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Report: Obama chooses absence

Nov. 12, 2011 at 10:41 AM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama has invoked a British royalty tradition of leaving the seat of power while politicians wrangle, the Los Angeles Times said.

Obama set out for his native Hawaii Saturday on the first leg of a trip that takes him to Australia and Indonesia as Congress slugs out budget measures.

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, told the Times the president's absence from Washington made age-old political sense.

"You don't want to get into petty arguments -- you want to be above it all," he said. "Obama forgot that for a while and seemed like just another squabbling politician.

"People think that's especially unbecoming to the president."

The tactic dates back centuries in British history when monarchs would leave London for various estates in England and Scotland during times of political dissent. The Times said numerous presidents have also used the tactic of travel during turmoil.

In his absence, a so-called supercommittee for deficit reduction composed of six senators and six House members with a Nov. 23 deadline will continue to seek a bipartisan deal, The Washington Post said.

If the deadline passes without consensus, existing legislation mandates the federal budget will be cut by $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years.

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