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Obamas rent Martha's Vineyard vacation home from McCain supporter

Barack Obama vacationing in Kailua, Hawaii with his daughters Malia and Sasha in 2008

President Obama, his family and their dog are all going to Martha's Vineyard this month for their summer vacation, and word is they're renting a luxury estate -- from a Republican.

The White House won't confirm the rental location for security reasons. That hasn't stopped the Vineyard Gazette, the resort island’s journal of record since 1864, from reporting that the Obamas have chosen the 28-acre bucolic Blue Heron Farm, in Chilmark.

The owners: William and Mollie Van Devender, who bought the property in 2005 for $20.35 million. A Mississippi timber executive, William Van Devender gave $2,300, the maximum financial donation allowed under federal law, to Arizona Republican John McCain in last year’s campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Both Van Devenders contributed to Tennessee Republican (and actor) Fred Thompson during his unsuccessful run in the presidential primary.

Insiders say the rental agreement includes three separate leases: one for the Obamas --  who insisted on paying out of their own pockets -- one for the Secret Service and a third for the large White House entourage accompanying the president.

Locals say the Obamas initially focused their holiday research on Oak Bluffs, a Vineyard neighborhood where they've vacationed before and where a number of wealthy African American friends have summer homes, including Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Gates is the Harvard professor whose arrest after breaking in to his own house in Cambridge, Mass., led Obama to say the police "acted stupidly," a remark he later softened by inviting Gates and arresting Sgt. James Crowley to the White House for a much-photographed beer "summit."

But apparently everyone decided that a presidential stay in Oak Bluffs would cause traffic jams.

Instead, although First Lady Michelle Obama and the girls might come earlier and stay with friends elsewhere on the island, they'll meet up at Blue Heron when the president arrives.

Likely attractions for the president: a swimming pool, private access to Squibnocket Beach, a private dock with kayaks and a yacht, a golf practice range and, if that weren't enough, a basketball court.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Barack Obama with daughters Malia and Sasha in Kailua, Hawaii, last August, when he was still a candidate. Credit: Marco Garcia / Associated Press

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Comments () | Archives (7)

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Mr. President, will you please give me a rebate check so I too can go on a vacation with my poor family?

Thank you sir, you are very generous. Oh, can you give me a little extra for spending money?

Wow must be nice, while so many of us american's are out of work and struggling to feed our families and keep a roof over our heads the president is spending 25,000 on a vacation stay!!! Unreal!!!
I would like to know why he did that 4500 clunkers deal when so many people could of needed some money in our pockets instead, at least bush gave us 600 each to spend how we wish!! This obama is gonna be the end of all of us.

I agree complletely! How dare he insult the publics intelligience by saying he is paying the rental himself!
Who is paying for the extra security,transportation,(Air Force 1 or helicopter),etc? Many of us, who pay his salary,
would be more than happy to "staycation" at home ,if we had a pool, bowling alley, servants, etc and we are "staycationing" at home do to the economic times. LEAD by example. What is he teaching everyone? Even his own children will think his behavior is correct if they follow his example.

people still dont get it, its not Republicans and Democrats its the rich making all the rules for the working class.

Yes, I agree with all your coments: hence as the old saying goes the rich get richer and the poor are left there begging for food to eat on on a cold ,wet Thanksgiving Day or lets include Christmas too. Why in America are there hungry people and people living in cardboard boxes yet. I hope the President enjoys his hot food and nice expensive clothes and dry warm atmosphere. Perhaps he might share this Holiday his own buffet,or maybe NOT.


1/2 a YEARS PAY!!!for vacation!!!DISGUSTING!!!!

There are many American's in spite of the cut backs etc who have had lavish vacations. I wish folks would remember that our previous President was vacationing quite a bit of the time. I wonder if he paid for them.?
The Job of President of these United States is a mammoth job and time away from the office is the same as a CEO from the business world. I wonder how many of you are living in homes that cost "way more than $25.000 dollars" and driving cars that cost even more.? I don't begrudge our President his vacation, and it's a petty world we live in to start the barrage of nonsense that has been making the air waves. The Press need to pay more attention to more constructive news than peddling every move The first family makes. I call that STALKING, and it's not a pleasant postion to be in. People get real, the Financial situation we are in , was not and is not his fault. He is trying to get the country out of a huge mess, give him credit, instead of all the complaining. Have any of you taken a vacation before? Sure it takes money but remember both Parents of the First Family were Lawyers. How much hard work went into that. Please Lay off, it is not Christian to hound a person even if he is the President. The Word just says to Pray for those in authority, it would be a better way to spend your time.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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