Obama returns to Washington, leaves for vacation

WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Barack Obama is back in Washington after spending three days touring small, Midwestern towns by bus. But he isn’t staying long.

After meetings Thursday morning at the White House, Obama was heading to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., for summer vacation with his wife, Michelle, and daughters, Malia and Sasha.

Obama was going ahead with the 10-day trip despite criticism that his choice of vacation spot is inappropriate given the state of the economy. The upscale island resort is a summer hangout for the wealthy and the well-connected.

The White House defends Obama’s desire for time to recharge and spend time with his family. Officials also note that the president is never off the job. He travels with advisers and is briefed daily on a variety of matters.