President Bush is getting the kind of break most Americans can only dream of — nearly five weeks away from the office, loaded with vacation time.
The president departed Tuesday for his longest stretch yet away from the White House, arriving at his Crawford ranch in the evening for a stretch of clearing brush, visiting with family and friends, and tending to some outside-the-Beltway politics. By historical standards, it is the longest presidential retreat in at least 36 years.
The August getaway is Bush’s 49th trip to his cherished ranch since taking office and the 319th day that Bush has spent, entirely or partially, in Crawford — nearly 20 percent of his presidency to date, according to Mark Knoller, a CBS Radio reporter known for keeping better records of the president’s travel than the White House itself. Weekends and holidays at Camp David or at his parents’ compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, bump up the proportion of Bush’s time away from Washington even further.
Jimmy Carter took the least days off — only 79 days, which he usually spent at his home in Georgia.
President Bill Clinton had spent only 152 days on holiday during his two terms, according to CBS News. A former staffer noted Clinton was such a workaholic that “it almost killed Clinton to take one-week vacations during August.” In 2000, Clinton cut his summer vacation short to just three days, so he and his wife could concentrate on her Senate race and fundraising for Democrats.