WOLFEBORO, N.H. — Put a bunch of political reporters together over dinner in the summertime, and the subject inevitably turns to their anti-Bush bias.
No, not their bias against his policies. Their near-universal dislike of his summer White House: his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
The ranch is hot, there's almost no access to the president or his aides and thus no news, and there's little to do in nearby Waco once you've toured the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum or the Dr Pepper Museum.
Thus, reporters like to handicap candidates based not on what they'd do in Iraq or how they'd fix health care, but on where they'd go to escape D.C.
Some of the early favorites:
Of course, the media don't always get their way.
In 2004, reporters practically salivated at the notion of a John Kerry presidency and the thought of summers on Nantucket and skiing jaunts to Sun Valley, Idaho — just two of the places that Kerry and his wife have getaway homes.
But Kerry lost, and the press corps was back in Crawford the next August.
What press corps there is, that is.
The lack of news and the cost of sending reporters are squeezing news organizations and cutting the size of the press corps that covers presidential vacations.
It wasn't always so. During the Cold War and even into the Clinton presidency, the media felt obliged to stay close to the commander in chief. And many presidents went to places where they could be seen golfing or boating — and the press corps could do the same in its off hours.
Among the favorites:
ON THE WEB
Here are some of the locales for summer White Houses past, present and perhaps future: