June 1st, 2009
08:55 PM ET
9 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. susie

    Obama doesn't care about the little people.

    June 1, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. isa

    I think it is wonderful that the President is demonstrating what a good relationship looks like. Good for him and Michelle. They deserve it! I would rather have the President take an evening, get some relaxation, and come back to the job refreshed and ready to tackle all the many problems that he has been handed.
    By the way, I would gladly gift him a night on the town as an act of gratitude for him taking on this job. Not too many of us could or would be willing to do the job at this time with all its complexities.

    June 1, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. Only 21% of Americans trust republicans to lead them into the 21st century!

    The rabid Reich wants President Obama exposed so one of their minions can go after him like they go after doctors that perform abortions.

    Looks like the Secret Service is thankfully, devoid of republicans.

    June 1, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. Melissa

    Why does it matter? He's human too, and an occasional night out isn't that big a deal. Its a check of alot better than Bush and his many months on vacation.

    June 1, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Enough

    What happened to the transparency promised by the Obama administration? Guess things are getting pretty cloudy. That must tell you it cost enough we should be upset. But what about the Carbon footprint from the jet?? He shouldn't be flying around for a date, while telling us to cut back on pollution.

    June 1, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    OK, so if the President and his wife are on a date, why does he need three plane loads of staff and reporters? I don't have an issue with the date and security detail, just the rock star entourage.

    June 1, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. Paul from Phoenix

    He worked for 100 days. Wow. I was not allowed any vacation time for the first 6 months at my current job. Bush's first vacation was August of his first year, and he was shredded by the Dems for taking a vacation after only 7 months in office.

    June 1, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. joe

    Wow! here we go again. President Obama works for the US Government. We pay him and he is entitled for the benefits!

    June 1, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. Paul from Phoenix

    Gibbs is such a turd

    June 1, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    What do you expect from these plunderers?! Remember, for the inauguration they blew through $70 million.....more than all of the four previous inaugurations COMBINED! No one should be surprised by the arrogance and extravigance of these people. They don't care because they expect the media to protect them and the public to be too dumb and uninformed to care.....and they're probably right.

    June 1, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. rachel

    CNN post!!!!

    What Gibbs talking out the side of his mouth again? Obama your slick but not that slick you had November to January to take Mrs Obama to a play you just wanted to wait until you had the right transportation(an't jets grande) At least be honest about it lol.

    June 1, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. sharon

    I wonder how many Americans could use some financial assistance with food,housing,medical costs or haow mant college educations would that nite out have paid for ? And are they paying the total cost of this nite out with their own millions?

    June 1, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. Jorge Rey

    Give me a break. The Republicans are desperate and pathetic.

    June 1, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. ch

    Who cares? The Obamas are more than entitled to a night out and I hope they enjoyed it.

    Considering the mess he inherited from GW Bush, Obama deserves a night out.

    June 1, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. Tim in Atlanta

    Let's compare the Obama's trip to the cost of flying Bush and his entourage to his ranch in Crawford, TX every time he wanted to get away. Typical of Republicans to criticize others when they themselves are guilty of the same or worse. This is but one of many reasons why they lost and LOST BIG in November; and thank God they did!!

    June 1, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. Peter Moore

    How many times did we pay for Dubya's jaunts to Crawford or Camp David? Good lord. We don't pay these guys enough money for all the crap they take for 4-8 years. Give him a break.

    June 1, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. petre

    You are one thoughtless and selfish poster. Your 4 posts are at best annoying, especially since they weren't very enlightning. Once is sufficient, the rest could have been omitted to leave room for other posters.

    June 1, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  18. sharon

    Republicans make me gag. Junior spent more time on vacation than any other "president" in history. That was an eight year tab that the public will be picking up for a few decades to come. Cheney shot his buddy in the face. Did any Dems ask if the public picked up that hospital bill for the idiot with a gun? I bet Cheney didn't pay for it. The shallow, extreme, right wing garbage would be smart if they kept their petty, ignorant mouths shut. But we know what the key words there are.

    June 1, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  19. spacewriter

    Let's call the WAAAAmbulance for the GOP. They're clutching their pearls a little too tightly around their scrawny necks. Oh, and can we please see the bill for W's endless trips here and there? He was gone far more than he was in the WH.

    June 1, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. Dan, TX

    I think the numbers should come out. Plus, we should see the total cost of all the trips Bush took and then we can demand that Obama does not exceed that amount. Fair enough for you?

    It is human nature to focus on trivial things like this trip rather than big complex things that are too difficult for people, such as those posting here, to really understand. Health care? Education? Economic recovery? Foreign affairs? Too complicated. Spending money on a trip to NYC – now there's something to focus petty frustration on.

    June 1, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. Proud Member..Party of No

    Obumbler's arrogance shows no bounds. And Gibbs is the fourth stooge.

    June 1, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. revolution

    GM and the Union leeches deserve what they got.
    Dictator Obama is going to do whatever he wants, America be damed have you not figured that one out yet.

    June 1, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. Jerry

    NO, WE should NOT pay for the Obama's "date night". I am sick of this elitist attitude from these people. If Michelle can buy "$450" sneakers, she can pay for her own date nite!!

    June 1, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. Rosie Cavin Gollehon

    What hogwash! Let them have some fun. Their trip has nothing to do with General Motors bancruptcy. The company brought that on themselves. We don't really expect the President and First Lady to get on the shuttle. I'd rather they spend my taxpayer money that way than getting additional weapons or spending it on war.

    June 1, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. Tony Edwards

    We can't possibly be in a recession.. GM can't possibly be bankrupt if the USA has enough money for the Obama to galavant around in his private, tax-paid fun-jet... I am absolutely shocked that we are not calling for his resignation. Afterall.. If it were anyother office holder at any other level of government there would be an investigation. Don't blame this on the Secret Service...

    June 1, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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