August 18th, 2011
06:15 PM ET
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:
On criticism that the president is taking a vacation during such tumultuous times for the country:
As to how connected the president will be to what’s going on in Washington:
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:
Earnest added that the sanctions announced today will have "very serious impact" on Syria government.