Obama’s Vacations? Of Any President, Bush Racked Up the Most

Obama’s Vacations? Of Any President, Bush Racked Up the Most

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“Some of our viewers are complaining, they get frustrated, even angered, when they see the first family jetting around,” St. Louis TV reporter Larry Conners said to President Obama at the White House during an interview on April 12th. So, Conners asked President Obama a pointed question: how much time are you spending on vacation?

“The economy is a big issue and concern for folks,” Conners said to the President.  Viewers complain, “you’re out of touch, that you don’t really know what they’re experiencing,” the reporter said.

On May 1st, Florida Rep. Allen West complained of President Obama’s “wining and dining” at the White House Correspondents Dinner.  GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has also used President Obama’s down time and golf outings as a campaign issue.  On April 27th, House Speaker John Boehner demanded President Obama reimburse taxpayers for trips on Air Force One to North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa.

“This is the biggest job in the world and I’ve never seen a president make it smaller,” Speaker Boehner complained.

But did Boehner, Conners, Romney or West stop to compare President Obama’s vacation time to other Presidents?

Calls to several Presidential libraries reveal that President Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, was on vacation more — 1,020 days — than any U.S. President since Herbert Hoover and possibly more than any other President in history.

Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was in office 12 years from 1933 to 1945, was on vacation less days than President Bush at 958 days.  Calls to several Presidential Libraries reveal that no President can come close to Bush’s 1,020 days on vacation in an 8 year period.  Even Lyndon Johnson, who spent 484 days at his ranch in Texas and at Camp David during his presidency, came in under Bush’s vacation time.  Some claim the cost of Bush’s frequent trips to Crawford, Texas cost taxpayers upwards of $20 million, but the numbers are hard to confirm.

A recession started in 2001 as Bush took office after 22 million jobs were created during the Clinton Administration from 1993 to 2000.  Bush began wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and presided over the loss of 4 million jobs.  The debt when Bush left office was $10.6 trillion.  In 2005, the Washington Post noted President Bush’s frequent vacations in a piece titled Vacationing Bush Poised to Set a Record as Bush took the longest single vacation — 5 weeks — of any President in 36 years.

President Bush spent 32% of his presidency on vacation.

Bush passed Reagan in total vacation days in 2005 with three and a half years left in his presidency. Reagan spent all or part of 335 days in Santa Barbara over his 8 year presidency.  Bush spent 487 days at Camp David during his presidency and 490 days at his Crawford, Texas ranch, a total of 977 days.

When you add the days President Bush spent at Kennebunkport, Maine, he spent a total of 1,020 days away from the White House — close to 3 years.  At 1,020 days, Bush was close to being on vacation more days than President John F. Kennedy’s total days in office (1,036).  Representatives at the Nixon and Johnson Libraries indicate those two Presidents were on vacation less than 1,000 days during their terms.

President Obama has been on vacation 78 days from 2009 to 2011.  At the three year mark into their first terms, George W. Bush spent 180 days at his ranch in Crawford, Texas and Ronald Reagan spent 112 vacation days at his ranch in California.  Of course, staff was around all three Presidents on vacations and all White House aides argue that the commander-in-chief is never “out of touch” with work.

Calls to the Eisenhower and Truman Libraries reveal that those Presidents were not on vacation for more than 1,020 days.  Eisenhower was on vacation for 456 days during his 8 years in office.  When asked on whether President Herbert Hoover’s vacation days could be over 500 for 4 years a historian at the Hoover Library said, “No chance. Everyone agrees he was a grinder — he was the kind of guy for whom a vacation was rare — his vacation days were less than 50.” Hoover was in office from 1929 to 1933.  Frequently Hoover either drove himself on brief trips or was driven by a military attachment or took the train.

President Obama was on vacation for 26 days during his first year in office (2009).  Ronald Reagan spent 42 days on vacation during his first year in office (1981). President George H.W. Bush was on vacation less than his son, 40 days, in 1989, his first year in office.  President Obama was on vacation less in his first year in office than the previous three Republican Presidents.

No President since Reagan was on vacation less than Bill Clinton. Presidents Clinton and Carter vacationed the least of any of the last seven chief executives.

