In the Pool: Updates from President Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard vacation

United States President Barack Obama arrives at Martha's Vineyard Airport in West Tisbury on August 18 for his summer vacation.
Photo courtesy of Rick Friedman/Ron Sachs Communications

United States President Barack Obama arrives at Martha's Vineyard Airport in West Tisbury on August 18 for his summer vacation.

A pool of local, regional, and national reporters files periodic updates on the activities, appearances, and statements of President Barack Obama, during his Martha’s Vineyard vacation with his family. Those reports appear below in chronological sequence. Non-pool reporting and photographs will be included here also.

7:19 pm, Wednesday

As pool vans pulling out of Blue Heron Farm, SUVs carrying Sasha and Malia Obama whizzed by toward the farm. Don’t know if FLOTUS was with them. Also of interest, the Nantucket newspaper is reporting on its web site that the girls were reported spotted on that island today.

We have a lid at 7:13 pm.– Donovan Slack, The Boston Globe

4:06 pm, Wednesday

Motorcade rolled from Blue Heron Farm at 3:29 and arrived at Mink Meadows Golf Club in Vineyard Haven 32 minutes later.

Took a very circuitous route – through chilmark, then north almost to Menemsha, then back through North tisbury all the way to Vineyard Haven.

It seems someone knew where he was going – a girl standing with her familyon side of road in Vineyard Haven waved a sign that said “Good luck golfing” as the motorcade passed.

Don’t know how long the stop will be – its only a 9-hole course.

Pool holding at nearby park.

– Donovan Slack, The Boston Globe

12:00 pm, Wednesday

President Barack Obama has made no plans to end his Martha’s Vineyard vacation early despite the imminence of hurricane Irene, and the possibility has not been discussed among his advisors, according to the White House. National Weather Service forecasters predict the storm will have an impact on population centers along the East Coast of the United States, later this week.

“We’re obviously watching the weather reports pretty closely for a variety of reasons,” deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said in a briefing Wednesday at the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven. “If there is an indication that would factor into the scheduling, we’ll obviously take appropriate action.”

Mr. Earnest said the president has talked with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director Craig Fugate about plans for the federal government’s emergency response to hurricane Irene.

There were dozens of questions in the early afternoon briefing about the fluid situation in Libya and the president’s plan for a major economic address after Labor Day.

Mr. Earnest was also asked whether the president was spending time with any business leaders or celebrities during his Island vacation. His answer drew chuckles from the White House press corps.

“One of the reasons the president wanted to spend a little down time with his family here on Martha’s Vineyard was to get away from the limelight a little bit,” Mr. Earnest said. “Seeking to find other people in the limelight to spend time with has not been the principal objective.”

– Steve Myrick, The Martha’s Vineyard Times

7:18 pm, Tuesday

After all the activities of the day, POTUS is back at the Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark. The motorcade returned at 6:54 pm, and full lid was set at 7:14.

– Yoojin Cho, The Martha’s Vineyard Times

6:46 pm, Tuesday

After spending about four hours and 40 minutes on the course, POTUS left Farm Neck Golf Club at 6:38 pm.

In the motorcade, the pool received a statement from principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest: “The president didn’t feel the earthquake today.”

– Yoojin Cho, The Martha’s Vineyard Times

4:16 pm, Tuesday

From principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest:

At 2:50 p.m. EDT this afternoon, the President led a conference call with DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Senior Science Advisor for Earthquake and Geologic Hazards with the Department of Interior Dr. David Applegate, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Greg Jaczko, Deputy Homeland Security Advisor Heidi Avery, and Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough to discuss the earthquake and status of critical infrastructure.

The President was told that there are no initial reports of major infrastructure damage, including at airports and nuclear facilities and that there were currently no requests for assistance. The President asked for regular updates on the situation. The President also was provided an update on preparations for Hurricane Irene by Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate.

