The Washington Post

Obama’s presidential vacation stirs up the never-ending holiday debate


President Ford plays golf during a working vacation on Mackinac Island in Michigan July 13, 1975. (David Hume Kennerly/AP)

As the summer draws to a close, it’s the time of year for last-minute cookouts, enjoying the final splendors of beach vacations and complaining about presidential vacations.

As President Obama kicked off his 10-day summer vacation in Martha’s Vineyard Thursday, the requisite backlash began with critics calling foul over his posh getaway amid a volatile stock market and an ongoing jobs crisis.

Yet, as the Post’s David Nakamura reminds us, the complaints are nearly as old as the U.S. presidency itself. John Adams, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower have all felt the heat of holiday critics. CBS news anchor Mark Knoller looked back at past presidential vacations to see how Obama stacked up, finding that at this point in each of their respective presidencies, George W. Bush had taken 180 days off from the White House, Bill Clinton 23 days and Obama 61.

We went back in the archives to see how the Post has covered some of the trials and trips of presidential vacations.

(To learn more about Obama’s trip, read about the political perils of summer vacation or watch Chris Cillizza discuss the trip on his Fast Fix video.)

April 23, 1905: President Roosevelt



August 16, 1946: President Truman


August 9, 1953: President Eisenhower


November 7, 1976: President Carter



August 2, 2009: President Obama


See also: a photo gallery of past presidential vacations.

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