August 23rd, 2010
10:04 AM ET

Letter to the President #581: 'Make time for one more beach'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/08/19/obama.vacation/t1larg.obamamartha.gi.jpg caption="I'd actually like to suggest at least one extra day on the shore. The Gulf Shore. " width=300 height=169]

Reporter's Note: President Obama is on vacation and seems to like seeing the shore. In my letter today, however, I'm pointing out that there is one shore which would like to see him, too.

Dear Mr. President,

Well, I'm back in New Orleans following my fast round trip to Atlanta for convocation at Georgia Tech. It was nice, thanks for asking, but also hot as blazes. I had a chat with the University President Bud Peterson and his wife, Val, some other university officials, and a lot of the other parents. (including a fellow who was dropping his son off from Malaysia! And I thought our drive was bad!) They were all very friendly but I was sweating so much from walking around outside they must think I have malaria. Best part: After the ceremony my daughter and I went for ice cream.

Speaking of heat, I know you are taking some over your vacation. Some folks are complaining that you have no right to a break with unemployment so high, and even if you need a few days off they'd like to see you hanging out in some less tony digs. I get their point and in a knee jerk kind of way I'm tempted to agree. I have always thought if presidents are so tired, Democrat or Republican, they should cancel all the fund-raising speeches they make for their parties and use that time for some R&R.

On the other hand, I suspect the only people who really know how stressful your job can be are you and previous presidents, all of whom took vacations so my choices are to assume it really is as tough as it looks or you are all terrible slackers, and since I won't do the latter, I'll just say enjoy it. You haven't been smiling much lately and sometimes a good recharging can do much to reinvigorate both the soul and the judgment, both of which I am sure you need in abundance in these trying times.

In fact, if I may, I'd actually like to suggest at least one extra day on the shore. The Gulf Shore. I have to say I am among those who were disappointed that you did not stay longer when you took the family down there, but let's call that oil under the bridge. What I'm talking about now is your upcoming trip to New Orleans.

You know how much I love this town and how happy I am that the five year anniversary of Katrina is getting your attention. But out of respect and love for our neighbors down the shore, couldn't you please carve out just a few hours to stop by the Mississippi Coast? The hurricane ripped through places such as Waveland like a vegomatic. Sure, they are smaller than New Orleans, but no less deserving of attention considering the outrageous blow they were dealt.

So seriously, please give it some thought. You've often spoken quite powerfully about the needs of small groups, disenfranchised places. The folks in these places are just that. They have worked incredibly hard to bounce back even while their efforts have been time and again lost in New Orleans' shadow. Don't let it happen again; go to NOLA and to the Gulf Shore, even if only for a brief stop. It will cost you little, but could profit them much, or at least lift their spirits.

Let me know if you're going to. I could meet you there and we could fish!


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Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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