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Gibbs to press: Let the Obamas enjoy their Vineyard vacation

By Matthew Shaer / August 21, 2009



These are the dog days of summer, and in DC, where the summer heat can be stifling, it's time for the annual recess. Time for all those politicians, lobbyists, interns, and assorted brass to leave the steamy Washington soup, and head for cooler climes. And the president is no exception.

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Starting on Sunday, Barack Obama and his family will be vacationing on Martha's Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts. (The Vineyard, perhaps not coincidentally, was also a favorite destination of the Clintons.) So what will the president be doing on his days off? The White House is keeping travel plans intentionally vague, but the Boston Herald is reporting that Obama could play a couple rounds of golf with Tiger Woods.

On the other hand, he might just lounge on the beach. Or keep up with all those "death panel" rumors. Regardless of what's on the Obamas' schedule, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs had one message for the hordes of press preparing to descend on the Vineyard: Give the family some space.

"It is our strong hope and desire that you all, during this family vacation, will respect the privacy of Sasha and Malia," Gibbs said today, according to the Washington Post. "If the girls are out and about on Martha's Vineyard without their parents, it's our strong desire that you give them their space, their privacy, and you do not cover two little girls who are on vacation."

OK, so the press is being told to stay away. But no one's warning off the residents of the Vineyard, who seem more than excited to host another president. "I think people are optimistic that the first family will visit certain events or stop in different stores, restaurants," Nancy Gardella, the executive director of the Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, told the Voice of America. "But it almost doesn't matter what they do, we're just so excited that they chose Martha's Vineyard again for a family destination, for vacation, and our hope is that they have a great time while they're here."

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