President Obama, who spent 95 days overseas during his first term despite a prolonged re-election bid and coast-to-coast PR campaigns for Obamacare and gun control, is on course to spend more time out of the country than any president in history, edging Bill Clinton by two days, according to a new analysis.
The National Taxpayers Union Foundation, making a two-term projection based on Obama's travel practices and the pattern of second-term presidents taking more overseas trips, told Secrets that Obama will likely spend 235 days out of the country, two more than Clinton's 233. That is nearly two-thirds of a year overseas.
First lady Michelle Obama is also proving to be a frequent flier, spending 55 days overseas in the first term, said NTUF.
The first family's official travel and frequent vacations have come under fire from critics upset that the president is breaking records while his government is on a sequester-forced spending diet. His recent trip to Africa, for example, cost $6.5 million just to fly Air Force One, according to the taxpayer group.
Supporters, however, defend the president, claiming he is simply acting as America's top diplomat.
"Regardless of whether President Obama ultimately sets the record for foreign travel, recent trends make it clear that presidents are going abroad more often, and that necessarily comes with a higher price tag for taxpayers," said the foundation's Michael Tasselmyer.
A PRESIDENTIAL TWINKLE IN CALIFORNIA GOV. JERRY BROWN'S EYE
He's in his third term as governor of California, is a lock to win a fourth, and has won glowing media reviews for reining in the state's budget mess. So it's natural that allies of Jerry Brown are starting to talk up a possible 2016 presidential bid.
While Brown has publicly expressed little interest, some friends are suggesting that he could be the solution to gridlocked Washington, a Mr. Fix It who at 75 still has the energy he displayed when first elected governor in 1975.
Progressives especially like Brown, who notably changed former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's cigar tent into a yoga studio.
Other associates, however, tell Secrets that Brown is nearly done with politics, that he ran for statewide office only to end the budget crisis. They note his age, too. Brown would be 78 by Election Day 2016. Ronald Reagan was the oldest elected president at 69, and age was a consideration in Sen. John McCain's 2008 bid when he was 72. A likely Democratic foe, Hillary Clinton, will be 68 in 2016.
HILLARY CLINTON IS HOT AMONG LATINOS, TOO
Add the nation's Latino voters to those eager to help elect Hillary Clinton president, according to a new poll sizing up the 2016 field and how immigration reform alters attitudes toward the GOP field.
The latest Latino Decisions poll said Clinton, the former secretary of state, is buoyed by a 73 percent approval rating among Hispanics. She would also crush her nearest Republican challenger, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, by more than two to one among Latinos, 66 percent to 28 percent, in 2016.
With the Latino vote expected to reach 12.5 million in the next presidential election, the GOP is desperate to win back the 40 percent who supported former President George W. Bush. The secret to their success, however, is agreeing to immigration reform, said Matt Barreto of Latino Decisions. "Do we think the 40 percent is achievable? Absolutely," said Barreto.
For example, if Rubio continues to push for an eventual immigration reform victory in Congress, some 54 percent of Latino voters would be inclined to vote for him.
'CRAZY CLIENT' OBAMA BLAMED FOR SUPREME COURT LOSSES
President Obama's solicitor general racked up a pretty poor record before the Supreme Court in the last term, winning 12 cases and losing 15.
According to Miguel Estrada, a former assistant to the U.S. solicitor general, "They would have done better if they had picked their arguments by lot or by coin toss."
But Estrada, whose nomination by former President George W. Bush to the U.S. Court of Appeals was blocked by Democrats, isn't blaming the government's lawyers. He claims the loss of cases like the court's gutting of the Voting Rights Act should be blamed on the "wackiness" of demands from Obama and the Justice Department to take bad cases.
"If you have a crazy client that insists that you make crazy arguments and you go along, you are going to lose," he said. ?
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.