Obama Begins Vacation Amid Criticism Over Economy

Posted August 18th, 2011 at 8:05 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

U.S. President Barack Obama has begun a 10-day vacation, as he faces scrutiny for his handling of the nation's economic woes.

President Obama arrived late Thursday on the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.

Some critics have faulted Mr. Obama for vacationing during a time of economic difficulty and picking a wealthy resort area for the trip. They say he should be in Washington focusing on how to fix the economy.

White House spokesman Jay Carney has said he does not think Americans are opposed to the president spending time with his family. He said there is “no such thing as a presidential vacation,” as Mr. Obama will be in constant communication with staff and receive regular briefings from his national security and economic teams.

The president said this week he will present a proposal early next month to help the economy and cut the nation's massive budget deficit.

A Gallup poll this week found that 26 percent of Americans approve of Mr. Obama's handling of the economy, an all-time personal low since he took office.

A Gallup survey also gave the president a 39-percent job approval rating, a personal low for him. Other polls give Congress a much lower rating.

Many Republican lawmakers oppose Democratic calls to raise taxes on high-income earners and eliminate tax breaks for big corporations, saying such steps will hurt job creation and undermine the sluggish economic recovery.

Mr. Obama spent the first half of the week touring the rural U.S. Midwest, listening to concerns from residents about the economy. His bus tour stopped in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

Republicans criticized the tour, calling it a campaign trip paid for by taxpayers. Republican presidential candidates have attacked Mr. Obama's record on the economy, with the recovery fading and unemployment still above 9 percent.