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jca's avatar

Can you give me some "comeback" for someone who is debating me re: Obama's "many vacations" re: his vacation time/cost?

Asked by jca (28105 points ) January 3rd, 2013

I am currently involved in a debate on FB with a friend who wrote something referencing Obama’s “many vacations” and that he “cut short one of his many vacations” to address the nation’s fiscal problems. The rant goes on about how Obama gave Congress and his partner a raise. He goes on to discuss Al Jazeera and how it wants to buy a US cable network.

I know his main discussion was not about Obama’s vacations, but I have seen a lot of people talk on FB about the “many vacations” he takes, so I googled some stats on the Most Vacationed President, who happens to be George W. Bush.

I responded with stats on George W. Bush and his vacation time (1020 days on vacation in 8 years), more vacation time than any President since Herbert Hoover.

He responded about Bush’s vacations being to his ranch, and that I should google the cost to the US taxpayer, which he would bet is less for Bush’s traveling than Obama’s, “even if he was out more days.”

Can anybody help me with this one?

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31 Answers

Seek's avatar

Hm. Add in the cost of the paid time off. That should help.

Or, y’know, stop arguing with a wall. The taxpayer cost for vacations is negligible in the grand scheme of things. The prez has a stressful job and needs a break sometimes. While it was rare to see Dubya at work (seriously, three years off?) Obama at least puts in time and comes back from vacation when shit happens.

marinelife's avatar

This article contains some figures. Bush was by far the most vacationing President spending nearly three years on vacation.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

The President and his family spent Christmas in Hawaii. They were gone very briefly; right up until and immediately after the holiday, Mr. Obama was here in Washington, working day and night to avert a crisis.

Most years, the First Family spends about a week in August on Martha’s Vineyard. Not this year; there was a campaign to win.

Did the President even take any additional personal trips during 2012? I may be wrong, but I don’t recall any. His trip to the wreckage of Hurricane Sandy wasn’t a vacation.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
KNOWITALL's avatar

I researched this because my fellow Republicans kept repeating it over and over, and I discovered that Obama is clearly in the middle and in no way way more or way less.

jca's avatar

What this guy wrote most recently is that since Bush spent much time on his personal property, the cost to the taxpayer was less, but there’s still his paid time to account for (time he’s paid for even when not working, i.e. vacation time).

flutherother's avatar

I like Obama and I can find more to criticise in him than his holiday arrangements.

marinelife's avatar

@jca He also took a large entourage with him and had a dummy Air Force One following him.

jca's avatar

In googling this, I see there are sites that claim that the recent Hawaii vacation cost taxpayers $7 million. I am curious where and how they come up with that figure.

If I am debating someone, I want to have my facts straight before presenting them, rather than presenting bullshit and looking like an idiot.

sinscriven's avatar

The Problem with Al Jazeera is the American public. The American people as a whole have bought so deeply into anti-Muslim paranoia and outright racism that they reel in anything that remotely sounds Arabic. AJE is pretty good at what they do and are an international news presence everywhere else, but American cable providers will not carry them because they are petrified of the attacks that will come from Christian conservatives.

AJE bought CurrentTV recently, and Time-Warner responded by dropping the channel that could have been AJE America. They didn’t even wait to see what happened because they were clearly so afraid of ignorant people throwing a fit.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

jca's avatar

I found this referring to specifics about Bush’s vacation costs being way more than Obama’s.

http://www.politicususa.com/cost-obama-christmas-vacation-bush.html

I posted the link in response to his most recent comment, and left it at that. The Al Jazeera thing and the part about him giving raises to Congress I’m not into discussing. It was more the vacation issue, which as I said, people bring up time and time again.

jerv's avatar

Odds are that this is the type of person who blames Obama forthe existence of AIDS; after all, AIDS started in Africa and Obama is a Kenyan Socialist, so there is a credible link. If they argued after pointing out W’s vacation record, I would say that this person is either one of those people, or close enough that it makes no difference.

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JLeslie's avatar

I remember a Q a while ago about vacation costs for Obama, but I searched and I could not findit. Frustrating! I wish I had info for you on specifics.

I’ve seen these posting on my facebook also. One woman ranted about how Obama hates America because he was raised in the third world. Wheb I pointed out he lived in Indonesia from the ages of 6–10 she had nothing to say except more hate. Talk about projecting, she is calling Obama a hater? Laughable. My only point is she had zero interest in facts…none. So, even if you get some facts, the people who buy into Obama being against America, Muslim, etc., won’t care about any information you have and will tell you to open your eyes. I am not saying all Republicans are like this, not at all, just the ones who believe everything without any research because they love to think Obama is a terrorist. Seriously. It is part f their world construct at this point and if they dare think something Obama did was ok their idea of the world, what is black and what is white (I don’t mean race) and their faith will be shaken.

Our President’s home is Hawaii, so obviously more will be spent on plane fuel, so that might be more, but probably not if you include how many times Bush flew to TX. If Obama stays in a hotel it would be more than Bush staying on the ranch, but the President gets an expense account for personal expenditures, same amount for every President, probably vacations come out of that budget? And, then if they go over they use personal money, although secret service and other costs I would guess are tax payer money that is a separate budget from that. Presidents always have secret service around though. I guess putting them in the hotel also costs.

