It’s hard not to compare presidents and the habits that each one brought with them to the White House. Both men served during a time of war on terror, and both George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama served two terms in office. When it came to Christmas, how the two U.S. presidents spent their Christmas holiday was completely different.
Western Journalism recently reported that the Obama’s travel to Hawaii just before Christmas and have done so since before Obama was elected as president. The cost associated with traveling to Hawaii is phenomenal, especially when one considers the human costs involved. The president’s family, staff, security detail, photographer, and Air Force One crew accompany the trip, most of whom must be housed, fed, and transported to and from airports, golf courses, and restaurants. Judicial Watch attempts to keep records of the Christmas in Hawaii costs and their reports can be read by clicking here.
Bush also celebrated Christmas away from Washington, but one interesting practice differentiated the two presidents in their Christmas-time habits. President Bush spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at Camp David and would only leave Washington the day after Christmas. The reason why some may find surprising. In an article titled, “At Christmastime, George W. Bush was Santa, Obama is Scrooge,” Washington Times reporter Joseph Curl explained the reason behind it. Every year, President Bush gifted his entourage the ability for all of them, everyone associated with the president, to be with their families in Washington for Christmas.
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Curl described Christmas with the Bush family and how much Bush’s thoughtfulness meant to him:
Who was “us”? Hundreds and hundreds of people, that’s who. Sure, the reporters who covered the president, but also dozens and dozens on his staff, 100 Secret Service agents, maybe more, and all of those city cops required whenever the president’s on the move in D.C. For me, that one-day delay was huge. My kids were 6 and 8 years old when Mr. Bush took office. When he went home to Prairie Chapel that last time in 2009, my girl was driving, the boy was 6 foot 1. But in the meantime, I was home for eight Christmas mornings, playing Santa, stoking the fire, mixing up hot chocolates. That was President Bush. And every year for the past five, I’ve thought about what that meant to me. (By the way, some years, I got holiday duty, which meant I was off to Waco, Texas, the day after Christmas. But once again, the Bush White House had us covered: A press plane flew out with the president, and back then, reporters could pay $100 per family member for the plane ride. So sometimes, the family went along. For the kids, it was an adventure; for me, well, we were all together.) All that has changed with President Obama. No more press plane, for one. Reporters are on their own — so taking family is, say, $1,000 a pop. Not likely. And this president would never delay his trip to his island getaway. He’s off every year well before Christmas. Hundreds and hundreds head off with him, leaving family behind. No Christmas at home. Instead, the Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. Nice, but not exactly home. Anyway, that’s why I think of George W. Bush every year in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Probably will till I die. Thanks, GWB.