Early end to vacation would ‘send terrible signal,’ president says

President George W. Bush said today that he understands and respects the views of those who are calling for him to cut short his summer vacation, but warned that an immediate withdrawal from Crawford, Texas, would “send a terrible signal to the enemy.”

“The enemy would like nothing better than to see me cut short my vacation and get back to the White House,” Bush told reporters. “They hate my freedom.”

While the president said that he would withdraw from Crawford “soon,” he refused to set a timetable for his departure from the ranch, saying that much work there still needs to be done.

Bush, who has been spending much of his vacation clearing brush, said that he is making great progress in training ranch hands to take over that job for him, but cautioned that they are not yet prepared to do the job themselves.

“Once the ranch hands have shown that they are able to clear the brush on their own, I will withdraw from Crawford, but that day has not yet come,” the president said.

Bush was dismissive of polls showing that the public thinks his current vacation is becoming a quagmire, much like his August 2001 vacation.

At the White House, spokesman Scott McClellan defended the president’s decision to remain in Crawford indefinitely: “President Bush deserves August off, especially when you consider how many summers he had to go to school.”

Elsewhere, in his first major policy address since announcing his candidacy for governor of New York, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld said, “On second thought, the Red Sox suck.”

Andy Borowitz writes a daily humor column at .