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Obama Vacations Where the Elite Meet
NBC ^ | Sun, Aug 23, 2009 | NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON

Posted on 08/23/2009 10:45:06 AM PDT by nickcarraway

As the health care debate rages on, President Barack Obama will begin a week-long vacation Sunday in Martha’s Vineyard, an enclave of liberal royalty far from middle America, where his approval numbers are starting to stall.

Already, at least one group on the right is taking a jab at Obama over his beach vacation — at a 28-acre farm, said to rent for up to $50,000 a week. Obama has struggled against the perception that he has trouble connecting with average voters, and some are questioning his choice of a getaway spot for the well-to-do. “The danger for President Obama is that he seems to be in what is one of the most elite summer resorts in the United States. From an image-making point of view, it would be better to be in the Wisconsin Dells or Put-in-Bay, Ohio,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian. “There is the connotation with Martha’s Vineyard of East Coast elitism…I have a feeling when they decided on Martha’s Vineyard they didn’t know the health care debate would be this brutal.”

The Republican group, Conservatives For Patients Rights, made an ad called “Surfs Up,” mocking Obama’s leisurely beachside vacation.

“The beach is nice this time of year but while President Obama vacations, concerns mount about his health care plan,” the ad says. “Mr. President, when you go back to D.C., drop your government run health care plan.” But the White House has been unapologetic about both the need for Obama to take a break from the battle over his health plan, and about his choice of a venue.

“I don’t think the American people begrudge a president taking some time with his family that’s well-earned and well-deserved for a few days to see and spend time with them,” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said. Gibbs also said the president isn’t planning any public events during his vacation but will be in touch with key congressional players.

The politics of presidential vacationing is hardly new. Obama’s predecessor steered clear of vacation spots of the rich and famous, but George W. Bush did take heat for spending a month or more at times on his ranch in Crawford, Tex. His father, President George H.W. Bush, also took flak for tooling around the family’s compound off Kennebunkport, Maine, in sleek cigarette boats during a recession.

Obama’s also has chosen a vacation spot associated with the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, who visited twice during his presidency – including once in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Sen. Edward Kennedy has a house in nearby Hyannisport, on Cape Cod. There was some speculation that Obama would visit Kennedy – who is battling a brain tumor – but the two will not meet, according to a Kennedy aide. Initially, presidential vacation watchers speculated that one of the reasons Obama chose Martha’s Vineyard was to visit Oak Bluffs, a historically black enclave where director Spike Lee, music executive Sylvia Rhone and Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree have houses, and where generations of blacks have spent summers at the Inkwell, as the beach is nicknamed.

But instead, Obama will be about 12 miles away on a secluded property in Chilmark called the Blue Heron Farm, in the same town as Clinton pal Vernon Jordan, who is known to keep a daily, early morning golf date at the Farm Neck Club in Oak Bluffs.

The sprawling beach-front estate includes a golf tee, an apple orchard, gardens, swimming pool and a small basketball court. The president is paying for his family’s portion of the rental out of his own pocket, with the government picking up Secret Service and staff costs.

During the campaign, Obama visited Martha’s Vineyard for fundraising, and in summer 2004, there was a kind of coming out party for the soon-to-be junior senator from Illinois. Organized by senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, who owns a home on the island, the event drew a crowd of about 300 A-listers to the summer rental of Harvard professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, a friend of Obama’s who once hosted the Clintons at the home in Oak Bluffs. Obama is expected to see Gates this week as well, friends say – just weeks after Gates attended the “beer summit” at the White House, following Gates’ arrest on disorderly conduct charges at his home by a white Cambridge, Mass., police officer.

Obama came out strongly in defense of Gates, saying police “acted stupidly” in arresting the professor. It was the first racial imbroglio of his term, and set off a firestorm that Obama tried to quiet by bringing Gates and the officer to the White House.

Palling around with Gates could re-open a conversation that Obama doesn’t want to have, some say.

“It would be hard to avoid seeing Skip [Gates] because he is out and about so much . . . but I think it would be a mistake to go over to Skip’s for a beer,” said Melissa Harris Lacewell, a political science professor at Princeton University, who was on the Vineyard last week for an annual conference on race. “He doesn’t want to encourage the sense that he has an intimate relationship to Skip or that he has any lingering responsibility. He [Obama] has done his part in all of this.”

