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Two weekends ago, President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle headed to Asheville, NC for a little R&R, but this weekend he made up double time for that by flying to two different parts of the country for two very different reasons.
First stop was Ann Arbor, Michigan to give the graduation commencement speech at the University of Michigan and to accept an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Too bad the most he saw of the place was the stadium and Detroit Metro Airport. Do you know who gave the commencement address at our college graduation? Studs Terkel. While Studs was a great man, he didn't jet-set nearly as much as Obama does.
Obama's second stop, after the jump
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Update: @AshevilleTravel informs us in the comments that they hear Obama is making this romantic getaway for just himself and Michelle. Awww.
"Staycations" are officially so over; forget that the word ever existed, because spring is in the air and cabin fever is running high. Like many Americans who spent the winter working overtime, President Barack Obama is making plans for a quick getaway to reconnect with his family. They'll be packing up for a long weekendthis weekendamong the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina.
It won't be his first visit to the town however, as Obama was last here in late 2008 and business kept him away from the golf courses and nature he openly admired. And that's where you'll find him now: on the golf course and possibly even chowing down on ribs at 12 Bones Smokehouse, where he dined last time.
Stay with the Prez, after the jump
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Barack and Michelle greet Prague during their trip one year ago
It's been exactly a year since President Barack Obama first set foot in Prague, at that time taking Michelle along for the ride and giving public speeches in places like Hradcany Square. But this year, it's all business as Obama embarked on a whirlwind 2-day trip to the Czech capital for the purpose of meeting up with President Klaus of the Czech Republic and signing a nuclear arms reduction treaty with President Medvedev of Russia.
Sadly Obama did not enjoy the usual delights that Prague offers to tourists, with the exception of multiple visits to Prague Castle for his meetings. Prague Castle is the city's top tourist stop, and since it holds the Guinness World Record for being the "largest coherent castle complex in the world," we doubt that the whole thing had to shut down just for Obama's visit.
How to follow Obama into Prague Castle, after the jump
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Hey, President Obamawhen you've just finished watching the House vote on the controversial Health Care bill, where are you going to go? It's not the Super Bowl, so you're not going to DisneyWorld, but we hear that you would have been taking off on Sunday before the vote for a lovely little tour around Indonesia, Australia and Guam, but that it's now postponed until June.
We like to imagine that that's how it'd be if we were President. Every time we overcome a hurdle, whether or not it comes out in our favor, we'd head somewhere tropical (maybe or maybe not Guam), and lift morale while getting our international diplomacy action on.
Obama postponed his Asia trip twice already to see the health care vote through, and just this morning he postponed it again until June, ruling against dashing off this weekend in Air Force One as he in favor of taking his time with both the health care bill and his trip. It's too bad he has to wait to go; we understand the cabin fever of winter, and the Washington Post talked to Mike McCurry, a Clinton-period spokesman to remind us of an important fact, however:
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You know what we love most about Christmastime? The fact that most of the country gets to enjoy a long weekend, including the president and his family. On Christmas Even, President Obama, Michelle, and his two daughters hopped Air Force One to Hawaii for their traditional holiday family vacation.
Since they come to Hawaii every year, they don't go about doing the touristy sightseeing anymore, but instead hole up in a rented vacation home in Kailua on Oahu, conveniently neighboring an Air Force base. He plays golf, he plays basketball, and he swims at one of Hawaii's highest rated beaches.
But he is not to be completely envied, since he is the President of the United States after all, and duty calls even when he's on a much-needed island vacation. The news of the attempted terrorist incident onboard Northwest Flight 253 kept Obama chained to his desk for most of Christmas day as he upped the security threat level to orange and issued reviews of security procedure and of the terrorist watch list. We hope, for everyone's sake, that the rest of his vacation will be uneventful.
· Obamas in Hawaii: First Family Arrives In Oahu for Vacation [HuffPost]
· News interrupts Obama's Hawaii vacation [CBS News]
· Presidential Travel [Jaunted]
[Photo: Huffington Post]
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It hasn't even been a month yet since President Obama took Asia by storm, hitting up South Korea, China, and Japan, but already the traveler-in-chief is back onboard Air Force One for a quick trip to Scandinavia to pick up his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway and then address the climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Obama will arrive early tomorrow morning in Oslo, where he'll stop by Oslo City Hall for the ceremony, but he'll miss the guided tour of the Nobel Peace Centre in favor of getting over jetlag at the city's Grand Hotel. This is notable because the exhibition currently on display at the museum is about President Obama. He's effectively missing out on his own party. But with good reason...
