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Fun and golf on Obama's holiday

Last updated on: August 28, 2009 

Fun and golf on Obama's holiday

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United States President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle and his daughters Sasha and Malia are enjoying their first vacation after occupying the White House in January this year.

Far from the maddening crowds of Washington, Obama is spending his time by playing golf, cycling across the countryside, visiting local monuments and eating out at popular eateries in the quaint island.


Image: US President Barack Obama watches his tee shot while golfing at Mink Meadows golf course
Photographs: Brian Snyder/Reuters
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Obamas paying for the vacation

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The White House has repeatedly stressed that the Obamas are paying for the vacation, including shelling out a whopping $25,000 for renting a local mansion called Blue Heron Farm, from their own pockets.

Image: Obama signs autographs for golfers before his round of golf at Mink Meadows Golf Club

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Historical connection

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The picturesque island off the south of Cape Cod in New England also holds a special significance for America's first black president.

In the past, many black families flocked to Martha's Vineyard during the summers, tired of the racial discrimination they faced at more conventional holiday spots.

The island was also a favourite getaway for civil rights champion Martin Luther King Jr.


Image: US President Barack Obama and his family and friends tour Gay Head lighthouse in Aquinnah on Martha's Vineyard
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters
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White House tradition

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Obama's visit is also in tune with a White House tradition, as American presidents usually take a break during August, trying to beat the soaring mercury in Washington.

In fact, Obama's predecessor George W Bush was often chided for taking too many holidays, and faced scathing criticism for being on a vacation at his Texas ranch while the devastating Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on US coast.


Image: Malia (Left) and Sasha (Centre) Obama step out onto the balcony of Gay Head Lighthouse with an unidentified friend
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters
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Vacation in poor taste?

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Even Obama's vacation has attracted the ire of many detractors, who believe that the President taking such an over-hyped vacation, at a time when most Americans cannot afford a vacation at all, was in poor taste.

Critics point out that Obama could have skipped the vacation and stayed put at the White House, to convey to the American public that tackling issues like high unemployment levels and a tottering economy was more important than taking a break.


Image: Obama rides a bike with his daughter Sasha (Centre) in Aquinnah on Martha's Vineyard
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters
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Obama's popularity at all-time low

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A recent poll by a leading American daily showed that Obama's popularity levels had hit an all-time low. While 60 per cent of Americans expressed confidence in Obama's decision-making skills when he completed 100 days as the US president, only 49 per cent have retained that confidence.

Image: Obama carries two bags containing takeout food that he bought from Nancy's restaurant in Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters
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Obama's toughest test

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Obama also faces one of the toughest tests of his presidential careers, when he tries to push through his controversial health care reform bill through the Congress in September.

Obama's opponents have strongly opposed the bill that promises to overhaul the country's health care system completely.


Image: Obama (Centre, rear) poses with workers at Nancy's restaurant
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters
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Away from media glare

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Though the White House has urged the press to respect the privacy of the President and his family while they are on vacation, Obama himself addressed mediapersons to express his grief over the death of Senator Ted Kennedy.

Image: US first lady Michelle Obama (Left) with her daughters Malia (Right) and Sasha during lunch at Nancy's restaurant
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters
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