According to the White House Schedule, the Obamas will travel to Miami Friday for an official event, which will be done by mid afternoon, and then proceed to Key Largo for the weekend.
There,they are set to relax at the ritzy Ocean Reef Club, which has two championship golf courses.
The Obamas have already vacationed this year in Hawaii, where they rang in the New Year. On Presidents Day Weekend, he traveled to California for a golf extravaganza while she skied Aspen.
This sends exactly the wrong signal to everyone involved in the current crisis and to the jackals around the world watching to gauge American resolve and seriousness. I think the criticism of this will extend well beyond White House Dossier and the handful of others who routinely track Obama’s frivolousness.
But, what the heck – it’s golf, and I’m sure Michelle really wants to go.
Yes, the battlers for the struggling middle class were planning to go on vacation AGAIN this weekend, but the happy idyll may be RUINED by world events.
It would be the Obamas’ – each of them – third vacation of the year. And it’s only March.
But alas, it may not come to pass. Get out your handkerchiefs or find a good shoulder to cry on, because this is a sad story.
President Obama – and according to likely plans, Mrs. Obama – are headed to Miami Friday for an event about education and the economy. At a high school – you know, the type of place where Obama’s numbers are still through the roof.
Now, not one to waste an opportunity, a Florida vacation is – or was – in the works too. “Word in the Florida Keys is” that the president, Michelle and the girls might finish out the weekend at the Ocean Reef Club in north Key Largo, writes the Miami Herald.
And it ain’t just oceans and reefs. We’re talkin’ two 18-hole championship golf courses!
But Politico is reporting that events in the Ukraine may wash the Reef Club plans away with the surf. Just might not look too great if you’re trying to stare down the Russians from the beach!
“The president had planned to stay in South Florida with his family for the remainder of the weekend,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. “However, it is possible the president may return to the White House on Friday as events unfold in Ukraine.”
Obama isn’t expected to head to Kiev or anywhere else if the weekend in Florida gets scrapped, but more likely have a repeat of last weekend, which he spent in briefings and on the phone with foreign leaders after Putin began moving troops into Crimea.
A Native American tribe says it will open a casino this year just down the road from President Obama’s vacation town in Martha’s Vineyard, potentially drawing an influx of small-bet gamblers to the exclusive resort area favored by the president and his wealthy friends and allies.
The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head plans to establish a preliminary gaming within months in the town of Aquinnah – one of the island’s toniest areas. Aquinnah sits just a few miles from Chilmark, the town where the president has stayed the past few years.
The tribe says it has a legal opinion from the National Indian Gaming Commission, a federal agency, that it can to build a Class II gambling facility, which allows bingo, poker and slots. The Wampanoag are hoping to get a Class III permit that would allow them to add roulette wheels and blackjack tables.
But for the pampered summer sojourners on Martha’s Vineyard, either Class will be viewed as low-class.
The tribe’s initial temporary gambling parlor will include hundred of slot machines. It will eventually be replaced by a permanent casino.
Both the state of Massachusetts – including Obama friend Gov. Deval Patrick – and local governments oppose the casino.
President Obama is reportedly scheduled to be vacationing in Hawaii on January 2, the date billions in spending cuts – and untold consequences for the economy – will kick in if a deal is not reached on the “fiscal cliff.”
According to the Hawaii Reporter, residents who live in the area of Oahu where Obama and his family vacation have been told that the usual restrictions on their movements during an Obama stay will be in place for 21 days, from December 17 through January 6.
The White House has not officially announced the vacation, and it is unclear if the travel plans are finalized or if the Obamas will be in Hawaii for the entire three-week window covered by the restrictions.
An upcoming vacation could provide subtle pressure for Obama to reach a deal, since not getting one might force him to cancel his coveted time in Hawaii. Even though the election is behind him, Obama’s advisers would probably think it too much of a public relations nightmare to have the president luxuriating in paradise while the country embarks on a season of massive pain.
In the past, Obama has made sure he got his vacation time in – even extending his scheduled Hawaii sojourn after being forced to delay its start because of negotiations with Congress.
What’s more, the Obamas skipped their traditional August trip to ritzy Martha’s Vineyard, an excursion that would have contrasted too severely with a candidate supposedly fighting for the middle class. They presumably are more than eager at this point to get away.
The Hawaii Reporter estimates that the total cost of the vacation to Hawaii and federal taxpayers, including funding for travel, staff and protection, is at least $4 million. Obama’s vacations are more expensive than those of previous presidents because of the huge costs to fly Air Foce One and an accompanying cargo plane for nine hours or so to Hawaii.
