The Washington Post

The August Surprise: another interrupted vacation

Congress is in recess, Washington has emptied and there is a brief respite in budget talks, but that hasn’t prevented President Obama from once again having to put his vacation on hold in order to respond to breaking events.

This morning, following the deaths of hundreds of protesters at the hands of security forces in Egypt, Obama delivered a speech condemning the violence.

Talking in front of a lectern set up in the driveway of his $7.6 million rented home in Chilmark on Martha's Vineyard, he announced that he was cancelling joint military exercises, saying “Our traditional co-operation cannot continue as usual while civilians are being killed.”

The statement is the latest in a string of interruptions to recent presidential vacations.

Last December, Obama flew back to Washington from a stay in Hawaii to help hash out a deal to avert the fiscal cliff. A few days later, after reaching a last-minute agreement, he flew back to the Pacific island to rejoin his family.

In 2011, his summer vacation on Martha’s Vineyard was interrupted by developments in Tripoli, Libya, where anti-government protesters toppled former leader Colonel Gadhafi. The president made a brief speech and later decided to fly back a day early because of the imminent arrival of Hurricane Irene.

Two years earlier, in 2009, Obama curtailed another stay on the Vineyard in order to attend the funeral of Senator Edward Kennedy outside Boston.

In the same year, the president’s winter vacation, again in Hawaii, was disrupted by the “underwear bomber’s” attempt to blow up a plane as it approached Detroit on Christmas Day. On that occasion, Obama twice addressed the nation.

This time around, Obama didn’t let his presidential duties prevent him from making the most of another glorious day of sunshine on Vineyard.

After delivering a short seven-minute speech and ignoring shouted questions from reporters, he departed for a golf course on the island’s north side for his fourth round of the vacation.

Arriving around 20 minutes later, Obama was joined by Marvin Nicholson and Sam Kass, two staffers who have already played basketball and an earlier round of golf with the president during this trip. Mike Brush, another aide, completed the foursome.



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Juliet Eilperin · August 15, 2013

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