EDGARTOWN (AP) — President Barack Obama opened the first summer vacation of his second term Saturday on Martha’s Vineyard, trading Washington debates over the budget, government surveillance and his health care overhaul for a hoped-for carefree week filled with golf, beach outings and hanging-out time with family and friends.
Obama arrived on the coastal Massachusetts island after addressing the Disabled American Veterans national convention in Orlando, Fla.
As he flew north on Air Force One, Obama got into a vacation mindset by trading his suit and tie for khakis and a blue shirt with rolled-up sleeves. First lady Michelle Obama, who introduced him at the convention, kept her yellow-and-white sundress but switched from high heels to flats.
Daughters Malia and Sasha were reuniting with their parents later on. Family dog Bo traveled with the president.
People lined both sides of the two-lane road Obama’s motorcade traveled from Edgartown, where he arrived by helicopter after landing in nearby Cape Cod, to the six-bedroom home he is renting in Chilmark. Many people waved and snapped photographs; a few held signs opposing the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline that would run from Canada to the Gulf Coast if approved by the Obama administration.
Unlike his past Vineyard vacations as president, some residents are upset over this visit. The Secret Service, which provides Obama’s security, is banning vehicular traffic from part of a public road near Obama’s rental home. Such a closure is a first for presidential vacations on the island.
Although Obama planned no official public appearances during his nine-day stay, his motorcade will be seen whisking him from golf courses to beaches to restaurants. He is due back in Washington on Aug. 18.
Since a president is never truly on vacation, Obama will receive regular briefings on national security and domestic issues, said White House press secretary Jay Carney. National security adviser Susan Rice and Rob Nabors, a deputy chief of staff, are among the White House aides on vacation duty.
Beyond that, Obama will play golf, hit the beach, dine out, relax with his family, visit with friends and read more than just White House briefing books.
“I know he’s looking forward very much to some down time with his family,” Carney said Saturday. “I’m sure he’ll see some friends.”
WBZ-TV’s Michael Rosenfield reports