President Barack Obama is keeping tabs on preparations for Hurricane Irene as his family's Martha's Vineyard vacation nears its end.
Obama, wife Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha spent nearly five hours at a private stretch of beach in Edgartown on Thursday, their next-to-last full day of vacation. The first family is scheduled to return to Washington on Saturday, ahead of the hurricane's expected arrival in the mid-Atlantic region.
Despite encountering rain for the first time since beginning their vacation last week, Obama and the first lady ventured out for a three-hour dinner of contemporary American food at the State Road Restaurant near their rented farm compound in West Tisbury. The dinner guests included Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Vernon Jordan and their wives, along with senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, the White House said.
Aides said Obama spoke with several administration officials, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate. He received updates on the hurricane's progress and worked to ensure that state and local governments have what they need.
So far the president isn't planning to depart early as a result of the storm, which is expected to make landfall in the Northeast on Sunday.
Obama also was briefed on developments in Libya, the White House said, and spoke with economic advisers to discuss jobs and deficit reduction proposals he will unveil in a speech after Labor Day.