Escape From The White House

As world leaders, American presidents work hard and vacation hard. With President Clinton vacationing on MarthaÂ's Vineyard in Massachusetts, CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller examined the leisure habits of presidents.

Just as they each have their special style of leadership and performance in office, U.S. presidents each have had their own special style and locale for vacationing.

Presidential historians could have a field day peering into the innermost thoughts of presidents on vacation. It was Eisenhower who went hunting. Ford got his kicks on the ski slopes but Nixon wanted to go off by himself. Bush seemed to enjoy the outdoors also.

Former President Bush fishing near Kennebunkport, Maine.
Most presidents have been overachievers, and some could even be poster boys for Workaholics Anonymous. And therein the first familyÂ's vacations have always generated great public interest. The most powerful men in the world need to escape the power vacuum in Washington.

A love of the game of golf didn't start with Bill Clinton. Forty years earlier, Dwight Eisenhower set the pace on the links. He loved his golf holidays at the Augusta National so much he made 29 trips, spending 222 days of his presidency playing golf. That's more than 31 weeks.

No recent president loved vacation more than Ronald Reagan. The history books may say he spent eight years in the White House, but they are wrong. In fact, he spent nearly one full year of his tenure on vacation - 335 days, to be exact, totaling more than 11 months.

Reagan spent nearly all his time off at his ranch in Santa Barbara. The charismatic president would spend his mornings chopping wood and clearing bush. And in the afternoon, he'd go horseback riding. He would often say "there is nothing so good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse."

Years earlier, Lyndon Johnson preceded the Reagan sentiment. LBJ took cowboy-style vacations on his Texas ranch. His vacations were in stark contrast to those of his predecessor, President Kennedy.

JFK loved the sea, and he would sail in the waters off Cape Cod. Bush, too, liked to vacation on the water's edge. From his home in Maine, he gave into his need for speed.

He sped not only on the water in his boat, but on the golf course as well. He could finish 18 holes in an hour and a half. In comparison, it usually takes Mr. Clinton closer to five hours to do the same.

Of recent presidents, Jimmy Carter spend the least time on vacation. He took only 79 days off during four years in office, which averages less than three weeks a year. Carter spend most of those weeks down home in Georgia. Perhaps as a sign of changing times, the current president has taken only a litle more vacation than Carter. A CBS News tally shows that Clinton has spent 152 days on holiday over his two terms.