President Obama is preparing to pack his bags and head out of town, first to Minnesota for a Midwest bus tour that starts Monday, then to a seaside compound on Martha’s Vineyard, where he’s slated to spend several days with his family.
“The president’s family is going on vacation. He’s going to join them if he can,” senior Obama adviser David Axelrod said on “GMA.”
While Axelrod appeared to hint at a possible change in the president’s plans, White House officials said later Obama still intends to “spend some time with his wife and two daughters in Martha’s Vineyard,” traveling to Massachusetts on Thursday.
But itineraries can always change.
While criticism of a presidential vacation is not unusual, particularly from political opponents, Obama has faced increasing pressure -– some from within his own party — to remain in Washington to take bold steps to address the lagging economy.
“Barack Obama is missing in action,” former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Thursday night, calling on the president to cancel his vacation and call Congress back into session.
Congress is out of Washington until after Labor Day, with many congressional leaders are engaged in fundraisers, campaigning and vacations of their own.
Obama has said Congress has the power to approve a number of economic measures that could immediately help create jobs. But he’s voiced reluctance to take the unusual step of calling them back to act now.
“The last thing we need is Congress spending more time arguing in D.C.,” Obama said Thursday in Holland, Michigan.
So while both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue allow the air to clear, Obama intends to keep sailing ahead.
The president’s whereabouts are “not a measure of working on the problem,” Axelrod said. “He is working on the problem all the time.”
The president met at the White House today to talk about jobs with a selection of business leaders and CEOs, including those from Xerox, American Express, U.S. Bank, and Johnson & Johnson, officials said.