After having to cut short his vacation in order to deal with the GOP-led fiscal cliff threat, President Obama's decision to resume his Hawaiian vacation has led to sharp attacks from conservatives, mainly from Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy and talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
“[Democrats] are secretly throwing parties over this [fiscal cliff deal]," Limbaugh railed on his show last Friday. "Obama is! He's doing pep rallies. Obama went back to Hawaii to finish the vacation. That’s another slap in the face, by the way. He gets back on Air Force One as soon as the Republicans caved."
Doocy wasn't any kinder, adding that "there are tens of thousands of people whose houses were destroyed by Sandy. The President of the United States [said] ‘I’m going to eliminate the red tape. I’m going to make sure that FEMA follows through.’ And now 60 days later, nothing.” Of course, this awkwardly comes after Republican John Boehner's short-lived decision to delay the Sandy relief vote, which he later resurrected after getting verbally clobbered by both sides of the aisle.
Sadly, Rush and Steve might be shocked to find out that the most vacationing president in modern American history isn't Obama, but in fact former Republican President George W. Bush, who clocks in at 1,020 vacation days taken throughout his two terms, or about a third of his presidency. At 958 days, only Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt (who was in office for 12 years, compared to Bush's eight) comes close to the record.
Obama's first term vacation total, as of January 4, 2013? 84 days. At this point, the president would need to take off every day for the next three years in order to match Bush's record.
Breaking down the numbers, reality becomes even more damning for Republicans. Obama took 26 days off during his first year in the White House, with former Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter following at 21 and 19 days, respectively. By comparison, Bush totaled 69 days at his Crawford ranch during his first year, totaling nine trips. Bush ended up making 77 Crawford trips over two terms, totaling 490 days. Only Bush's fellow Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush come close to matching, with 42 and 40 days taken during the first year of their presidencies, respectively.
Conservatives also complain about Obama's use of Air Force One while going to and returning from vacation, something unprecedented for a president. Except for when Bush did it, at a reported cost of almost $20 million dollars on Crawford trips alone.
Surprisingly, Bush's vacation-taking was noticed by the Washington Post in 2005, noting that Bush was poised to take the longest presidential vacation in over three decades, at almost five weeks. Bush's holiday was taken amidst Iraqi national elections, and an increase in insurgent attacks in the region.
Unfortunately, fact-based reporting hasn't been the case for all media. “Obama is taking a vacation every five minutes. He’s blowing off steam almost every day," Fox News contributor Monica Crowley openly lied on-air in 2010. "He is got partying going on. He’s at the Nationals game. Bush took two vacations a year in August and at Christmastime. That was it.”
Meanwhile, Obama's current trip to his home state of Hawaiian is just his fourth during his presidency. Sure, it's not 77 trips, but who's counting?