Perhaps President Barack Obama was just trying to make the people of Columbia feel good – but he might want to learn a thing or two about perception. At the Summit of Americas in Cartagena, Columbia recently, President Barack Obama told the panel he was on that part of his task in the area was to scout out good vacation spots.
Moderated by Chris Matthews of MSNBC, the panel included Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff along with Obama. As Obama said at the time,
“I want to thank President Santos and the people of Colombia for the extraordinary hospitality in the beautiful city of Cartagena. We're having a wonderful time. And usually when I take these summit trips, part of my job is to scout out where I may want to bring Michelle back later for vacation. So we'll make sure to come back sometime in the near future.”
Certainly, his words appear harmless. They tend, however, to rub the American public the wrong way; an American public that is dealing with a depressed economy while President Barack Obama, the First Lady and their children appear to shuttle from vacation spot to vacation spot on a whim.
Obama recently received well-deserved heat for his vacation habits from Larry Conners of KMOV. During the interview, Conners told the president that,
"Some of our viewers are complaining they just don’t–they get frustrated and even angered, when they see the first family jetting around, different vacations and so forth, sometimes maybe they think under color of state business and that you're out of touch, that you don't really know what they're experiencing right now.”
Obama at first attempted to avoid the issue, saying, “I hear from all kinds of viewers about everything.” He then said,
"But the fact of the matter is, I think if you look at my track record, I'm raising a family here. When we travel, we’ve got to travel through Secret Service and Air Force One. That's not my choice. I think most folks understand how hard I work and how hard this administration is working on behalf of the American people."