Media Criticize Obama's Florida Trip, Ignore Bush Vacation During 2008 Invasion Of Georgia

››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

Despite President George W. Bush taking a vacation during the 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia, the media ignored Bush's trip while questioning the appropriateness of President Obama's weekend trip to Florida during the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The Media Question Obama's Trip During Ukraine Crisis, Don't Mention Bush's 2008 Vacation

Fox's Wallace Questions "Optics" Of Obama "Playing Golf In Florida." During a Fox News Sunday interview with former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, host Chris Wallace asked Gates "in terms of optics, do you think it's helpful for President Obama to take the weekend off in the middle of what you call a crisis to be playing golf in Florida?" [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 3/9/14]

Breitbart: "While Crimea Burns, Obama Golfs." In a March 9 article, Breitbart.com attacked Obama's trip to Florida:

Question: What does Barack Obama do while ineffectually dealing with the Russia and Ukraine fight over the Crimea, watching that region burn, and also ordering the cutting of funds for missile defense for Israel while enabling Iran to continue heading for nuclear bomb-making capability, thus heating the Middle East to the boiling point?

Answer: He goes golfing. On Saturday, Obama joined former NFL star receiver Ahnmad Rashad, former NBA star center Alonzo Mourning, and Cyrus Walker, Valerie Jarrett's cousin, to go golfing in Key Largo, Florida. Obama brought the wife and kids for a weekend getaway. White House spokesman Josh Earnest explained that Obama was relishing warm-weather downtime. [Brietbart.com, 3/9/14]

WSJ's Peggy Noonan Says Obama's Trip "Startles" Her. On the March 9 edition of ABC's This Week, panelist and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan expressed her discomfort with Obama's trip, using it to push claims of Obama's perceived weakness in the eyes of Putin:

NOONAN: I have been struck, actually -- when it comes to criticizing President Obama -- he, it doesn't seem to me in some respects, is acting like there is an air of crisis or urgency here. He's sort of off for the weekend in a way that startles me in the middle of a crisis. Look, you can always criticize an American president. Particularly on this case, I suppose you can say that Putin did not do what he did because of the American president, but Putin sometimes makes make his moves when he perceives an American president to be weak. He did that in '08 at the end of the Bush era when Bush was weak, he's doing it as he reads Mr. Obama now. [ABC, This Week, 3/9/14]

AP: "Obama Vacation plans In Doubt Because Of Ukraine." On March 6, the Associated Press framed Obama's vacation plans as questionable during a time of crisis in Ukraine:

It was supposed be a weekend getaway to Florida for President Barack Obama and his wife and daughters, an escape from the frigid weather and lingering piles of snow around Washington. But Russia's intervention in Ukraine has put Obama's plans in doubt, making it possible the family could end up at the White House.

The White House said late Thursday that Obama would spend the weekend in Key Largo, Fla., although that still could change.

"It is possible the president may return to the White House on Friday as events unfold in Ukraine," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said earlier in the day.

The weekend stay was tacked onto a visit Friday afternoon by Obama and his wife, Michelle, to Coral Reef High School in Miami, where they are to address students on the importance of education. [Associated Press, 3/6/14]

CNN: "Obama Drives Ahead With Domestic Agenda -- And Vacation -- Amid Ukraine Crisis." A March 7 CNN.com highlighted President Obama's vacation during the Ukraine crisis: 

The standoff between the United States and Russia over Ukraine is not preventing President Barack Obama from pursuing his domestic agenda -- and his vacation.

Obama also isn't letting the incursion of Russian troops into Ukraine's Crimean peninsula prevent him and his family from enjoying a weekend away from Washington, currently beset by cold temperatures and sloppy piles of melting snow.

While the White House signaled earlier in the week that a long-planned getaway in South Florida could be nixed due to overseas events, the commander-in-chief and his family will remain in Key Largo for the weekend. [CNN.com, 3/7/14]

Bush Left For Vacation During Russia's 2008 Invasion Of Georgia

The Swamp: "Bush Texas-Bound, Eye On Georgia." An August 14, 2008, article at The Swamp, a blog of the Chicago Tribune's Washington Bureau, noted that then-President George W. Bush postponed his summer vacation to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, for just one day during the Russian invasion of Georgia:

President Bush postponed his summer vacation at his Texas ranch because of the crisis in Georgia.

A day.

Bush plans to leave for Crawford tomorrow.

"Got a lot of folks, smart folks analyzing the situation on the ground,' Bush said today, after a meeting at the CIA today, "of course, briefing us on different possibilities that could develop in the area and the region.

Air Force One is Texas-bound Friday.

[...]

[T]he president will monitor events from his ranch. He plans to receive Rice there on Saturday. "I'm looking forward to hearing firsthand what she has seen, what she has heard,'' he said, calling for "the territorial integrity of Georgia to be respected and the cease-fire agreement to be honored. And we will be working this issue throughout the coming weeks.'' [Chicago Tribune, The Swamp, 8/14/08]

AP: Bush Issued Comments On Georgia From Crawford Ranch. An August 16, 2008, AP article noted that Bush gave statements on the Russian invasion of Georgia from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, while on vacation:

Bush planned to comment on Georgia at his ranch Saturday morning after meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is just back from a diplomatic mission to France and embattled Georgia. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other top national security officials are joining the discussion via secured videoconference.

Rice was with Georgia's indignant President Mikhail Saakashvili on Friday in Tbilisi when he grudgingly signed a truce with Russia. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's press office had no information on whether he too had agreed to the cease-fire agreement, but a U.S. official said Russia was expected to sign the deal on Saturday. [Associated Press, 8/16/08]

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