- - Sunday, August 21, 2011

WHITE HOUSE

Obama hits beach,links after briefing

EDGARTOWN, Mass. — President Obama played golf and enjoyed some beach time with his family Sunday at Martha’s Vineyard, though not before getting briefed on developments in Libya.

Under sunny skies, Mr. Obama, wife Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha spent the morning on a private beach in Edgartown. The outing came on the third full day of Mr. Obama’s 10-day summer vacation and was his first excursion with his full family in tow. The president then parted ways with his family to play a round of golf at the Vineyard Golf Club.

First, though, Mr. Obama was briefed by national security aides on developments in Libya, where rebels advanced on Tripoli, threatening Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s hold on power. White House aides have been at pains to show Mr. Obama is carrying out his duties as president even while on vacation amid international unrest, a shaky economy and high joblessness.

Mr. Obama also appeared on CBS News in an interview taped during his bus tour of the Midwest last week. He said he understood his low standing in the polls of late given public dissatisfaction with Washington and the poor economy. And he said he expected to be judged on the economy in next year’s presidential election.

“You’ve got an unemployment rate that is still too high, an economy that’s not growing fast enough,” he said. “And for me to argue, look, we’ve actually made the right decisions, things would have been much worse had we not made those decisions — that’s not that satisfying if you don’t have a job right now. And I understand that, and I expect to be judged a year from now on whether or not things have continued to get better.”

The president is scheduled to return to Washington on Saturday.

STATE

Clinton: U.S. ‘disappointed’ over hikers’ plight in Iran

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. is “deeply disappointed” that Iran has sentenced two Americans to eight years in prison after their conviction on charges of espionage and illegal entry.

Mrs. Clinton said Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal should be released immediately, saying “it is time for them to return home and be reunited with their families” more than two years after their arrest.

Mrs. Clinton said President Obama and Americans are expressing “our unflagging support” for the hikers and their families during “this difficult time.

The men were arrested in July 2009 near the Iraq-Iran border along with a third American who has since been released on bail and returned to the U.S.

They deny the charges, saying they were hiking near the ill-defined border.

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