VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass.—The first family ventured out of their vacation compound for the first time today with President Obama taking his two daughters to a book store before heading out for a round of golf.
The presidential motorcade left Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark about mid-day and whisked the president, 13-year-old Malia and 10-year-old Sasha to Bunch of Grapes Bookstore.
Crowds swelled outside behind police barricades on Main Street in Vineyard Haven as the family spent about 20 minutes browsing the aisles and buying books for what is scheduled to be a nine-day sojourn here.
(PICTURES: Obama on Martha's Vineyard)
Customers who were inside the store said afterward that 10-year-old Sasha Obama picked out “When you Reach Me” by Rebecca Stead, while Malia Obama said she didn’t want children’s books and headed to another adult section. Staff members declined to say what the president or the girls bought.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the president was seen carrying Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” “Room,” by Emma Donoghue and “The Bayou Trilogy,” by Daniel Woodrell, the author of “Winter’s Bone.” Sasha had a book called “Frost.”
As the family emerged from the store, scores of people waiting outside could be heard yelling, “Mr. President, Mr. President!” and “2012!”
Obama stopped to shake hands briefly before the motorcade sped off back to the farm. The president emerged a short while later and headed to the private Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, where he is teeing off with longtime friend Eric Whitaker, White House Trip Director Marvin Nicholson and another White House aide, Michael Brush.
This morning, White House officials said, he received a briefing from his economic team and from his top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan.
The Bunch of Grapes book store was the Obamas first outing during their Vineyard vacation last year. Customers inside the store today said that they were browsing the books when security personnel closed off the store and starting sweeping those inside with wands.
When the president and his daughters came inside, many customers snapped pictures and some got to speak with the president and shake his hand.
(PICTURES: The Towns of Martha's Vineyard)
“I was stunned,” said Robert Plehn, 49, a banker who is vacationing from England with his family and friends.
His 12-year-old son, Julian, managed to get a picture with the president. He said Obama asked him how his vacation was going.
“It changed the day,” Robert Plehn said. “It probably changed the holiday, too.”
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