The Boston Globe

Vineyard buzzes less for Obamas’ second visit
The Boston Globe

As Martha’s Vineyard prepares for the first family’s visit — their second summer stay here since President Obama took office — the excitement that marked last summer’s arrival of the fresh-faced commander in chief seems to have ebbed like the tide.

It was only a year ago that the president, a superstar after his historic election, rode a wave of popularity to The Rock. Islanders typically brag about a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to celebrities, but it seemed everyone wanted a glimpse of Obama playing golf or biking with his daughters. But in the final days before his second visit, some residents say the excitement has waned along with Obama’s popularity after two years in office.

One barometer of the plunge in excitement has been the sale of Obama-themed T-shirts, which designers had been banking on after the craze of last year. Clothing labeled with the president’s name sold by the thousands, helping to salvage a tough economic year for the island.

But this year’s T-shirt sales are much less brisk, merchants say. “Last year, Obama gave you goose bumps, but I don’t think you’re going to see that this year,’’ said Alex McCluskey, co-owner of the Locker Room, who sold more than 4,000 “I vacationed with Obama’’ T-shirts last year. But so far this year, he said, his hot item is T-shirts of former President Bush asking, “Miss me yet?’’