All Presidents point out that work is being done on vacation.  FDR’s Presidential Library included the following note with their information on President Roosevelt’s vacations: “It should be noted that no sitting modern president, including President Roosevelt, can ever take “a vacation.” Simply being away from the White House does not constitute a vacation.  In President Roosevelt’s case, even while relaxing at Hyde Park, Warm Springs, or on a fishing cruise, he received mail, reviewed dispatches, signed and vetoed legislation, met with political and world leaders, and delivered press conferences and speeches.  During wartime, his periods of true relaxation were even fewer.”

LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE, Politic365 Chief Congressional Correspondent, publishes the blog Crewof42 on the Congressional Black Caucus.  She is heard every Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET on WMCS 1290 in Milwaukee on Earl Ingram’s show The Evening Rush as well as on WPFW every Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Washington DC. You can e-mail her at LBurke007@gmail.com follow her on twitter at @crewof42.


440 COMMENTS

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  2. About time. He should be responsible for all his vacation cost. When his wife and children accompanied him on a business trip their trip cost should be included in Obama’s W2 for tax purposes.

    • so far obama has racked up 70 million in vacation costs not including his daughters spring break trip to mexico with 12 of her friends and 25 ss agents you will believe anything wont you

  3. [cock-a-doodle do!o] [cock-a-doodle do!o]
    U.S. Department of Justice,
    wakie wakie
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): When an EEOC Investigator has 300+ cases (as in Chicago),
    how can the public be well served?
    (google it! vs google chrome it! vs bring it!)
    Q1: did y’all ‘catch and reel in’ (t)HIS:
    http://www.council216.org/docs/newsletters/216Works8-08.pdf
    Points to Ponder

    Q2: did y’all ‘catch and reel in’ (t)HIS:
    [cock-a-doodle do!o] [cock-a-doodle do!o]
    U.S. Department of Justice,
    wakie wakie
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): as Rome (the EEOC) burns the President(s) + Congress(es) golf?
    (google it! vs google chrome it! vs bring it!)
    p.s.
    chew! chew!

  4. [yoo-hoo] [yoo-hoo]
    U.S. Department of Justice,
    come out, come out, wherever you are
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): EEOC’s 3 Horsemen of the Apocalypse
    (google it! vs google chrome it! vs bring it!)
    Q: did y’all ‘catch and reel in’ (t)HIS:
    http://www.council216.org/docs/newsletters/216Works8-08.pdf
    MIKE’S Views
    You Do the Math:
    Caseload Increases + Low Staffing = Huge Backlogs
    EEOC has demonstrated that it cannot be relied upon
    to use that money wisely.
    Congress is hip to EEOC’s fiscal irresponsibility
    and frustrated in dealing with it.
    Strong Congressional oversight of EEOC is needed to make it
    tow the line.
    Hiring of field staff needs to be executed and at a level that brings
    every office to the point where it can serve well those (complainanTs)
    who come to EEOC.
    Hiring one or two employees for a limited number of offices will not do.
    It is reminiscent of the story of the boy who plugged holes
    in the dike.
    Just as there were too many leaks for the boy to stave off flood,
    there is too little hiring (and too many employees leaving)
    to whittle down case loads and reduce the backlog.
    p.s.
    chew! chew!
    and
    thank you Mike (for your views)
    and
    thank you Google Chrome (for reporting Mike’s views)

  5. U.S. Department of Justice,
    wakie wakie
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): New EEOC staff, hired early in the year, rather than
    starving EEOC employees until it is too late in the year to do anything
    but dump cases (?) = FRAUD
    In law,
    FRAUD is deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain,
    or to
    deprive a vicTim of a legal right.
    p.s.
    Trust but Verify
    p.p.s.
    http://www.council216.org/docs/newsletters/216WorksDraft9-09.pdf
    President’s Viewpoint:
    Challenge to New Chair
    p.p.p.s.
    chew! chew!

