NBC on Friday offered a light-hearted defense of Barack Obama's vacation, justifying it by pointing out how hard it is for world leaders to take trips.
On Today, NBC's Savannah Guthrie implored, "Well, is there ever a good time for a world leader to take a vacation? President Obama is receiving some criticism for his summer getaway to Martha's Vineyard and he's not the only one."
Reporter Michelle Kosinski continued, "And [leaders] can't look too set up and they can't dare let their hair down too much." She joked that she enjoyed when Presidents have books on vacation, " Like, 'why, yes, I am reading [French author Albert] Camus.'"
The NBC journalist cited, among other examples, British Prime Minister David Cameron having to cut his vacation early due to the London riots. She empathized, "When is a relaxing summer getaway not relaxing at all? When you're a world leader."
In contrast, Good Morning America's Jake Tapper highlighted Republican criticism from Sarah Palin. He played a clip of her slamming the "tone deaf" President and wondering why Obama didn't say "Let's buckle down and let's be serious about getting the country back on the right track."
Uniquely among the morning shows, Tapper showcased a new attack from the Republican National Committee:
JAKE TAPPER: The Republican National Committee getting in on the action, setting up a website for Obama getaway E-cards featuring the President in a variety of vacationing photographs with an economic theme, such as "it's hot outside. Heading out to take a double dip," a reference to a double dip recession.
Friday's Early Show featured no criticism of Obamas' vacation and little coverage in general, instead focusing on the issue of black unemployment.
Wyatt Andrews relayed, "To address the unemployment crisis, the President will work part-time on his vacation on the job creation package he will reveal in September."
However, on Thursday, the program included a clip of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus attacking, "[Obama] said that he wouldn't rest until people went back to work in this country, and he's been on vacations and golfing and campaigning non-stop."
Additionally, reporter Anthony Mason pressed the President: "Should Congress be back in Washington? Should you be going on vacation?
A transcript of the Today segment, which aired at 7:50am EDT on August 19, follows:
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SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Well, is there ever a good time for a world leader to take a vacation? President Obama is receiving some criticism for his summer getaway to Martha's Vineyard and he's not the only one. NBC's Michelle Kosinski is in London this morning with the details. Michelle, good morning.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI: Hey, Savannah. Here the Prime Minister had to cut his Tuscan getaway, short because of massive rioting at home. Other leaders have been not been blasted for taking any time off in this economy. But, it's a touchy position to be in because they know that everybody is going to be watching where they go, the timing, what they spend, what they wear, what they read, to be scrutinized and criticized. When is a relaxing summer getaway not relaxing at all? When you're a world leader. And folks are either yell you shouldn't be away at all or watching your every move. They tend to not even really look like holidays, more photo-op then fun-fest. Who can forget much as you may want to the Clinton's swim wear dance? Or Russian prime minister of adventure, Vladimir Putin?
Yes, the Kremlin has treated us to all of his shirtless-horsing, river battling, butterflying, ancient urn-diving, polar bear-rolling, judo-pummeling, blacksmithing, gun-shooting, flame-flying good fun. This week, with the Russian president racing speed boats, braving murky depths, conquering fish, and matching super power leader action man outfits. How's a British prime minister to compete? Poor David Cameron barely got a chance, forced to leave Tuscany thanks to gangs of teenagers tearing up the capital. How rude. And with the European economy crumbling, Germany's chancellor skewered for strolling, Spain's presidential vacation lasted a few hours. France's Nicolas Sarkozy made it to the riviera but quickly turned around. Even the guy who puts the bunga in bunga parties, Silvio Berlusconi, takes the occasional thrill ride with Putin, cuts his summer fun short.
NEIL SEAN (NBC News Contributor): If you're a leader, you have to remember that you get plenty of time for a holiday, a rest, when you get booted out of office. You're only in favor for a very short period. So, you must take up 15 minutes to do as much as you can to help the country because, boy, when you're gone, you're gone.
KOSINSKI: Now, to some, the best looking presidential vacation pictures are the ones that don't exist. I kind of like it when the summer reading is really visible, like, why, yes, I am reading Camus. But they have got to strike a balance. And they can't look too set up and they can't dare let their hair down too much.