President Barack Obama, his wife and two daughter kick off their sixth holiday of the year today, an 11-day splash in Martha’s Vineyard, the fabled destination of the wealthy and elite, according to a report in the UK's Telegraph newspaper.
A White House spokeman said that the president was “going to spend a little time recharging his batteries” at the Massachusetts island.
The latest first family junket comes on the heels of Michelle Obama being criticised over expense of her recent Spain trip.
“There will be some hiking, some time at the beach, some time at the ice cream store - all the sort of things you do when you’re at Martha’s Vineyard. You enjoy the people and the good food,” said the spokesman.
Obama is also expected to get in some rounds of golf at Mink Meadows golf club in Vineyard Haven.
Meanwhile, according to an AP report, doubts remain about the strength of the U.S. economy, and Obama tried to tamp them down before his 10-day vacation on Martha's Vineyard. He called on lawmakers to pass a small business aid package when they return next month.
"A majority of senators are in favor of the bill and yet the obstruction continues," he said before departing the White House on Thursday. "It's obstruction that stands in the way of small business owners getting the loans and the tax cuts that they need to prosper. It's obstruction that defies common sense."
With that final jab at Republicans, he traded his suit coat and tie for an open collar, flew up to this island playground and settled into the 30-acre Blue Heron Farm, where the first family stayed last year.
First lady Michelle Obama traveled separately with daughters Sasha and Malia, after picking up 12-year-old Malia following two weeks at a summer camp. Family dog Bo also made the trip.
The White House said it was hoping for a news-free trip, but shortly after the president arrived, he announced a series of recess appointments. He filled four diplomatic and agency jobs under a temporary authority he gains while Congress is on recess, and he blamed Republicans for forcing him to bypass the normal confirmation process.
"At a time when our nation faces so many pressing challenges, I urge members of the Senate to stop playing politics with our highly qualified nominees, and fulfill their responsibilities of advice and consent," the president said in a statement. "Until they do, I reserve the right to act within my authority to do what is best for the American people."
Martha's Vineyard has previously played host not only to Obama, but also two other presidents, Bill Clinton and Ulysses S. Grant. It has been a traditional gathering point for affluent African-Americans, and Obama visited even before he was elected the country's first black president in 2008.
"It's a beautiful part of the country. It has really nice beaches and the folks are really great. The food is terrific," deputy press secretary Bill Burton told reporters aboard Air Force One. "And it's someplace that the president went before he was president and likes to go back, because it's a comfortable place where he can rest and recharge the batteries a little bit."
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