Each year that he was in office George W. Bush never left Washington DC until the day after Christmas and there was a reason for that. A most unselfish reason.
But here’s the thing: In December, we never left Washington, D.C., until the day after Christmas. Never. Mr. Bush and his wife, Laura, would always depart the White House a few days before the holiday and hunker down at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. After a few years, I asked a low-level White House staffer why.
I still remember what she said: “So all of us can be with our families on Christmas.”
Who was “us”? Hundreds and hundreds of people, that’s who. Sure, the reporters who covered the president, but also dozens and dozens on his staff, 100 Secret Service agents, maybe more, and all of those city cops required whenever the president’s on the move in D.C.
For me, that one-day delay was huge. My kids were 6 and 8 years old when Mr. Bush took office. When he went home to Prairie Chapel that last time in 2009, my girl was driving, the boy was 6 foot 1. But in the meantime, I was home for eight Christmas mornings, playing Santa, stoking the fire, mixing up hot chocolates.
That was President Bush. And every year for the past five, I’ve thought about what that meant to me. (By the way, some years, I got holiday duty, which meant I was off to Waco, Texas, the day after Christmas. But once again, the Bush White House had us covered: A press plane flew out with the president, and back then, reporters could pay $100 per family member for the plane ride. So sometimes, the family went along. For the kids, it was an adventure; for me, well, we were all together.)
All that has changed with President Obama. No more press plane, for one. Reporters are on their own — so taking family is, say, $1,000 a pop. Not likely. And this president would never delay his trip to his island getaway. He’s off every year well before Christmas. Hundreds and hundreds head off with him, leaving family behind.
No Christmas at home. Instead, the Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. Nice, but not exactly home.
Anyway, that’s why I think of George W. Bush every year in the week between Christmas and New Year‘s. Probably will till I die. Thanks, GWB.
Obama thinks of one thing- Obama.
And the poor guy feels “small”
KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (AP) — President Barack Obama is one of the most powerful men in the world. He’s commander in chief of one of its mightiest militaries, too.
Yet in spite of all that, Obama feels inadequate from time to time. Especially when he’s vacationing in Hawaii and working out alongside strapping Marines at their gym.
“The only problem I’ve got when I’m here is having to work out with Marines in the gym,” Obama said during his annual Christmas Day visit with U.S. troops at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay. “Because I generally feel like your commander in chief is in pretty good shape, and then I get next to some guy, you know, curling 100 pounds and it makes me feel small.”
Six US airmen were killed in Afghanistan on December 21. Later that day Obama sank a 40 foot chip.
“The president, wearing a grey golf shirt, dark shorts, a cap and a white glove on his right hand, took his position on the
fringe about 40 feet from the hole, squatted down for a better view, then took a few practice swings before chipping the ball in,” Davis wrote in the Monday pool report.
“A cheer went up when he made the shot, and POTUS raised both arms in triumph, then turned and pointed in your pool’s direction, in a ‘you-guys-saw-that-right?’ kind of a gesture, although he didn’t say a word.”
Obama calls them from the hell hole that is Oahu.
The difference between the two men could not be greater. One selfless, the other galactically self-absorbed.