– Carrie Budoff Brown, Politico.com

2:51 pm, Tuesday

Just before 2 pm, the pool ran out to the course to see POTUS, Eric Whitaker, Marvin Nicholson and Vernon Jordan wrap up the first hole at Farm Neck.

At 2 pm, POTUS missed a putt from several feet, tapped it but missed, then picked up the ball and moved on. He was wearing a black polo. Whitaker in orange polo; Nicholson in blue; and Jordan in red.

Pool is now holding at the club, getting updates on the earthquake aftermath. The quake was centered in Mineral, Virginia, west of Washington D.C., that reportedly was felt in New York, in Boston, and here on the Vineyard as well.

– Yoojin Cho, Martha’s Vineyard Times

2:02 pm, Tuesday

Pool left the holding location at 1:24 pm and a WH official said POTUS had just left the beach.

Despite the fall-like morning, now the sun’s out, making the day a perfect beach day on the Island, or in this case for POTUS, a great day for golfing.

The motorcade cut through Manuel F. Correllus State Forest and drove down Barnes Road, arriving at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs at 1:35 pm.

The parking lot is packed with visitors also trying to take advantage of this warm afternoon. A WH official said today’s golfing partners are Eric Whitaker, Marvin Nicholson and lawyer Vernon Jordan.

Pool is waiting in the lot, hoping to catch a glimpse of POTUS.

– Yoojin Cho, Martha’s Vineyard Times

12:52 pm, Tuesday

The pool arrived at its holding location at noon.

They are at a private beach in Edgartown, on the south side of the Island. This is the same beach the Obamas visited Sunday, spending about three hours there.

The pool did not get a glimpse of the president, the first lady and the girls on their way to the beach. Similar to Sunday, the pool is once again waiting on a gravel cul-de-sac in a couple of vans.

We are eating lunch here while POTUS and the family enjoy some beach time.

Below is information on Libya from Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest:

Readout of the President’s Call with President Sarkozy of France

The President and French President Sarkozy spoke today about the situation in Libya and continued their close consultations about the global economic situation and recent developments in financial markets. With regard to Libya, they agreed that Qadhafi and the remnants of his regime needed to accept that their time is up and relinquish power once and for all, and they welcomed the progress that has been made by the Libyan people in pursuing an end to the Qadhafi regime. At the same time, they agreed to continue to work with allies and partners in the international community to protect the people of Libya and to support a peaceful transition to democracy. President Sarkozy joined the President in urging the Transitional National Council to continue demonstrating its leadership by respecting the rights of the people of Libya, avoiding civilian casualties, protecting the institutions of the Libyan state, and pursuing a transition to democracy that is just and inclusive for all of the people of Libya.

The two Presidents also discussed the global economic situation, the Eurozone crisis and recent market developments. They agreed on the importance of concerted action, including through the G20, to address these challenges and to spur growth and job creation in the global economy.

–Yoojin Cho, Martha’s Vineyard Times

11:34 am, Tuesday

The White House forwarded this statement from principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest:

This morning at the Blue Heron Farm, John Brennan gave the president his daily national security briefing, including an update on hurricane Irene and how FEMA is supporting territorial response activities in Puerto Rico as well as the Virgin Islands, where the effects of the storm have already been felt. He also updated him on the steps FEMA has taken in coordination with states that could feel the impact of the storm later this week.

In addition, Brian Deese briefed the president on developments in global and US financial markets, recent economic data releases, and on policy work being done by his economic team in advance of his post-Labor Day address.

–Carrie Budoff Brown, Politico.com

11:25 am, Tuesday

The First Family took a leisurely ride Tuesday morning through Manuel F. Correllus State Forest.

After about a half-hour wait, shortly after 11 a.m., the pool got a glimpse of the president, decked out in a helmet, sunglasses, a black polo shirt and dark jeans.

But first up: First Lady Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha took the lead, passing first by the pool, which was assembled in knee-deep grass off a concrete bike path. Neither said anything to the reporters, photographers and TV cameras recording them.

