It's President Obama's first full day on vacation, and White House strategists are being careful to convey the image of a man enjoying the company of his family and at the same time tending to official business. Obama has been roundly criticized for taking a 10-day holiday on the exclusive island of Martha's Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts during a time of high unemployment and widespread economic hardship. And it's already clear that his image mavens want to emphasize positive scenes and minimize any negative "optics" associated with the visit. To that end, the White House this morning released an official photo of the president's daily national security briefing with John Brennan, his counter-terrorism adviser. He also received a written briefing from his economic team, a White House spokesman said.
At about 12.15 p.m., Obama and his daughters Malia and Sasha left their compound--a 28-acre estate rented by the family—and were driven to the Bunch of Grapes bookstore 20 minutes away, according to reporters on the scene. It looked like a classic family moment, with a doting dad taking his kids on an educational outing. Crowds were allowed to wait for him outside the bookstore as he browsed, and he shook hands with some people as he left the shop. It made for some nice photographs of the president, wearing jeans, a blue short-sleeved polo shirt and sneakers, mingling with onlookers. Later in the afternoon, the president went to the Vineyard Golf Club, a private course. But reporters were told they would not be permitted to see Obama on the links.