Postcard from Martha's Vineyard: Obama Stakeout at the Cupcake Shop

CBS/ Mark Knoller

Obama Martha's Vineyard
Crowds gathered outside of Sweet E's Cupcakes shop on Martha's Vineyard after word spread President Obama and his family might drop by.
CBS/ Mark Knoller

Vineyard Haven, MASS. -- Merely the rumor that some members of the First Family were planning a drop-by on Main Street, had a crowd gathered and waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

As three days of rain finally came to an end on Martha's Vineyard this morning, a Secret Service agent was spotted in the vicinity of the Sweet E's Cupcakes shop.

The news spread: it might mean the president or first lady was planning to bring daughters Malia and Sasha there for a treat.

First one camera crew, then another, set up on the porch of the Mansion House directly across the street from the cupcake emporium. A few other camera crews took up position by the picnic tables adjacent to the shop.

"What's happening?" came question after question from passers-by. "Is the president coming?" they all asked. Among the inquiring crowd was Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who also happened to be vacationing on Martha's Vineyard.

"Not sure," reporters and camera crews responded to the inquiries. "Maybe."

Well, people on vacation have nothing if not time on their hands, and for the chance of getting a glimpse, photo or handshake with a member of the First Family, it was worth waiting around.

They had plenty to do while waiting. They phoned family and friends. Come on down to Main Street: the Obamas may be coming.

Others took advantage of the shops and got themselves a cupcake. Adjacent stores were selling fudge and pizza, which combined, comprised the makings of a well-rounded vacation snack.

The crowd grew outside the Sweet E's, but no Obamas. Local police showed up to keep the onlookers from blocking the already-slow-as-molasses traffic on Main Street.

Pictures: The First Family's Vacation

But after about 90 minutes, came the e-mail on press BlackBerries: Mr. Obama and his family had arrived at Nancy's, a restaurant a few miles away in Oak Bluffs.

A fast-assembling crowd at that location got the glimpses, photos and handshakes with the president, including one who told Mr. Obama, "I'm a Republican."

"I appreciate it," said the president to the GOP well-wisher.

Members of the press pool with the president got no joy as he brushed off a question about the situation in Iraq.

"We're buying shrimp, guys," he said with a smile, "c'mon." It's a grand example of a presidential quote of the day (vacation edition).

Mr. Obama also responded to the outstretched hands of some folks wearing Red Sox caps, but was quick to point to the Chicago White Sox cap he was wearing.

Back outside Sweet E's, the crowd was reluctant to disperse.

"Maybe they'll come here after," said a hopeful onlooker, hoping for a return on her hour and a half investment of time.

Maybe not. The president went to play golf. The First Lady and daughters didn't show for cupcakes.

Of course, there's always tomorrow.



Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow him on Twitter here.

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    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.

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