Ogletree, who owns a home in Oak Bluffs, said that there aren’t any plans for a reception for Obama similar to the one in 2004. “People are ready, willing and able to host him in any way, but they want him to get privacy and rest,” said Ogletree, a mentor to Michelle Obama who was Gates’ lawyer after he was arrested. Harris Lacewell said Americans shouldn’t be surprised the president wants to go to a nice place for vacation, especially a place like Martha’s Vineyard where he has many friends.

“If he wants to hang out where other presidents hang out then he can,” she said. “America is going to have to get over the fact that the guy is an elite. He lives in the White House -- he can vacation in the Vineyard.” But Obama’s in-box will be stuffed full when he gets back – heading into a critical month of September on health care, but also facing big decisions other parts of his legislative agenda such as cap-and-trade energy legislation, as well as an expected request for more troops from his commander in Afghanistan.

He’ll also face liberals growing anxious that Obama is prepared to sacrifice some of their key priorities on health care and other issues – which would shatter their hopes that Obama would usher in a new progressive era in American politics.

“The President needs to use his vacation not just as a well-deserved break to be with his family but as a time of contemplation, to step back and ask why he ran for President,” Drew Westen, a political psychologist, wrote on POLITICO’s The Arena. “He needs to come out in September with an answer.”


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Massachusetts
KEYWORDS: bho44; bhovacation; billionaires; luxury; marthasvineyard; millionaires; obama; ramadan2009

1 posted on 08/23/2009 10:45:06 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
Sen. Edward Kennedy has a house in nearby Hyannisport, on Cape Cod. There was some speculation that Obama would visit Kennedy – who is battling a brain tumor – but the two will not meet, according to a Kennedy aide.

Well this kinda tells literally what old Teddy's condition is. But he can still write letters. s/

2 posted on 08/23/2009 10:49:23 AM PDT by Just mythoughts
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To: nickcarraway

They flew Air Force One to Martha’s Vineyard? How big is the airport there? Why didn’t they fly a smaller jet? Maybe they’ll fly by Manhattan, again, on their way home.


3 posted on 08/23/2009 10:50:18 AM PDT by moose2004 (Stand up, speak out and stop Obamacare and GE)
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To: nickcarraway
Hurricane Bill ran Bill and Hillary out of Bermuda, then it headed straight for Martha's Vineyard! Karma out to get them.
4 posted on 08/23/2009 10:51:26 AM PDT by buffyt (As Mark Steyn said on Hannity last night, the whole system would be a death panel.)
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To: nickcarraway
“...far from middle America, where his approval numbers are starting to stall.”

The understatement of the millennium.

5 posted on 08/23/2009 10:51:59 AM PDT by moose2004 (Stand up, speak out and stop Obamacare and GE)
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To: nickcarraway

The FreeRepublic rally we had in DC October 1998 was FANTASTIC!


6 posted on 08/23/2009 10:52:13 AM PDT by buffyt (As Mark Steyn said on Hannity last night, the whole system would be a death panel.)
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To: nickcarraway
“I don’t think the American people begrudge a president taking some time with his family that’s well-earned and well-deserved for a few days to see and spend time with them,” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

The LEFT WING MOONBATS begrudged everything President Bush did including his vacations at his ranch. Bush couldn't do anything unless that bunch of KOOKS attacked him or found fault. And on that note, OBUMMER will get the same respect the LEFT WING KOOKS gave President Bush. So, Enjoy!
7 posted on 08/23/2009 10:53:24 AM PDT by Paige ("All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing," Edmund Burke)
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To: nickcarraway
Does this mean we get a two week vacation from BHO?? Please!
8 posted on 08/23/2009 10:56:02 AM PDT by LA Woman3 (Barack Obama hates old people...)
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To: nickcarraway
a 28-acre farm, said to rent for up to $50,000 a week.

I'm curious. Who pays this amount?

