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updated: 8/26/2011 12:24 PM

Obama finds refuge among close friends on vacation

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  • President Barack Obama walks with Eric Whitaker while golfing in Oak Bluffs, Mass., on the island of Martha's Vineyard. Whitaker is one of the circle of tight-lipped friends, who form a core with Martin Nesbitt and Valerie Jarrett, who've sustained Barack Obama through good times and bad since his days in Chicago, from Hawaii to Washington to Martha's Vineyard and back again. They golf with him, they vacation with him, their kids and his kids hang out. To them, he's Barack, not Mr. President. He can be teased and tease back.

      President Barack Obama walks with Eric Whitaker while golfing in Oak Bluffs, Mass., on the island of Martha's Vineyard. Whitaker is one of the circle of tight-lipped friends, who form a core with Martin Nesbitt and Valerie Jarrett, who've sustained Barack Obama through good times and bad since his days in Chicago, from Hawaii to Washington to Martha's Vineyard and back again. They golf with him, they vacation with him, their kids and his kids hang out. To them, he's Barack, not Mr. President. He can be teased and tease back.
    Associated Press

  • President Barack Obama waves to people at the take out window at Nancy's Restaurant in Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., with Eric Whitaker, center and Valerie Jarrett, partially obscured at right, during a family vacation. Whitaker and Jarrett are two in a circle of tight-lipped friends, who form a core with Martin Nesbitt, not shown, who've sustained Obama through good times and bad since his days in Chicago, from Hawaii to Washington to Martha's Vineyard and back again. They golf with him, they vacation with him, their kids and his kids hang out. To them, he's Barack, not Mr. President. He can be teased and tease back.

      President Barack Obama waves to people at the take out window at Nancy's Restaurant in Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., with Eric Whitaker, center and Valerie Jarrett, partially obscured at right, during a family vacation. Whitaker and Jarrett are two in a circle of tight-lipped friends, who form a core with Martin Nesbitt, not shown, who've sustained Obama through good times and bad since his days in Chicago, from Hawaii to Washington to Martha's Vineyard and back again. They golf with him, they vacation with him, their kids and his kids hang out. To them, he's Barack, not Mr. President. He can be teased and tease back.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass. -- They golf with him, they vacation with him, their kids and his kids hang out. To them, he's Barack, not Mr. President. He can tease and be teased back.

President Obama's circle of close friends has sustained him through good times and bad since his days in Chicago. They've been with him during a Martha's Vineyard vacation ending Friday.

For a powerful leader who nonetheless may have one of the loneliest jobs, Obama regards his closest buddies as a second family. Eric Whitaker, Martin Nesbitt and Valerie Jarrett form the core.

As Jarrett puts it, Obama has built up a trust with friends that has stood the test of time. For one thing, he need not worry that they will spill the beans on details of his getaway.