August 18th, 2011
06:15 PM ET

Gaggle Notes: Martha's Vineyard edition

The president has just landed in Martha's Vineyard for a 10-day vacation with his family. While the president has no public events on his schedule during his time away from Washington, during this afternoon’s flight Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest gaggled with reporters on Air Force One and previewed the president’s week ahead.

On the president’s vacation:

"The President of the United States is the President of the United States wherever he goes. That's the job that he ran for, that's the job the American people expect and it's the job he's doing. You saw that John Brennan is traveling on Air Force One today. He will be providing regular updates to ensure that [the president’s] fully briefed on national security issues."

On criticism that the president is taking a vacation during such tumultuous times for the country:

"The President understands that he has important responsibilities to fulfill and it’s his job to fulfill those responsibilities 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. At the same time he's a husband and a father, and I don't think the American people will begrudge the President for spending a little time with his wife and daughters in the summer, before his daughters head back to school."

As to how connected the president will be to what’s going on in Washington:

"Over the course of his time in Martha's Vineyard he will be getting updates from his economic team. Next week Brian Deese, the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council will be traveling to Martha's Vineyard for the week and he'll be providing regular updates and regular briefings."

Will the president’s economic briefings focus on his new jobs proposal that’s expected to be released in early September? Earnest would only say that the proposal will be a package of “new ideas that builds on ideas that have had bipartisan support.”

"Job creation remains the top item on the President's agenda," Earnest said.

On today’s announcement that the time has come for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, Earnest wouldn’t go beyond the president’s statement. But he did point reporters to the coordinated nature of today’s announcement – which included statements from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, and a joint statement from British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

"There is united call among those leaders for President Assad to step aside and that united front is indication of Presidents personal efforts."

Earnest added that the sanctions announced today will have "very serious impact" on Syria government.

Topics: Gaggle Notes • President Obama • Syria

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Gail Cerulo

    Yes the president had to take his 2 kids, wife on vacation. Other chilren r crying because their house is being foreclosed. Many families r living n tents xnd cars. I am sure they t thrilled that he is in the ritzy Martha Vineyawd when others are eating ketchup sandwich and beans due to the lack if jobs . We can't afford our mefication and I 4 one am not thrilled about his quality family time / they f safe and going 2 private schools with good clothes and plenty to eat and t sleeping n a bed!

    August 18, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • jean2009

      And I noticed the Congress and Senate took their vacation too...and George W. Bush almost spent his whole presidency on vacation....and the Bush daughters when to private schools where they could be protected by Secret Service.


      August 18, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
      • Howard

        JEAN ... OBAMA has been the president for over 2 1/2 years. He is RESPONSIBLE for the problems we are experiencing now. Your feeble efforts to still blame bush are laughable. It's time to wake up ... it's time to stop making excuses for Obama. Obama will go down as the WORST president in the history of our country ... and people like you, who keep trying to defend Obama, just look like silly fools.

        August 19, 2011 at 12:16 am |
      • jean2009

        @Howard. No matter how much you would like to rewrite history, that cannot be done. Facts and dates are things which cannot be changed by your wishful thinking, or by magic. This recession began on George W. Bush's watch and it was caused by George W. Bush's failed trickle down policies, followed by the fact that this misguided Republican congress has not worked with this president in correcting those policies.... that is facts which are evident in every news cycle. and facts you cannot refute with simple whining.

        Frankly, the worst president in this century, and maybe for that matter any century, will be George W. Bush whose monetary policies of tax cuts for the wealthy undermined our economy at the exact same time he decided to enter two unfunded wars (one of which was an absolutely unnecessary) and the other was walked away from by him when he tired of the mess he had created. The mountain of debt he created with those two wars has made it nearly impossible to climb out of debt, and out of the depression he created.

        Having been born in the middle of that last depression, I know a little about a depression and recessions...and I know a bit about history. If you think your wishing can rewrite it you are fooling yourself. The Taft theory of trickle down economics has never worked, and has been proven as a failure for the third time. So, I think from a historical standpoint people will know who is the silly FOOL!

        August 19, 2011 at 8:51 am |
  2. Liz Carter in Georgia

    You have my sympathy and prayers if you fit the mold you just described but my question to you is, do you expect or have you ever expected the President of the United States and his family to be in living in the same situation? Living in tents because their home was foreclosed on, not being able to take a family vacation and spend some family time? Not being able to afford medication and unable to send his children to good schools? Yet that person's who we the people elected fair and square to be President?

    August 18, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Howard

      After witnessing 2 1/2 years of the Obama parasites, sucking the life out of our economy and our country, LIZ CARTER OF GEORGIA continues to defend and support this lying, manipulative, racist, snake. Obama has ruled this country by pitting one half of America against the other half, and thus maintaining a toxic atmosphere of fear and mistrust. His empty promises are all about getting reelected, while he continues to destroy this great country. LIZ, It's people like you, blind fanatical Obama loyalists, who are bringing America to its knees. America is MORE important than Obama, and if you want to save this great country of ours, it's time for you Obama suckers to open your eyes, and shift your loyalty from Obama to America !!!

