While you may or may not see that change you were looking for, are you still happy with ill presidente'? This was on your dime too. You just picked up the tab. Or are you thrilled with the romantic NOTION of two lovers and a magical night on the town? CURL: The cost of a NYC weekend
By Joseph Curl POLITICAL THEATER | Monday, June 1, 2009
In another odd twist left unexamined by the media, the White House on Monday said it simply would not release the cost of President Obama's weekend jaunt to New York City, where the First Couple had dinner and caught a Broadway show. Spokesman Robert Gibbs, keeping the White House press corps in stiches, as he always does, said the Obamas would have preferred using a commercial airline shuttle to New York and back, but the Secret Service would not allow such unprotected travel (ba da bing). And that was that. No further probing; asked and answered; time to move on. There was, of course, an ironic element of the trip. In February, Obama scolded corporate executives (while also costing Las Vegas some $130 million) when he said: "You can't get corporate jets. You can't go take a trip to Las Vegas, or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers' dime." But the Chief Executive (Oval) Officer had made a promise to his good wife that after the campaign, they'd take in a Broadway show, and darn it, he meant to keep that promise. One early estimate (from the New York Post) put the cost at $24,000. Absurdly low. The Daily Mail in London threw out another number — $75,000. Sure, three times as much as the first estimate, but still probably spectacularly low. Remember, joyriding Air Force One around for a few hours over Manhattan a couple months ago cost $250,000, so the cost of the weekend trip was likely not likely that low. With the White House simply refusing to say how much taxpayer money it spent, here's a helpful way to calculate the cost of the trip: First, the First Couple (and entourage) flew from the White House to Andrews Air Force Base — three choppers (two decoys), if the Marines stuck to standard operating procedure (and they are sticklers for SOP). That means dozens of men and women — radar, communications, mechanics, crews, everyone, perhaps 100, who knows? — were involved. (A batch of tagalongs must've taken a taxpayer pool of vehicles out from the White House to AAFB, since it took three jets to get the gang to NYC). Second, the president moving on a Saturday takes a full operation at and around the White House, dozens and dozens of people. Maybe they're all on salary, so that didn't likely cost much. But all the cops involved — D.C. police, uniformed Secret Service officers, Capitol police — were probably paid overtime, even double time. Probably, again, 100 personnel or so. Then there were the jets — at least $24,000 for the three aircraft used to ferry the Obamas, aides and reporters to New York. The Obamas' jet, a Gulfstream 500, served as Air Force One. Third, a C-17 had to fly to NYC to put in place a full motorcade (at least a dozen vehicles, maybe more). The military cargo plane may have taken up at least two, but maybe three, more choppers to fly the whole party from JFK to a Wall Street landing zone, where the motorcade was waiting. If not, the choppers flew there solo (White House veteran reporter Mark Knoller of CBS Radio wrote recently that "The VH-3D that serves as Marine One consumes about 1,200 pounds of fuel per hour." Ouch. Fourth, driving through Manhattan is an expensive exercise. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of NYPD have to be stationed all along the way, shutting down roads, holding back pedestrians. There were police cars involved, dozens of motorcycles, and the ever-present NYC ambulance (oh, don't forget that the White House doctor also probably went — with all his gear). The city likely gets reimbursed by the White House for the cost (they usually do). And they were all probably getting time and a half (the NYPD overtime budget is extraordinary). Fifth, the United States Secret Service (USSS) had to scope out the whole thing, then station agents all over — sharpshooters, undercover agents, etc. — at a huge cost. Who knows if they were on overtime. And if you think they went up Saturday morning, think again. They were likely in NYC upwards of a week before, planning the whole evening, every second of every movement. They had to map out five movements — from JFK to the Wall Street LZ, then a motorcade to the restaurant, then another motorcade to the play, then a final motorcade back to the LZ, then a chopper flight to JFK, before the First Couple and crew jetted back to AAFB for another chopper to the White House. One thing is known — The Obamas picked up the cost of dinner costs and their orchestra seat tickets, which cost $96.50 a piece. So if the whole thing cost $250,000, the Obamas offset that by at least a few hundred bucks. Phew.
Like I've said before about so many vaunted public figures who chivvy and chastise us like some modern-day Cassandra over some profligacy or the other which we the people supposedly have committed (e.g., Al Gore): I'll start taking their warnings about some danger or other seriously just as soon as they start acting like there's a danger. Nothing like good old fashioned hypocrisy to open the eyes of even such willfully blind idiots as 50% of the voting electorate to the fact they have put a Chicago pol in the trough.
But you realize all the people held up in traffic, were like "OOOH OBAMA!" so they didn't mind.
Heh. And that's the test.
What the hell does the cost of using Air Force One have to do with the cost of having dinner and watching a Broadway show?
Assuming that the SOP described is standard for whenever Obama decides to travel, are you then going to count down to the cents it cost for him to go to, say, Israel for a non-committal tete a tete with the Israeli Prime Minister? This is completely ridiculous. Technically the promise made to his wife is an election promise. We all expect election promises to be kept when they entail benefits for us. Why can we not be good sports, admit that we are not the collective center of the Universe, and allow the Obamas to enjoy a night out in peace?
And if anything, why are you blaming the President for having to go in Air Force One with a huge escort? Blame the Secret Service and their insane paranoia.
Mr. Pedantic;4905263What the hell does the cost of using Air Force One have to do with the cost of having dinner and watching a Broadway show? Assuming that the SOP described is standard for whenever Obama decides to travel, are you then going to count down to the cents it cost for him to go to, say, Israel for a non-committal tete a tete with the Israeli Prime Minister? This is completely ridiculous. Technically the promise made to his wife is an election promise. We all expect election promises to be kept when they entail benefits for us. Why can we not be good sports, admit that we are not the collective center of the Universe, and allow the Obamas to enjoy a night out in peace? And if anything, why are you blaming the President for having to go in Air Force One with a huge escort? Blame the Secret Service and their insane paranoia.
Wow... where do we start! If I want to go to see a broadway show and dinner in NYC, I have to factor in what it takes to get there. For me, probably $100 in total for tolls, gas... whatever else. With the Obamas its a whole other ball game, did you not read what also has to go up there for a "night on the town" did you miss the bit about the C-47 that brings a motorcade, hundreds of people... for a date Pendy!!! This date could have cost the tax payers $500K to a million. I bet thats a low estimate. cmon you gotta take off those blinders!!! What you have to realize was that this date was the sole purpose of the trip. This was not official US business. This was entertainment. If they were up there alreay on official business, then sure go catch a show and dinner. This is the man who tells corporate CEO's to chill out with that kind of stuff. AND... AND!!! They are refusing to tell you what this trip cost. They will tell you that they picked up the dinner check. That was pretty transparent.
Well spend! It's the Messiah afterall.
And Ped, it's also that the Hypocrite Factor is high, high, high when someone lectures us about how terrible our situation is and then does something frivolous and wasteful. How can we take him seriously? Maybe he wants people to spend money. But if he wants that he shouldn't pull a long face and talk about how we have no money.
Is he an idiot, or is he just so contemptuous of us that he doesn't care what we think of him and Mama O?
Oh, and Pedantic, why do you lurk in "invisible" mode? Why does it matter for us to know what forum you're in? I never pay attention to who is where anyway, I just happened to see that red ball by your name. So you drew attention to yourself. Funny how that works.
There's a life lesson in there someplace.
its the president.....has the most difficult job in the usa, i hope he had fun!
I'd say that soldiers, fishermen, coal miners, and many other people have far more difficult, and more dangerous, jobs.