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Will Obama Swim in Panama City?

That was easily the most asked question in the White House briefing today. The subtext is, will he risk getting coated in petroleum slime – or at least swallowing a few chemicals – in order to show everyone swimming in the Gulf is safe? Will he subject his children to it? Will Michelle jump in for a frolic.

The White House isn’t saying. That’s because if they do, it will look like a staged event, which is what it will be. He is, of course, so very going swimming.

With the family spending only one night – leaving Saturday and returning Sunday – White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs this morning was refusing to call the outing a vacation. This is a bow to what it really is, a symbolic show of support for the Gulf. Only, the symbolism would have been a whole lot stronger if it was  . . . a vacation.

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