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Obama Makes Time for Political Allies on Summer Vacation

Obama Begins Vacation Golfing With Wall Street Supporter Wolf
U.S. President Barack Obama, center, talks with 32 Advisors LLC Chief Executive Officer Robert Wolf, right, as White House Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition Sam Kass carries the flag off the first green at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, August 11, 2013. Photographer: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

By Lisa Lerer and Annie Linskey

Aug. 15 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama squeezed in a visit with a political ally while on vacation, dining with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick during his week-long break on Martha’s Vineyard.

The two ate dinner last night at State Road Restaurant, a contemporary American tavern in West Tisbury, with first lady Michelle Obama and other friends, according to Heather Johnson, a spokeswoman for Patrick.

“He enjoyed the visit and is always happy to welcome the first family to Massachusetts,” said Johnson.

The president and the Massachusetts governor share Chicago connections -- Patrick was born there and Obama made the city his political base -- and a Harvard Law pedigree. They’ve campaigned for each other throughout their careers and have several political advisers in common, including former White House senior aide David Axelrod and Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, David Plouffe.

In 2008, then-primary opponent Hillary Clinton accused Obama of lifting lines from Patrick’s addresses for his presidential campaign speeches.

“Deval and I do trade ideas all the time, and you know he’s occasionally used lines of mine,” Obama said at the time.

Patrick also defended the practice: “Senator Obama and I are long-time friends and allies. We often share ideas about politics, policy and language,” Patrick said in a statement to the New York Times. “The argument in question, on the value of words in the public square, is one about which he and I have spoken frequently before.”

Justice Department

Most recently, Patrick, who headed the U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division during President Bill Clinton administration, has been rumored as a potential replacement for Attorney General Eric Holder.

Amid the escalating crisis in Egypt, Obama has made time on his vacation for meals and golf with several long-time friends. After delivering a statement condemning the violence in Egypt this morning, he hit the links with White House chef Sam Kass and aides Marvin Nicholson and Mike Brush. Yesterday, he attended a party at the vacation home of Comcast Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts, after the two men played a round of golf with World Bank President Jim Kim, and former U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

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