Several minutes later, the president and daughter Malia rode by.

“Hello, everybody,” Obama said to the pool and about two dozen or so less-famous bikers who greeted him.

“Any word on Qadhafi’s whereabouts?” yelled the Associated Press’s Mark Smith.

The president didn’t take the question, choosing instead to keep his focus on the small group of cheering spectators as he moved further down the path.

The full procession through the park offered a stark contrast that underscored the strange existence of a president.

Shortly before Michelle and Sasha Obama arrived, two trucks carrying Secret Service agents rode along the same narrow concrete path usually reserved for bikers and walkers. A rolling caravan of agents and staff followed on bikes ahead of the president and Malia, who were then followed by several more SUVs full of agents.

“Can you imagine living like that?” one female biker asked her fellow onlookers.

Pool is now waiting for the next movement.

– Carrie Budoff Brown, Politco.com

11:22 am, Tuesday

Short ride to our set up location. The pool turned left on to Old County Road from Edgartown-West Tisbury Road and set up by the trail at 10:25. At 10:59, FLOTUS and Sasha biked past us, both wearing white T-shirts.

Shortly after, at 11:03, POTUS and Malia came around the corner. POTUS greeted the pool and a small crowd with “Hello everybody.” Bikers and joggers who were passing by us had stopped along the route once they realized the pool was waiting for the Obamas.

POTUS was wearing a black polo shirt and a pair of dark jeans and Malia was wearing purple shorts and a pink top.The First Family is biking in Manuel F. Correllus State Forest in West Tisbury. The pool is now back in the van.

–Yoojin Cho, Martha’s Vineyard Times

10:36 am, Tuesday

President Obama’s motorcade rolled out of Blue Heron Farm at 10:16 a.m. under blue, sunny skies in Chilmark on Martha’s Vineyard.

Turns out it’s a lovely day for a bike ride.

The Obamas are biking in Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, the same place where the president, first lady and daughters biked last year, according to a White House official.

After a five-minute drive, the pool arrived at the park, and is setting up along a concrete path for a shot of the bikers, who are expected shortly.

–Carrie Budoff Brown, Politico.com

10:22 am, Tuesday

Motorcade is leaving Blue Heron Farm at 10:17 am. Destination unknown. The First Family is going biking, but the pool is taking a different route to get there and try to see POTUS and FLOTUS during their bike ride.

– Yoojin Cho, Martha’s Vineyard Times

4:03 pm, Monday

At 2:19 the president, wearing a blue sportcoat, a white shirt with an unbuttoned collar and tan slacks, took the makeshift podium at the side yard of the Fisher House, a modest cedar-shingled, rhododendron-lined cottage at Blue Heron Farm, to comment on the events unfolding in Libya.

“The Gadhafi regime is coming to an end and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people,” he said.

Mr. Obama said that he had spoken earlier in the day with British Prime Minister David Cameron and that he had been briefed by his national security council by conference call. Participating in that conference call were: White House Chief of Staff William Daley, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, Under Secretary for Defense Michele Flournoy, CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, John Brennan, Brooke Anderson and Derek Chollet

The president spoke for about eight minutes and said that the North African country had reached a “tipping point”.

“The transitional national council has represented itself as a credible representative of the Libyan people and the United States together with our European allies and friends across the region recognize the TNC as the legitimate governing authority in Libya,” he said.

President Obama also highlighted the United States’ role in the initial offensive and its subsequent support for the NATO mission. He called for a peaceful transition.

“I want to emphasize that this is not over yet,” he said. “As the regime collapses there’s still fierce fighting in some areas . . . Although it’s clear that Gadhafi’s rule is over he still has the opportunity to reduce further bloodshed by explicitly relinquishing power to the people of libya and calling for those forces that continue to fight to lay down their arms for the sake of Libya.”