9 posted on 08/23/2009 10:56:18 AM PDT by Sherman Logan ("The price of freedom is the toleration of imperfections." Thomas Sowell)
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To: Sherman Logan
I am curious, too. He makes $400,000/year. His ‘date-night’ in NYC cost $250,000. Now this. I realize that we, the taxpayers, are paying for all his and his family's entertainment, but which pocket exactly is it coming from?
10 posted on 08/23/2009 11:01:22 AM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: nickcarraway

I love the Vineyard but can’t stand the Moonbat Leftists who inhabit it.


11 posted on 08/23/2009 11:02:50 AM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: LA Woman3

My husband said he hopes Obama takes a permanent vacation! Just don’t let him back into DC!


12 posted on 08/23/2009 11:03:50 AM PDT by buffyt (As Mark Steyn said on Hannity last night, the whole system would be a death panel.)
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To: originalbuckeye; Sherman Logan
From the article: The president is paying for his family’s portion of the rental out of his own pocket, with the government picking up Secret Service and staff costs.
13 posted on 08/23/2009 11:04:06 AM PDT by McLynnan
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To: originalbuckeye

Of the $250k, the vast majority was travel and security associated. I have no problem paying for that. Similar costs apply whenever the pres goes anywhere.

But either the government or Obama himself, or some entity is coughing up the funds for the rental of this “farm.” Even if it’s donated by the owners, wouldn’t that be an illegal gift?


14 posted on 08/23/2009 11:05:47 AM PDT by Sherman Logan ("The price of freedom is the toleration of imperfections." Thomas Sowell)
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To: McLynnan

You read the article?!!?


15 posted on 08/23/2009 11:06:43 AM PDT by Sherman Logan ("The price of freedom is the toleration of imperfections." Thomas Sowell)
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To: nickcarraway
This is what you get when you elect someone (a Kenyan)that has never had to work a day in their lives and who has no concept what the value of a dollar is access to neverending funds.

This guy has never seen the inside of a check book....

16 posted on 08/23/2009 11:06:54 AM PDT by isthisnickcool (GIVE ME YOUR MONEY BITCH! - President Obama)
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To: nickcarraway
The low brow almost proud to be American's, racists meet the elite.
17 posted on 08/23/2009 11:08:02 AM PDT by boomop1
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To: McLynnan
That's very clever wording, I'm sure the lion share of the costs will not be born by the Obamas. I wonder what the actual costs for the Secret Service and staff are. Maybe it's time for a FOIA.
18 posted on 08/23/2009 11:09:19 AM PDT by moose2004 (Stand up, speak out and stop Obamacare and GE)
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To: nickcarraway
“America is going to have to get over the fact that the guy is an elite.

And he and his ilk are going to have to realize that they work for us.

19 posted on 08/23/2009 11:18:46 AM PDT by keepitreal ( Don't tread on me.)
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To: nickcarraway

‘’Duffys’ Tavern, where the elite meet to eat, Archie the manager speaking, Duffy ain’t here.’’


20 posted on 08/23/2009 11:28:25 AM PDT by Waco (OK Libs, stop emiting now.)
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To: originalbuckeye

“I love the Vineyard but can’t stand the Moonbat Leftists who inhabit it.”

I’ll take Nantucket. Obama can have the Vinyard and....


21 posted on 08/23/2009 11:28:26 AM PDT by takbodan (.)
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To: Waco

Is that still on the radio?


22 posted on 08/23/2009 11:35:10 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: McLynnan

Sorry. Everyone associated with Zero seem to be pathological liars. I don’t buy it.


23 posted on 08/23/2009 11:44:49 AM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: nickcarraway

He and Michelle just want to lord it over the elites.


24 posted on 08/23/2009 11:45:03 AM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: McLynnan
One more comment: When the Clintons bought their Chappaqua property, it came with a guest house. They charge our Government for the Secret Service to stay in the guest house. I have read that is an equivalent amount to cover the mortgage on the big house. I did read this article. I just don't believe it.
25 posted on 08/23/2009 11:48:45 AM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: originalbuckeye

“I love the Vineyard but can’t stand the Moonbat Leftists who inhabit it.”

They are not all leftist moonbats!! believe it or not there are many conservative people on the Vineyard and a lurking freeper or two!! Alot of the liberals washed ashore in the 60’s


26 posted on 08/23/2009 11:55:37 AM PDT by timetostand
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To: timetostand
Haven't been there since I left Boston in 1984. Waaaaay Lib back then. Glad to hear it's a bit more Conservative. Might try vacationing there again.
27 posted on 08/23/2009 12:09:38 PM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: nickcarraway

Ramadan vacaton I’ll bet .


