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Should Obama go on vacation while markets are so skittish?

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"If he does decide to change his plans, he needs a definite reason," says Robert Schmuhl, a professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. "Otherwise you're in a situation where the vacation is cancelled, but nothing extraordinary happens."

If markets continue to stabilize, the views of vacation-spoiling pundits could be forgotten by next Thursday. That's when the Obama family expects to head to the Vineyard, the same island where they (and President Clinton before them) have had getaways in the past.

The vacation question came to the forefront Wednesday, when White House press secretary Jay Carney fielded a query on a day of steep stock-market declines. He said Obama won't be walking off the job during his time away. "The presidency travels with you," Mr. Carney said.

A parallel question in recent days has been whether Obama could do anything more about the markets in the near term – perhaps some public statement designed to reassure businesses and investors.

Obama met Wednesday with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, one sign of the president wanting to show he's on the case.

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