President also urged rebels not to resort to revenge as they reclaim their country.

“True justice will not come from reprisals, violence, it will come from reconciliation and a Libya that allows its citizens to determine its own destiny. In that effort he United States will be a friend and a partner,” he said.

The president directed his remarks towards the people of Libya as well.

“Your courage and character have been unbreakable in the face of a tyrant,” he said. “An ocean divides us but we are joined in the basic human longing for freedom for justice and for dignity.”

At 2:47 the presidential motorcade pulled out of Blue Heron farm before heading East on Edgartown-West Tisbury Road passing a mail truck pulled over to right side of the Road, before taking a left on Barnes Road, towards the Oak Bluffs Middle School where the president is playing basketball with friends and staff.

1:20 pm Monday

Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest spoke to reporters in an informal briefing Monday afternoon. No cameras were allowed.

He informed the media that President Obama would make a statement on the situation in Libya at 2:00 pm, from Blue Heron Farm, the family’s vacation retreat.

Mr. Earnest said the president would convene a meeting of his national security council by conference call, just before the address.

He said the president was briefed today by one of his economic advisors on foreign market developments and routine updates on the U.S. economy.

Mr. Obama also got reports from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on efforts to prepare for Hurricane Irene, which is forecast to hit the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and could affect Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.

Mr. Earnest also said President Obama made two phone calls this morning. He called Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

“The president and Mr. Buffet discussed the overall outlook on the economy in reaction to the headwinds we’ve experienced over the last couple of months,” Mr. Earnest said.

The president also called Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Company.

“They talked about developments in the automotive and manufacturing sectors,” Mr. Earnest said.

11:23 pm, Sunday

Motorcade rolling at 11:04 pm from Oak Bluffs home where Obamas dined with Valerie Jarrett and other friends and where POTUS had conferencecall on Libya (see earlier pool report) Pool didn’t see first family exit house.

Dozens lined road by Lookout Tavern (near Jarrett house) waving, cheering.

Arrived at Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark at 11:22 pm. POTUS in for the night.Full lid.

G’nite!

– Donovan Slack, White House Reporter, Boston Globe

8:35 pm, Sunday

POTUS emerged from Nancy’s at 8:24 pm, holding FLOTUS’s hand.

Then ducked into SUV and motorcade made quick one-minute trip to home near waterfront in Oak Bluffs where Valerie Jarrett is staying and where thefirst family is expected to stay for dinner. WH says they are dining with friends.

POTUS did not say anything this time. FLOTUS was quite striking with her hair pulled back and wearing a black spaghetti-strapped tank and a full white, yellow and black skirt.

More from entrance at Nancy’s: POTUS was wearing blue button-down shirt open at the collar and some dark khakis. He shook hands with some people in the crowd before entering Nancy’s. Word had apparently gotten out in OakBluffs that he was coming. One person approached by pool said she heard about his impending visit from a shopkeeper.

Pool holding in vans down the road from Jarrett home.

– Donovan Slack, White House Reporter, Boston Globe

7:55 pm, Sunday

Motorcade rolled from Roberts residence at 7:13pm. Pool did not see house, but Google Maps shows it as a palatial estate with two wings overlookingVineyard Sound, a swimming pool with large poolhouse, what appear to be manicured gardens, and path to beach.

Arrived in Oak Bluffs, at Nancy’s, at 7:45 pm, met by crowd of hundreds outside, chanting “Four more years! Four more years!”

Asked about situation in Libya, POTUS said: ” We’re going to wait until we have full confirmation of what’s happening. I’ll make a statement when we do.”

He disappeared inside at 7:50 pm to have dinner with FLOTUS and daughters, whom pooler did not see enter.

Holding in vans outside.

– Donovan Slack, White House Reporter, Boston Globe

5:37 pm, Sunday

Motorcade left farm at 5:15pm, headed toward home of Brian and AileenRoberts, friends of Valerie Jarrett and the president’s.

