Obama back in Washington on rare vacation break

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

38 PHOTOS
Obama goes on vacay
See Gallery
Obama back in Washington on rare vacation break
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 17: President Barack Obama and oldest daughter Malia return to the White House on August 17, 2014 in Washington, DC. The president is taking a break from his vacation in Martha's Vineyard to attend a series of meetings at the White House. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama and daughter Malia step soff Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on August 18, 2014 as he returns to Washington for two days. Obama will resume his vacation at Martha's Vineyard on August 19. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama goes biking with his wife Michelle (R) and daughter Malia at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, on August 15, 2014 during their annual summer vacation on the island. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama goes biking with his daughter Malia at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, on August 15, 2014 during their annual summer vacation on the island. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
EDGARTOWN, MA - AUGUST 14: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks during a press briefing at the Edgartown School on August 14, 2014 in Edgartown, Massachusetts. The president, vacationing on the island, spoke about the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri and Iraq. (Photo by Rick Friedman-Pool/Getty Images)
Former NBA basketball player Alonzo Mourning, left, and President Barack Obama, right, ride in a golf cart while golfing at Farm Neck Golf Club, in Oak Bluffs, Mass., on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. In a rare move for him, the president planned a break in the middle of his Martha's Vineyard vacation to return to Washington Sunday night for unspecified meetings with Vice President Joe Biden and other advisers. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Two people on a motor scooter, left, drive by as law enforcement officials from Secret Service and Massachusetts State Police stand outside State Road Restaurant where President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have dinner with friends, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in West Tisbury, Mass. President Obama is staying on Martha's Vineyard for what is expected to be a two-week summer vacation. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
President Barack Obama tees off while golfing at Vineyard Golf Club, in Edgartown, Mass., on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. President Obama is taking a two-week summer vacation on the island. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
CHILMARK, MA - AUGUIST 11: President Barack Obama speaks briefly at a news conference on Iraq August 11, 2014 in Chilmark on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. The president, vacationing on the island, called for the formation of a new government in Iraq and said the U.S. had successfully flown military sorties against Islamist extremists and had conducted humanitarian relief missions, according to published reports. (Photo by Rick Friedman-Pool/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama (hidden) and daughter Malia (L) make their way to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on August 9, 2014 as he departs for vacation at Martha's Vineyard, Massachussets. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama chats with former NFL player Ahmad Rashad as they play golf at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, on August 9, 2014, on the first day of the president's yearly summer vacation on the island. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama arrives to make a statement on the situation in Iraq at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, on August 11, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
CHILMARK, MA - AUGUIST 11: President Barack Obama speaks briefly at a news conference on Iraq August 11, 2014 in Chilmark on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. The president, vacationing on the island, called for the formation of a new government in Iraq and said the U.S. had successfully flown military sorties against Islamist extremists and had conducted humanitarian relief missions, according to published reports. (Photo by Rick Friedman-Pool/Getty Images)
CHILMARK, MA - AUGUIST 11: President Barack Obama arrives to speak briefly at a news conference on Iraq August 11, 2014 in Chilmark on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. The president, vacationing on the island, called for the formation of a new government in Iraq and said the U.S. had successfully flown military sorties against Islamist extremists and had conducted humanitarian relief missions, according to published reports. (Photo by Rick Friedman-Pool/Getty Images)
CHILMARK, MA - AUGUIST 11: President Barack Obama arrives to speak briefly at a news conference on Iraq August 11, 2014 in Chilmark on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. The president, vacationing on the island, called for the formation of a new government in Iraq and said the U.S. had successfully flown military sorties against Islamist extremists and had conducted humanitarian relief missions, according to published reports. (Photo by Rick Friedman-Pool/Getty Images)
KIEV, UKRAINE - AUGUST 11 : Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is seen while talking on the phone with United States President Barack Obama in Kiev, Ukraine on August 11, 2014. United States President Barack Obama has discussed the planned aid missions to eastern Ukraine with the countrys President Petro Poroshenko. (Photo by Ukrainian Presidency / Mikhail Palinchak/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MARTHA'S VINEYARD, MA - AUGUST 10: The Presidential motorcade heads back up island to Chilmark with Barack Obama after he played a round of golf at the Farm Neck Golf Club. (Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
MARTHA'S VINEYARD, MA - AUGUST 10: The Presidential motorcade makes its way across the island with President Barack Obama as it heads to Farm Neck Golf club. (Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
MARTHA'S VINEYARD, MA - AUGUST 10: A crowd at Farm Neck Golf Club try to get a view of the Presidential motorcade as it prepares to leave. President Obama played another round of golf on his second day of vacation. (Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
