The Obamas spent a day in Panama City, Fla., this weekend to demonstrate to Americans that "beaches all along the Gulf Coast are clean, safe and open for business," despite the BP oil disaster. The president, first lady Michelle Obama, and their younger daughter, Sasha — Malia is at summer camp — played mini-golf, ate seafood, spotted porpoises in St. Andrew Bay, and took a dip in the water during the 27-hour trip. Will the first family's visit help bring tourists back, or was it too little, too late? (Watch a report about Obama's dip in the Gulf)
Obama's visit was a welcome shot in the arm: Whatever you think of President Obama's politics, say the editors of the Panama City News Herald, there's no denying that the first family's vacation on the Gulf Coast is "good for business." This "elevates our desirability as a vacation spot — if it's good enough for a president, it’s good enough for everyone — and "broadcasts to the nation that our beaches are clean and open."
"Presidential hot spot"
Obama's "Gulf" swim wasn't convincing: If Obama wanted to convince people the Gulf of Mexico is safe, says Rob Port at Say Anything Blog, perhaps he should have taken a dip in the actual Gulf. Instead he and Sasha took went swimming off Alligator Point in St. Andrew Bay, which "isn't technically in the Gulf" because it's separated by barrier islands from the open water. As the bungled photo op demonstrated, the trip was meaningless.
"Obama's Gulf swimming photo-op was misleading"
The president should have gone swimming earlier: Obama's trip was too late to do any good, says SusanAnne Hiller at Big Government. Summer's almost over — the damage has already been done to the Gulf Coast's tourism industry. If Obama really cared about the "Gulf coast, the people, and their businesses," he would have vacationed there earlier, instead of gracing the struggling region with a "token drive by."
"Obama finally vacations at Gulf; Just in time for back to school"