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As the summer winds down, there are few stories sure to come out of the beltway griping. Predictably, the uproar over whether or not the President is taking too much time off has been a staple of Washington talk for years, but as the chatter builds I had to wonder- how does President Obama’s vacation taking stack up compared to his predecessors?

Luckily, there are seasoned journalists who track this sort of thing:

How does the number of vacation days the president has spent compare to his predecessors? CBS Radio’s Mark Knoller has kept track of presidential vacations for years and supplied the data.

So far, President Obama has taken 61 vacation days after 31 months in office. At this point in their presidencies, George W. Bush had spent 180 days at his ranch where his staff often joined him for meetings. And Ronald Reagan had taken 112 vacation days at his ranch. Among recent presidents, Bill Clinton took the least time off — 28 days.

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So what have we learned from the data? Well, for one, that there will probably be a bigger slacker in the Oval Office than President George W. Bush. Still, NPR points out that while the right wing has been quick to make the President’s annual vacation into a political debate- Obama isn’t the only one taking a break from Washington:

The president isn’t the only one taking a break this summer. Most lawmakers left town in early August, right after reaching a deal with the White House to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a potentially catastrophic government default. Congress isn’t expected back in session until early September.

With lawmakers away, there’s probably not much Obama could get done on the economic front even if he did cancel the trip. And even if Congress stayed in Washington, too, there are no quick fixes for the country’s deep economic problems.

Still, I am close to positive the debate over should he have gone on vacation, did he have to go to the Vineyard, is it the right move right now will continue. If nothing else, Washington will need something to talk about while the man in charge is gone.

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