Presidential Vacations of the Past

August 26, 2009

As the Obama’s are enjoying there time on Martha’s Vineyard this week, we thought it would interesting to take a walk down memory lane and look back at other former POTUS’ summer vacation hot-spots.  Some partied, some fished, some even did yard-work.

W: According to CBS news, George W. Bush took 149 trips to Camp David (totally 487 days) and 77 visits to his ranch in Crawford, Texas during his presidency (spending nearly all or part of 490 days there). Dubya enjoyed clearing brush and doing other yard work on the ranch. Finally, hard at work.  Of course, a  President cannot truly ever be on vacation. Bush was often accompanied or joined by cabinet staff even on his long stays on the ranch (sort of a mobile White (trash) House, but really…isn’t that a long time to be away from Washington?

Finally doing some real work. W at his ranch in Crawford, Texas in 2002. (Eric Draper/AP / August 9, 2002)

Finally doing some real work. W at his ranch in Crawford, Texas in 2002. (Eric Draper/AP / August 9, 2002)

Clinton Years: Former POTUS Bill Clinton and family also vacationed on Martha’s Vineyard. It may be hard to remember, but Clinton was a workaholic and had to be dragged from the Oval Office prior to leaving for his first vacation. Apparently when Clinton arrived on Martha’s Vineyard few hours later, he canceled his scheduled golf game and fell asleep — for nearly 24 hours. For the Clinton’s vacation centered around “Chelsea Time” — but we also know they liked to hob-knob with the likes of  Carly Simon, Ted Danson, Bill Gates and close family friends.

Ahoy!! On a three hour tour with Walter Kronkite. (Photo courtesy of Charles Krupa/AP)

Ahoy!! On a three hour tour with Walter Kronkite. (Photo courtesy of Charles Krupa/AP)

Reagan: The Reagan’s spent his vacations at his Ranch del Cielo in Santa Barbara, California —  spending nearly all or part of 335 days there over his eight-year presidency. And what did he enjoy doing? Chopping trees with a chain saw of course! The Ranch was also known as “the Western White House” and Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 at the ranch and hosted British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth II, and former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev there.

He works hard for the money! So hard for the money! (Michael Evans/AP)

He works hard for the money! So hard for the money! (Michael Evans/AP)

No discussion of presidential vacations is complete without Camelot. President John F. Kennedy vacationed at his home in Hyannis Port, Mass. and turned it into his summer White House.  Befitting considering that the Kennedy compound was his base for his successful 1960 U.S. Presidential campaign.

Welcome to the good life! (courtesy of the AP)

Welcome to the good life! (courtesy of the AP)

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Barack Hearts Reading!

August 24, 2009

As Martha’s Vineyard is preparing for it’s famous visitors, many have asked what is POTUS packing? We know he’s packing his swim trunks  (for his love of bodysurfing)….

Chuck Norris wouldn't need a board to surf, so why would I? (Courtesy of Huffington Post/AP)

Chuck Norris wouldn't need a board to surf, so why would I? (Courtesy of Huffington Post/AP)

But who would have guessed 5 books for 1 week? Here’s the list:

1. “The Way Home,” by George Pelecanos
2. Tom Friedman’s “Hot, Flat and Crowded
3. Richard Price’s “Lush Life
4. Kent Haruf’s “Plainsong
5. “John Adams” by David McCullough.

If the lines at Ray’s Hell Burger are any indication, these authors are going to make BANK!


The West Wing Goes West

August 18, 2009

The Obama family visited some classic hotspots  on their four-day trip out West, including Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.  POTUS was hosting a series of town hall meetings focused on health care reform, and took this as an opportunity to check out some Americana natural wonders.  This wasn’t Obama’s first visit though–he hit some of the same spots on a family trip at the tender age of 11.

Although this wasn’t as eventful as “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” Obama did bust out some Clark Griswoldesque sayings.  While watching Old Faithful erupt right on time, Obama commented to his daughters, “Oh, that’s pretty good. Cool. Look at that. That’s a geyser there.”  

Obama was stumped at fly fishing, while Robert Gibbs and White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, a Montana native, each caught a few rainbow trout.

"Not even my cabinet members are this punctual!" (Photo by AP/Alex Brandon)

"Not even my cabinet members are this punctual!" (Photo by AP/Alex Brandon)

At the Grand Canyon, Malia did her parents proud by correctly classifying certain rocks; POTUS was not so successful.   When Obama identified some rocks as sedimentary and as fossils, the poor park ranger hesitated “I don’t think so.  Well … maybe.”  Turns out, the rocks were not sedimentary.  Good thing he has a day job, although is this a hint of things to come for Malia?

(Photo by AP/Alex Brandon)

"I remember it being bigger." (Photo by AP/Alex Brandon)


POTUS, will you be my homeboy?

