August can play havoc with a president's vacation

Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:33pm EDT
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By Steve Holland

EDGARTOWN, Massachusetts (Reuters) - August has a way of interfering with a U.S. president's best-laid plans for vacation. Just ask Barack Obama. Or Bill Clinton. Or either of the presidents named Bush.

Obama, determined to take a week off from his typically grinding schedule, interrupted his holiday briefly on Thursday to condemn the killing of hundreds of people in a violent crackdown on demonstrators by Egypt's military government.

But at the risk of a new round of criticism, Obama promptly went on to play golf after the morning statement.

On Friday, after he was briefed on Egypt by his national security adviser, Susan Rice, he was out riding bikes with his wife Michelle and two daughters.

The message to be gleaned? He will not be held hostage by world events.

It is a maxim of presidential power that the commander-in-chief is never really off. The nuclear launch codes carried by a military aide are always close at hand. Modern technology allows the president to work anywhere.

But when world events intervene, presidents must draw a careful line. They must appear confident, engaged and responsive, and not seem to be overwhelmed by crises.

August is not always kind to the president.   Continued...

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) bike rides with his oldest daughter, Malia, while at the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest in West Tisbury on their vacation in Martha's Vineyard, August 16, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing