The Washington Post

Obamas socialize with friends on Martha’s Vineyard

MARTHA'S VINEYARD, Mass. -- With Malia and Sasha away at summer camp, the president and first lady have been making the most of the opportunity to spend some time away from the kids during the first few days of their vacation.

On Sunday night, the first couple joined a group of half a dozen or so friends in a private dining room at the Sweet Life Café in a refurbished yellow Victorian building in Oak Bluffs.

And Monday, they hit the social circuit again, dropping in on a cocktail party hosted by Broderick Johnson, who was an adviser to the 2012 Obama campaign, and his wife, NPR host Michele Norris Johnson, at their home in West Tisbury.

The Obamas’ daughters are due to join them at their $7.6 million vacation home in Chilmark at some point, but the White House has not indicated when they are expected to arrive.

In the meantime, traditional pursuits such as a visit to the Bunch of Grapes bookstore in Vineyard Haven in search of summer reading have been put on hold.

Instead Obama has used the opportunity to catch up with old friends and spend time with his buddies on the golf course.

He played a round at Farm Neck Golf Club on Sunday, three-putting on the first hole to the amusement of a gathered press pool and his playing partners – two staffers and Robert Wolf, a friend who is also one of Obama’s chief Wall Street allies.

On Monday, he tried his hand at a different course, the Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, in a foursome which included lawyers Vernon Jordan and Allison Davis. This time, journalists were not permitted to watch.

With grey skies and heavy downpours blighting the island on Tuesday, the president opted for a change of pace, deciding to pay a visit to long-time Chicago friend and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.

Dressed in a blue fleece, a Chicago White Sox cap and Nike sneakers, Obama first stopped by Nancy’s restaurant in Oak Bluffs, picking up a fried lunch of shrimp, oysters, onions and french fries.

Arriving shortly before 1 p.m., he greeted a crowd of around 40 well-wishers before collecting his order and heading around the corner to Jarrett’s waterfront home.

The pair spent more than an hour inside before the president returned to his motorcade and traveled to Oak Buffs School for a game of basketball with several staffers and Eric Whitaker, a friend from Chicago.

Obama is due to fly back to Washington on Sunday, and the White House has announced that he will embark on a two-day bus tour of New York and Pennsylvania at the end of next week to promote his economic agenda.

Watch: Everything you ever wanted to know about presidential vacations:

Grab those beach bags: As the Obamas jet off to Martha's Vineyard, Chris Cillizza and Jackie Kucinich compare presidential getaways, by the numbers. (The Washington Post)




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Aaron Blake · August 13, 2013

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