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5 months off: Martha's Vineyard break will put Obama over 140 days on vacation

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Barack Obama,George W. Bush,Spending,Air Force One

When President Obama wraps up his 16-day summer break next month on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., he will have taken all or part of 141 days of vacation, time split between summers on the island, winters in his native Hawaii and birthday weekends at his Chicago home.

Obama has been criticized for taking costly and lengthy vacations, especially compared to the short trips most Americans take. The U.S. Travel Association told Secrets that the average American vacation lasts just 3.7 days.

But his 141 days out of Washington are far less than the 378 former President George W. Bush took in 57 trips to his Crawford, Texas, ranch at the five-and-a-half-year mark of his presidency, according to figures calculated by CBS White House Correspondent Mark Knoller, the unofficial historian and statistician of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Every White House claims that the president's location doesn't matter much since he always travels with staff and has access to key communications.

However, critics of Obama said that unlike making repeat visits like Bush did to the ranch he owned in Crawford, the president's exotic locales require additional spending on security, communications and staffing.

“Any American would understand that sending the president and Secret Service to a small Texas town is a lot cheaper than an ostentatious vacation in Martha's Vineyard and Hawaii,” said Tom Fitton, president of the taxpayer watchdog group Judicial Watch, which has often sued the government to uncover Obama's vacation spending.

“Here we have a president who is oblivious to the costs of his unnecessary travel,” Fitton added.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.