Obama Called Nine Foreign Leaders While on Vacation

He also played the same number of rounds of golf.

National Journal
Marina Koren
Aug. 25, 2014, 8:10 a.m.

The bear is loose again in the streets of Wash­ing­ton.

Pres­id­ent Obama re­turned to the White House on Sunday night after two weeks in Martha’s Vine­yard in Mas­sachu­setts with his fam­ily. Dur­ing that time, the pres­id­ent broke the car­din­al rule of va­ca­tion: He worked””call­ing nine for­eign lead­ers. Here’s who Obama called and what they talked about:

  • Ca­na­dian Prime Min­is­ter Steph­en Harp­er, about Ir­aq
  • Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Tayyip Er­doÄŸan, about the lead­er’s re­cent elec­tion
  • Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Net­an­yahu, about Ga­za
  • Liberi­an Pres­id­ent El­len John­son Sir­leaf, about the Ebola out­break
  • Si­erra Leo­ni­an Pres­id­ent Ern­est Bai Koroma, about the Ebola out­break
  • Ro­mani­an Pres­id­ent Trai­an Băses­cu, about the crisis in Ukraine
  • Ukrain­i­an Pres­id­ent Petro Poroshen­ko, about Rus­si­an in­ter­ven­tion in Ukraine
  • Geor­gi­an Prime Min­is­ter Irakli Gari­bashvili, about Geor­gia’s grow­ing part­ner­ship with NATO
  • Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, about the crisis in Ukraine

Obama also, co­in­cid­ent­ally, played the same num­ber of rounds of golf””a leis­urely activ­ity that, set against a back­drop of tra­gic news stor­ies in Fer­guson and Ir­aq, drew cri­ti­cism. CBS News White House cor­res­pond­ent Mark Knoller coun­ted the rest of the pres­id­ent’s activ­it­ies in Mas­sachu­setts, in­clud­ing busi­ness and pleas­ure:

  • Four din­ners out
  • Three press state­ments
  • Two beach trips
  • Two hikes
  • One Demo­crat­ic fun­draiser
  • One jazz show
  • One birth­day party
  • One fam­ily bike ride

Across the pond, Brit­ish Prime Min­is­ter Dav­id Camer­on was also on va­ca­tion, which he put on pause to de­liv­er press state­ments of his own. “Wherever I am in the world I am al­ways with­in a few feet of a Black­Berry, and an abil­ity to man­age things should they need to be man­aged,” he said, of­fer­ing a de­fense sim­il­ar to the one the White House has giv­en to crit­ics of Obama’s va­ca­tion.

Looks like when you’re a world lead­er, there’s no such thing as an out-of-of­fice mes­sage.

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