Vacations up, approval down.

George W. Bush sure takes a lot of vacations. The month-long trip to Crawford he's embarking on August 3rd is his 50th vacation in five years. He's some record-breaker. In his first three years in office, he'd already surpassed the total number of vacation days taken by two-term president Bill Clinton (152 days ), and, while I can't find figures on total vacations taken by Bush to date, consider that when he left for his 33rd trip to Crawford, he'd hit 233 days—or 40% of his time in office spent out of the office. It wouldn't be such a big deal—a guy needs a break once in awhile!—were he not a "wartime president," or if his track record didn't include this: when the CIA circulated a classified warning on August 6, 2001, entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" [pdf], Bush didn't read it because he was "on vacation."

But, while Bush's vacation count arcs past 50, his approval ratings haven't topped 50% since April; only 44% of Americans now approve of the job he's doing as president, the lowest since he took office.


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