KAILUA, Hawaii — Barack Obama is the first president in more than 20 years to escape the confines of the White House and Camp David for Christmas. But when you are commander in chief, the White House has a way of finding you anyway.
Mr. Obama was singing Christmas carols with his family at their secluded Hawaiian beachfront getaway on Friday when a military aide interrupted with news of an attempted terrorist attack aboard an American airliner, an aide said. Mr. Obama excused himself to get on a secure telephone line installed just for his visit in case of emergencies like this.
The foiled attack on a jet bound for Detroit served as a reminder, in case one was needed, that a president can never completely check out of the day job, particularly in the post-Sept. 11 era. The federal government moves vast quantities of staff and equipment to make sure that a president can do the job anywhere.
But the optics of presidential vacations are trickier, particularly in a time of war and economic trouble. Even if the Northwest Airlines passenger had not tried to set off an incendiary device, at a time when 30,000 more troops have been ordered to Afghanistan and one in 10 Americans is out of work, Mr. Obama risked sending an incongruent message by spending 10 days in a five-bedroom, 7,000-square-foot beachfront estate that reportedly rents for $4,000 a night and is on the market for $8.9 million.
“The president works hard day in and day out, and the American people recognize that,” said Bill Burton, a White House spokesman. “And I think the American people also recognize that it makes sense for the commander in chief to recharge his batteries, even though he’s never fully off duty.”
First, why should some dumb lunatic on a plane be something of major concern for the president??? Second of all, anyone in any position of responsibility always has to work some on a vacation, so big fucking deal. Third, $4,000 is fucking outrageous if it is on the taxpayers tab. And if it isn't, who IS paying for it and what do they want in return???