Is an executive vacation a bad PR move?

President Obama is heading to Martha’s Vineyard for some R&R. Is this wise given his low approval rating, the economy’s fragile status, and GOP candidates looking for red meat?

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Chief among the president’s critics, of course, are the declared GOP candidates for his job. Newt Gingrich blasted Mr. Obama for taking vacation—as Gingrich himself headed off to Hawaii for a “fundraising” trip.

A more credible objection was voiced by Washington Post columnist Colbert King, who argues that the president already enjoys two taxpayer-subsidized residences and should devote his time off to talking with hard-pressed citizens, not rubbing elbows with the elite on Martha’s Vineyard.

The Obama vacation “controversy” is probably more about PR than reality. After all, the man’s completely accessible, and Congress doesn’t get anything done even when it is in session. But it raises an interesting question. Should chief executives take off during tough times? If your company’s been downgraded, your customers are losing confidence, and your recovery prospects uncertain, do you cancel the trip and stay home?

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