'Vacation' over, back to White House for Obama
Aug. 24, 2014
EDGARTOWN, Massachusetts (AP) — President Barack Obama's summer vacation off the Massachusetts coast is nearing an end.
The president was due back at the White House late Sunday after spending two weeks with his family on the island of Martha's Vineyard.
What a break it turned out to be. His attempt at rest and relaxation was largely overtaken by events involving Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, including the videotaped execution of an American journalist they had been holding hostage, and the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, following the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man.
Obama broke from his vacation to deliver statements on Iraq, Missouri and journalist James Foley on four separate occasions, including one delivered during two days he spent back at the White House in the middle of the getaway. The unusual mid-vacation return to Washington had been scheduled before those issues came to dominate the news.
Still, in the midst of daily briefings on these and other matters, telephone consultations with world leaders and other responsibilities, Obama squeezed in nine rounds of golf on the island he has made his summer presidential retreat while shrugging off criticism about how he was spending the time away from Washington.
"Just because the president is in a different location doesn't mean he's not doing his job," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.
Obama also ate dinner out a few times, danced at a birthday party for the wife of Washington powerbroker Vernon Jordan, treated first lady Michelle Obama to a jazz performance and took the family to a fireworks show near the home of senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, who also was vacationing on Martha's Vineyard. Before leaving on Sunday, Obama and his wife went hiking with friends near the Obamas' rental home in Chilmark, on the western part of the island. The White House did not identify the friends.
AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace in Washington contributed to this report.
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