The rain here on Martha’s Vineyard knocked out some power in the Oak Bluffs section of the island, but that doesn’t seem to have affected the president’s desire for R&R.
The president spent Monday watching DVDs and playing the board game Taboo at Blue Heron Farm, the spacious $20 million estate the First Family rented, at a cost of somewhere between $35,000 and $50,000 a week.
Sitting on 28.5 acres in the Chilmark section of the island, the farm has its own private section of Squibnocket beach, four living residences including a white Victorian farm house, a gym, a swimming pool, an outdoor basketball half-court, and a putting green.
There haven’t been many media pictures of the First Family at play. White House officials say that’s because of privacy concerns, but it’s also true that with unemployment approaching 10%, and US troops in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan, there’s an added sensitivity about images of the First Vacationers having fun in the sun. Or the rain.
Later Monday afternoon the president headed out to play basketball at Oak Bluffs Elementary School with his friend Dr. Eric Whitaker, UBS Group Americas chairman and CEO Robert Wolf (also a member of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board), Wolf’s two teenage sons Luke and James, White House travel office director Peter Newell, White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton, White House trip director Marvin Nicholson, White House press assistant Ben Finkenbinder, and White House chef and policy adviser Sam Kass.
The temporary power outage did not affect the game; some of the lights in the gym went out because of the power outage but enough lights stayed on for the hoops to continue.
On Monday evening, the First Couple, senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, and Whitaker and his wife Cheryl stepped out to dine in Oak Bluffs, grabbing dinner at the aptly-named Sweet Life Cafe.
Others staying with the First Family on the estate include Jarrett and her daughter.
No word on whether the president has made a dent in the 576-page copy of Jonathan Franzen’s “Freedom,” of which he was given an early review copy by a local bookstore.
Watch our GMA report:
– Jake Tapper
*This post has been updated.