Statistic of the Day

STATISTIC OF THE DAY…. During George W. Bush’s two terms as president, he spent all or part of 977 days at Camp David or at a ranch in Texas. That’s the equivalent of more than two and a half years, and it set a modern record — no president has taken more time off than Bush since records started keeping track of such things.

With that in mind, it’s amazing to see this become a topic of conversation.

President Obama and his family arrived Friday for a weekend getaway in Maine, but along with a little rest and relaxation comes criticism that the president is taking it easy with the Gulf of Mexico oil crisis in a critical phase.

The Obamas plan to spend the weekend on Mount Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park. The trip marks the president’s third weekend vacation since the oil disaster began in April.

The Republican National Committee launched a website blasting what it considers Obama’s “leisure activities or missteps” during the oil disaster, like playing golf, attending concerts and vacationing in Asheville, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; and now Maine.

Of all the things for Republicans to whine about, this is the new complaint?

In his first 18 months in office, Obama has taken 65 days off. At this point in Bush’s first term, he’d taken 216 days off — well over triple Obama’s total.*

Republicans seem to be arguing that it’s different now, because the current president takes occasional breaks while there’s an oil spill in the Gulf. But Bush took 216 days off in his first 18 months — a period that included the attacks of 9/11 and the launch of a war in Afghanistan. Hell, a terrorist tried to blow up an American passenger jet in December 2001, and Bush not only stayed on vacation, he didn’t even mention the incident for nearly a week.

There have to be more interesting lines of attack for the GOP. This is mind-numbing.

* Update: The 216-days-off figure came by way of CNN, who said it was the number tallied by CBS’s Mark Knoller. However, reader S.S. emails to note that the number may be inflated — the AP puts the total for Bush at this stage at 120. That’s still about double Obama’s total, but it’s clearly far short of the figure CNN cited.