  6. [yoo-hoo] [yoo-hoo]
    U.S. Department of Justice,
    wakie wakie
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): June 23, 2008
    The Honorable Barbara A. Mikulski
    Chair(man)
    Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice (ho ho ho), Science,
    and Related Agencies
    Committee on Appropriations
    United States Senate

    Dear Madam Chair(man):

    EEOC estimates that within 4 years,
    all of its current senior executives and senior managers will be
    retirement eligible,
    if they have not already retired by that time.
    Moreover, between 2000 and 2007,
    EEOC lost nearly one-quarter of its full-time-equivalent staff,
    from approximately 2,850 to 2,150.

    p.s.
    chew! chew!
    p.p.s.
    way to go y’all [Presidents + Congresses + EEOC]
    p.p.p.s.
    Trust but Verify
    p.p.p.p.s.
    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-589

  7. U.S. Department of Justice,
    wakie wakie
    G-D wants y’all to(o)
    ‘take and drink’ (t)HIS Cup of (not hemlock) T:
    Q: (laughingstock) Presidents + (laughingstock) Congresses = ?
    A: (laughingstock) EEOC
    p.s.
    sip! sip!
    ______________________

    U.S. Department of Justice,
    wakie wakie
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): Mr. Powell was appointed chairman of the commission (the EEOC)
    by(e bye) President Richard M. Nixon in 1973
    but was forced to resign 15 months later
    by(e bye) President Gerald R. Ford.
    EEOC Chairman Powell was criticized for its
    (the EEOC’s) growing backlog of 120,000 unresolved cases.
    p.s.
    chew! chew!
    p.p.s.
    U.S. Department of Justice,
    Q: did not the President and Congress make Mr. Powell
    the scapegoat?
    Q: are not the Presidents and Congresses to blame
    for(e!):
    1) the EEOC’s teeny tiny budget
    2) the EEOC’s lack of investigators
    3) the EEOC’s general counsels and directors who without fail
    jump ship to respondent law firms
    p.p.p.s.
    HE HE HE
    ______________________

    U.S. Department of Justice,
    wakie wakie
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): Charles A. Shanor, a former general counsel for the EEOC, is
    defending Publix
    in the case. In a statement,
    Shanor said the agency’s decision to join the private lawsuit
    rather than resolve its investigation administratively is
    ”a last-ditch effort.”
    p.s.
    chew! chew!
    ___________________________

    U.S. Department of Justice,
    come out, come out, wherever you are
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): Eric S. Dreiband, the general counsel of the EEOC, resigned
    from his position effective September 7, 2005
    half-way through his four year term.
    Dreiband joined the Washington D.C. office of Akin Gump
    Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP on September 12, 2005
    Dreiband then moved from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
    to the Washington D.C. office of Jones Day.
    p.s.
    chew! chew!
    ________________________

    U.S. Department of Justice,
    wakie wakie
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): Akin Gump’s Donald Livingston,
    who led Freeman’s defense, said Tuesday that
    it remains rare for an attorney fees award to be entered
    against the EEOC
    Q: who’s Akin Gump’s Donald Livingston?
    A: “What the judge has said is that
    when you, as a plaintiff, know that you have lost …
    that you have an obligation to stop litigating,” said Livingston,
    who formerly served as the EEOC’s general counsel.
    p.s.
    chew! chew!
    ____________________________

    U.S. Department of Justice,
    wakie wakie
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): when the EEOC stepped in Hooters lashed back.
    It didn’t help matters that a former general counsel for the EEOC,
    Donald Livingston, worked on the Hooters legal team.
    The Hooters case points up an uncomfortable reality for the EEOC,
    said Larry Lorber,
    “It (the EEOC) can be subject to ridicule
    [because] its constituents tend to be the people without power.”
    Adding insult to injury, Lorber said, its
    (the EEOC’s) financing depends on
    a government that “will give it lip service
    and may or may not have an interest in seeing it (the EEOC) vigorous.”
    p.s.
    chew! chew!
    _________________________________

    U.S. Department of Justice,
    come out, come out, wherever you are
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): The EEOC also is not a high priority of President Clinton.
    While Clinton has proposed raising the agency’s budget
    to $268 million next year,
    1) he didn’t get a chairman installed for nearly 21 months
    and
    2) he waited two full years before nominating a new prosecutor
    for the commission (the EEOC).
    p.s.
    chew! chew!
    and
    shame! shame! on you (Presidents + Congresses + EEOC)
    _______________

    U.S. Department of Justice,
    come out, come out, wherever you are
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): the Bush administration gutted every regulatory agency
    it (the Bush administration) could get its hands on.
    The (Bush) administration apparently saw no political advantage
    (no spiritual advantage?) in ‘doing something’ about helping
    workers (Celestial brothers and sisters) who dared to complain
    about bias (report discrimination here up on earth).

