In his usual odd commentary segment on Sunday’s "60 Minutes," CBS commentator, Andy Rooney decided to take a look at presidential vacation habits, and observed that while "President Bush has made 66 trips to his Texas ranch since taking office...having spent 436 days away from the White House," Jimmy Carter "took off only 79 days."
While Rooney recited a long list of presidents in his wandering train of thought, including Clinton, Reagan, Johnson, and Kennedy, he made sure to emphasize the contrast between Bush and Carter. Despite Andy’s admiration for Carter’s workaholic presidency, I think there are many who wished Jimmy had taken a few more years off.
Rooney then ended with the typically sarcastic conclusion that: "President Bush is back in the Oval Office now, so everything ought to be all right again in Washington."
Here is the full transcript of Rooney’s astute political observation:
ANDY ROONEY: "Being President of the United States must be a terrible job, but one of the worst things about being president is that someone keeps track of every little thing you do. I'd hate to have someone following me around all day, counting everything I did, particularly when I'm on vacation.
President Bush has made 66 trips to his Texas ranch since taking office. He'll pass Ronald Reagan's record of having spent 436 days away from the White House. Many of President Bush's critics are being critical of him now for all the time he spends away from his office. But I'm not critical or envious at all because, for half the money in the U.S. Treasury, you couldn't get me to go to Crawford, Texas, at this time of year. When it gets cold at night there, the temperature can dip way down, sometimes below 100 degrees.
Vacations are easy for our presidents. They don't have to go through security at the airport. They don't have to take off their shoes or empty their pockets. All presidents have to do when they leave Washington is climb the steps of Air Force One, smile, and wave "good-bye" to us. Eisenhower played a lot of golf on his vacation. The first George Bush played golf. Bill Clinton played golf, but not very well. President Kennedy took his vacations at the family compound on Cape Cod. It was always called a compound, whatever that is. Lyndon Johnson took off 484 days in five and a half years in office. That's a world's record for a president's vacation. Lyndon also rode his horse on vacation. Reagan looked good on a horse, of course. Several presidents have gone to Florida for their vacation. Warren Harding was the first, but after that, Harry Truman went to Florida often. He wore his Florida clothes down there.
Jimmy Carter often went to his peanut farm in Plains, Georgia. But in four years, Jimmy took off only 79 days, and that's another record for a president. Jimmy was a good sport, too. He played softball with the reporters. Bill Clinton went with the smart crowd to Martha's Vineyard. President Bush is back in the Oval Office now, so everything ought to be all right again in Washington."