As of Feb. 21, members of the Obama family had already taken 16 extended leisure trips, 10 of which were as a family — but Barack Obama is already scouting out the family’s next potential vacation destination.
At the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, this weekend, the president told a panel that included Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff that a part of his job at the Summit was to survey the vacation landscape in the South American country. CNSNews.com’s Terence Jeffrey reports the relevant quote:
“I want to thank President Santos and the people of Colombia for the extraordinary hospitality in the beautiful city of Cartagena,” said Obama. “We’re having a wonderful time. And usually when I take these summit trips, part of my job is to scout out where I may want to bring Michelle back later for vacation. So we’ll make sure to come back sometime in the near future.”
Presumably, the president intended the quote to be a laugh line — but, as Jeffrey points out, it came on the heels of an interview in which Obama scoffed at the idea that anyone might find him out-of-touch because of his lavish leisure habits. In that interview, news anchor Larry Conners of KMOV in St. Louis asked the president how he responds to concerns that he vacations too much. In his reply, the president pretended to be offended at the suggestion that he’s somehow lazy (even though he’s admitted he thinks he has a kind of laziness deep down), saying, “I’m raising a family here. When we travel, we’ve got to travel through Secret Service and Air Force One. That’s not my choice. I think most folks understand how hard I work and how hard this administration is working on behalf of the American people.”
The juxtaposition of an offended dismissal of the American people’s legitimate concerns about his jet-setting behaviors with a cutesy comment that he’s scouting a new relaxation spot for Michelle just further illuminates that Barack Obama is out of touch. Many people I know haven’t taken a full-fledged family vacation in years, but the president thinks he’s justified in taking more than three a year.
It grows tiresome to criticize the president for something petty like his vacation habits. Everybody needs to rest and recharge at some point — perhaps especially the president. It’d just be nice if the president expressed a little humility and gratitude for the amazing team and understanding American people that enable him to take his vacations in the first place.
Click the image to watch video of the president’s comments in Colombia.