Obama family starts vacation on Mount Desert Island

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine (AP) — President Barack Obama brought his family to the coast of Maine Friday for a biking and hiking getaway made even sweeter by a double helping of good news from Congress and the Gulf of Mexico.

Barack Obama
Charles Dharapak

U.S. Secret Service agents stands watch as President Barack Obama eats coconut ice cream during a visit to Mount Desert Island Ice Cream in Bar Harbor, Maine, Friday, July 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama
Charles Dharapak

President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha, visit Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine, Friday, July 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Sasha Obama, Malia Obama
Susan Walsh

President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama walk with their children, Sasha, second from left, and Malia, right, as they head to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, July 16, 2010. The Obama's are spending the weekend in Maine (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Obama, his wife Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha arrived at Bar Harbor airport on a smaller version of Air Force One around lunchtime. Their dog, Bo, and staff had arrived earlier.

The Obamas planned to stay through Sunday to enjoy Acadia National Park's trails and scenic coastal views. No public events were planned.

The first family wasted no time taking advantage of the great outdoors. From the airport, the Obamas' motorcade drove onto Mount Desert Island, passing forested granite hills and ocean inlets before turning onto a narrow park road. Aides said the family rode bicycles on a trail along Witch Hole Pond.

Later in the afternoon, the Obamas were driven to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, the tallest peak on the east coast, where they gazed out over Bar Harbor, Frenchman Bay and Somes Sound. Malia balanced on a granite outcrop, arms stretched out in the air, as the family listened to a park ranger.

Obama's getaway from the Washington bubble he regularly decries came a day after the Senate sent him a far-reaching new banking and consumer protection bill that had been one of the president's top domestic priorities since taking office. It also came a day after BP managed to cap the well that has been spewing oil into the Gulf since April.

Obama no doubt hopes this jaunt doesn't fall victim to the family's travel hex. That would be the one in which events seem to scramble the plans whenever Obama has his wife and daughters in tow.

In a mere 18 months on the job, Obama has rolled up an impressive record of diversions, interruptions, delays and outright cancellations of planned family travel — all thanks to the nonstop demands of a turbulent presidency.

The visit to Acadia National Park follows last summer's Obama family trip to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Canyon National Park, which included whitewater rafting and peach-picking.

But that schedule was altered to include town meetings in Montana and Colorado, so Obama could address the growing furor over his health care plan.

It set a pattern, which has continued this year.

Their Memorial Day weekend in Chicago was overtaken by the Gulf oil spill. After the Obamas slept at their Chicago home for the first time in a year, the president got up and left for a daylong Gulf inspection tour.

That followed the Obamas' Christmas trip to Hawaii, interrupted repeatedly for briefings and comment on the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound jet.

And it followed last summer's Martha's Vineyard stay, marred by the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, whose Boston funeral Obama and his wife, Michelle, attended.

Then there was the planned visit to Indonesia, where Obama spent part of his youth. He'd hoped to show his daughters his old haunts. But the trip was scrubbed twice, first in March as health care neared its climax in Congress, then again in June because of the oil spill. It's now expected late this year.

The spill could further scramble the family's plans. In an NBC interview Thursday, Obama didn't rule out a vacation trip to a Gulf beach.

Despite two wars and an economic collapse crowding his plate, Obama's taken comparatively little time off.

According to a tally kept by Mark Knoller, a CBS News reporter long recognized by the White House as authoritative on such matters, Obama has spent all or part of 65 days on vacation, including days at Camp David. At this point in his tenure, George W. Bush had logged 120 days. That included 13 trips to his Texas ranch.

That hasn't stopped critics from complaining. GOP Chairman Michael Steele, for one, has been scathing — calling it incredible that Obama goes on golf outings while oil flows into the Gulf.

The White House dismisses such gripes.

Bar Harbor and its surroundings are famed as a summer getaway for the rich and famous, from the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts who built homes there, to Hollywood stars who often turn up.

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Comments

Nathan McCarron's picture

Does it really matter...

Before you all go taking pot shots across the political aisles, you all need to focus on a bigger problem. Does not matter if you're democrat or republican. Both these parties have continued spending money that our country just doesn't have. Don't believe me? Check this out:

http://www.treas.gov/tic/mfh.txt

This link shows what the US Treasury lists as the USA's creditors.

Add to that our government continues to hand out billions....BILLIONS (depending what you google, estimates are between 4-15 BILLION PER YEAR) to governments that thumb their noses at us. Heck, we subsidize foreign competition with some of these handouts (Brazilian Agriculture, etc).

If you or I spent like this, we'd be standing before a judge with a room full of creditors in the gallery.

Instead of taking pot shots across the political aisle, maybe you all should direct your fire at our Congressional and Senate representation.

 's picture

What an idiot, Mt Washington

isn't ON the coast, not that you would understand higher logic.

Bob Stone's picture

Tron must be sleeping...or at the beach...or in Bar Harbor

It's summer. Let the Obamas have a nice weekend in a beautiful part of Maine.

A little golf. Cigars. Lobster. Shelling. Views from Cadillac. Thunder Hole. The Jordan Pond House.

I wonder what the poor people are doing. To the victors, go the spoils.

Nowadays

Nowadays Voisine it truthfully is when you vote Republican and the party plank stands on repealing the UN charter on protecting children. This is a sad days because most of those who satisfy themselves and call themselves Republican use racism to do so. Then create a caste system much like the Communist channels which is a bastardization of the Marxist system. As Nixon says Republicans use that as a majority performance to appeal to the secret and closeted Communist community in America.

Ed Enos's picture

vacation

We gripe when Obama goes on vacation and we gripe when the head of BP attends a wkend boat race and we gripe when our vacations are over. I think we just like to gripe.

Mark Wrenn's picture

tax cuts

Are you also aware that according to CBO the soaring deficits are due to the Bush tax cuts?

Ed Enos's picture

Interesting that the vast

Interesting that the vast majority of illegal immigrants live in the south. Perhaps they want to secede form the United States and become part of Mexico again? And I believe the Mexicans have the highest percentage of Roman Catholics in North America? Follows the "poll" results quite nicely.

Mark Wrenn's picture

duh

You mean he had the power way back when the war started? Geez, he's good!

Michael Schaedler's picture

Welcome to Maine. Maybe some

Welcome to Maine. Maybe some quiet time and good salt air will help you make some better decisions in the days to come.

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