President Obama appears to be mostly taking the week off, making a rare sojourn at Camp David through Tuesday before celebrating the Fourth of July and then heading out on the campaign trail.
Obama presumably also has his usual August vacation lined up as well, though it’s not been announced where he will be headed. It is known, though, that with an election coming up, Obama will not be restoring himself at his customary location, the super-rich enclave of Martha’s Vineyard.
The president has grumbled that Mitt Romney can campaign full time while he continues to have to perform his day job, but it’s questionable how many hours he’s putting in at the office. Obama found time for 33 fundraisers in June and campaigned widely, sometimes returning to the White House after Midnight and then sleeping in the next day.
Obama will return to the the White House from Camp David Tuesday and then preside over the White House Fourth of July festivities Wednesday. He will be campaigning in the critical battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania Thursday and Friday.
The White House often argues that Obama can perform his duties as president anywhere and suggests that’s exactly what he’s doing when he appears to be obviously resting or campaigning.
But it’s hard to see why he would head to Camp David for a long weekend – he’s been there since Saturday – if his goal was to focus on matters of State. And the Thursday and Friday campaign romp will be of the type from which it’s the least easy for him to conduct business – a barnstorming bus tour.
I imagine someone at the White House who understands image counseling, probably only recently hired, decided the budget imbroglio was a good excuse to nix the latest Obama vacation, coming just three weeks after the family’s voyage to Latin America.
Obama leaves today on a ten day trip to Martha’s Vineyard. Now, it’s fair game to quibble with some of the PLACES Obama vacations. Mahthah’s Vinyahd and Hawaii just don’t look right to some people, though of course the president is FROM Hawaii. And the constant weekend golf excursions are a little much.
But this president is not over-vacationed. Especially compared to his predecessor.
The most recent reliable tally I’ve seen is by Mark Knoller of CBS News, who keeps close tabs on various White House stats. According to Knoller, who wrote just as the Obama’s were leaving for Hawaii at Christmastime 2009, Obama by the end of the year would have taken about 20 days worth of vacation.
By comparison, Bush took about 73 days during his first year, almost all of it at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. After getting a thorough shellacking for it, the Bush White House in subsequent years tried to portray his all-of-August vacations as nothing more than a movement of the White House from Washington to Crawford. They even forced him to interrupt his vacation by heading out for a few events during the month.
Which just reminds us that the Obama people didn’t invent egregious spin.
This will be the first extended relaxation Obama has had since the Hawaii trip. The fact is, despite the extraordinary stress of his job, Obama is not taking much more vacation time than the average working stiff. You could argue he needs to be taking more.
Whether you like Obama or think he is Mephistopheles in a suit, he is the leader of the country and will be making life or death decisions for all of us for the next two and a half years, at least. He needs to rest and recharge.
And so does Michelle. Did you see all that walking she did on the Spanish Riviera last month? She has to be tired.
Okay, maybe not Michelle so much.
And of course, the president is never really resting. He gets national security briefings every day. Imagine if you had to hear about the latest efforts to destroy the United States just before heading out to peruse that paperback on the beach?
So go ahead, Mr. President, enjoy the island, eat a lobster, go sailing, hang out with other rich people, and PLAY GOLF. Take all the mulligans you want. It’s your vacation.
Not technically, anyway. He swam in something called St. Andrews Bay, which is connected to the Gulf. But St. Andrews received tarballs just like those floating in the Gulf, so he did fulfill his presidential petroleum immersion duties. And in fact, we give Obama extra credit for swimming near a place called “Alligator Point.” I… Continue Reading
A lot of people are interested in where the Obama’s stayed while in Panama City, Florida. Though it was hardly top secret, I wasn’t comfortable writing about it while they were there for security reasons. But now that they’re gone – they just got back to Washington – let me introduce you to the Bay… Continue Reading
Here’s a photo: The pool report from Panama City, FL: Potus’s boat, a converted 50-foot Navy Launch called the “Bay Point Lady” left the dock at 9:20 a.m. local time. Flotus and Sasha are also aboard. Bo apparently is back at the hotel. U.S. Coast Guard vessels trailing along. Potus, flotus and Sasha made their… Continue Reading
And he brought Sasha in too. Here’s the White House photo release. No coverage was allowed. Obama mentioned today that he didn’t want more photos circulating of him half naked, and Michelle more than concurred. However, not much fish has been consumed yet. From the pool report: Some details on POTUS, FLOTUS and Sasha’s lunch… Continue Reading