America's presidents have been taking solo vacations for decades, according to Larry Knutson, a former White House reporter for The Associated Press who wrote a book about presidents and their vacations.
Although Bess and Margaret Truman visited him there just a couple of times, President Harry Truman vacationed most often by himself in tropical Key West, Fla. Many aides, all men, accompanied him.
Truman enjoyed the male companionship and his wife may have stayed away out of a desire to not interrupt his cherished late afternoon and evening games of poker. Truman vacationed in Key West 11 times between November 1946 and March 1952; his wife and daughter joined him for the first time in November 1948, after his surprise victory in that year's election campaign.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt often visited his cottage at Warm Springs, Ga., alone; wife, Eleanor, didn't much care for the place or the Southern atmosphere. Roosevelt was at Warm Springs, on his own, when he died in April 1945.
He also often traveled solo to his home in Hyde Park, N.Y., during World War II. The first lady often did not accompany Roosevelt on his wartime visits to Shangri-La, which is now the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland, or when he traveled on the presidential yacht or on Navy warships.
In 1997, President Bill Clinton was in Florida for fundraising and to play in a golf tournament when he stumbled on steps at the home of golf pro Greg Norman and needed surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right knee. He was treated at a hospital in West Palm Beach before being flown to Washington for the operation.
Obama's stay at the Floridian isn't his first get-away without his wife and daughters.
In 2010, as his 49th birthday approached, Obama was left home alone after the first lady took Sasha with her on a trip to Spain, and Malia was away at camp.
Rather than stay in the sprawling White House by himself, Obama fled, taking family dog Bo, home to Chicago for a birthday dinner with friends there that included Oprah Winfrey, her pal Gayle King, Whitaker and White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, a fellow Chicagoan.
AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson and Associated Press writer Michele Salcedo in Washington contributed to this report.
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