June 1st, 2009
08:55 PM ET
6 years ago

Gibbs declines to give cost for Obamas' NYC trip

(CNN) – White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Monday would not disclose the total cost of President and Mrs. Obama's weekend foray to New York City, but said the first couple would have taken a commercial flight to the Big Apple if the Secret Service allowed.

"I think the president, would, could he have, based on the Secret Service, he would have taken the shuttle," Gibbs said. "But I would say that the costs are proportionate with travel for presidents and I would encourage you to look up previous coverage on travel costs because they are analogous."

Some Republicans, including the Republican National Committee, have criticized Obama over the trip, arguing that it was improper for the president to enjoy a weekend of leisure in New York City - which included taking in a Broadway show - as General Motors was prepared to file bankruptcy papers Monday.

Republicans have also questioned the cost to tax-payers for the brief excursion - which included three Gulfstream-size planes to transport the presidet's security detail, staff, and White House reporters.

"If President Obama wants to go to the theater, isn't the presidential box at the Kennedy Center good enough?" RNC Press Secretary Gail Gitcho said Saturday.

Asked in the White House briefing if there was any "precedent for the president and first lady to take an out of town date night..not connected to a…previous planned event," Gibbs responded: "You've got probably more researchers than I do."


Filed under: President Obama • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (306 Responses)
  1. Sherry

    Can't they get a break?

    The pressure these people are under is extraordinary.

    Obama is doing his very best to get our country back where it rightfully belongs.

    I don't begrudge them anything!!!! The pressure must be enormous!

    June 1, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. blackmask

    Are these the same GOP intellects that had no problem with Bush using airforce 1 to fly around campaigning for McCain at the taxpayers expense? figures

    June 1, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  3. Kelby In Houston, TX

    Who cares?!?! Other than Gopers and conservative posters who are looking for ANYTHING (and the Rock said ANYTHING!) that would bring this man down.
    As far as they are concerned, he is the target. Not helping people. Not making this country a better place. Not to build up this great nation but to tear down one man.
    Oh! Obama went out on a date with his wife...how much is that costing the tax payer?!?!?!?
    It's okay...I understand...you guys don't have anything else. No ideas, no solutions, no morals, no principles (TORTURE) all you guys have is a target...We will see you in 2010

    June 1, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Jason: Don't use words you don't understand you right winged nut case. Bush had very few leaders visit him at his ranch (500 days of vacation)...

    June 1, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  5. Ben

    Why not.....if we can give GM billions, we can surely afford a few 100k for the president..

    June 1, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  6. Alan

    Diane in P.C. – Get your fact straight ding dong. It was the Dems who deregulated Wall St. Talk to your buddy Barney Frank and Dodd.
    Come on people where has all of the common sense gone!!!!!

    June 1, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  7. Shannon G

    This has gone beyond pathetic. The GOP need to focus on their party and see how they can emerge from the bowels of hell. All Presidents utilizes Airforce1 for leisure travel, so now the GOP wants to be concern about spending when they allowed the Bush Administration tanked the whole country. They surely didn't come to our rescue then.

    What nerve!

    June 1, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. jackie of louisville

    this is for Jason his color has nothing to do with his ride because I'm sure he could do anything he wants, he has the intelligence to do it on his own, so color does not matter in this. I guess you are part of those other dummies out there as well, but we really know who the racist is on the page right Jason

    June 1, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. Nick

    I am a republican and I could care less if he goes out to a show. The problem that I have is with the double standard. If I use my company vehicle for personal use I have to pay taxes on it. I think the Govt needs to find out where they want to sit on this issue, A) the Prez like the rest of us has to claim this as income or B) none of us have to claim it as income.
    That being said his timing sure could have been better. Pretty bad week for the lavish trip. But I am sure his schedule is tight.

    June 1, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. dawnpa

    Considering what the guy does for a living, he deserves a night out wherever he wants!

    June 1, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. Rami

    The Republicans are really running on empty. Are they really complaining about this? Give me a break. But I blame the media more than the RNC for giving them the medium to do this non sense.

    June 1, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. Bobbie in Maryland (Could I PLEASE get out of moderation???)

    Whereb were these NO voices when Bush went to Crawford continuously?????
    And wasn't there a WAR on then?