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But, like in China and Tokyo, Obama wasn't about to hit the karaoke bars or down soju (rice wine); no, he had business to do and soldiers to visit. After meeting with the South Korean president at the historical "Blue House," Obama headed to Osan Air Base to addressed 1,500 US and Korean men in uniform. There would be no trips to the border with North Korea with Barack, since tensions run so high this year. Too bad though; we enjoyed looking at the little barbed wire souvenirs you can buy at the border base at Panmunjom.
Although Obama's first trip to Asia as president was focused on China, he had to give some attention to South Korea. It's a good thing he didn't bring the family though, since we doubt Malia and Sasha would have liked eating living, wriggling octopus tentacles.
· Commander-in-Chief Obama shares stories with U.S. troops in Korea [LA Times]
· Obama's S. Korea visit free of major protests [Washington Times]
· Obama Around The World [Jaunted]
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Whereas Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie might be our Super World Travelers, there's no doubt that President Obama is our Super Business Traveler. After wrapping up a summer of whirlwind around-the-world meetings and appearances with his family in tow, autumn is marked by his huge solo visit this week to China.
Over the weekend, Obama landed in Shanghai after a quick visit to Japan and Singapore. Already in China, he has hosted a town hall-style meeting with Chinese students to discuss freedom of informationwith a small nod to Twitter, saying: "Well, first of all, let me say that I have never used Twitter...my thumbs are too clumsy to type in things on the phone." This came in response to China's past ban on Twitter, although access to the website was re-opened at university campuses for this special event.
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Tomorrow is the big day! On October 2, the Olympic Committee will announce the host city for the 2016 Olympics, and it's a hot race right down to the last minute for finalist cities Chicago, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, and Madrid. These final 24 hours have been particularly important to the decision-making process, as each city flew their star-power spokespeople to Copenhagen, Denmark to make final pleas before the Committee.
While soccer star Pelé did what he could for Rio's case, Chicago's representation was a bit more impressive with both Oprah and Michelle Obama stepping up to the podium to pitch The Windy City. Oprah might rule it these days, you see, but Michelle was born there and remains a Second City gal, even if her residence is now the White House.
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President Obama might be making his first presidential visit to Pittsburgh today for the G20 Summits, but before heading off for some serious work-time, Mr. and Mrs. Obama hit up New York again for a couple days, creating mass traffic confusion, but some actual excitement when Michelle lunched at the famed Gramercy Tavern restaurant.
In all fairness, Michelle had to eat alone since Barack was not in town for tourist activities like usual, but instead addressing the United Nations. Gramercy Tavern is an excellent choice for the First Lady, even if she may have gone because the chef behind the restaurant also catered the UN activities. It is upscale, rather exclusive and hard to get reservations for, and is known for being a cheerleader of American cuisine.
She didn't make reservations...
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We have truly entered the family vacation portion of summer, what with last week's National Parks free day and the anxiety of squeezing in trips before Labor Day. Although President Obama, Michelle, Malia and Sasha have spent their summer traveling around the world and taking in various tourist sites, they have also been working all the while. Thus, it's even time for the first family to call it quits for a bit and head to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts for some deserved rest and relaxation.
They'll even be renting a summer vacation home for the week-long break, but this isn't some cottage with a leaky canoe; it's the 28-acre, $35,000-a-week Blue Heron Farm on the island's southern edge. With the arrival of the Obamas, Martha's Vineyard has become the late summer celebrity vacation hotspot, as it's reported that the likes of Jay-Z, Beyonce, Oprah, Spike Lee, Pele (the Brazilion soccer star) and even the Clintons are also in town.
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With vacation destinations like Miami Beach or Las Vegas, one wonder if American families are still game to take in natural sights at the once-popular National Parks. Well, there's at least one family that kicked off their summer vacation with little good old road tripping out west, and that's the Obamas. Before they head to Martha's Vineyard for some well-deserved down time, the first family spent this last weekend admiring the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park.
Alright, so it wasn't exactly a road trip in the traditional sense, since the family took the Marine One helicopter from the White House to Air Force One to reach the west, but they did hop from one park to another in one weekend, and Obama even brought along his half-sister and her family.