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Thursday, March 7, 2013

No WH tours for kids yet Obama prepares for Vineyard vacation... again

President Obama and his family are likely headed to Martha's Vineyard for a summer sojourn again this year.

A source tells POLITICO that the Secret Service has started booking accommodations on the toney island off the Massachusetts coast. (See update below)
So far, the White House isn't saying anything, but the Vineyard is abuzz with the news. The first family is expected toward the end of August, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

No word yet on where the commander-in-chief will be staying. As the Boston Herald reports, the home where the Obamas stayed previously has been sold. But he will no doubt hit the links a few times at the Farm Neck Golf Club, as he has previously. Also no word on whether Tiger Woods will join. (Continues)


Amid Cuts, Does a President Dare Tee Off?

WASHINGTON — Fair or not, the extracurricular lives of American presidents are often measured by how they compare with the everyday pursuits of the people they lead.
And so as the nation’s federal workers and others prepare to tighten their belts amid budget cuts, reduced overtime and furloughs, it is inevitable that someone would ask the question about President Obama and golf. 

It came this week from, among others, Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and Republican presidential candidate, who expressed outrage that the White House had canceled daily tours of 1600 Pennsylvania at the behest of the Secret Service, which said its officers were needed more elsewhere.

“Canceling White House tours is childish and dishonest,” Mr. Gingrich said on Twitter, citing a recent golf vacation the president took to the Floridian Yacht and Golf Club resort with a handful of friends and his Secret Service entourage. “The golf weekend in Florida cost enough to keep the White House open for months.” 

So the president’s White House advisers are going to have to confront the question of how, or whether, to adjust his family’s activities. Should they go to Martha’s Vineyard? Will Michelle Obama and the couple’s daughters avoid trips like the ski vacation they took to Aspen last month? And what about the golf that Mr. Obama frequently plays at the nearby Joint Base Andrews?  

If the past is any guide, Mr. Obama tends to push ahead with life outside his day job even when it is sure to risk criticism. 

The Obamas spent a week at an estate in Martha’s Vineyard in 2009 and 2010, even as the economic crisis was still gripping the country. In 2011, he went to the island just after the debt crisis fight but left early after an earthquake hit Washington and Hurricane Irene headed toward the East Coast.

Mr. Obama has also traveled to Hawaii each year in late December and his family has taken short vacations to Yosemite and the mountains of North Carolina. Mrs. Obama, her daughter Sasha and some friends took a trip to Spain in the summer of 2010 that drew criticism for its cost.(Full Story at NYT)

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