And, just to mention, in this day and age our Presidents can always be accessed even when on vacation. Airforce One is like a flying White House with full communications. I am sure wherever they are they are still always the US President, and I doubt if something is important they say, not now I am on vacation.

wundayatta's avatar

The presidents these days don’t take vacations, anyway. They are always working, no matter where they are. If you want a fair cost comparison. you have to subtract the savings on staff and supplies for the White House whenever the President is away. There are no formal banquets when he is away.

But this is a stupid argument to engage in. You can’t win. People like that will always come up with another stupid reason for what they believe. It will have no facts to support it, but that won’t matter, because they believe what they want to believe. And conservative learn from people like Limbaugh. They know how to inflate issues and take them to ridiculous places that you can’t defend, even though they have nothing to do with the issue. They are masters of debate and switch.

You have to talk to your supporters, and ignore whatever the con says. They don’t fight fair, so it isn’t worth fighting them.

zenvelo's avatar

So he went home to Hawaii, what’s the big deal? Hawaii is a state too. And it’s not trying to secede!

The problem is you are talking to a wall if you think you can convince the Facebook friend. You can’t.

ETpro's avatar

Just ask them to document their livid outrage at Bush being the most vacationing president in US history of Reagan’s constant trips to his California ranch to cut wood. If they actually can show links to places where they railed against those extravagant vacations, then maybe they are truly concerned with how much time any politician spends in Washington. If they can’t then they are busted as just another partisan hack playing “Heads I win, tails you lose.”

Coloma's avatar

The man DESERVES to enjoy some of the finer things in life. Methinks some serious sour grapes are being chewed here.
WHY isn’t it okay for successful people to enjoy the fruits of their labors?
It IS okay, so eat your hearts out and put down the bottle of vinegar.

I hope he has a fucking GREAT time doing whatever he does!

susanc's avatar

@Coloma has such a great point here! People who complain that our shiftless First Public Servant is spending too much of regular people’s money on his raggedy-ass self? Those are the same people who think that rich people shouldn’t pay higher taxes because they earned that money all by themselves.
No, they by God did not.

It’s just racism as usual…. sigh, sigh, sigh.

ragingloli's avatar

The annual war department budget of 700+billion that increases every year?

tedd's avatar

Several easy combacks:

- The rant goes on about how Obama gave Congress and his partner a raise.
Obama gave Federal Employees a raise. The raise was set in stone I believe in September of 2011, meant to go in effect at the start of this year. It was meant to make up for the fact Federal employees have seen no raises since 2009. Unfortunately, congress is considered Federal Employees, so they saw a modest raise as well.

- He goes on to discuss Al Jazeera and how it wants to buy a US cable network.
I assume he is talking about them buying Current Tv, the news organization started by Al Gore. The station has lousy ratings and isn’t even carried by most cable providers. Besides, if your friend is so worried about Middle Eastern influence in America’s news channels, maybe he should investigate the fact Fox News is co-owned by a Saudi Prince.

As for the specifics of Obama’s vacations… Most of Obama’s “vacations” are actually diplomatic missions that just so happen to be in places most of us would go to for a vacation. South America, several locations in Europe… heck foreign leaders have even met him in Hawaii. As you pointed out too, Bush holds the dubious honor of most vacationed president, even passing up FDR who served more than 4 more years than Bush. He also holds the record for longest single vacation, 5 weeks…. and he was prone to vacationing during major crisis (see Hurricane Katrina).

Besides, even if Obama was #2 on the vacationing list, he has earned the vacations by actually accomplishing things (in the face of blind/vehement opposition no less). Obama has accomplished more in 4 years than the last 2 presidents did in 16.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Supposedly security costs are the biggest expense of Presidential vacations across the board.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

It’s extremely expensive when any President leaves the White House and ventures out into the world. People who don’t live in Washington probably aren’t aware of what’s involved.

Some years ago, a President went to a D.C. card shop and bought a Valentine for his wife. Secret Service officers had to arrive in advance, remove all customers from the store, guard every window and door, and secure the entire perimeter. The street in front of the store was closed to all traffic, with police blockades at both ends of the block. Pedestrians were closely watched and kept away from the storefront. All that, just to buy a Valentine card.

It’s difficult to imagine the arrangements that have to be made when a President takes a day off and, say, golfs or spends time on a beach. The costs must be astronomical.

Seek's avatar

None of that would be necessary if people would stop trying to shoot political figureheads in stalkerish devotion to movie stars.

tedd's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Wasn’t it only that one time that it was the devotion to movie stars? lol

Seek's avatar

Hey, don’t use your logic on me! I’m American!

Crashsequence2012's avatar

Any time he spends on vacation is time he can’t spend rendering my country unrecognizable.

Pandora's avatar

They need to learn to either shop on line or learn to send a secretary to pick a few different cards to choose from. Would’ve been funny if he had a discount card.
Way cheaper in the long run.

@jca I would simply tell your friend that more than any other president, this one seems to have a huge population of angry, racist tea party members who probably have a bulls eyed painted across his chest. So that means more security is needed wherever he goes. I wouldn’t be surprised if his securtiy detail is larger than previous presidents.

tedd's avatar

@Crashsequence2012 You poor sad conservatives… lol

Crashsequence2012's avatar

@tedd You Liberals.

You just don’t GET it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@tedd Come on, Ted, let’s not ruin our relationship now!!

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