News / USA

Obama Vacation Draws Criticism

President Barack Obama waves from the top of the steps of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, on his way to Martha's Vineyard for vacation, Aug. 18, 2011
President Barack Obama waves from the top of the steps of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, on his way to Martha's Vineyard for vacation, Aug. 18, 2011
Kent Klein

President Barack Obama is being criticized by Republicans and some Democrats for taking a 10-day vacation on the resort island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Critics are unhappy about the timing and location of the trip.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney appeared to anticipate some of the criticism when he announced on August 10 that President Obama and his family would take some time away from Washington.

“The president does plan to travel with his family at the end of August to Martha’s Vineyard, as he has in the past," said Carney. "And I do not think Americans out there would begrudge that notion that the President would spend some time with his family.”

But some Americans say it is not appropriate for the president to leave the White House when financial markets are plummeting and unemployment remains high.

Among the most prominent critics is former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, one of the leading Republican presidential contenders.

Romney pointed out Wednesday that Mr. Obama’s trip follows a three-day bus tour through the Midwest.  He also said the president should not wait until after his vacation to unveil his new economic plan.

“We appreciate the fact that he is trying to devote some time to it," said Romeny. "[He is] not just going to be on the bus tour, not just going to be vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, but giving some thought to the American people.  I would have thought that is what he would have done from day one.”

Criticism of the trip is not limited to Mr. Obama’s political opponents.  Some Democrats are expressing concern about the appearance of the president taking a vacation in an affluent resort area while millions of Americans are out of work.

Opinion writer Colbert King, of the Washington Post newspaper, is usually an Obama supporter.  But in a recent column he suggested that the president should spend some time with people who cannot afford to take a vacation, rather than, as he put it, “in splendid seclusion among the rich and famous.”

Presidential historian Allan Lichtman, a professor at Washington’s American University, says Mr. Obama is not the first president to take a critical beating for going on vacation.

“Criticizing presidential vacations is as old as the republic, and as tired as yesterday’s newspapers," said Lichtman.

Lichtman says the second U.S. president, John Adams, left Washington for his Massachusetts farm for seven months in 1798.  He was not re-elected.

In the 1950’s, Dwight Eisenhower was ridiculed for his many golf outings.  Democrats assailed Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush for their lengthy stretches of down time.

After several heavily-criticized visits to Martha’s Vineyard, Democrat Bill Clinton had aides take a public-opinion poll on where he should vacation.  As a result, he went instead to the Western resort of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

According to Lichtman, criticism of presidential vacations is unavoidable.

“No matter when he chose to take a vacation, he is going to take criticism that it is not the right time," he said. "I think he has got to operate under his own timetable.  Presidents need vacations.  It is the most difficult, the most demanding, the most harrowing job in the world.”

And a presidential vacation is not entirely an escape from the duties of the office, according to White House spokesman Jay Carney.

"There is no such thing as a presidential vacation," he said. "The presidency travels with you.  He will be in constant communication and get regular briefings from his national security team, as well as his economic team, and he will, of course, be fully capable, if necessary, of traveling back if that were required.  It is not very far.”

At least part of the president’s time in Martha’s Vineyard will be spent putting the finishing touches on a new plan to create jobs and cut the U.S. deficit.  He is expected to announce the proposals early in September.  

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid