Obama's Vacation: Ideal Time for Bashing Both President Bushes?

Reporters and editors at the Washington Post are defensive about new health-care ads mocking President Obama's vacation. In Monday's Washington Post, after disposing with the official line that no news will be made during the time off, reporter Michael D. Shear insisted Obama's vacation was brief, next to those lazy Bushes:

Past presidents have been queasy about time away from the White House, fearing the image of a checked-out president. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs expressed none of that concern last week, saying, "I don't think the American people begrudge a president taking some time with his family that's well earned and well deserved, for a few days to see and spend time with them." Obama is taking a week off from his day job, far less than some of his predecessors. Former president George H.W. Bush spent weeks at Kennebunkport, Maine. Son George W. Bush did the same at his ranch in Crawford, Tex.

It's amazing Shear left Ronald Reagan off the list, who was always hammered for taking too much vacation. It doesn't matter to The Washington Post that the last president used Crawford as a base of operations and often still worked, meeting with foreign heads of state at his Texas ranch, or jetting to public events around the country and returning to Crawford. Elsewhere on the Post web site, AP reporter Philip Elliott's dispatch very quickly disposed of the tender politics surrounding the pricey rental digs that book royalties can buy:

Instead, aides said there might be trips for ice cream and salt-water taffy, possibly a bike ride and plenty of quiet time at the compound that rents for $35,000 a week. The Obamas are paying for their share of the vacation home; taxpayers are picking up the tab for security and White House staff, which is customary for all presidents.

Elliott avoided any suggestion that such ritzy property might not look good during a deep recession -- one this president described just days ago as one of the worst crises in American economic history.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis