Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

August 15, 2013

With kids at camp, Obama finds time for golf

WEST TISBURY, Mass. — President Barack Obama is filling his Martha’s Vineyard vacation with golf, visits to friends’ homes and dinners out with the first lady. But he will have to wait just a little bit longer to do one other thing: spend time with his daughters.

For the first time, Malia and Sasha Obama are missing from the family’s vacation on this coastal Massachusetts island as they finish up at summer camp. White House spokesmen will only say that they will reunite with their parents later this week, without giving a specific date.

“When they get here, we’ll let you know,” said spokesman Josh Earnest.

Michelle Obama arrived Saturday with her husband and the family dog, Bo. Obama returns to Washington on Sunday.

In the meantime, the president is staying at a 5,000-square-foot, $7 million Chilmark home rented from Chicago friend David Schulte and is filling his days with golf, dinner outings with his wife of 20 years and basketball, among other leisurely pursuits.

One sign of the girls’ absence is that Obama has yet to drop into the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven. He typically takes them there on his first full day of vacation to pick up summer reading.

That his daughters are absent is reminder of the time that has passed since their father became president. They are older now — Malia is 15 and Sasha is 12 — and increasingly leading lives more independent of their parents.

Obama spent Saturday night indoors after he arrived by helicopter from the Coast Guard station on nearby Cape Cod, Mass. Every day since, his motorcade has driven him from Chilmark on the island’s western end to the eastern towns of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs or Vineyard Haven and back for various outings, rain or shine.

He spent hours playing golf Sunday, Monday and Wednesday; Tuesday’s heavy rain washed out any such plans Obama may have had.

The president spent most of Tuesday in Oak Bluffs. He picked up a lunch of fried oysters, fried shrimp, onion rings and french fries from Nancy’s Restaurant and went to the nearby rental home of senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, who also vacations on Martha’s Vineyard. He burned it off by playing basketball at an Oak Bluffs school with White House aides Marvin Nicholson and Sam Kass, a chef, and Chicago buddy Eric Whitaker. Mrs. Obama did not join him for lunch.

The president and first lady have also eaten dinner at three of their favorite island restaurants. The list includes Sweet Life Cafe in Oak Bluffs, State Road Restaurant in West Tisbury and Beach Plum Inn in Menemsha, voted most romantic by Martha’s Vineyard Magazine.

And they’ve done some mixing and mingling at a cocktail party Monday at the home of campaign adviser Broderick Johnson and his wife, NPR journalist Michele Norris, and Wednesday evening at the waterfront home of Comcast executive Brian Roberts, where they spent nearly two hours at an unspecified event.

Obama played golf twice at Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown: on Monday in the rain with Washington power broker Vernon Jordan, former U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Allison Davis, another Obama associate from Chicago, and on Wednesday with Kirk, World Bank President Jim Kim and the Comcast executive.

On his first full day on the island Sunday, Obama settled in at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs with Nicholson, Kass and Robert Wolf, a Wall Street consultant and Obama campaign fundraiser who sits on the president’s export council. Wolf also served on Obama’s jobs council and economic recovery advisory board.

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