Summer vacation is very much on the minds of the presidential candidates. Mitt Romney wants to help you take one and Barack Obama wants you to reminisce about simpler times.
Romney interrupted his vacation today to hold a press conference about the June jobs numbers. Obama interrupted his working bus tour today to take what was perhaps a subtle jab at Mitt Romney’s vacation.
Republicans have taken glee during the Obama presidency at criticizing the president for golfing – more than 100 times on the links as president – and for spending the Christmas holiday in Hawaii and the summer holiday on Martha’s Vineyard. The Vineyard vacation, however, has been called off this year as the president campaigns for reelection.
He did spend a few days at Camp David before the 4th of July, but he was far away from cameras. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has made his vacation very public. He’s taken Jetski trips with his wife around Lake Winnipesaukee and loaded large portions of the Romney clan – five sons and 18 grandkids – into his speedboat for spins around the lake. There were pictures of volleyball and ice cream cones.
President Obama, whose campaign has tried to villify Romney’s success as a venture capitalist, must have had the many public images of Romney’s week off when the president went on a riff during a campaign stop in Poland, Ohio, about how he grew up humbly and without a lot of money and what made his family rich was spending time together on vacation. Without a whiff of irony about how he now vacations at private compounds in Massachusetts and Hawaii, he argued that his favorite vacation occurred nowhere near a power boat, but on a Greyhound bus.
“And maybe you took a vacation every once in a while. And it wasn’t necessarily some fancy vacation at some fancy resort. Best vacation I ever had when I was a kid was we — we — my grandmother and my mom and my sister, we traveled around the country on Greyhound buses and on trains, and we stayed at Howard Johnson’s, and you know, you — I was 11, and so if there was any kind of swimming pool — (laughter) — it didn’t matter how big it was — (laughter) — right? You’d spend the whole day there, and then, you know, you’re real excited to go to where the vending machine was and the ice machine — (laughter) — and — and get the ice, and that was like a big deal. (Laughter.) And you’d just see the sights and — and stop by a diner someplace.”
It wasn’t all relaxation this week in New Hampshire. Romney did an interview with a TV network and marched in the 4th of July Parade in Wolfeboro with New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte. But to the outside observer it’s looked like fun.
A very tan Romney defended his upper-crust lakeside week off during a press conference in which he said the lack of jobs growth is like a “kick in the gut” to the middle class. A Romney presidency, he suggested, would include more vacations for all Americans.
“You know I’m delighted to be able to take a vacation with my family. I think all Americans appreciate the memories they have with their children and their grandchildren. I hope more Americans are able to take vacations. And if I’m president of the United States I’m going to work very hard to make sure we have good jobs for all Americans who want good jobs and as part of a good job the capacity to take a vacation now and then with their loved ones.”