Obama Called Nine Foreign Leaders While on Vacation

Obama follows through during a round Saturday. Obama follows through during a round Saturday. Steven Senne/AP

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 Erdoğan, 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.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.