POTUS attending “informal reception” at their house in West Tisbury, WHofficials say. FLOTUS, girls, not with him.

Arrived at 5:30pm after very rocky ride down winding dirt road, ObetDaggett Rd. Holding in vans down the road. No POTUS sighting.

Brian K. Roberts is chairman and CEO of Comcast Corp.

Pool holding at an outbuilding, eating some very nice guacamole and chips.

– Donovan Slack, White House Reporter, Boston Globe

4:35 pm Sunday

Motorcade left Vineyard golf club at 4:22 pm. No sighting of POTUS coming or going today from Vineyard Golf Club. According to national pooler GlennThrush of Politico, POTUS played the back nine, plus a few extra.

Arrived at Blue Heron Farm after uneventful, 10-minute ride. Holding in vans, suggesting POTUS could be heading out again.

– Donovan Slack, White House Reporter, Boston Globe

4:11 pm, Sunday

WH says POTUS played with longtime friend and Chicago Dr Eric Whitaker, White House trip director Marvin Nicholson, and Robert Wolf of UBS.

Getting ready to roll soon, but currently still at Vineyard Golf Club.

– Donovan Slack, White House Reporter, Boston Globe

12:48 pm, Sunday

Pool loaded into vans at 12:30pm. Motorcade back from beach and rolling at 12:43. (Much shorter one because FLOTUS, girls still at beach).

One minute later, arrived at Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, where POTUS is going to play a round.

Awaiting names of golf partners.

– Donovan Slack, White House Reporter, Boston Globe

10:56 am, Sunday

From principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest:

This morning, the President was briefed on the situation in Libya by John Brennan, including inputs from our team in Benghazi. The national security team will continue to provide updates to the President on this situation, as necessary. The United States continues to communicate closely with our allies, partners, and the TNC. We believe that Qadhafi’s days are numbered,and that the Libyan people deserve a just, democratic and peaceful future.

–Donovan Slack, White House Reporter, Boston Globe

10:16 am, Sunday

POTUS got an early start this morning. Pool loaded into vans at 9:45 am.

Motorcade rolled from Blue Heron Farm at 9:48 am. Extra long motorcade – 22 vehicles today.

Arrived at 9:59 am at beach in Edgartown with first family POTUS, FLOTUS, two girls. WH says it is a private beach – didn’t say whether affiliated with aresidence or not.

Motorcade split off at corner of Edgartown-West Tisbury Road and Pohoganot Road. No sightings of anyone.

Pool holding for at least two hours.

– Donovan Slack, White House Reporter, Boston Globe

6:28 pm, Saturday

POTUS left the home of Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree. “The president attended an informal reception with about a hundred people in attendance,” said principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest, in a statement released by the White House. “The gathering was organized by his friend, Prof. Ogletree. Valerie Jarrett also attended.”

A small crowd gathered at the corner of Alpine Street and Hudson Avenue, waving as the motorcade passed by. About a minute later, the motorcade passed an Oak Bluffs home where a man waved a large yellow “Don’t tread on me,” flag.

The motorcade arrived at Blue Heron Farm about 6:44 pm. A pair of wild turkeys took advantage of the blocked off roadway to meander slowly across South Road.

Shortly thereafter, the White House declared a full lid.

5:03 pm, Saturday

POTUS left Blue Heron Farm in a 17 car motorcade and arrived on Alpine Street in Oak Bluffs at 5:19 p.m.

“This evening the President is attending a social event at the home of Professor Charles Ogletree,” principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement released by the White House.

Mr. Ogletree is a prominent law professor and taught both the president and Michele Obama when they were students at Harvard Law School. He is a frequent summer visitor to Martha’s Vineyard.

Word about the president’s visit to the modest Oak Bluffs neighborhood apparently leaked. One resident put up a sign that said, “Welcome, Mr. President to Alpine Street.”

The press caught nary a fleeting glimpse of the president this evening, or at any other time today, so far.

