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First family’s vacations

March 9, 2012
Jim Anderson , The Daily News

Michelle Obama's ski trip with her daughters to Aspen, Colo., marked the 16th time members of the first family went on vacation during their three years in office, the Washington Examiner reported.

Obama haters at shared their contempt.

"Tens of millions of taxpayer dollars openly used to support her champagne wishes and caviar dreams lifestyle, all the while while Rome - I mean the United States - burns and in no small part via their ruthless hands," wrote "equinoxranch."

Dang. I warned the president about giving stimulus money to Circus Maximus.

Even some Democrats, the Examiner noted, say the Obama vacations - Hawaii, Spain, Martha's Vineyard - present a bad image during a seemingly endless recession.

You think.

At the same time, suppose the first family holed up in the dreary White House year upon year upon year upon year. What, no room on Air Force One for Cousin Itt, the Thing and Uncle Fester ... ?

The Obamas aren't royalty, nor should they be treated as such. Neither should they be apologetic about road trips. Other day, it may have been Malia who tweeted, "And when's the last time Justin Bieber's head hit a pillow in Ontario?"

Like so many things - cooking with products with the last word "Helper" comes to mind - it's about moderation. We'd all be thrilled - wouldn't we? wouldn't we? - if the first family attended a Pine Mountain ski tourney.

And if Michelle and the girls lingered for ice fishing, we'd say, "Cool, tell the DNR to plant some walleye."

George Bush spent about seven months of his first three years in office in Crawford, Texas. Of course, that was different, because Crawford was his second home and, well, let's face it, the guy liked to cut brush.

President Obama has shown no such predilection, but I reckon the first family could take a fancy to wood smoke and Karl Bohnak. Between cribbage games, the commander in chief could visit the Mystery Spot, Da Yoopers Tourist Trap, et al., before arriving with a Smithsonian replica sled at the Trenary Outhouse Races.

Like I said, it's a delicate balance. A vacation is meant to ease the weight of the world, not surrender it to Jerry Garcia.

Politics - if you haven't figured it out by now - is a dirty calculating business. For the most part, no matter what the Obamas do, 35 percent find it abhorrent, 35 percent say do more of it, and 30 percent worry NBC will schedule "The Voice" against AMC's "The Walking Dead."

In the movies, the Griswolds struggled to get vacations right. In the end, respect - and a refusal to take it out on the help - won the day.

A first family needs to travel, sure, but even extravagant holidays can have a common touch. Ski trips to Aspen and Vail? That's so ... Kardashian.

How about a journey to the Middle East? Places like Jerusalem, Damascus, Tehran.

Security is a challenge, but that never stopped Bob Hope. Here's the kicker. The family is accompanied always by a message plane towing a banner that reads, "What is it with you people?"

For a ski trip, consider a theme of, "Breaking trail in North Korea!" A couple of things: Never, never steal the motel towels and - if you're stopping just to use the restroom - OK, break down and buy a Kim Jong-un bobblehead.

Between getaways, Sasha and Malia Obama could demonstrate the ordinary diversions they enjoy. Calling up radio stations and requesting "Hail to the Chief." Surprising visitors to the Lincoln Bedroom by hollering "Out!" from the closet. Getting Joe Biden lost in a corn maze. Making science fair projects out of the alien bodies from Roswell.

Mitt Romney, whassup? I see that you've been taking notes.

Imagine all of the Americans who'd love to serve as judges on "Top Chef."

Chef competitor says, "This is Roast Rabbit Crepinettes with Bulgar Wheat & Vanilla Jus."

The first family is silent but lets their condiments do the talking. Wordlessly, they smother the dish with ketchup, taste it, douse it with more ketchup, and proceed to eat.

"Tastes like chicken," the president offers.

It's. Called. Connecting. Mitt. Every bit as simple as Caviar Helper.

Jim Anderson's email address is



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