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On Martha's Vineyard, Obama monitors Libya news

August 21, 2011|By Maeve Reston
  • President Obama orders at the takeout window at Nancy's Restaurant in Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard, Mass.
President Obama orders at the takeout window at Nancy's Restaurant… (Carolyn Kaster / Associated…)

Reporting from West Tisbury, Mass. — With the conflict in Libya at a breaking point, President Obama told reporters Sunday night that he was going to wait until the situation in Tripoli was clear before commenting.

As Libyan rebels moved deeper into Tripoli and their leaders reported they had captured Moammar Kadafi’s son, Seif Islam Kadafi, White House aides said the president was closely monitoring developments.

"We're going to wait until we have full confirmation of what has happened,” Obama told reporters Sunday evening on his way into Nancy’s, a seafood restaurant in Oak Bluffs. “I'll make a statement when we do."

With news in Libya threatening to interrupt his 10-day vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., White House aides said the president was receiving regular briefings on Libya, as well as the nation’s economic situation.

But as much as his Republican opponents would like to begrudge him a vacation, the president golfed twice, took his girls to the beach and spent an evening with his wife at the romantic Beach Plum Inn overlooking the fishing village of Menemsha. And that was all just in the first weekend.

Obama has also found time for socializing. Shortly before he made his statement to reporters Sunday evening, Obama and White House advisor Valerie Jarrett headed to the beachfront home of Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, which overlooks Vineyard Sound. After the first family’s stop at Nancy’s on Sunday, President Obama and Michelle Obama headed to the home where Jarrett is staying for what a spokesman described as a dinner with friends. 

After spending the day at Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark (where the family is staying), the president and Jarrett also ventured out for a party with about 100 people at the home of Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree in Oak Bluffs. Earlier this week, according to a report in the Vineyard Gazette, Ogletree moderated a panel here on race and media in the 21th century.

Perhaps because of logistical and security concerns, Obama did not make an appearance at the island’s famed Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

While Republican candidates like Texas Gov. Rick Perry joined in a moveable feast across the Iowa State Fair last week sampling a corn dog and a pork chop on a stick, the president missed a chance to try Vineyard delicacies like whole pickles on a stick and buttered corn from Edgartown’s Morning Glory Farm.

On Sunday, the final day of the fair, events included a women’s skillet throw and three shows of Cousin Malcolm’s Jumping Frogs – where children from the audience were selected to coax frogs, including the largest named Pee-Wee to cross the farthest distance possible in three jumps. (One pair of girls tickled their frog’s back; another team stomped behind their bullfrog; and several frogs took off on their own).

The fair’s judging of the livestock had taken place earlier this week. Among the winners were Zeus and Apollo, two 11-month old Jersey Steers, and a sow and boar from Nip N Tuck Farm, who slept happily together in their pen Sunday afternoon. 

Even livestock that didn’t win blue ribbons were still on display – including a Gloucestershire Old Spot sow with seven piglets and a hen named June, who was described on a sign on her cage as the “the bravest chicken that ever lived.”

maeve.reston@latimes.com

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