GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney is criticizing President Barack Obama for taking a vacation when the U.S. economy is in shambles.
“If I were president today, I wouldn’t be looking to go spend 10 days on Martha’s Vineyard,” Romney told a Chicago radio broadcast before Obama left for a 10-day vacation on the summer island just off Cape Cod, where he has spent his summer vacation the past two summers.
“Now, Martha’s Vineyard is in my home state of Massachusetts, so I don’t want to say anything negative about people vacationing there,” said Romney. “But if you’re the president of the United States and the nation is in crisis — and we’re in a jobs crisis right now — then you shouldn’t be out vacationing. Instead, you should be focusing on getting the economy going again.”
Romney said if he was president right now, he’d “go back to my office immediately, pull back members of Congress [from their vacations] and focus on getting the job done.”
White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest noted that the President will be regularly getting “updates from his economic team” while he is on vacation.
White House press secretary Jay Carney defended the President taking a vacation. “There’s no such thing as a presidential vacation — the presidency travels with you,” Carney said. He added that he didn’t think Americans “would begrudge the notion that the president would spend some time with his family.”
Carney added, “[Obama] will be in constant communication and get regular briefings from his national security team as well as his economic team. And he will, of course, be fully capable if necessary of traveling back if that were required. It’s not very far.”
Romney is scheduled to be on the island on August 27 for a fundraiser, but his office says that it isn’t going to be a vacation.
According to CBS News, Obama has taken 61 days of vacation in his two-and-a-half run as President, compared to George W. Bush spending 180 days at his ranch in Texas at a similar point in his first term in office. Ronald Reagan had taken 112 vacation days at his ranch in California at the same point, as well.