      August 19, 2011 at 12:09 am |
      • jean2009

        @Howard, we know who is the lying...and who is hoping to be manipulative racist on this comment board and it is you.

        You who is the payee of the right wing Koch brothers, and Richard Mellon Scaife. We are loyal to America, and we know President Obama is loyal to all Americans.... not just the few ultra-rich ones.

        August 19, 2011 at 8:57 am |
  3. Maxine Smith

    If you read the article openly without the judgement of who it states that he is vacationing with his family while continuing to meet with certain sounds to me more like a working vacation then a sitting by the pool. As far as the economic problems, this whole country put us in this situation. It wasn't one person..people over spent, bought what they couldn't afford, banks gave the loans even though they were told in 2005, this could lead to a major meltdown in the economy. America sold it's soul to China a long time ago, we gave our jobs away, and didn't educate ourselves for the future. Even now, instead of retraining and educating we are complaining about jobs that won't be coming back, meanwhile India and China are educating it's people for the future, wind, and technology. The huge corporations who are benefiting from huge tax breaks, cheaper taxes, and no taxes are investing in jobs overseas to people who are being educated to take them on or hoarding all their tax break monies. When are we going to learn that if you want a job, get off your butt and go get one..I speak from experience, my old job is gone..I went back to school and now I am working full time..just a thought. Oh and I have scrapped together money to buy diapers, food, and shelter. But you know what, I also made a garden, canned my own foods, walked instead of drive, and other cost savings. The first time our family lost our jobs and struggled was during the Regan years. But here we are still moving forward and not spending monies we don't have.

    August 19, 2011 at 1:47 am |
    • jean2009

      Boy do I remember those horrible Reagan years...I thought for sure we would lose the house. We have always grown a garden and canned and froze our own when needed made our clothes.
      Under Bush we have had the very core of our education system undermined with tax cuts for the wealthy, and no child left behind was a farce. Our infrastructure has been let go to the point of a permanent rot.
      We need educated workers and a sound infrastructure to attract business...and we need to embrace new technology or we will be permanently behind these developing nations.

      August 19, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
      • Jay in NC


        NCLB was originally proposed by the administration of George W. Bush immediately after he took office.[3] The bill received overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress.

        Since enactment, Congress increased federal funding of education from $42.2 billion in 2001 to $54.4 billion in 2007. Funding tied to NCLB received a 40.4% increase from $17.4 billion in 2001 to $24.4 billion. The funding for reading quadrupled from $286 million in 2001 to $1.2 billion.

        August 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  4. alan

    lots of people would love to take their families on vacation .
    but they have no jobs to do that...

    August 19, 2011 at 7:19 am |
  5. joe

    Obama has been on vacation shince he took the Title of President

    August 19, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  6. Republicans elect and attract the not so smart

    @ Howard and Joe, So gentlemen...who pee'd in your fruit loops. It wasn't Obama or even the 20 million people "Bush Whacked /43" put on unemployment.

    Howard aren't you even slightly embarassed that you say such stupid things as "these people are parasites"? Yet these people paid unemployment taxes for years, and through no fault of their own, lose their jobs, and need help paying the mounting bills. And all you can say is "they're parasites" Grow-up or get a brain, I don't know which. But either way, remember at the end of Dubya's term, we were bleeding, on average 700K jobs per month. That's alot of people Howey! I know its hard for you to get your little brain around that number, but it happened. Did you ever once think that would be easy to fix? Especially with ignorant people like you supporting the party that brought this country all that pain _ The GOBP

    @Joe, please stop watching 24×7 Fox news and come out of your mommy's basement. Research, if you are capable, the amount of vacation BWhacked George 43 took during his two terms, clearing brush mind you, and leading this country down to ruin. You are trumpeting a false criticism of this president. we're talking major problems he's had to deal with, historic issues, never seen before...and he's worked hard to fix them. A little respect on your part might be admirable. Otherwise, back to your mom's basement with your criticisms...

    Obama 2012

    August 20, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  7. Liz Carter in Georgia

    @alan; You and the rest of your hate-phi-hate fraternity, and the sisters of the smoke-gamma-fire sorority are pathetic pieces of, boo-hoo, boo-hoo! Come back off of your MUCH NEEDED family time and working vacation Mr President, because there are many other AMERICANS who'd like to go on a vacation but they don't have jobs and can't afford it, therefore YOU CAN'T GO! Do you hear us? You folk are unbelievabl and really pitiful! WWJD? Ask HIM!

    August 21, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
  8. Liz Carter in Georgia

    'Silence is bliss', HOWARD! Ssssshhhhhuuusshhh! Be quiet will ya'?!? Joe you need to follow that same suggestion too!

    August 23, 2011 at 7:15 pm |