Obama spends nearly half his presidency outside Washington, plans to travel more
On "Meet the Press" December 26, top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett said President Obama's "biggest regret" is that the severity of the economic crisis forced him to "spend almost every waking hour in Washington focusing very hard on solving that crisis" and thus kept him from traveling the country to connect with the American people. According to Jarrett, Obama recently told aides, "I really want to figure out a way where I can spend more time outside of Washington listening and learning and engaging the American people." Jarrett says that in 2011 the president's schedule will "reflect that priority" -- that is, include more time outside the nation's capital.
But it turns out Obama has already spent nearly half his presidency outside Washington. As of January 2, Obama has been president for 712 days. According to figures compiled by CBS News reporter Mark Knoller, who serves as a sort of unofficial White House record-keeper, Obama has spent 339 of those days -- nearly 48 percent -- outside Washington.