, put it this way in a Thursday headline: “President stays busy, mostly out of sight.”

The Clinton comparison — possibly not entirely fair given that Clinton’s visits came before the Sept. 11 attacks — comes up easily for most island locals and regulars here because Clinton seemed to be everywhere.

Shai, like so many others, had a Clinton story to tell and remembers him hanging out in the arcade, eating ice cream, buying souvenirs in shops. And she even got to shake his hand.

“When you meet him, it’s like, all he sees is you, and it’s kind of like, wow. He does have a way about him,” she said.

It’s not clear how many Vineyarders will go away feeling a similar connection with Obama, who shook a few hands when he dined out and waved and shook a few more hands when he grabbed take out.

“He’s so close and so far. I wish he were out and about more,” said Carolyn Daniele, who lives in Edgartown and had a Clinton sighting in the ’90s. “I’d love to see him, but I’m never going to see him.”


Marijuana growers may be adversely affected by Obama’s ‘private’ visit

By: Jeff Dufour and Kiki Ryan
Washington Examiner
08/23/09 4:54 PM EDT

The residents of Martha’s Vineyard are not unfamiliar with high-profile visitors. In fact, most residents of the small New England island are welcoming President Barack Obama and the economic boost his family’s visit is expected to generate. But one cottage industry isn’t so happy about it — the island’s small cadre of marijuana farmers.

“The word was that some of the island marijuana growers actually had to get their crops in early,” said Mike Seccombe, a senior writer for the Vineyard Gazette, in an NPR interview Sunday morning. “They thought the helicopters scoping the place out for the president may have had something to do with drug enforcement.”

Seccombe was explaining how Obama was different than past visitors just as the president was preparing to leave for the island to start his family’s weeklong vacation, rough weather from Hurricane Bill causing a delay.

As Seccombe explained, Saturday marked the arrival of “40 [sport utility vehicles] full of guys in dark suits,” security preparations not seen in visits by previous power players like President Bill Clinton. But all the security may remain in hiding for most of the trip. “We don’t expect to see quite as much [of Obama as we did of Clinton], who loved to get out and about. … According to the briefing we got from Robert Gibbs, the Obamas have no scheduled public engagements.”

Gibbs also delivered a stern warning to the media: “It is our strong hope and desire that you all, during this family vacation, will respect the privacy of Sasha and Malia Obama. This is a strong request by the first family.”

But that’s not to say local business are not hoping to get a visit from the first family or, at the very least, cash in from their visit to the island.

Reports are saying businesses have cardboard cutouts of Obama in their windows, street vendors are selling shirts with the first family’s portrait, and some local sweet shops have named ice cream flavors and cupcakes after their famous guests.

Besides Obama, those guests may include Oprah Winfrey and Tiger Woods, both of whom are rumored to be joining the Obamas this week, Seccombe said.

Obama Vacation

Obama, Working Quite Hard at Taking It Easy

By Michael D. Shear, Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, August 28, 2009

OAK BLUFFS, Mass. — Give the guy credit for trying.

President Obama came to this tiny, upscale island of Martha’s Vineyard for a break from his day job, a week-long respite from the angry town halls and the pessimistic pundits and the Democratic lawmakers who just won’t seem to fall into line. It was supposed to be a vacation.

But alas, the modern presidency hardly grants full escapes. There is, the 44th president is quickly discovering, no way to shrug off the burdens of the economy, the adoring crowds who hold digital cameras high over their heads, or — it sadly turns out — the vagaries of life and death…

“The death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was not, and the passing of his friend and onetime colleague — which he learned about from an aide at 2 a.m. — has injected a somber tone into what was supposed to be a lighthearted week.

Obama plans to eulogize Kennedy at the senator’s funeral Saturday morning in Boston, making the brief hop from Martha’s Vineyard to the mainland and then returning to Blue Heron Farm, his rented getaway, for one more night free from the humid weather — and all the hot air — in Washington.

… An appropriate pace — the likes of which we haven’t seen since Bush I — for a slightly obsessed president who brought the highly secure presidential BlackBerry to his seaside vacation. (Maybe it’s that New England air.) He has been wearing it “intermittently,” a White House aide admitted.

Thursday, the first family hopped on bikes for a beach-side ride in Aquinnah, a town on the southwest tip of Martha’s Vineyard, where rocky cliffs soar above the crystal-blue water. Dressed in a dark shirt, Obama rode, without a helmet, ahead of the group, which included Michelle (orange tank top!), Malia (pink cap sleeves!) and Sasha (bright yellow short sleeves and turquoise shorts!) as locals gathered along Lobsterville Road to snap pictures.

… The president’s image was everywhere on this island. One store replaced the face of a life-size likeness of fictional pirate Jack Sparrow with Obama’s mug. Another plastered a photo of the first family on its window. The display of a T-shirt shop features several variations of the “I vacationed with Obama” shirt. An ice cream parlor touted two specials: The “Magnificent Malia Milkshake” and the “Sashalicious Smoothie.”

Most island veterans seemed content to play the “where will the president go?” game, trading gossip about where they’d seen the Secret Service in the previous days. Rumors on the island suggested — incorrectly — that the first tourist might take his girls to an aquarium or to dine at a ritzy club.

Tuesday night, as word bounced around Oak Bluffs that Obama would eat at the Caribbean-inspired Deon’s, residents and vacationers ran down Circuit Avenue and massed in front of the restaurant, eagerly clutching their cameras. A half-hour later, Obama’s motorcade pulled up a block farther down the street for the first couple’s dinner at the Sweet Life Cafe…


Bike-safety groups take President Obama head on after ride without helmet

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS, BY David Saltonstall In Oak Bluffs, Mass., and Michael Saul In New York

Friday, August 28th 2009

Perhaps President Obama didn’t want to look uncool on his bike ride Thursday, but his decision to skip the helmet had safety experts banging their heads.

Obama, on vacation with his family in Martha’s Vineyard, joined the First Lady and his daughters yesterday for a ride in Aquinnah, a town at the western, most rural end of the island.

The President appeared to be the only one with no helmet.

Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group in New York, speculated the President might have been concerned about his image.

“Helmets look goofy – you look a little dorky,” he said. “When you’re the leader of the free world you have to look tough.”

White agreed it would have been better if Obama had worn his helmet, but cut him a little slack.

There’s a difference between riding on the congestion-clogged streets of Manhattan and a bucolic swath of
Massachusetts, he said.

David Mozer, director of the International Bicycle Fund, a nonprofit advocacy group in Seattle, disagreed.

“Most bike accidents just happen. Bicycles up and turn over by themselves, and head injuries are a possible consequence of that,” he said. “Head injures don’t heal well, and they can be very expensive and life-long.”

“It would be great if the President set an example,” Mozer said.

Still, Mozer conceded, “It’s really hard to get the girl when you’re wearing a helmet – they’re not real flattering.”

But he pointed out bicycling superstar Lance Armstrong looks cool in his helmet.

Last year during the campaign, Obama became the target of ridicule on the Internet when he was photographed riding with a helmet in Chicago.

Perhaps that’s why White House spokesman Bill Burton seemed mildly surprised to learn his boss was not wearing his safety gear.

“I know that he generally does wear a helmet when he rides a bicycle,” Burton told reporters. “He supports the wearing of bicycle helmets.”


Oak Bluffs Photos by Melissa Robotti/ Staff

East Chop Light is one of five lighthouses on Martha’s Vineyard and is one of many sunset venues on the island.

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