Obama starts vacation on ritzy Martha’s Vineyard

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President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama wave as they arrive in Cape Cod, Mass., to fly via helicopter to begin their family vacation in Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013. AP

CHILMARK – President Barack Obama started his summer vacation Saturday on ritzy Martha’s Vineyard off the US East Coast.

Dressed down, Obama and his wife Michelle landed on the elite island by helicopter for their eight-day getaway from Washington.

As locals tried to grab a glimpse, the Obama motorcade made its way to the first family’s well-protected rental property in the village of Chilmark.

“I know he’s looking forward very much to some downtime with his family, with the First Lady, and I’m sure he’ll see some friends,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One.

Both National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors were also making the trip that wraps up August 18, Carney said.

Obama has no public events planned during his break but “but, of course, news happens and it’s hard to predict,” Carney added.

Obama will be receiving briefings on a daily basis, he said.

Seen as a favored summer spot for the well-heeled, Martha’s Vineyard is located off the coast of Cape Cod and has hosted the likes of ex-president Bill Clinton and former first lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

From 2009 to 2011, Obama spent about 10 days there each August, enjoying rounds of golf, picnics on the beach and eating out locally.

But in full re-election mode, he skipped a visit last year.

Obama’s last vacation, over Christmas, was compromised by the so-called fiscal cliff fight with Congress, which forced the president to cut short his stay in Hawaii and head back to Washington.

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