August 17, 2009

10 year old Damon Weaver’s dream of interviewing our POTUS has come true at long last.  For the past year, little Weaver has been on a public campaign of sorts, trying to convince Obama’s handlers to give him an interview.  Via his school’s television studio KEC TV, Damon has interviewed the likes of Larry King, Oprah Winfrey, Joe Biden, Caroline Kennedy, and a whole bunch of Miami Heat players.  He’s also been interviewed by NPR and CNN American Morning.  At long last, Damon’s dream came true with a 10 minute interview with dear POTUS. 

Damon asked tough questions regarding violence in his neighborhood and the state of schools in America.  He also caused some giggles with his follow up to a question about school lunches, when he said, “I suggest that we have french fries and mangoes every day for lunch…I looooove mangoes.” 

He even cracked Obama up with “When I interviewed Vice President Joe Biden, he became my homeboy. Would you like to become my homeboy?” Obama’s reply? “Absolutely, thank you man. Great job.”

On a seperate note, BoL is green with jealousy.


Barack goes to Bollywood (well, not really)

August 14, 2009

Just when you thought you had enough Oba-mania!! Bollywood is trying to get a piece of the action, with the film called My Name is Khan, starring Bollywood legend Shahrukh Khan. In the movie Khan portrays a Muslim man with Asperger syndrome who comes to America and is detained by authorities for suspicious behavior. In order to clear his name, Khan goes on a quest to meet POTUS (played by Christopher B. Duncan from The Tonight Show). Like any good Bollywood movie — this does involve unrealized love, but it remains to be seen whether POTUS will be involved in a choreographed dance number.

The movie is set for worldwide release in early 2010 by FOXSEARCHLIGHT.  Unclear if this will be the next Slumdog Millionaire, but Mr. Khan is certainly hoping this may be his Oscar moment.  Uh… good luck with that!

My name is Khan, James Khan.

My name is Khan, James Khan (photo courtesy of FOXSEARCHLIGHT)

In case you are having a hard time imagining Obama and Bollywood together — how bout this?

and while we’re at it, here’s a Hindi song about Obama (lighthearted like the one from Ghana, no?!)


Where’s BoL’s Medal of Freedom?

August 13, 2009

The Prez met some amazing people and made some funny faces on Wednesday when he awarded sixteen people with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Included among the honorees: tennis great and gay rights activitist Billie Jean King, performer Chita Rivera, and Sir Desmond Tutu. He also posthumously recognized Harvey Milk and Jack Kemp.

Joe Medicine Crow looks decided unamused.  Perhaps if he'd seen POTUS' expression, he'd of lightened up!  (Photo by Alex Brandon, AP)

Joe Medicine Crow looks decidedly unamused. Perhaps if he'd seen POTUS' expression, he'd of lightened up! (Photo by Alex Brandon, AP)

Obama remarked, “At a moment when cynicism and doubt too often prevail, when our obligations to one another are too often forgotten, when the road ahead can seem too long or hard to tread, these extraordinary men and women, these agents of change, remind us that excellence is not beyond our abilities, that hope lies around the corner and that justice can still be won in the forgotten corners of this world.”
With Stephen Hawking--who knew it took so long for THIS guy to get the MOF? (Photo by Getty Images)

With Stephen Hawking--if it took him this long to get the Medal, what hope do the rest of us have? (Photo by Getty Images)

I went to the White House, and all I got was this stinking medal. (Image is in the public domain)

I went to the White House, and all I got was this lousy medal. (Image is in the public domain)


Flashback to January 20, 2009

August 11, 2009

BoL’s love of our POTUS is such that we want to relive every moment of his presidential splendor.  That includes the glory of inauguration, via Legos.  You heard us, Legos.  In honor of Obama’s inauguration, Legoland depicted the grand event in astonishing detail, using just Legos and some imagination.  (Note: each picture links to a slideshow with more photos from Legoland.)

Master Model Designer Gary McIntire has waaaay too much time! (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)

Master Model Designer Gary McIntire has waaaay too much time! (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)

Included in the crowd: Joe and Jill Biden, George and Laura Bush, Dick and Lynn Cheney, Dr. Rick Warren, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Aretha Franklin, John Williams and performers Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo-Ma, and of course, Oprah Winfrey, amongst many others. 
The moment of truth (Photo by Graham Whitby Boot/Allstar/Allstar)

The moment of truth (Photo by Graham Whitby Boot/Allstar/Allstar)

After the inauguration, Legoland even went through the trouble of amending the outfits to better match what Michelle, Aretha, and others wore.   Sadly, the amazing display was taken down after Memorial Day. 

BoL remembers the lines being MUCH longer (Photo by Allstar)

BoL remembers the lines being MUCH longer (Photo by Allstar)

Former Presidents Bush (and Barbara) and the Clintons (when did Bill go blonde?) (Photo by Allstar)

Former Presidents Bush (and Barbara) and the Clintons (when did Bill go blonde?) (Photo by Allstar)