Obama ends frenetic vacation

OAK BLUFFS, Stephen Collinson - US President Barack Obama headed back to Washington Sunday after a week-long vacation on the resort island of Martha's Vineyard, interrupted by a crush of outside events.
Despite a few rounds of golf and the odd spot of tourism with wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha, Obama did not get the relaxation he sought.
The vacation took on a somber tone after the death on Tuesday of Obama's friend and political mentor Edward Kennedy and the senator's funeral mass in Boston on Saturday at which Obama delivered the eulogy.

Obama ends frenetic vacation
The president spent the last half-day of his holiday with his family, taking his daughters to buy candy and ice cream at a general store close to the Blue Heron farm compound where he was staying.
Obama returns to Washington to renew his effort to pass a sweeping health care reform plan through Congress, and with his personal approval ratings eroding due to the punishing economic crisis.
On Wednesday, the president will head off to his official Camp David retreat in Maryland for a four-day break -- seeking the quiet that evaded him in the millionaires playground on the US east coast.
"He is looking to get a break from his vacation," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said.
"I don't think you can replicate such a terrific place as Martha's Vineyard, but I do think that he's looking to get some more rest and relaxation when he goes up there," Burton said.
The Camp David trip, over the Labor Day weekend, had been tentatively planned before Obama headed on vacation.
Burton had said last week that the president had been looking for a news-free week on his first family holiday since taking office seven months ago.
But it did not turn out that way.
Obama called Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke to the island to nominate him for a second term on Tuesday. The announcement seemed partly timed to deflect attention from staggering new figures on the budget deficit.
Hours later, Obama was awoken in the early hours to learn that Kennedy had lost his battle with brain cancer.
Early the next morning, Obama went before the cameras to make a statement describing the veteran senator as a "singular figure" in American history.
He flew to Boston on Friday night, to outrun a tropical depression in the Atlantic ocean that threatened to thwart his travel plans on Saturday morning.
In between the interruptions, Obama has managed to find time to play golf, visit local restaurants and play tennis and basketball, as well as dig into a 2,300-page stack of books he brought along.
On Thursday, Obama took his wife and young daughters Malia and Sasha on a bike ride on the island, before heading back to the links.

Sunday, August 30th 2009
Stephen Collinson

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