As President Obama departs for Israel Tuesday night and Vice President  Biden returns from the inaugural Mass of Pope Francis in Rome, there will be about a 20-minute window when the nation's two highest-ranking elected officials will not be on U.S. soil.


(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Luckily, there is no reason to panic. This brief gap does not trigger a succession crisis, as White House officials are quick to point out.

"The fact remains that President Obama is President of the United States everywhere he goes.  Vice President Biden is Vice President of the United States everywhere that he goes," White House spokesman Josh Earnest explained to reporters Friday. "There’s no reason that that should in any way impact the day-to-day running of the country."