    President Obama touched on the E.E.O.C.’s problems
    in the campaign (well well well).
    Now that he (President Obama) is in the White House,
    he (President Obama) needs to repair, replenish and demand
    a major attitude change forthwith.
    And Congress needs to provide full support to restore the E.E.O.C.
    to something more than a laughingstock.
    p.s.
    chew! chew!
    and
    shame! shame! on you (Presidents + Congresses + EEOC)

  8. U.S. Department of Justice,
    wakie wakie
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): most people who follow the agency (the EEOC)
    expect the new administration to continue the pattern of previous ones,
    Democratic and Republican alike, in considering it a low priority.
    ‘Without larger budgets and greater political influence’,
    the new chairwoman may have as much trouble as her predecessors
    in transforming the agency into a powerful force.
    ”There is not a huge national will to have the agency be more effective,”
    said John Rowe, a district office director in Chicago
    who has worked for the E.E.O.C. for nearly 30 years.
    Since the agency gets little respect,
    morale has chronically suffered.
    Without ‘the money’ to
    1) hire more lawyers and investigators
    or to
    2) buy computers,
    the agency (the EEOC) fell further and further behind
    in the 1980’s
    into much of the 1990’s.
    p.s.
    chew! chew!
    ______________________

    U.S. Department of Justice,
    come out, come out, wherever you are
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): U.S. military spending in 2010 was $693 billion —
    p.s.
    U.S. Department of Justice,
    Q1: how much money did the President and Congress invest in
    the EEOC in 2014 to right wrongs here (in America)?
    A1: less than $400 million
    Q2: how much money did the Presidents and Congresses invest in
    the EEOC over 50 years to right wrongs here (in America)?
    A2: less than $20 billion
    Q3: what percentage of $693 billion (for 2010) is less than $400 million?
    A3: less than one-tenth of 1 percent
    p.p.s.
    chew! chew!
    and
    HE HE HE 

  9. U.S. Department of Justice,
    come out, come out, wherever you are
    G-D wants y’all to(o)
    ‘take and eat’ (t)HIS:
    Q: who’s the most guilty
    [for(e!) the EEOC ‘not investigating and not amending’
    all discrimination complaints and cases in a ‘thorough and timely’ manner =
    “in good faith” over the last 50 years]?
    1) Presidents + Congresses (Executive + Legislative)
    2) EEOC Chairs + EEOC Commissioners
    3) EEOC OIGs
    4) EEOC Directors
    5) EEOC General Counsels
    6) EEOC investigators
    7) respondent law firms + complainant law firms
    8) you (U.S. Department of Justice)
    9) y’all [need JESUS]
    p.s.
    chew! chew!
    __________________________

    U.S. Department of Justice,
    wakie wakie
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): Harrison said she provided a list of eight co-workers
    to corroborate her story, but they (her witnesses) told her
    the EEOC never contacted them.
    After her lawyer asked about the status of the complaint in 2014,
    Harrison received a “right-to-sue” letter in May of that year,
    nearly 2½ years after she brought the complaint.
    p.s.
    chew! chew!
    _________________________

    U.S. Department of Justice,
    while you were sleeping I went fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    look at what I ‘caught and reeled in’:
    A child of the Ida B. Wells housing project,
    Peterson had been a star
    salesman for a medical diagnostic-equipment company,
    with a six-figure income and a new home in the suburbs.
    Then he got a new boss and his brilliant career fizzled.
    As a bracing wind blew in off the lake, Peterson sat across
    from an EEOC investigator and detailed what he believed was
    an escalating campaign by his new boss to
    sabotage Peterson because he is black.
    “We’ll protect you,” Peterson remembers the investigator telling him.
    “They would be stupid to do anything to you now.”
    Less than five months later, however, Peterson was fired.
    Another 14 months went by before he finally heard back from the EEOC.
    1) Without contacting any of the witnesses
    or
    2) obtaining any of the records
    With a six-paragraph form letter dated Dec. 30, 1992,
    Peterson’s case was dismissed.
    p.s.
    chew! chew!
    _________________________

