Politics

Obama in 2006: As president ‘vacations, leisure is gone’

Photo of Caroline May
Caroline May
Political Reporter

President Barack Obama has received ample criticism for the first family’s numerous expensive vacations and his frequent golf outings. Based on old C-SPAN footage of Obama, however, it would seem that the president might have once agreed with his critics.

In an October 20, 2006 C-SPAN interview with New York Times columnist Bob Herbert about his memoir “The Audacity of Hope,” then-Senator Obama explained, in a discussion about presidential aspirations, that presidents must forgo vacations and leisure in order to work for the American people.

“Essentially the bargain that any president, I think, strikes with the American people is: ‘you give me this office and in turn my fears, doubts, insecurities, foibles, need for sleep, family life, vacations, leisure is gone. I am giving myself to you.’ And the American people should have no patience for whatever is going through your head because you’ve got a job to do,” Obama says in the video.

“And so how I think about it is that you don’t make that decision unless you are prepared to make that sacrifice, that trade off, that bargain and I think that what’s difficult and important for somebody like myself who has a wonderful forbearing wife and two gorgeous young children is that they end up having to make some of those sacrifices with you,” he continued. “And that is a profound decision that you don’t make lightly.”

The Obamas skipped their annual vacation in Martha’s Vineyard this summer. They had vacationed there for the past three years, The Boston Globe reports.

Follow Caroline on Twitter