– Steve Myrick, Martha’s Vineyard Times

12:30 pm, Saturday

The pool is staged and holding in West Tisbury at 12:30 pm.

A White House official released the president’s summer reading list. During his trip to Bunch of Grapes bookstore yesterday, in addition to some books for his daughters, POTUS bought The Bayou Trilogy, a collection by Daniel Woodrell; and Rodin’s Debutante, by Martha’s Vineyard seasonal resident Ward Just.

The President also brought three books with him on this trip: Cutting for Stone, a novel by Abraham Verghese; To the End of the Land, fiction by David Grossman, and The Warmth of Other Suns, the story of African-American migration from the South to northern cities.

– Steve Myrick, Martha’s Vineyard Times

10:14 pm, Friday

Obamas left farm at 7:25 for dinner, arriving Beach Plum Inn at Menemsha at 7:40.

Media pool ate pizza in telecoms black spot. 9:32, Obamas’ dinner date ends, return to Blue Heron Farm. Lid called at 9:43 pm

— Mike Seccombe, Vineyard Gazette

6:58 pm, Friday

The President left the Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown at 6:19 p.m. At 6:30 p.m. he arrived back at his vacation house at Blue Heron Farm. Pool is holding outside the farm.

Correction to first pool report earlier today: Flotus (First Lady of the United States) was not in the motorcade trip to Vineyard Haven to buy books, just Potus and the two girls.

— Mike Seccombe, Vineyard Gazette

2:38 pm, Friday

President Obama returned to Blue Heron Farm, Chilmark shortly after 1 pm, dropped off daughters, and the motorcade moved out again at 1:25, arriving at the Vineyard Golf Club, about 10 minutes later.

He is now playing a round with partners Eric Whittaker, Marvin Nicholson and Michael Brush.

– Mike Seccombe, Vineyard Gazette

12:35 pm, Friday

We are outside the Bunch of Grapes bookstore in Vineyard Haven, First Family has apparently gone into the bookstore, although we did not get a view. Main street is blocked off by the motorcade, large crowd is gathering on the street. Your pool is outside waiting, the day has turned very hot.

– Mike Seccombe, Vineyard Gazette

12:16 p.m., Friday

Pool is moving, Potus, Flotus and family have left Blue Heron Farm and are in motorcade.

Pool truck has left the Grey Barn and following motorcade on State Road, destination unknown.

– Mike Seccombe, Vineyard Gazette

6:30 pm, Thursday

Marine One landed on a heloport at Martha’s Vineyard airport at 5:57. The President f the United States (POTUS) disembarked at 6 pm looking casual in white shirt open at the collar and dark khaki slacks.

He arrived with golf partner and White House Trip Director Marvin Nicholson, and Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

Dozens of families dotted the route from Martha’s Vineyard Airport, waving, and snapping pictures.A crowd of 150 or more was gathered outside Alley’s General Store in West Tisbury. Roads were blocked off by police. Drivers and passengers in cars waiting behind the blockades could be seen craning out car windows to wave and take photos.

After ride down winding dirt road past fields with black and white cows grazing lazily, the press vans broke off from the motorcade.

The motorcade arrived at Blue Heron Farm at 6:13pm. That was it for the night.

4:30 pm, Thursday, Press Center

President Barack Obama has left the White House and is on his way to Martha’s Vineyard, according to the chatter in the Mansion House press center.

Mr. Obama was preceded by his wife Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia. The trio arrived at Martha’s Vineyard Airport just before 2 pm, Thursday on a U.S. government jet, the airport confirmed.

From the White House

The White House press office announced that the President will travel aboard Air Force One to Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod in Bourne Thursday afternoon. The arrival is open to the press.

Following his arrival on Cape Cod, the President will travel via Marine One to Martha’s Vineyard. The exact time of the President’s arrival at Martha’s Vineyard Airport is unknown. No public welcome is planned.