Obama told a crowd in Alpha, Ill., Wednesday that "we've got to be doing every single thing we can, every minute of every day" to help the American people get back to work. But with Congress out of town until Labor Day, and many members on vacations of their own, Obama has signaled he's not going to cave to the criticism.
"I don't think Americans out there would begrudge the notion that the president would spend some time with his family," White House press secretary Jay Carney said last week. Besides, he noted, "there's no such thing as a presidential vacation."
"The presidency travels with you. He 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."
Obama heads on vacation as polls show his approval ratings on the economy have hit new lows. The latest Gallup survey found just 26 percent of Americans approve of the president's handling of the economy, while 71 percent disapprove. The president's overall job approval rating has sunk to 39 percent.