Obama, family going on eight-day Martha's Vineyard vacation

Thu Aug 8, 2013 5:40pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cue up the indignant reactions: President Barack Obama and his family are about to go on an eight-day vacation on the Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard, an elite playground for the East Coast wealthy set.

Beset by budget fights with Republicans and foreign policy headaches, Obama is jetting off to New England at a time of great uncertainty about his second term, which is off to a rocky start. Perhaps as a result, his approval rating is a so-so 46 percent, according to Gallup.

Every time a president goes on vacation there is criticism from opponents about the cost of the trip, given the need for staff and Secret Service protection, and about whether he deserves time off at all with the economic woes facing Americans.

So it will go this time for Obama, who skipped a Martha's Vineyard vacation last summer when he was seeking re-election, but who vacationed there in 2009, 2010 and 2011. This year, he figures to work on his golf game with friends and relax with his family.

"By going to Martha's Vineyard, he opens himself up to criticism that he is not as sensitive as he should be to Americans having hard times," said journalist Ken Walsh, author of the book "From Mount Vernon to Crawford: A History of the Presidents and Their Retreats."

Obama, wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia will be staying at the $7.6 million estate of Chicago private equity executive and Democratic donor David Schulte.

The home overlooking the Atlantic Ocean was chosen through a broker. How much the Obamas are paying to rent the home was not known.

"As has always been the case when the first family has stayed on Martha's Vineyard, the rental selection process is handled through a broker. The president and first lady have personally paid to rent the house," said a White House official.   Continued...

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) waves as he and his wife Michelle (R) and daughters Malia (2nd L) and Sasha (2nd R) depart for travel to Africa, from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, June 26, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst