He left Washington in the midst of an economic crisis in the country. The stock market was plummeting. The jobs picture was worsening. And he started his vacation by playing golf.
House Speaker John A. Boehner, the nation’s top Republican, left Washington on Aug. 2, literally moments after Mr. Obama signed the debt-limit deal into law.
Since then? Some golf and a lot of fund-raising for himself and his Republican colleagues — but not a moment in Washington.
Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner’s office, said that “the speaker took a few personal days back in Ohio right after the debt agreement, but has been and will be on the road the rest of the month helping out fellow Republicans.”
Of course, being the speaker of the House is not the same as holding the White House, and presidents of both parties are often subject to criticism for the timing or location of their vacations — Mr. Obama has been receiving a great deal for both. His summer trips to Martha’s Vineyard have come under attack for the past two summers, as did Bill Clinton’s visits there. And George W. Bush was often criticized for the amount of time he spent away from the White House.
And Mr. Boehner has not been one of the Republican voices criticizing the president’s annual vacation. A scan of Mr. Boehner’s tweets — from his speaker’s office and his campaign office — finds no snarky asides about how Mr. Obama should stay in Washington rather than relaxing by the beach.
But neither has there been any indication that Mr. Boehner is dissatisfied with the organized effort by his fellow Republicans to embarrass Mr. Obama for going to the fashionable island for 10 days.
The Republican National Committee put up a Web site, obamagetaway.com, where visitors can create a postcard featuring one of 18 different pictures of the president at play — bowling, eating shave ice, playing basketball, or swimming with his shirt off.
“I shot a 39 on the front nine — matches my approval rating,” one of the postcards says.
Other prominent Republicans, including a number of the presidential candidates, have not missed the opportunity as well.
Mitt Romney said Thursday on a radio program that “if I were president today, I wouldn’t be looking to go spend 10 days on Martha’s Vineyard.”
Mr. Romney added: “Now, Martha’s Vineyard is in my home state of Massachusetts, so I don’t want to say anything negative about people vacationing there. But if you’re the president of the United States and the nation is in crisis — and we’re in a jobs crisis right now — then you shouldn’t be out vacationing. Instead, you should be focusing on getting the economy going again.”
Interestingly, Mr. Romney often mentions that when he is not on the campaign trail, he spends most of his time at his vacation home in New Hampshire — an 11-acre estate on the banks of Lake Winnipesaukee.
Tim Pawlenty, who has dropped out of the Republican contest, took a swipe during the debate last week, saying that Mr. Obama “should cancel his Cape Cod vacation, call the Congress back into session and get to work on this.”
The White House has responded as it always does (and in general accordance with administrations past, of both parties).
“I don’t think Americans out there would begrudge that notion that the president would spend some time with his family,” Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said. “There’s no such thing as a presidential vacation. The presidency travels with you.”
Bill Burton, a former deputy press secretary for Mr. Obama who now runs a large fund-raising group for Democrats, referred to the Republican criticism of the president’s vacation and of Mr. Obama’s recent three-day bus trip through the Midwest.
“Is there no one in the G.O.P. field big enough to say, actually, the president should have a secure bus and a couple days off?” Mr. Burton tweeted.