About those presidential vacations

August 27, 2013 

According to PolitiFact, research by CBS Reporter Mark Knoller shows that "since taking office, President Obama has taken 14 vacation trips spanning all or part of 92 days." Knoller also tweeted that "at the same point in office, President. G.W. Bush had made 50 visits to his Crawford, Texas, ranch totaling all or part of 323 days." Another 26 of Bush's vacation days are accounted for by trips to Kennebunkport, Maine, with 18 days on vacation at miscellaneous locations, according to Knoller's data. Trips to the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland are not included in either president's figures.

But Knoller continues, "It's worth noting that there was a difference in the two presidents' patterns of vacations. As the USA Today article noted, Obama doesn't own a vacation home, unlike Bush, who owned his ranch. So while Bush essentially used the ranch as as a working White House, Obama has traveled to a variety of destinations, including his native Hawaii. Because of this, the government may have been able to accrue some per-trip cost savings for Bush by going repeatedly to one location. But since the White House is traditionally tight-lipped about costs and security details for presidential travel, it's impossible to know how the total cost of Bush's travel compares to Obama's." So, how do some letter writers know the cost of Air Force One and the supporting airlift missions for either president? As a squadron commander at Travis Air Force Base and time on the AMC staff and at the Pentagon, I have some idea, but not specific numbers. That is closely held with the White House and the Air Force.

Phil Henning


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