Obama Visits the Vineyard (again)

President Obama and the first family are set to descend on Martha’s Vineyard for their annual vacation this afternoon (cue the crowds and flashbulbs). That Obama is taking time off amidst a dip in poll numbers and in the wake of the S&P credit rating downgrade has drawn ire from critics.

Mitt Romney, for one, told WLS Chigaco in a radio interview:

“Now, Martha’s Vineyard is in my home state of Massachusetts, so I don’t want to say anything negative about people vacationing there. But if you’re the president of the United States, and the nation is in crisis, and we’re in a jobs crisis right now, then you shouldn’t be out vacationing.”

(Interestingly enough, the Republican presidential candidate is hosting a $2,500-per-person fundraiser on the island Aug. 27, at the end of Obama’s time there. Wonder if Romney will try the “Barack My World” ice cream at Mad Martha’s?)

And, from columnist Colbert I. King in the Washington Post:

“This is not the way a president should be spending his time. Not when, for the first time in U.S. history, the country’s credit rating has been downgraded; when so many families are barely scraping by, many not knowing where the next mortgage or rent payment is coming from.”

Is it the best strategic move for Obama to be spending his time at a luxury retreat in Chilmark when the country is in economic dire straits? Maybe not.

But, c’mon: There’s never a convenient time for a president to go on vacation. Heads of state from John Adams to George W. Bush have been harangued for absences from the White House.

Obama will be on-call and in contact with his advisers, not to mention trailed by the media whether he’s shopping with his daughters or practicing his putting. “The presidency travels with you. He will be in constant communication,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said last week.

The president will be on Martha’s Vineyard for the next 10 days. It’s as good a time as any.