On the Scene
The Obamas arrive at Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) 0

At Obama’s vacation spot, politics meets golf

August 9th, 2016

As President Barack Obama’s presidency winds down, friends and supporters–Chicagoans included–savor celebrations that bring them together with the first family.

You saw that last week, when the biggest names in pop culture, business and politics feted the president on his 55th birthday.

Mingling with Beyonce and NBA great Grant Hill were Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Ariel Investments CEO John Rogers; Henry Crown and Co. President Jim Crown and his artist wife, Paula Crown; businessman and pal Marty Nesbitt and his wife, Dr. Anita Blanchard, the ob/gyn who delivered both of Obama’s daughters.

Celebs with Chicago homes were there, too, including actress-singer Jennifer Hudson, tennis great Billie Jean King, and actress Gabrielle Union, wife of the Bulls’ Dwyane Wade.

This week, the first family is unwinding at Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, their last vacation there while Obama is president. The family has vacationed at the Vin, as locals call it, every year of his presidency but for 2012, when he was campaigning for re-election.

Like the glitzy birthday party, this year’s retreat will be a combination of celebration and schmoozing.

Most likely joining the Obamas will be close friends Eric Whitaker and Cheryl Whitaker, both Chicago health-care professionals who have known the Obamas for years. Valerie Jarrett, an aide to the president and the family’s closest ally, also will likely pop up in pictures documenting Obama’s last stay on the island as president.

Another familiar friend hitting the island will be presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who also attended Obama’s birthday party.

A fund-raiser is planned for her on Aug. 15.

Jordan Vaughn, finance director for the African Americans for Hillary organization, emailed supporters with a note about the fund-raiser and a sentimental nod toward the role Martha’s Vineyard has played in the Obama administration.

“I know how much it means to our community to have time with him on the Vineyard,” Vaughn wrote, referring to Obama. He continued, with a political pitch encouraging friends to make time for Clinton, too.

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