The best-rested war president in history?


Mark Follman
April 9, 2004 11:26PM (UTC)

This week, as the U.S. military suffers some of its heaviest casualties of the war and Iraq threatens to plunge into chaos, President Bush is vacationing at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

While some Democrats criticized the president for leaving Washington during the recent days of crisis, White House communications director Dan Bartlett, according to the Washington Post, "retorted that Bush is 'not skiing' in Texas, as Kerry did on a recent vacation in Idaho."

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By most accounts, Kerry isn't currently the commander in chief, or in charge of running the country. Bush, Bartlett added in the Post, "remains in contact with his military advisers and is spending Easter weekend with his family. 'Most Americans will understand that,'" he said.

The Post also took note of just how much time Bush has spent down on the ranch over the past three-plus years:

"This is Bush's 33rd visit to his ranch since becoming president. He has spent all or part of 233 days on his Texas ranch since taking office, according to a tally by CBS News. Adding his 78 visits to Camp David and his five visits to Kennebunkport, Maine, Bush has spent all or part of 500 days in office at one of his three retreats, or more than 40 percent of his presidency."

That 40 percent of his presidency, of course, included the day of August 6, 2001, when Bush received a top-level intelligence briefing in Crawford titled, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."


Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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