Friday, November 19, 2010

President Obama's Vacation Days Examined

Did President Obama spend an unusual number of days in luxury accommodation his first year of presidency? The press has made quite a fuss about President Obama's vacation days, but one expert states that his schedule is nothing unusual. In fact, in his first year of presidency, President Obama took less days off than President Ronald Regan, George W. Bush, and George H. W. Bush, while taking more days off than President Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

CBS News Correspondent Mark Knoller has created a list of every president's vacation days since Gerald Ford, but he's quick to point out that no matter how many days a president stays away from the White House, he never sheds his responsibilities as the U.S. leader.

"The job - and its awesome powers and responsibilities - is his wherever he is and whatever he’s doing,” Knoller told

And now, for the rundown of presidential holidays in their first year, starting with present day: President Obama took 26 days of vacation, according to Knoller, with the following destinations:

  • An eight-day stay at Martha's Vineyard in August, where he stayed in a rented house with his family.
  • A four-day holiday weekend in Chicago near Valentine's Day, where President Obama took the First Lady out to dinner.
  • An 11-day stay in Hawaii, where President Obama celebrated the year's end.

In the tally game, President Regan took off 42 days of vacation, while George W. Bush took 69 days off to spend at his Texas ranch. George H.W. Bush took about 40 days off during his first year, but he didn't go to Texas—he spent his time in Kennebunkport, Maine. President Carter took 19 days off, while President Clinton took off 21. Interestingly, Knoller points out that President Obama made 11 trips to Camp David, the presidential retreat, but that those days are not considered vacation days. Even if the total 27 days were included in President Obama's tally, President George W. Bush made 25 trips to the same location for a total of 78 days.

Despite rumors, it looks like President Obama's vacation days have been completely within normal expectations, but he spent smaller bursts of time in varied places. We like the idea of shorter, more frequent vacations, so that people can try out more luxury hotels and Exclusive Complimentary Perks in one year. As they say, variety's the spice of life, and we think that applies to vacations, too.

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