The Cabinet decamps to Camp David
President Obama hosted members of his Cabinet and their families at Camp David on Sunday, the first time he's hosted top appointees at the presidential retreat.
Vice President Biden and his wife, Jill, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis were among those that made the trip to Maryland, according to aides who replied to an e-mail inquiry about Sunday's gathering. (The White House wouldn't say if everyone attended.) Salazar attended solo, Locke brought his wife and three children and Solis took her sister, Anna, according to aides.
The Obamas have hosted cocktail parties and dinners for the Cabinet, but this was the first social gathering at Camp David, the White House said. On the weekends Obama is known to spend some of his downtime on the basketball court with Education Secretary Arne Duncan and at the golf course with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. The president and first lady also have dined out in Washington with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and his wife, Sharon Malone.
Franklin D. Roosevelt selected what was then known as Camp Hi-Catoctin as the official presidential retreat in 1942. He called the site Shangri-La, but Dwight D. Eisenhower christened it Camp David in honor of his grandson.
Eisenhower also hosted the first Cabinet meeting at Camp David on Aug. 11, 1954, according to presidential historian Martha Kumar.
"Ike intended it to be more than just the meeting, which was to be held in late morning, and then everyone would stay for light lunch, afternoon hanging around the pool, and then followed by dinner there," said Kumar, a Towson University political science professor who's archived the history of presidential transitions and press conferences.
Eisenhower held meetings at Camp David with the National Security Council and Cabinet in 1955, shortly after a heart attack. The NSC met on Nov. 21 and the Cabinet on the 22nd. Officials who were members of the NSC and Cabinet spent the evening of the 21st with Eisenhower at Camp David, Kumar said.
Many presidents have allowed Cabinet secretaries and their families to use the retreat on weekends when the First Family doesn't plan to visit.
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