U.S. Presidents on Vacation

I came across this article in the Washington Post titled Five Myths about Presidential Vacations that prompted me to research further.

One of the biggest criticisms of President Obama is that he takes a lot of vacations while the country is suffering and there are major crises going on all over the world. Of course, we get used to the current presidents and don’t, as individuals, remember the facts.

As it turns out, Obama took much less vacation than his predecessor, George W. Bush. When pundits try to cover that inconvenient fact, they are quick to point out that, while yes, Bush took much more vacation, Obama’s are more lavish. Oh my.

I have been the CEO of a small company for more than 20 years, and I can assure you that I have pretty much never taken a vacation where I didn’t take care of business to some degree along the way. I have taken very few vacations where I was “away” for even a few days without being somewhat engaged with the business. I am sure this is true for millions of business people around the country and world.

U.S. Presidents, just because they are on the golf course, on a Ranch in Santa Barbara or Crawford, or in a resort on Martha’s Vineyard, are not disconnected. Iraq atrocities haunt them every minute. Our hounding of our presidents for getting a little time away to play is misguided, little-minded and petty. I wonder how we all would be doing that job?

I did want to know what the fuss was all about with presidents and the number of days they were “on vacation.” Researching that turned out much harder than I thought. I must have googled at least 100 sites, and there was no clear statistics anywhere that I felt was sound. If one of my readers knows one, please supply it in the comments and I will correct these numbers.

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Vacation Days by President

This table shows the number of days each president took “off.” Being at Camp David is included here. So is hanging out by George W. Bush at his ranch in Crawford. There was no one place where I could find all this. I had to hunt around and piece it together. So it’s as accurate as the many different “sources” I could find. These are therefore my numbers to the best of my research ability.

Interestingly, the three modern Democrats have the lowest vacation averages.

Blaming Obama for taking too much vacation turns out ludicrous. Compared to his predecessor, he is a workaholic. Bush spent 32% of his presidency on vacation.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

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