Tales from the Trail

Obamas seek shrimp as rain lets up on Martha’s Vineyard

The First Family took advantage of a break in the rainy weather on Martha’s Vineyard Wednesday to escape their holiday farm and make their first public foray together.

They wound up at Nancy’s seafood restaurant on the waterfront in the town of Oak Bluffs.
First Lady Michelle Obama commiserated with the crowd after three solid days of driving rain that had kept holiday-makers, including the Obamas, holed up playing board games and reading books to make the most of their summer vacation.

“How you guys doing? Drying off? Finally,” she asked restaurant guests, after shepherding her daughters Malia and Sasha into the restaurant for a late lunch with friends.

Complimented by a well-wisher on a purple-colored watch, she confided it was a present from the president, but hinted that he had gotten help in making the selection.

“I think somebody told him,” she said, clad in white Capri pants and a coral-colored cardigan over a striped shirt.

Obama unwinds into summer vacation, reading list revealed

Finally,  the presidential summer reading list is revealed — well, one book anyway.

OBAMA/President Barack Obama took his daughters book browsing on Day 2 of the First Family’s summer vacation on the upscale Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard.

Obama, casually dressed and sporting a baseball cup of his beloved White Sox, greeted and shook the hands of surprised shoppers in The Bunch of Grapes book store on Main Street in the pretty seaside town of Vineyard Haven, before leading Sasha, 9, and Malia, 12, upstairs to browse.

For Obama, what’s bigger challenge — being a dad or being president?

Barack Obama has a storied resume but the job he says is the hardest may surprise you: being a father.

OBAMAThe U.S. president, who has drawn headlines for pushing dads to be more involved in their children’s lives, returned to the subject on Monday.

“Over the course of my life, I have been an attorney, I’ve been a professor, I’ve been a state senator, I’ve been a U.S. senator — and I currently am serving as President of the United States,” Obama said at an event celebrating Father’s Day.

Washington blizzard finally gets respect from ‘flinty’ Obama

President Barack Obama, who famously chided Washington for not being “flinty” enough in dealing with snow compared with his hometown Chicago, isn’t scoffing any more as a winter storm threatens to dump up to 30 inches on the U.S. capital this weekend.

WEATHER-USA/SNOW“I think even a transplanted Hawaiian to Chicago has sufficient respect for a forecast of nearly two feet of snow,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters as snowflakes fluttered against the window of his West Wing office.

Midwesterners like Obama like to brag how tough they are in winter weather compared with their East Coast brethren. That said, Gibbs noted the president was not going to have to shovel the White House’s many paths, although he allowed that the Obama daughters Sasha and Malia  might well play in the drifts or get out the First Family’s sled.

On Thanksgiving Eve, Obama family hits the Turkey line

HandshakeThe First Family swooped in for a swift spot of volunteering Wednesday at Martha’s Table, about two miles from the White House, handing out turkeys and groceries to a fast-moving line of the local needy.

On the eve of Thanksgiving, first lady Michelle warmly greeted people and handed them bags of fresh vegetables – she’s big on eating right – while leaning over to gently pinch the face of her youngest daughter, Sasha.

The eight-year-old was busy in the turkey stuffing department next to dad, President Barack Obama. Clad in a black zip-up jacket and open necked white shirt, Obama greeting people with a hearty “Happy Thanksgiving, How Are You,” as he flashed wide smiles and industriously slipped pumpkin pies into food bags while simultaneously shaking hands. Eldest daughter Malia, 11, standing next to her mother, also seemed to be having a good time as she distributed packets of food.

First children get new swing set


A puppy isn’t the only thing first children Sasha and Malia are getting to ease their transition to White House life.
A well-equipped playground set appeared outside the Oval Office Wednesday, complete with swings, slides, rope ladders, climbing slopes, clubhouse and crawl spaces.
The playground set was designed by Rainbow Play Systems.
The positioning should let President Barack Obama keep an eye on the children while working.
For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (New swing set erected near Oval Office)

Obama reveals motivation to daughters

WASHINGTON -  You mean it wasn’t just about the fun stuff on the campaign trail — like junk food, picnics and parades?

Soon to be dad-in-chief, Barack Obama, explains to his young daughters why he ran for president  in an open letter published this week by Parade magazine.family

Obama tells Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, that as a young man he thought life was “all about me” — until they entered his life. And suddenly all of his big plans for himself didn’t seem so important anymore, he said.

Early move to Washington for Obama’s wife, daughters

1CHICAGO – Barack Obama moves to Washington on Sunday — 16 days before he is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States.

But his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia will beat him to their new home city.

The three are traveling on Saturday to settle in at the luxury Hay Adams Hotel until moving into Blair House, the guest residence across Pennsylvania from the White House, on Jan. 15. They take up residence in the White House on Jan. 20, the day Obama is sworn is as president.

First Dog tradition to continue under Obama

WASHINGTON – Worry not dog lovers, the White House will still have a “First Dog” under a Barack Obama administration.******Obama had promised that whether or not he won the White House, his daughters Sasha and Malia could get a dog.******”Sasha and Malia, I love you both more than you can imagine.  And you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us,” Obama said at the start of his victory speech. ******His predecessors dating back several administrations had dogs and yes, a few cats occupied the White House too.******Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, is also getting in on the act. He told reporters traveling with him earlier that his wife had promised him a “big dog” if he got elected.******Jill Biden had taped pictures of different dogs on the back of the seat in front of him on his campaign plane to inspire the candidate as he criss-crossed the country in the final sprint to election day.******”Jill had said the only way you are getting a dog is if you are president … we didn’t think about vice president,” said Biden. “She said at least if you live in the White House you are home.”******He dropped out of the presidential race but when Obama asked him to join the ticket, his wife Jill said if he did so she would let him have the dog he wanted.******Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.******- Additional reporting by Sue Pleming******- Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama family emerges on stage at victory rally in Chicago)