President goes for a swim in the Gulf – or does he?

President Barack Obama wanted to convince America that the Gulf of Mexico remains open for business. But perhaps he didn't want the world to catch another glimpse of his hairless chest.

So when he and his daughter, Sasha, took a dip in the sea off Florida this weekend, only the White House photographer was allowed to capture proceedings.

The official picture was intended to provide evidence that the region's beaches are back to normal. Yet it soon emerged that the private beach on which it was taken, off Alligator Point in St Andrew Bay, north-west Florida, isn't technically in the gulf.

Cynics complained that the supposed family holiday was more of a whistle-stop press tour. Barack, Michelle and Sasha Obama, plus their dog, Bo, spent just 27 hours in the important swing state. The first family went on a boating trip yesterday that saw them catch a view of local porpoises. On Saturday, they played crazy golf and Sasha, 9, scored a hole-in-one off the first tee.