Patt Morrison for August 18, 2011

To vacation, or not to vacation: the perennial presidential problem

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Darren McCollester/Getty Images

U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama order lunch at Nancy's Restaurant while vacationing on Martha's Vineyard.

According to Donald Trump, “the fact is, [Obama] takes more vacations than any human being I've ever seen…he's already exceeded George Bush and we're not even through the year.” Not quite—according to several news outlets—but still, with 14 million Americans out of work, a historic downgrade of the country’s credit rating and a volatile stock market, should President Obama be packing for a 10-day retreat at the 28-acre Blue Heron Farm compound on Martha’s Vineyard? Critics say the estimated $50,000 per week rental shows the hypocrisy of a president who has pledged not to rest “until every American looking for a job can find one.” And by the day, republicans like Mitt Romney are piling on, making a big show of appealing to the president to, please, not take his vacation. Of course, there’s nothing new to this story; from Madison after the War of 1812, to Carter during the energy crisis, it’s part of a long and hearty tradition of questioning the president’s past times. We take a quick look back in vacation history.

Guest:

David Nakamura, Washington Post reporter


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