A Massachusetts State policeman stands guard as the motorcade of US President Barack Obama leaves their vacation residence at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, on August 11, 2014 as the family departs for the beach on the third day of their yearly summer vacation. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
OAK BLUFFS, MA - AUGUST 09: President Barack Obama picks up a club while playing a round of golf with Ray Allen at the Farm Neck Golf Club on August 9, 2014 in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts. The Obama's are vacationing on the island for two weeks. (Photo by Matthew Healey-Pool/Getty Images)
OAK BLUFFS, MA - AUGUST 09: President Barack Obama lines up a putt on the first green at the Farm Neck Golf Club on August 9, 2014 in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts. The Obama's are vacationing on the island for two weeks. (Photo by Matthew Healey-Pool/Getty Images)
WEST TISBURY, MA - AUGUST 09: Members of the U.S. Secret Service walk out of Marine One after arriving at the Martha's Vineyard Airport on August 9, 2014 in West Tisbury, Massachusetts. The Obama's are vacationing on the island for two weeks. (Photo by Matthew Healey-Pool/Getty Images)
WEST TISBURY, MA - AUGUST 09: First Lady Michelle Obama walks out of Marine One after arriving at the Martha's Vineyard Airport on August 9, 2014 in West Tisbury, Massachusetts. The Obama's are vacationing on the island for two weeks. (Photo by Matthew Healey-Pool/Getty Images)
WEST TISBURY, MA - AUGUST 09: President Barack Obama and daughter Malia Obama, 16, walk out of Marine One after arriving at the Martha's Vineyard Airport on August 9, 2014 in West Tisbury, Massachusetts. The Obama's are vacationing on the island for two weeks. (Photo by Matthew Healey-Pool/Getty Images)
WEST TISBURY, MA - AUGUST 09: President Barack Obama and daughter Malia Obama, 16, walk out of Marine One after arriving at the Martha's Vineyard Airport on August 9, 2014 in West Tisbury, Massachusetts. The Obama's are vacationing on the island for two weeks. (Photo by Matthew Healey-Pool/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughter Malia arrive at Cape Cod Coast Guard Air Station in Massachusetts on August 9, 2014 before departing for their vacation at Martha's Vineyard. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama arrives at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, on August 9, 2014 where they will spend their yearly summer vacation. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama delivers a statement before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on August 9, 2014 in Washington, DC. France and Britain have agreed to support US humanitarian efforts to help tens of thousands of civilians besieged by militants on a mountain in Iraq, President Obama said Saturday. 'Both leaders expressed strong support for actions and agreed to join us in providing humanitarian assistance to Iraqis suffering so much,' Obama told reporters at the White House after speaking by telephone with British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama delivers a statement before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on August 9, 2014 in Washington, DC. France and Britain have agreed to support US humanitarian efforts to help tens of thousands of civilians besieged by militants on a mountain in Iraq, President Obama said Saturday. 'Both leaders expressed strong support for actions and agreed to join us in providing humanitarian assistance to Iraqis suffering so much,' Obama told reporters at the White House after speaking by telephone with British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 09: U.S. President Barack Obama (C), first lady Michelle Obama (R) and their oldest daughter Malia Obama (L) walk out of the White House before boarding Marine One August 9, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama delivered a statement about the ongoing U.S. military actions and humanitarian drops in northern Iraq before he and his family traveled to Martha's Vineyard for a two-week vacation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 09: (L-R) First lady Michelle Obama, U.S. President Barack Obama and their oldest daughter Malia Obama walk across the South Lawn before boarding Marine One at the White House August 9, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama delivered a statement about the ongoing U.S. military actions and humanitarian drops in northern Iraq before he and his family traveled to Martha's Vineyard for a two-week vacation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
A sign welcoming the Obama family to Martha's Vineyard is seen from the press van en route to listen to President Barack Obama speak about developments in Iraq, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Chilmark, Mass., during his family vacation on the island of Martha's Vineyard. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Barack Obama walks away from a podium after speaking about developments in Iraq, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, from Chilmark, Mass., during his family vacation on the island of Martha's Vineyard. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Presidential dog Bo walks on the tarmac after deplaning Air Force One at Cape Cod Coast Guard Air Station in Bourne, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, en route to the island of Martha's Vineyard for a vacation with members of the first family. President Barack Obama starts a two-week summer vacation as the U.S. is engaged in airstrikes against Islamic militant targets in Iraq. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Air Force One, with President Barack Obama and the first family aboard, flies over the area of Cape Cod, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, en route to Martha's Vineyard fora two-week summer vacation, which comes as the U.S. is engaged in airstrikes against Islamic militant targets in Iraq. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Barack Obama walks with daughter Malia Obama, left, and first lady Michelle Obama, right, as they exit Air Force One at Cape Cod Coast Guard Air Station in Bourne, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, en route to family vacation on the island of Martha's Vineyard which comes as the U.S. is engaged in airstrikes against Islamic militant targets in Iraq. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Marine One carrying US President Barack Obama and daughter Malia prepares to take off from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on August 18, 2014 as he returns to Washington for two days. Obama will resume his vacation at Martha's Vineyard on August 19. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

