Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks with the first shift… (Jim Cole / Associated Press )
Mitt Romney on Tuesday called on President Obama to cancel his upcoming vacation and return to Washington to work with Congress on the nation’s job crisis.
In an interview with the “Don Wade and Roma” show broadcast on WLS 890 AM in Chicago, the former governor of Massachusetts and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, urged the president to give up his upcoming vacation in Martha’s Vineyard to return to Washington instead.
“The first thing I’d do is go back to my office immediately,” Romney said in response to a question about what he would do if he were in the White House. “If I were president today, I wouldn’t be looking to go spend 10 days on Martha’s Vineyard.
“Now, Martha’s Vineyard is in my home state of Massachusetts so I don’t want to say anything negative about people vacationing there,’ Romney continued. “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.
"And yeah, go back to the office yourself, pull back members of Congress, and focus on getting the job done. This action of somehow this is campaign time and vacation time is exactly the wrong dose of medicine for the American economy,” Romney said.
Obama is scheduled to begin a 10-day break Thursday at Blue Heron Farm on the Vineyard, where he has spent time for the last two summers.
Coincidentally, Romney is scheduled to also be on the Vineyard for a fundraiser Aug. 27 in Edgartown on the opposite side of the island. Romney’s campaign stressed that his visit isn’t a vacation, just part of the work of being the candidate, raising money and then leaving.
Romney does have a summer home in New Hampshire, on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, which he has described as a second home where he enjoys taking breaks. It has also served as a useful base for the state, which holds the first presidential primary next year.
Criticizing the president’s vacation plans is nothing new. Other Republican candidates -- and even some liberal critics -- have questioned the optics of the president being in relative luxury on the Vineyard while unemployment is at 9.1%.
The White House has defended the vacation. Press secretary Jay Carney told reporters last week that “I don’t think Americans out there would begrudge the notion that the president would spend some time with his family.
“There’s no such thing as a presidential vacation — the presidency travels with you,” Carney added. “He will be in constant communication and get regular briefings from his national security team as well as his economic team, and he will, of course, be fully capable if necessary of traveling back if that were required. It’s not very far.”