28 posted on 08/23/2009 12:19:02 PM PDT by lionheart 247365 (-: Who needs scare tactics at a HORROR SHOW ??? :-)
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To: originalbuckeye

Don’t get me wrong, this is moonbat central but there are America loving patriots on MV aswell.


29 posted on 08/23/2009 12:22:05 PM PDT by timetostand
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To: Sherman Logan; originalbuckeye; moose2004

I know, I know — I bucked the system and read the article. I don’t begrudge a sitting president a vacation. What does bother me is the “let them eat cake” attitude. They could have used this as an opportunity to set an example on wise use of taxpayer funds by choosing someplace a little less high dollar and demonstrate how a family of four can get away on a budget when money is tight. But NO, that’s not for the royal Obamas. Instead they spend the equivalent of an average family’s annual income on a week away in status symbol land. The country is not in the mood for a President who flaunts his expensive tastes while the rest of us try to pay for his irresponsible programs.


30 posted on 08/23/2009 12:23:56 PM PDT by McLynnan
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To: McLynnan

If I remember correctly Bush usually took vacations at his house in Texas. Once they went to a home that Daddy (I think) owns up there somewhere.
Don’t the Obamas still own their home in Chicago? They should vacation there or Camp David..........period.
Anything else shows their arrogance and elitism.


31 posted on 08/23/2009 12:55:11 PM PDT by sheana
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To: sheana

You are thinking of Kennebunkport, Maine, the summer home of Sen. Prescott Bush (CT) on down, father of 41, g.father 43.


32 posted on 08/23/2009 1:11:21 PM PDT by SES1066 (Cycling to conserve, Conservative to save, Saving to Retire, will Retire to Cycle.)
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To: McLynnan
They could have used this as an opportunity to set an example on wise use of taxpayer funds by choosing someplace a little less high dollar and demonstrate how a family of four can get away on a budget when money is tight. But NO, that’s not for the royal Obamas. Instead they spend the equivalent of an average family’s annual income on a week away in status symbol land. The country is not in the mood for a President who flaunts his expensive tastes while the rest of us try to pay for his irresponsible programs.

Excellent post! When the Clintons went to Martha's Vineyard they stayed at homes owned by friends, which is far different than spending $50K for a week when most Americans are cutting back.

33 posted on 08/23/2009 1:18:04 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: nickcarraway
My wry commentary on this is that he is probably getting off-the-air kudos from the Media who abhorred Bush-43's Crawford, Texas with a passion. Too much of the 'common folk' who drove pickups and actually worked for a living. Too much TEXAS and where the nearest 'descent' food was in WACO and that was by secondary roads.

Martha’s Vineyard, by comparison has civilized folk who live by the Boston Globe and NY Times and have voted Kennedy all of their lives (probably some even afterwards). What a change that is everything that they hoped and voted for. Of course, I happened to note this obligatory hit on Bush-41/43 in the WaPo which conveniently does not specify the time frames covered;

Obama is taking only a week off from his day job, far less than some of his predecessors. Former president George H. W. Bush often took several weeks at Kennybunkport, Maine. His son, George W. Bush, spent weeks at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

My personal opinion is that with modern technology and the White House support structure, no President is ever really on vacation, he is just out from under of the regimented White House schedule. I begrudge none of these quasi-vacations of any of them from the world's toughest job.

34 posted on 08/23/2009 1:29:58 PM PDT by SES1066 (Cycling to conserve, Conservative to save, Saving to Retire, will Retire to Cycle.)
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To: nickcarraway

The president is paying for his family’s portion of the rental out of his own pocket, with the government picking up Secret Service and staff costs.


Cool. He pays his share of the $50,000. The more agents he ties up at increased taxpayer expense, the less his family’s share of the costs. I’m doubting his share will reflect the real economic value of the “big house” compared to the barracks the agents will probably be housed in. Same for actual catering costs.


35 posted on 08/23/2009 2:07:07 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Typical "Rightwing Extremist")
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