President Barack Obama and daughter, Sasha, swim at Alligator Point in Panama City Beach, Florida, on Saturday (PHOTO CREDIT: White House/Pete Souza)
(CNN) – - The one really big question hanging over President Obama's weekend vacation to Panama City, Florida, now has an answer.
Will he or won't he dive into the water to send a message that the Gulf Coast is back?
The answer: He will, and sooner than expected.
"I think we're going to go tomorrow and as I just said Ed, I'm not going to let you guys take a picture of me with my shirt off," Obama jokingly told CNN Saturday. "You guys will tease me just like last time. I was on the front page ... People commenting."
But just hours later, a photo was published on the White House Flickr page showing a smiling President Obama and his daughter Sasha taking a dip in the Gulf waters off Alligator Point in Panama City Beach, Florida.
No reporters or press cameras were present for the swim, but the image will nonetheless send a message that the White House has sought to convey with the first family's trip: the Gulf Coast is open for business.
Obama caused a bit of a tabloid stir when he took off his shirt to reveal a muscular physique during trips to Hawaii during the 2008 presidential campaign and subsequent presidential transition. But some are less concerned about Obama ending up on magazine covers, and more worried about the White House sending the right message.
The First Family will visit the Gulf Coast this weekend. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images/File)
(CNN) – President Obama and his family will travel to the Gulf Coast this weekend to support businesses that rely on tourists but have been devastated by the oil disaster.
The family will leave Saturday morning for Panama City Beach, Florida.
"Even as the president talks about what our next steps are in our response, obviously part of this will be highlighting the tremendous economic toll that has taken place," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters earlier this week.
President Obama welcomed the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints to the White House Monday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Emily Schultze/CNN)
Washington (CNN) - The New Orleans Saints had the customary White House visit for Super Bowl victors Monday but not without showing support for their gulf coast region-including an offensive lineman making a surprise visit to the White House briefing room with a platter of his tasty barbeque shrimp from Louisiana.
Looking to highlight the plight of Gulf Coast fishermen, Zack Strief hooked up with the White House chef and used a special family recipe to cook up a tasty dish to then be sampled by the White House press corps.
In the East Room earlier, President Obama saluted the team for their Super Bowl victory, and for the emotional boost it gave a city ravaged by hurricane Katrina.
"This team took the hopes and the dreams of a shattered city and placed them squarely on its shoulders," the President said during remarks in the White House East Room, adding that "not only did the team come back, it took its city's hands and helped its city back on its feet."
See video of the visit after the jump:
According to a new CNN poll, 33 percent of the public says the situation in the Gulf region is under control. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - On day 95 of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a new poll indicates that two-thirds of Americans think the situation is still out of control, but the number who say that things are getting worse in the Gulf Coast region has dropped 30 points since June.
According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey, 33 percent of the public says the situation is under control, up from just seven percent in June. Sixty-five percent of those questioned say things are out of control, down from 92 percent in June.
Full results [pdf]
"Optimism about the situation in the Gulf has grown most among women," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Last month, only 35 percent of women thought the situation there had stabliized; now that is up to 60 percent. The number of men who think things have stabilized also grew since June, but only by 12 points, to 55 percent."
Washington (CNN) – The first family will travel to Florida's Gulf Coast over the weekend of August 14-15, the White House announced Thursday.