Obama returns to Washington following a relaxing vacation
President Obama returned to Washington on Sunday, having spent two weeks on Martha's Vineyard playing golf and relaxing in the sun.
But the criticism which dogged his steps on the golf course returned with him.
The trip will likely be remembered most by critics for Obama’s nine rounds of golf. However, he also held conversations with nine foreign leaders and delivered four statements to the press, according to The Associated Press, which kept a tally of everything that went on during the 14-day break.
Obama spoke at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser early in his vacation and went to a birthday party that Hillary Clinton also attended.
His golf outings became commonplace, however, either at the Farm Neck Golf Club or the Vineyard Golf Club. Pool reporters following the president began titling some of their dispatches late in the trip with "golf o'clock" or simply "golf!"
Though the White House continuously said Obama travels with all the resources he needs, Republicans hammered the optics of his vacation and urged him to return to the White House as events unfolded domestically and around the world.
Throughout the break Obama addressed the protests in Ferguson over the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, and the video released last week of the beheading of U.S. photojournalist James Foley at the hands of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Even some on the left expressed surprise that Obama went golfing just a few minutes after making a forceful statement condemning the ISIS video and described the group as a cancer that needed to be eradicated.
Obama broke up the two-week schedule with a mysterious 48-hour trip back to Washington early last week. During his return, he met with Vice President Biden and his economic team and received briefings on national security issues and the events unfolding in Ferguson.
He also took questions from the press about Iraq and Ferguson. The Republican National Committee blasted him on the brief return as well, noting the high price tag of any presidential travel.
"He spent about a million in taxpayer dollars to fly back from Martha's Vineyard on Air Force One to take a few pictures," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said. "Then it was back to vacationing and the golf course."
It should be noted that Obama's 9 rounds of golf totalled about 45 hours during his vacation. President Bush played "speed golf" - touring the course in about an hour and a half. Most president's didn't take 5 hours out of the day - even on vacation - to play a round of golf. How much "down time" does a president need?
When the realities of a world exploding in war and violence becomes too much, the president apparenty feels it is better to ignore the problems hoping they will simply disappear.