Obama: `Having a great time' despite vacation rain

By Glen Johnson
Associated Press Writer / August 24, 2010

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WEST TISBURY, Mass.—The wind, rain and gloom that have curtailed most outdoor activities for the past three days have done little to keep President Barack Obama from enjoying his Martha's Vineyard vacation.

While he's been able to sneak in two rounds of golf, he told reporters Tuesday he's "doing a lot of reading" at the farm compound he's rented for the first family. "I'm having a great time," he said.

The president made the remarks, his first in public since heading out on vacation last week, as he escorted first lady Michelle Obama from the State Road restaurant.

The couple dined out for the second consecutive night, this time with Washington power broker Vernon Jordan and his wife, Ann, as well as Chicago friends Eric and Cheryl Whitaker. White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett also joined the group.

Fellow diners cheered the president and clapped as he left the restaurant. Obama paused for pictures and signed autographs. While Mrs. Obama wore a colorful print dress with contrasting sleeves, he looked more subdued in khakis, a striped dress shirt and blue outdoor jacket.

A strong thunderstorms have lashed the island off Massachusetts since Sunday, causing power outages, curtailing air transportation and forcing ferry cancellations. It's also triggered traffic jams and long lines at movie theaters, restaurants and other indoor venues.

The Obamas are scheduled to remain on vacation until Sunday, when the president heads to New Orleans to check on the gulf oil spill cleanup and to mark the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Last Friday, Obama kicked off his vacation with what has proved to be a prescient decision: He stopped at a Vineyard Haven bookstore and picked up three books for himself: "Freedom" by Jonathan Franzen, "Tinkers" by Paul Harding and "A Few Corrections" by Brad Leithauser.

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