Obama Beat


A weekly gleaning of news reports about President Obama’s vacation: Where he will stay, what he will do, and references to the Island (described as tony and chic, didn’t you know?) and Islanders that may surprise some.

In two weeks, President Barack Obama and his family will arrive on Martha’s Vineyard for a ten-day vacation. Compared with last summer’s trip to the Vineyard, the coverage is spare and muted.

Perhaps there is nothing much to say. Which may be why Martha’s Vineyard Magazine published a recycled account of the first presidential visit in its August issue titled, “In search of Obama.”

“Text messages relayed possible sightings, and much of Martha’s Vineyard was atwitter,” Sam Bungey wrote. “When POTUS was on the Island last August, many tried to catch a glimpse of him, including this intrepid Vineyard Gazette reporter.”

A presidential visit provides more than an opportunity to sell tee-shirts and souvenir knickknacks. The Associated Press reported on July 29, “Top Obama aide to host Patrick event on Vineyard.”

The AP said that President Barack Obama’s upcoming vacation on Martha’s Vineyard “will give Gov. Deval Patrick a fundraising opportunity.”

According to the AP, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, close Obama friend and East Chop resident, will host an event for the governor on Aug. 21 at the home of developer Richard Friedman in Edgartown.

Mr. Friedman, owner of the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, hosted President Bill Clinton and his family during their Vineyard vacations.

USA Today provided an outline of the presidential schedule under the headline, “The Obama family is on the move in August.”

“It’ll be a busy August for the First Family,” Kitty Bean Yancey wrote. “First, Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha, 9, are due to start a four-day private visit in Spain Wednesday (sister Malia is at camp and dad is staying home). The word in Spain is that they’re staying with friends at the posh Hotel Villa Padierna, which is a Ritz-Carlton property on the outskirts of the flashy beach resort of Marbella.”

Ms. Yancey provided a description of the Spanish resort’s attractions before moving on to the next stop in the August presidential itinerary.

“Next up for the First Family is an Aug. 14-15 stay on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The president has drawn criticism from some quarters for vacationing elsewhere while this popular tourist region suffers from the oil spill.” Gulf leaders are understandably happy, she reported.

“Then the Obamas are due to return to the chic Northeast vacation spot they loved last year: Martha’s Vineyard. They’re scheduled to be on the tony island Aug. 19-29, and smart money says they’ll likely rent the same house they did last year, since it has every amenity and more importantly, is in a protected location that can be secured more easily than most MV digs.”

The story ended with the question: “So, where would you rather go in August: Marbella, Gulf Coast or the Vineyard?”

Of the more than 100 people who posted online comments, most had little to say about the merits of the three vacation spots but plenty to say about the president’s plans.

Mao270 wrote, “Glad our president can take ‘chic’ vacations while the rest of us sit back and worry about the economy. Guess he’ll be working on his golf swing instead of issues that should have been delt [sic] with the last time he took vacation, or golfed for the heck of it, or had a nice party with expensive food at the white house.”

The Times July 29 “Obama Beat” attracted kinder observations.

A commenter identified as Leslie wrote, “Congratulations MV! Take good care of our hard-working President Obama, show him a good time, and make certain he gets some well-earned rest.

And KGH wrote, “Welcome back Mr. President. We hope you and your family have an enjoyable and restful vacation.”