    U.S. Department of Justice,
    come out, come out, wherever you are
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): Regardless of how his suit ends, Peterson says
    he has learned a lesson:
    “I would never go to EEOC again,”
    he says. “In the final analysis, the EEOC did nothing
    but waste my time.
    When I went to the EEOC, I didn’t just have a story;
    I had documentation!
    And they (the EEOC) did nothing, nothing at all.”
    p.s.
    chew! chew!
    and
    shame! shame! shame! on you (Presidents + Congresses + EEOC)

  10. [cock-a-doodle do!o] [cock-a-doodle do!o]
    U.S. Department of Justice,
    wakie wakie
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): EEOC UNION FILES ULP COMPLAINTS AGAINST ALL 53 EEOC FIELD OFFICES
    (google it! vs google chrome it! vs yahoo it! vs ask it! vs bring it!)
    Q1: did y’all ‘catch and reel in’ (t)HIS:
    According to Council President Gabrielle Martin, “These ULP’s will hopefully stop EEOC
    cases from being dumped at the end of the year, which is unfair both to the public (Taxpayers!
    who are also complainanTs) and EEOC employees.”

    Q2: did y’all ‘catch and reel in’ (t)HIS:
    dumped cases (?) = FRAUD
    In law,
    FRAUD is deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain,
    or to
    deprive a vicTim of a legal right.
    p.s.
    Trust but Verify
    p.p.s.
    http://www.council216.org/docs/201008-prulpprodstdfinal.pdf
    p.p.p.s.
    chew! chew!
    and
    shame! shame! shame! on you [Presidents + Congresses + EEOC]

  11. [yoo-hoo] [yoo-hoo]
    U.S. Department of Justice,
    come out, come out, wherever you are
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): “EEOC is kicking off its 45th anniversary celebration.
    This anniversary comes at a time when too many discrimination claims are
    1) buried in the backlog
    or
    2) dumped in order to help EEOC’s year end statistics,”
    says Gabrielle Martin, president of the National Council of EEOC Locals,
    216, AFGE/AFL-CIO (“the Council”), which represents the agency’s workers.
    (google it! vs google chrome it! vs bring it!)
    Q: did y’all ‘catch and reel in’ (t)HIS:
    dumped cases (?) = FRAUD
    In law,
    FRAUD is deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain,
    or to
    deprive a vicTim of a legal right.
    p.s.
    Trust but Verify
    p.p.s.
    https://www.afge.org/Index.cfm?Page=PressReleases&PressReleaseID=1194
    p.p.p.s.
    chew! chew!
    and
    let’s thank Council President Gabrielle Martin for ‘blowing the whistle’ in 2010
    and
    let’s thank Google Chrome for helping her in 2016 ‘blow the whistle’ again

  12. [yoo-hoo] [yoo-hoo]
    U.S. Department of Justice,
    come out, come out, wherever you are
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): what is EEOC doing to tackle the backlog? “Worse than nothing,” says Martin.
    The Union has filed unfair labor complaints in each of EEOC’s 53 offices,
    charging that the agency mandated quotas of cases each employee had to shut down
    before the end of FY10.
    Martin states, “The EEOC panicked before the 4th quarter, ratcheting up
    the case dumping requirements
    to try to improve the dismal year-end statistics that must be reported to Congress.
    Neither the public or EEOC workers should have to suffer
    because of this poor solution to the backlog.”
    (google it! vs google chrome it! vs bring it!)
    Q: did y’all ‘catch and reel in’ (t)HIS:
    dumped cases (?) = FRAUD
    In law,
    FRAUD is deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain,
    or to
    deprive a vicTim of a legal right.
    p.s.
    Trust but Verify
    p.p.s.
    http://www.council216.org/docs/20101007prfiscalnewyr11.pdf
    p.p.p.s.
    chew! chew!
    and
    thank you Council President Gabrielle Martin for ‘blowing the whistle’
    in 2010
    and
    thank you Google Chrome for helping her in 2016 ‘blow the whistle’
    again

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