Playing Hooky

Interior Official Vacationed During Spill

Looks like Department of the Interior chief of staff Tom Strickland is taking his disaster-response cues from George W. Bush: Though the department was responsible for coordinating the federal response to the disastrous oil spill in Gulf, last week Strickland was off jaunting with his wife. According to ABC News, his "work-focused' trip to the Grand Canyon curiously included whitewater rafting on the agenda. Other Interior leaders and officials from other government agencies had their hands full with the Gulf disaster, and Strickland's trip has not surprisingly raised several eyebrows within the administration: Strickland and his wife (who paid her own way) left for Nevada three days after leaks were discovered in the oil rig Deepwater Horizon. Feds have pushed back, asserting that their response to the oil crisis has been more than adequate: Press secretary Kendra Barkoff said “the federal government has been all over this issue from day one in a unified coordinated response." Anonymous government officials told ABC that others in the DOI think that Strickland was “irresponsible."