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After crisis-filled start, Obama's vacation pace slows for a day

By Elizabeth Barber

OAK BLUFFS Mass. (Reuters) - Nearly a week after arriving on the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, U.S. President Barack Obama appeared to take his first full day off since the start of his summer retreat.

Since arriving on Saturday, Obama has had to mix his leisure time with work, making calls to leaders and speaking to the press while fitting in time to golf. His days have been spent juggling responses to simultaneous conflicts in Ukraine, Iraq and Gaza, as well as the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

But on Friday, the president made no public statements on turmoil at home or abroad. Obama spent a bright, almost cloudless day biking and golfing on Oak Bluffs, a stretch of the island where swans swim on private ponds and rock walls undulate across tidy meadows.

Just after noon, first lady Michelle Obama sped past reporters on a bike path in Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, a roughly 5,000-acre (2,000-hectare) reserve. The president, biking next to his older daughter, Malia, and wearing sunglasses and black workout clothes, followed.

"Hey guys, nice weather, huh?" he called out to a group of reporters as he passed.

Soon afterward, Obama teed off at The Farm Neck Golf Club with businessmen Glenn Hutchins and Robert Wolf, as well as Cyrus Walker, a cousin of one of the president's senior aides.

Obama is due to fly back to the White House on Sunday for meetings, returning to the island two days later to finish his vacation on Aug. 24.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Eric Walsh)

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