President Barack Obama is finally doing what he’s been telling Americans to do all summer: He’s spending time with his family on the Gulf Coast.
His toe-dip of a visit is less a relaxing, presidential vacation than it is an all-inclusive business trip. In fewer than 27 hours in Panama City, Fla., Obama will meet with business owners about the lingering impact of the BP oil spill, deliver a speech at the U.S. Coast Guard office and star in a series of photo-ops intended to jolt to the region’s sagging tourism industry.
In fact, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs denied the visit was a “vacation” at all. “This was originally billed as, and continues to be billed as, highlighting the notion that a region of the country that is heavily dependent upon tourism is alive, well, and open for business,” he said in his daily briefing Friday.