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Obamas begin 10-day vacation in Martha's Vineyard

By the CNN Wire Staff
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No vacation from crisis
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Critics question why Obama did not choose the Gulf Coast
  • White House says the getaway will be a working vacation
  • Clinton too preferred the island; Bush opted for his Texas ranch
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(CNN) -- President Barack Obama and his family begin a week-long vacation in Martha's Vineyard on Friday -- the president's second time on the island off the coast of Massachusetts.

In 2009, Obama spent time there golfing and hanging out with family and friends.

"It's a beautiful part of the country. It has really nice beaches and the folks are really great," Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told reporters Thursday. "The food is terrific. And it's some place that the president went before he was president and likes to go back because it's a comfortable place where he can rest and recharge the batteries a little bit."

Some have questioned why the Obamas have chosen to go to an elite holiday spot in Massachusetts instead of the Gulf Coast, as Obama had encouraged Americans to help bolster tourism there. The first family -- minus eldest daughter Malia -- did visit Panama City, Florida, August 14-15, however. There, the Obamas swam in the Gulf of Mexico and played miniature golf, and the president met with business leaders about the BP oil spill and its effect on the region.

Burton said this vacation, which will last 10 days, will also include some work.

"Well, he'll continue to get his intelligence briefings, and he'll also be getting briefings on the economy and other issues as they come up," he said. "But as any of you guys who have covered these vacations before know, there's other things that come up and he'll obviously attend to those as necessary."

The island, a vacation spot of the rich and famous, was a favorite getaway for another Democratic president as well: Bill Clinton, who spent plenty of time there.

George W. Bush, however, preferred to unwind at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

 
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