The White House press corps was on standby for a variety of things, mostly pertaining to Libya and whether or not they would be able to see pictures of President Obama's golf outing today. But the print and television journalists assigned to cover the president's vacation on Martha's Vineyard were decidedly unprepared for anything approximating an earthquake - especially one powerful enough to shake us in our seats from more than 500 miles away.
The press is camped out at the Mansion House in in Vineyard Haven, where the chandeliers shook for what we've determined to be about 15 seconds of rolling vibrations on the ground, an unsettling feeling to say the least. Mansion House owner Susan Goldstein, who has lived on the island since 1971, told CBS News that she'd never experienced anything like this.
"When you live on the Vineyard you think there's no way, that you're protected from anything horrible," she said.
Mr. Obama had embarked on a golf outing with White House Trip Director Marvin Nicholson, former Clinton adviser Vernon Jordan, and Obama family friend Dr. Eric Whitaker. It was not immediately clear if the president himself felt the ground shake beneath his feet, but the press corps certainly did. With the developments in Libya, a Hurricane Irene bearing down on the East Coast, and a major jobs speech to write, one could surmise this wasn't exactly the vacation the Mr. Obama might have hoped for.