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Bush Retreats to Crawford Ranch

Aired August 1, 2003 - 20:52   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, the calendar is not lying to you. It is Friday and it is August 1 already. No doubt some of you have more to look forward to than just a weekend off. Say, maybe a vacation.
Chris Burns is at the White House as the president is getting packed for a monthlong working vacation in Crawford, Texas. Chris, is this really a working vacation or is it a working, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, working vacation?

CHRIS BURNS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: More like that actually, Anderson.

The president having his last Cabinet meetings today. Dealt with some serious business, including some questions about the economy. He did claim a partial victory with some of these latest figures showing that growth is up, unemployment is down, though albeit for certain number of reasons people not looking for work. The president saying that because of all that, those figures are not enough.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Even though there has been some progress made, in terms of numbers, this administration focuses on lives. And when there are people looking for work, and they can't find a job, it means we're going to continue to try to put progrowth expansive policies in place.


BURNS: The White House also saying that you need patience. Please give the Bush administration patience. The checks are in the mail. The checks being the child tax credit checks to the American taxpayer. Also, American taxpayers paychecks will be fatter, they say, because of the tax cuts that have been enacted. So they do expect there to be a push in the economy, more jobs. But it is going to take a bit of time.

Democrats, of course, however, say that millions of Americans have been left behind. Millions of jobs, 3.2 million jobs have been lost since President Bush came to office.

On the vacation, the president even saying at the cabinet meeting today that he had the vacation buzz. And actually after the serious Cabinet meeting, he took off for some serious golf, braving some of the rain out there to go to the tee off there at the links.

The president is off tomorrow, as I said, to Crawford, Texas. But it is going to be a working vacation. He's going to be hitting over the month five states, six fundraisers and also trying to go to some national parks and talk about his environmental policy. The polls indicate that Americans are fairly critical about that policy up to now -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Raising a lot of money on this vacation. Chris Burns, thanks very much for that.

Meanwhile, according to a new survey released by, the average American plans to take less vacation time this year.

Joe Robinson of "Work to Live." He joins me now from our studios in Los Angeles.

Joe, thanks for being with us. Why do Americans take such little vacation?

JOE ROBINSON, "WORK TO LIVE": Well, you know it's a combination of the results of downsizing. We have so much more work to go around now. The average person is doing the jobs of two or three people. We have the false urgency of technology tools making people work at night and on the weekends. And you have a lot of guilt and fear because of the job insecurity. So people kind of self-inflict. They feel, Well, if I'm gone, then, you know, people might think I'm a slacker or I might get replaced.

COOPER: Well, you know, I'm thrown into work quite a lot. I don't really -- I don't really particularly like taking vacations.

I want to show you some statistics and show these to our audience as well. On average, Americans get 16 days of vacation a year, while the average Italian gets 42, the average French person gets 37, the Germans get 35 and the Britons get 28. I think the person who was supposed to -- oh, there it is. I thought they were taking a vacation for a second.

I mean, it's arguable to say, you know, Americans have accomplished a lot. Sixteen days of vacation, maybe it's because we're not taking vacations that we're getting so much done.

ROBINSON: Well, you know, in actual fact, the average American vacation is a long weekend now. It's actually shrinking. And about 13 percent of companies aren't even offering any paid leave anymore.

So we definitely don't have enough time to go around and that causes real problems because you have a buildup of stress, burnout. You have a lot of depression in the workplace as a result. And vacations have been shown that actually just a simple annual trip can cut the risk of heart attacks in men by 30 percent, by women by 50 percent and over a two-week period it can actually cure burnout by regathering crashed emotional resources. So it's really important.

And also, just from the productivity standpoint, rested workers perform a lot bet than zombies. And, you know, that goes back to the fatigue studies from the 1920s onward. And we're really fooling ourselves if we think we can work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week and be productive. If you work seven 50-hour weeks in a row, you won't get any more done if you work seven 40 hour weeks in a row.

COOPER: All right. Well, hopefully, some employers are watching tonight.

Joe Robinson, thanks very much for that.

ROBINSON: Thank you.


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