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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Attacking Presidential Vacations

On February 10, 1984, the New York Times reported:
Walter F. Mondale, in his most direct personal attack on President Reagan, said today that Mr. Reagan ''has not applied himself'' to the job of President and ''should get on the plane and come back to Washington'' from his vacation in California to deal with the crisis in Beirut.

''I believe a person cannot run the Presidency in the remote way that he's doing, and I think it's showing,'' the former Vice President, a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination, said at a news conference outside Independence Hall, where he received the endorsement of W. Wilson Goode, the first black Mayor of Philadelphia.

At another point Mr. Mondale remarked, ''These last two or three days, we've seen basic problems erupt on the national scene. First of all the stock market has been sinking very rapidly. Yesterday the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board testified that we may be in for higher interest rates. The third thing is the disastrous situation in Lebanon where out troops are still in trouble, where it's not clear what our new policies of engagement are.''

''During all this time, the President is on vacation in California, the Secretary of State is in Barbados,'' said the former Vice President. ''Here our nation needs leadership. We need a President in command. We need our questions answered, not just for ourselves but for the world.''

''The Presidency is the toughest job on earth, and it's one where vacations come second,'' said Mr. Mondale. ''If the nation is in trouble, the President of the United States should be at the helm. I recommend today Mr. Reagan get on that plane to come back to Washington and answer our questions.''

Mr. Mondale, asked by a reporter if he was saying that Mr. Reagan was ''lazy,'' replied that it was ''a good question.'' He said the Presidency ''absolutely consumes and devours the person who occupies that office,'' and the nation needed ''a President who understands the complexities of the job and the issues.''

''In my opinion, the President has not applied himself,'' said Mr. Mondale.