On working vacation, Obama works in relaxation
Monday, August 16, 2010; 12:00 AM
PANAMA CITY, FLA. -- President Obama's brief visit to the Gulf Coast was always billed by the White House as a working vacation.
But once the work part was out of the way, the first family used the rest of their 27-hour trip to prove just how much down time they could cram in -- and what treats the area had to offer -- before leaving the region.
Seafood feasts, miniature golf and boat trips in St. Andrew Bay, Fla., were all on the agenda for the president, the first lady, Michelle, and their youngest daughter, Sasha.
Despite the brevity of the weekend break, a hole in one for Sasha on the mini-golf course and an encounter with a playful porpoise during a cruise of St. Andrew Bay gave the family some memorable moments to take back to Washington, while aiding Obama's hopes of showing off the virtues of the region by making the trip.
And after much speculation about whether he would risk the appearance of more embarrassing shirtless pictures, Obama did take a dip in the gulf.
The fun started Saturday afternoon, after the president had held a roundtable meeting with area officials and business owners to discuss the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and urged Americans not to be put off from spending vacation time in the gulf states.
After lunch at Lime's Bayside Bar & Grill in Panama City Beach, Obama took a dip at nearby Alligator Point. The family then headed to Pirate's Island Adventure Golf, where a welcome banner greeted them.
They didn't have to wait long for a moment of sporting magic.
Holding her green putter on the first hole, Sasha took the first turn. There were gasps and hoots from the president as the bright orange golf ball headed unerringly toward the hole before going in.
"She got it in," he said. "On the first hole. That's unbelievable. Oh, man." He turned to ask reporters, "Did you guys see that one?"
The triumph only served to make the first lady more nervous before her shot. "Oh man, I'm going to be humiliated," she said. "I can't do that."
The family had another stroke of luck Sunday morning, when they headed for a boat ride in St. Andrew Bay.