Libya, Hurricane Irene and an earthquake have interrupted President Obama's Martha's Vineyard vacation, emergencies on top of the work be brought with him to the island: creating another jobs program, to be unveiled next month.
It's Wednesday, a little more than halfway through his island visit. In the late afternoon, Obama motorcaded to a nine-hole course to play golf. UPDATE Obama golfing companions were White House chef and food policy advisor Sam Kass, Chicago buddy Eric Whitaker and White House Trip Advance Director Marvin Nicholson. END UPDATE
Obama, First Lady Michelle, Sasha and Malia are still scheduled to stay at their rented home on Martha's Vineyard through Saturday--even as Irene could pass west of the island sometime this weekend. In past days, Obama visited a bookstore, rode bikes and hung out on a beach with his family.
At a morning briefing, principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama has "spent a decent amount of time dealing with sort of the day-to-day responsibilities of being president but also some of the emergent situations that we've seen in the last couple of days in terms of the developments in Libya, in terms of the earthquake, in terms of the preparations for the hurricane.
"So there have been some things that have intervened. But I also -- it's fair to say that he's gotten an opportunity to spend some time with his daughters before they have to go back to school. And I -- that's something that he's enjoyed quite a bit," Earnest said.
The Republican National Committee slammed Obama for not coming home--but the president, as is well known--whether Republican or Democrat--brings his staff, communications systems, etc. and responsibilities with him no matter where he goes.
Still, the White House has been sure to detail some of Obama's calls to seek input on his upcoming jobs package and briefings with his national security and emergency management teams. That's in order to demonstrate that he is on top of the changing situations in Libya and the possibility of a major hurricane hitting the east coast.
On Sunday night, Obama, visited senior advisor and friend Valerie Jarrett at her rented Martha's Vineyard home, in Oak Bluffs and led a Libya conference call from her place with senior members of his national security team about the latest developments.
On Monday, Obama put on a suitcoat--no tie--to call on Libya's Muammar Qaddafi to step down, speaking outdoors at his rented retreat, the Blue Heron Farm.
"Although it's clear that Qaddafi'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."
On Tuesday, an hour after the earthquake struck--Obama was golfing at the time--Obama led a conference call on the earthquake and Hurricane Irene by a team that included 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.
The Tuesday pool report noted that before Mrs. Obama and Sasha Obama arrived for the bikeride, "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."