    June 1, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. John

    When previous President's took "vacation", it was for a little longer than one evening. I understand the Presidents (ANY of them), need to take time away and it has to be on our dime, but at least don't burn all the fuel and expenses on a one night trip. I think that may be what has outraged some. It isn't the fact that Bush went to Crawford, Reagan to California, Clinton to Little Rock or NYC, or even Kennedy to Martha's Vineyard; it's the fact that they had the public perception on their side. What the Obamas did was completely normal in the world of presidential relaxation, it just was perceived poorly to go through all that for one night. And YES, I did vote for him...

    June 1, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. Janie

    Glad they got a night off to just enjoy each other's company. He is still married and that relationship takes work. His wife deserves to have some time with him. It has nothing to so with being Republican or Democrat. Bush deserved to spend time with his wife, as well, when he was in office. Too bad people have to be so petty about this kind of stuff.

    June 1, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  15. ConsiderThis, FL

    This is petty. At least he WORKS; unlike our previous REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT who took more vacations than any president in HISTORY! Give me a break. Plus, after giving GM nearly $50 billion, a night night out with his wife is NOT asking too much!

    June 1, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Peter Warkentin

    The Republicans keep trying to throw stones from within their House of Glass.

    June 1, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  17. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    My mistake. Actually the Obama inauguration was $170 million.

    June 1, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  18. Texas Annie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    Making this an "issue" is pure stupidity. The Republicans complaining might want to step back– otherwise someone might demand an accounting of the trips George W. and Dick C. took at taxpayer expense. Good gosh, the federal government (ie: taxpayers) paid for Dick Cheney's infamous hunting trip where he shot another man in the face. We probably also paid all the medical bills & a settlement with the guy who got shot.

    And I think we ALL know we paid for 8 zillion trips for George to go back to the "ranch" to clear brush over & over & over.
    It's a lot shorter trip from DC to NYC than it is to TX. And nobody in the security detail in NYC had to help cut brush & set fence posts either.

    June 1, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  19. Geno

    Boy oh boy, It must be a slow news day for the party of NO. Hey, you red states eat rocks. The man has the right to take a day off. More power to him.

    June 1, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. Chelle in Fla

    Give me a freaking break. Yes Obama is the President of our country. But he is still a husband and a father...he is ENTITLED to spend his personal time with his family for goodness sake. There was nothing that he or Michelle did to compromise his Presidency or our country. All the HYPOCRITES can sit down and hush up!

    June 1, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. tom

    Typical limousine liberal...do as I say...not as I do.

    June 1, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  22. Bud Burgoon-Clark

    The Greedy Old Pfartes make me want to HURL!

    Has it ever occurred to you that the security required around President Obama is the DIRECT result of your ENDLESS RACIST DRUM-BEATING.

    Threats against him have SKYROCKETED, thanks to Limprique and Co.

    You managed to get someone riled up enough to shoot Dr. Tiller; leave the President the he!! *ALONE*!

    June 1, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. Robin in SC

    Our President and his wife going on a date in NYC is being compared to the CEOs of the auto industry using corporate megajets to fly to DC to beg for money???? Good Grief! He's the POTUS for God's sake!!!!! He has to be protected, he has to be safe, and he's on call no matter where he is or what he's doing, so what's the problem?

    June 1, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  24. Vern

    Those republicants didn't have a problem when Bush was running us into debt and still taking Airforce 1 to where-ever he wanted to go. They all need to shut up and stop being whiny babies!! This president cannot seem to get a break and don't anyone for one minute think it's only because of his politics. The repubs are very much UNAMERICAN!!! People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones!!!!

    June 1, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  25. lila

    "Obama's date night in NY.., heartless."

    Obama has given more money away to hurting industry and US workers than I can wrap my head around. The RNC is crowing about the insensitiveness of Obama taking his wife out one a date in the face of American hardship. Well, car makers are not the only ones hurting. The Arts, fashion, music, restaurants and theater have taken huge hits in the last year. Each time the Obama's do something tons of people follow the example. By going on a single date and having dinner and catching a live show the Obama's will have helped thousands of people working in those above professions. Obama thinks big and has foresight. The republicans think small. That is why Obama is always one step ahead of them.

    June 1, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
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