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资本文化:大获成功的第一年 累了的总统奥巴马

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华盛顿 –这月早些时候,总统巴拉克·奥巴马飞去奥斯陆领取诺贝尔和平奖。一夜无眠、马不停蹄的飞行使得他看上去倍感疲惫。总统对此毫不吃惊的承认,是的,他累了。

谁会归咎于他呢?这是他21国访问的第九站;同时,他把第十站安排在了下周。今年作为他第一年总统任期,完全被最主要的两大尖锐问题所占据,即:初步决定让国家银行和汽车工业摆脱困境,总统的这个措施看似不得人心却是必要的;以及他在十二月份作出的向阿富汗增兵三万的决定。

撇开两位数的失业率不说,医改仍卡在国会山,加上迫在眉睫的全球气候变化谈判,总统助手说总统疲惫不堪也不是什么秘密了,他正期待着年底跟家人在夏威夷的度假来让自己恢复精力。

最高统帅并不认为总统可以暂时逃脱他的职责,更别说逃去一个小岛了。高尔夫、网球、健身、与家人共进晚餐,上周发生在底特律的炸机未遂事件又把他推到了事件负责人的位置,同样的还有周日的另一起袭击 – 尽管是虚惊一场。周一,奥巴马一直工作到第二天早上,在发表他第一次公众航空安全演说前去打了场网球,随后参加了高尔夫球课程。

过重的工作压力。奥巴马自己毫无偏颇的形容他做总统的极富压力的第一年是“非比寻常的一年”。

“你要综合考虑这些因素,这是处境困难的一年,这个影响对于整个美国人民来说要比对我来说要更重些。”他上个月在接受CBS采访时这样说道。“肯定的说,这让我背了重担。”

美国在阿富汗三个月的战略审查显而易见的成为总统疲惫不堪的重担。看看他外表上的变化,现在黑头发上夹杂着银丝,在多佛空军基地同士兵们打招呼、走过阿林顿公家公墓的墓碑,这些小谣言说他忙得错过餐点,体重减轻。

这些并不是事实,48岁的奥巴马说。他的体重从没有上下波动超过5磅,而且他依旧穿得下17前年结婚时的衣服。但是战争把事情引向了另一边。

“想到这个(战争),你觉得没什么原由的,”他在白宫接受ABC采访时说。“就失眠。你开始考虑家人,开始回顾历史。”

他的助手们知道奥巴马比一年前他没有担任总统时还要清醒的多,但是同样更多把精力放在国家事务上。尽管他也许需要时间度假,他们说他仍旧喜欢繁忙的日程表,以此继续嘲笑那些说他上任第一年干的太多的批评家们。不像他的前任,八小时睡眠优先权的乔治·W·布什,奥巴马经常工作到深夜,平均只有五到六小时的睡眠时间,但是绝不少干。上周凌晨1点举行的参议院医改投票,奥巴马说他是熬夜等着看结果的。

早在做总统候选人时,奥巴马就对让人疲惫不堪的访问日程气愤不已,问题是为何如此多的事情要层层叠加,又为何日子就如此难熬。他不但厌烦被迫与家人长时间的分离,而且处事理智的他质疑疯狂竞选背后的原因。助手们忐忑不安的过去告诉他日程安排。

让他疲惫不安的日程安排并没有结束,也不曾让他得到片刻安宁。现在日程安排更加复杂,包括连夜飞往欧洲,和看起来没完没了的等总统处理的社会问题,从肯尼迪中心的演奏会到圣诞晚会,他和第一夫人连续几个小时不停地与客人们寒暄握手。

但是解决这些压力,奥巴马自有自己的一套方法来对付。他劝说顾问们在早期同意他手持着心爱的黑莓手机和白宫外的一帮朋友保持联系。助手们尽力把他的晨间健身时间和周末的高尔夫活动安排在他的日程里。

更重要的是在他的政治生涯中,奥巴马全天候地与家人呆在一起。去椭圆形办公室前,他同他的女儿们,11岁的玛莉娅和8岁的萨莎一起吃早餐。“家庭办公室”也同样允许总统在夜晚抽出一点儿时间陪陪家人。

在一个任何事情都能政治化的城市,奥巴马曾说过他的妻子和女儿们对他最重要的一点儿是在这个愚蠢的华盛顿给了他一个避风港。

译文:CAPITAL CULTURE: Big first year leaves Obama tired

WASHINGTON – After a sleepless, overnight flight to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this month, President Barack Obama made a not altogether surprising admission. He was tired.

