President Barack Obama's 10 day family vacation at Martha's Vineyard is getting off to a controversial start. Some Americans are debating the appropriateness of the president's vacation, at a time when his own approval rating is historically low, American satisfaction with the state of the country hovers close to 10 percent, and the financial markets continue to be shaky.
President Obama arrived at his estate of choice called Blue Heron Farm yesterday. It's a property that rents for about $50,000 a week, according to a report from The Daily Mail.
His wife Michele, and daughters Malia, 13, and Sasha, 10, left home from their own jet just hours before the president's departure and met him in Massachusetts. That separate departure has gotten some worked up. The Daily Mail reported on Friday:
The much-maligned vacation became a PR nightmare, after it emerged this morning that he and his wife took separate government jets to Martha's Vineyard just hours apart.
The extra transport to get the the First Lady to the island for only a few more hours of vacation time will have cost taxpayers thousands in additional expenses.
The costs related to Mrs Obama’s solo trip mainly include the flight on the specially designed military aircraft she took instead of Air Force One, as well as any extra staff and Secret Service that had to be enlisted to go with her.
She would also have had her own motorcade from the airport to her vacation residence.
The President had already drawn scorn for using two helicopters and Air Force One to get to Martha's Vineyard...
After landing at Cape Cod Coast Guard Air Station, he then took a final helicopter to his holiday destination to complete the remarkable 500-mile journey.
So far, seemingly no one has had a problem with Bo, the presidential dog who got to ride with the president on Air Force One.
Once the entire group made in onto the island, President Obama decided he'd make a few purchases with his own credit card. He bought his daughters books they needed for school from Bunch of Grapes bookshop near his vacation farm. He purchased Brave New World and The Bayou Trilogy, among three or four others. President Obama told the cashier who waited on him, that he only uses his personal credit card about three times a year. Afterwards, he went golfing.
The vacation hasn't been all stories and tee times for the president; the job has traveled with him. Both John Brennan, President Obama's counterterrorism adviser, and Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest, have accompanied the president to Martha's Vineyard. The president began his vacation with a sobering discussion about national security with Mr. Brennan.
Sarah Palin has had some sobering words for President Obama, too. After calling the president 'very, very tone deaf' during an appearance on Fox News on Thursday, she predicted he wouldn't be staying away from Washington very much longer.
"I wouldn't (go on vacation) if I were he, especially not to Martha's Vineyard. I do predict that he is not going to be gone the full ten days," Palin said. "He is going to get the advice from his advisers that he needs to get back to work to the White House and he needs to start working very closely on a bi-partisan measure with Congress and start plugging in these new solutions."
Whatever the criticism from citizens or opponents across the aisle, President Obama still holds some charm over a group of welcomers at the Cape Cod Coast Guard Air Station. Some call the president sweet, after watching this video of him pacifying an infant that was screaming in Michele Obama's arms, by taking the baby into his own.