Let me finish tonight with this.
The First Family is on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. This is their fourth vacation trip to the island - they skipped last year in the midst of the 2012 campaign.
Yesterday, the president hit the links with a press pool watching.
I noticed that this morning, Drudge was leading with a story that talked about the arrival of Bo, the family dog, via Osprey helicopter, the number of hotel rooms needed for the Secret Service, and the presence of a mesh bag filled with basketballs in the luggage.
Criticizing a president’s vacation, especially this president’s vacation, has become a rite of summer.
To learn more of the facts, today I chatted with Mark Knoller. He’s the White House correspondent for CBS News. But he’s more than that. He’s the go-to statistician for presidential behavior, he often shares his data with colleagues, and sometimes the presidents’ themselves. He maintains lists of literally everything the commander-in-chief does - from bill signings, pardons, and vetoes to Air Force One flights, Marine One trips, and vacation destinations - even church attendance.
Following him @markknoller is a must.
As for the numbers: since taking office, President Obama has taken 14 vacation trips spanning all or part of 95 days.
So how does that compare?
At the same point in his presidency, Bill Clinton had taken 11 vacation trips (84 days)
And Ronald Reagan made 29 visits to his ranch (180 days).
At the same point in office, pres. G.W. Bush had made 50 visits to his Texas ranch, totaling all or part of 323 days.
Knoller said he always puts the word “vacation” in quotes because as he often says, U.S. presidents don’t really get to take vacation. The job is with them 24/7.
Well, I’m hoping President Obama plays lots of golf in the next few days. Or shoots hoops. Or whatever else he needs to do to maintain his mental edge.
I felt the same way about President George W. Bush and never begrudged him his time at this ranch. All told, he was there 490 days during his presidency.
The health of the country is largely a function of the physical and mental health of its commander in chief. If blowing off some steam with a couple of bogeys and a beer in the clubhouse keeps him sharper when the red phone rings, we’re all better off for it.