Chris Lehane, a Democratic consultant who worked for President Bill Clinton during the 1995 government shutdown, said Obama needs to strike "a very fine balance" between overseeing the shutdown and his other obligations as president.
"You're the president of the United States, you have a thousand things you need to do and you need to continue to be in position to do those things," Lehane said. "But the optics of being in Washington, D.C., ready to move the government forward are important."
Further complicating the president's travel plans: Most of the staffers who help plan and manage the logistics of foreign trips have been furloughed because of the shutdown.
Canceling a presidential foreign trip — even a long-planned one — is hardly unprecedented. Clinton canceled a trip to Asia during the 1995 shutdown. Obama canceled two trips to Asia in 2010, once to stay in Washington for votes on his health care law and once to deal with the devastating BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
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