Obama vacation criticism dismissed as ‘cable chatter’ by White House

We’ve documented on this blog the various criticisms aimed at President Obama for taking a 10-day vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. What’s his response?

The president isn’t talking publicly, but a White House spokesman said Wednesday that Obama brushes off such griping as “cable chatter.”

“My sense is his reaction is that he’s focused on doing his job, a job he’s responsible to do wherever he is, whether he’s sitting in the Oval Office or caught on the golf course when emerging actions are taking place,” deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said during a briefing on the Vineyard after a reporter asked about the criticism.

“He’s satisfied that he’s doing his job even in unusual locations, convening a call with his national security team, confident in the preparations that FEMA is taking in advance of Hurricane Irene are moving along at the pace they should be,” Earnest continued. “The president dismisses the notion of cable chatter.”

The White House made a point to release a new photograph from official White House photographer Pete Souza showing Obama meeting with economic advisor Brian Deese on Wednesday morning. Obama is in touch with his economic team as it prepares for the major jobs speech he has promised to deliver shortly after Labor Day.

Hurricane Irene is the latest threat — following the unrest in Libya and the East Coast earthquake -- to prompt calls for Obama to cut his holiday short. Obama is scheduled to return to Washington on Saturday and deliver remarks at the public dedication of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on Sunday.

The Category 3 storm that has moved over Cuba and is headed toward North Carolina could make landfall again in Cape Cod early next week.

Earnest said the president has trust in Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Craig Fugate to handle preparations.

“I have no scheduling updates for you,” Earnest said. “I don’t believe it has [been discussed]. We’re obviously watching the weather reports closely for a lot of reasons. If that would factor into our scheduling, we’d take the appropriate measures. But I’m not aware of any conversations that have taken place.”

David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.

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