Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

On Obama Vacation, the Job Tags Along

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

On Obama Vacation, the Job Tags Along

Article excerpt

President Obama's vacation to Martha's Vineyard won't be your traditional vacation, if history is any guide. Events have a way of interfering with Obama's rare downtime.

Imagine: You're ready for a well-earned end-of-summer break, some golf, a dip in the ocean, ice cream with the kids. And oh by the way, you'll be taking a bunch of people from the office with you.

That's what President Obama faces as he begins his 10-day vacation on Martha's Vineyard. Top aide Valerie Jarrett is there, though since she's an old friend from Chicago, maybe having her along doesn't totally count as "office." Plus, she has her own place on the island. (The Obamas are renting the same digs as last year, Blue Heron Farm, at their own expense.)

But Jarrett isn't the only White House staffer who tagged along with the president. Pete Rouse, another senior adviser known for his low-key problem-solving, came along as well. Ditto Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan. Denis McDonough, the National Security Council chief of staff, is also going to "show up at some point to help out," per deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton, who is there doing the honors with regular briefings.

IN PICTURES: Obama family vacations

Mr. Obama will also be getting his regular intelligence briefings and briefings on the economy and "other issues as they come up," says Mr. Burton. And they will.

As Mr. Burton discovered on last year's Martha's Vineyard vacation, the presidency never sleeps - or relaxes, really. Last August, the junior spokesman urged the press corps to relax, have a good time, and maybe go for some strolls on the beach.


Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke dropped by the island and stood by Obama's side as the president nominated him for a second term. That same day, political ally and mentor Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) of Massachusetts passed away, and Obama headed up to Boston a few days later to deliver the eulogy. …

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