President Obama gets a lot of flack for taking much of the summer up with “vacations,” getaways with his family (and the dog), but that’s mostly unfair. While Obama’s choices of venue certainly call his judgment into question, Presidents never really take “vacations.” The job follows them wherever they go, just as it did with George W. Bush. They may get a few moments to take in the local flavor, but when important events occur and issues arise, they get back to work.
Or, at least they usually do. Dan Riehl noted that a series of coordinated attacks in Iraq by terrorists killed 55 on the occasion where the US drew its troop strength below 55,000 in accordance with the plan signed by Bush and Nouri al-Maliki in the summer of 2008. When a reporter asked for Obama to comment on whether this showed the risks of maintaining that drawdown schedule while violence continued, Obama assumed the full mantle of the Presidency to address the serious security situation:
As the president walked around the restaurant, some cordoned-off reporters shouted out to him questions, including one about the war in Iraq. Next Tuesday night, the president will deliver an Oval Office address at 8 pm ET, in which he will mark the occasion of the withdrawal of US combat troops from the country.
But the president was in no mood today to discuss the issue with reporters in that setting. He ignored questions for a bit, then turned to the reporters.
“We’re buying shrimp, guys,” he said, smiling. “Come on.”
Maybe those people criticizing the weeks of vacation have a point.
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