Amid golfing criticism, Obamas take a hike

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama spent an overcast morning Friday hiking through Chilmark, Mass., a sleepy town on the southwestern tip of Martha's Vineyard.

The hike came amid growing complaints over the president's vacation activities, as the White House grapples with crises at home and abroad.

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On Friday morning, The New York Times splashed a front-page story detailing criticism of the president's decision to go golfing immediately after addressing the nation about the brutal murder of journalist James Foley by Islamist militants.

“As a general rule, I think that he’s right that you can’t be held hostage to the news cycle — the man deserves a bit of downtime,” Jim Manley, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), told the paper. “But in this particular instance, I think a lot of Democrats flinched a little bit.”

The president's two-week vacation is expected to extend through Sunday, although Obama briefly interrupted his trip to return to Washington for two days earlier this week.

In addition to golfing, the president has spent the vacation visiting the beach and bike riding with his family.