Obama on golf course as earthquake strikes

WEST TISBURY, Mass. (AP) ? President Barack Obama was teeing off on a Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., golf course on Tuesday when the ground around him was shaken by an East Coast earthquake.

Nearly two hours after the temblor struck, the White House was unable to say whether the president felt the ground sway. But reporters traveling with him said immediately that they had felt it.

The quake shook much of Washington, D.C., where parts of the White House, Pentagon and Capitol were temporarily evacuated. In Martha’s Vineyard, CNN broadcast video of Obama speaking on a cell phone on the golf course. It wasn’t known what the call was about.

The golf game came after Obama took advantage of idyllic summer weather to join his family on biking and beach outings earlier Tuesday.

Aides said Obama was briefed on national security and the economy before setting out for the bike trail at Manuel F. Correllus State Forest with his wife, Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha. The first family went biking at the 5,100-acre preserve during their previous two summer getaways on this posh island off the Massachusetts coast. After biking, they headed to a private stretch of beach on the island’s south shore for the second time in three days.

Obama also discussed Libya with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Both agreed to support a peaceful transition to democracy and called for Moammar Gadhafi to relinquish power, the White House said. While out biking, Obama ignored a reporter’s shouted question about Gadhafi’s whereabouts.

The president arrived last Thursday for a 10-day break from Washington. He is scheduled to return to the White House on Saturday.