Who could blame him? The president was on his ninth foreign trip to his 21st country; he added a 10th trip the following week. The year had been bookended by the two most intense periods of his young presidency — the early decisions to bail out the nation's banks and automobile industry, steps the president deemed unpopular but necessary, and his December orders to deploy 30,000 additional U.S. troops to fight the war in Afghanistan.

Throw in an unemployment rate in the double-digits, a health care bill still stuck on Capitol Hill, and last-minute negotiations on a global climate change agreement, and aides say it's no secret that the president is tired, and looking forward to recharging during his year-end family vacation in Hawaii.

Not that the commander in chief really thinks he can escape his duties, even on an island. Amid golf, tennis, gym workouts and dinner, Obama has been called on to monitor the airliner attack in Detroit last Friday and what appeared to be another attack on Sunday — that incident turned out to be a false alarm. On Monday, Obama worked out in the morning and played tennis before making his first public remarks on airline security, then hit the golf course.

So much for putting aside the stress of work. Obama himself has been candid about the pressures of being president during what he has called an "extraordinary year."

"You have a convergence of factors that have made this a difficult year not so much for me but for the American people," he said in an interview with CBS News last month. "Absolutely that weighs on me."

That weight was particularly striking during the president's exhaustive, three-month review of the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. Images of a visibly tired Obama, his black hair now flecked with gray, greeting the bodies of fallen soldiers at Dover Air Force Base and walking through rows of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery sparked rumors that he was skipping meals and losing weight.

Not true, the 48-year-old Obama said. His weight never fluctuates more than five pounds and he still wears the same clothes he wore when got married 17 years ago. But the gravity of war did take its toll in other ways.

"With this one, you feel it viscerally," he said in a White House interview with ABC News. "You lose sleep. You think about families. You think about history."

Aides who have known Obama since before he took office say he seems more sober than he did a year ago, but also increasingly focused on the issues facing the country. Though he may need a vacation, they say he still thrives on a keeping a busy schedule and continues to scoff at critics who say he's taken on too much in his first year. Unlike former President George W. Bush, who made getting eight hours of sleep a priority, Obama often works late into the night, averaging five or six hours of sleep, but making do with less when need be. After the Senate held a 1 a.m. vote on health care last week, Obama said he was awake to see the results.

As a presidential candidate, Obama was known to get grumpy about grueling travel schedules, questioning why so many events had to be layered on top of each other and why the days had to be so long. He not only hated being away from his family for long stretches but, in his typically rational style, questioned the reasoning behind the craziness of the campaign trail. Aides came to dread having tell him about certain aspects of his schedule.

The grueling travel hasn't gone away, nor have the long days. Now they're further compounded by red-eye flights to Europe and the seemingly endless stream of social events the president is expected to attend, from concerts at the Kennedy Center to holiday parties where he and the first lady spend hours shaking hands.

But for all of its stresses, the presidency has provided Obama ways to cope. He persuaded advisers early on to let him keep his beloved BlackBerry to stay in touch with a handful of friends outside the White House. Aides try to include time in his schedule for morning workouts in the White House gym and weekend rounds of golf.

Most importantly, Obama is living with his family full-time for the first time in his political career. He eats breakfast with his daughters, 11-year-old Malia and 8-year-old Sasha, before heading to the Oval Office. That "home office" also allows the president to take a break in the evenings to spend time with his family.

In a city where virtually anything can become political, Obama has said that one of the things he values most about his wife and daughters is the refuge they provide him from the folly of Washington.

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