Via Mediaite, no one was hurt and almost no damage was done so no one’s going to care tomorrow what O was up to when it happened. Like everyone else in America with a Twitter account, I myself spent the aftermath goofing on overreactions various and sundry, especially from the media. (As I write this, the front page of the Daily Mail’s website makes the quake sound like some sort of new 9/11.) But the jokes only really started flying after everyone felt sure this was officially No Big Deal. Which is why I’m surprised by the Journal’s timeline of how things went down at the Vineyard:
Shortly before 3 p.m. Mr. Obama paused from his round at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs, Mass., to convene a conference call on the earthquake with top advisers, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. The president was briefed on the scope of the earthquake and its impact on infrastructure in the affected areas up and down the East Coast.
“The president was told that there are no initial reports of major infrastructure damage, including at airports and nuclear facilities and that there were currently no requests for assistance,” Mr. Earnest said in a statement…
Mr. Obama, who has been vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard with his family since last Thursday, had arrived at Farm Neck Golf Club just after 1:30 p.m., about 20 minutes before the 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit. It is unclear if he, like many on Martha’s Vineyard, felt the earthquake at the time.
The president was seen talking on a cell phone after teeing off on the first hole.
He was on the course for an hour after the quake struck without comprehensive information about how bad it was? Bush spent seven minutes reading “My Pet Goat” after the planes went in and he’ll hear about it until the day he dies; imagine if the quake had knocked a few bridges down and it turned out later that Obama had spent the following hour teeing off. I’m amazed he didn’t run from the course as soon as he heard the news (presumably via that phone call after the first hole), just to be on the safe side. A lot of people were lucky today that things weren’t worse. He’s one of them.
Ah well. The media’s not letting him slide on this, but as I say, most people won’t care. No harm, no foul. Exit quotation from the one and only Michael J. Nelson, who’s keeping the quake fun rolling on Twitter: “Obama golfing when earthquake hit. Ball on edge of cup rolled in, beating Judge Smails. Biden danced to ‘I’m All Right’ as credits rolled.”