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On barbs and books

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
Responding to the story this morning in the New York Times that the administration has only filled 43% of all positions requiring Senate confirmation, White House spokesman Bill Burton shot back that Kansas Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts were holding up John McHugh's confirmation "for partisan purposes."

Brownback and Roberts do not want Guantanamo detainees moved to Fort Leavenworth, which is in Kansas.

Burton also defended the vacation against the NRCC's, the House political arm's, attack that he shouldn't be taking one: "As I recall, the previous president [took] quite a bit of vacation himself, and I don't think anyone bemoaned that," Burton said.

Liberals certainly bemoaned it.

The Wall Street Journal reports on some of the details of what the president has done so far: This morning, he worked out, played tennis with his wife and planned a golf outing for the afternoon with House Democratic Whip Rep. James Clyburn, who Burton said was already on the island; UBS AG Chief Executive Robert Wolf, a big fund-raiser for Obama; and aide Marvin Nicholson...."

[*** UPDATE *** Robert Wolf was a major fundraiser for candidate Obama. He is a bundler and raised more than $500,000 for him.]

Also inside the Obama inner circle, the family dined on Sunday night "with Martha's Vineyard neighbor and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, and friends Eric Whitaker and his wife."

Also, the White House noted which books the president took with him: Tom Friedman's "Hot, Flat and Crowded," David McCullough's "John Adams," Richard Price's "Lush Life," Kent Haruf's "Plain Song," George Pelecanos's "The Way Home."

*** UPDATE *** The Wall Street Journal makes this fun (skeptical) point: "That's 2,301 pages of recreational reading in a week, sandwiched between tennis, golf, meetings with friends, and possible calls to Congress. Aides say Obama is a speedy reader. So at that pace, the president would need about 3.5 days for the 1,000-page House health care proposal, whenever it's finalized."