By JULIE PACE

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama returned to Washington just after midnight Monday for a two-day break from a summer vacation, during which airstrikes in Iraq and violent clashes in a St. Louis suburb intruded on his golf and beach plans.

The exact reason for Obama's return remained unclear, though it appeared aimed in part at countering criticism that Obama was spending two weeks on the Massachusetts resort island of Martha's Vineyard in the midst of multiple crises. His return to Washington was planned even before the U.S. military began striking targets in Iraq and before the standoff between police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.

Obama had meetings on both matters scheduled for Monday. The president was scheduled to return to Martha's Vineyard Tuesday night.

The president spent a leisurely Sunday on the island before his late-night departure. He played a round of golf - his most frequent vacation activity - then attended a jazz concert and dinner with first lady Michelle Obama.

While Obama has had plenty of downtime since arriving in Martha's Vineyard a week ago, he also made two public statements about the situations in Iraq and Ferguson. The president had ordered the Iraq strikes days before leaving for vacation, while the tensions in Ferguson that stem from the shooting death of an unarmed teen boiled over during his vacation.

"I think it's fair to say there are, of course, ongoing complicated situations in the world, and that's why you've seen the president stay engaged," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.

Obama's vacation has also been infused with a dose of politics. He headlined a fundraiser on the island for Democratic Senate candidates and attended a birthday party for veteran Democratic adviser Vernon Jordan's wife, where he spent time with former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

That get-together between the former rivals-turned-partners added another complicated dynamic to Obama's vacation. Just as Obama was arriving on Martha's Vineyard, an interview with the former secretary of state was published in which she levied some of her sharpest criticism of Obama's foreign policy.

Clinton later promised she and Obama would "hug it out" when they saw each other at Jordan's party. No reporters were allowed in, so it's not clear whether there was any hugging, but the White House said the president danced to nearly every song.

More from AOL
WikiLeaks founder says he'll leave embassy soon
Paris police: Robbers steal Saudi prince's car
Nigerian woman suspected of Ebola dies in UAE

Read Full Story

People are Reading