June 1st, 2009
08:55 PM ET
5 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. Tim

    Yeah, thanks for the transparency in government. The same guy who said in the debates he would go thru the budget like a surgeon with a scalpel, but didn't remove any pork from this year's budget.

    Now that he's kept one campaign promise to Michelle, maybe he could get around to Don't Ask Don't Tell before we get rid of all the Arab linguists?

    June 1, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. DSW

    Would you actually want to get on a commercial flight with the President of US on it – I doubt it very much!!!

    June 1, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. ben

    He was working while he was there...HELLO

    June 1, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  4. ~~ July ~~

    I sure do not mind paying for this date. Just like I did not mind paying for Bush Jr for his Crawford trips and Bush Sr. to his beach house trips and Clintons to their trips and Reagons to their trips and Nixion to his trips and so on ......why should it be different for Obama?? ooohhh wait is it because he is ... you know ............ you know. ;op

    June 1, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. Matt

    Wow, boohoo. You didn't see Republicans complaining about money when Bush went on vacation.

    We have more important things in this country to worry about than Obama taking his wife to a freaking play, get over it.

    June 1, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. Jeffrey Reel

    I think he should be confined to the White House for four years. I was told it has a bowling alley. Why would anyone think a guy who presides over the United States – with virtually no responsibilities, and who probably clocks out early – deserves to relax with his wife.

    The President can't walk down the street without costing the taxpayers thousands of dollars. What do you expect of him? Cut him some slack.

    June 1, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. mundoman

    I want to know what it cost to fly Cheney to his hunting trip so he could shoot his friend in the face.

    June 1, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. http://BuenaVistaMall.com

    They will have something to remember since they're going to be in prison a long time.

    June 1, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. Cleveland

    All i hear from him is how we all need to sacrifice. I was at work all weekend. If he really wants any creditability he should lead by example. Saying one thing and doing another seems to be a trend. I voted for the man but wont again. Disappointing.

    June 1, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. Antnezz

    this is dumb!!!!... whts wrong with spending time with his wife, getting away from a tough job??

    June 1, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. Gail Riddick

    I think the Obamas have a right to do what they want on their own free time and I think it is great that they made the effort to see August Wilson's play. I plan to see it myself when I get to New York. There is absolutely nothing wrong with what they did.

    June 1, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. C Spurgeon

    Excuse me but I bet if someone goes back and totals up Bush trips to Texas ranch in first 4 months, it just might be an eyepener.
    Don't be so meanspirited prople. I know it gives the press something to talk about but get over it and move on to better times.

    June 1, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. DT

    Truth-bomb thrower: get your figures right. The last W inauguration cost more than Obama's by a huge amount - the GOP just conveniently didn't tell us about the extra security costs, etc. for W's little private partays.

    So, what' you're saying is that it was OK for the GOP to spend money for security, but you didn't want Obama to have the same security? Perhaps the SS needs to pay you a visit to talk with you about your attitude toward presidential security, neh?

    June 1, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. pam Eugene OR

    This is his FIRST out of town with his wife. Give me a break!
    W spent more time in Texas and Camp David than he ever spent in the White House. Where were the shrill Republicans then?
    Our President deserves a date night with his wife and he can not just drive or take any public transportation.
    I am sick to death of hearing this nonsense from the republicans.

    June 1, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. johnny the boy

    What a joke, Obama the Celebrity Messiah President.

    Now he's a wanna be New Yorker. I guess Chicago served its purpose. He'll become like the Clintons and model himself as a New Yoirker now.

    June 1, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    If George Bush gives us the total profit for Halliburton and Blackwater in Iraq, then Obama should reveal this. By comparison, Obama's costs are nil!!!

    June 1, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. Cindi in IA

    I think all the presidents have taken plenty of trips on taxpayer money over the years. Just because he is the president, does that mean he is not allowed to have a personal life and try to spend a night with his wife. The office of presidency doesn't allow him to go out on his own for security reasons, so it seems to me we should give them a little latitude here.

    June 1, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. Joe

    It sounds like the Republicans could use some time out too. It must be very taxing to be constantly looking for nits to pick. Puh-lease!

    June 1, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. darius3

    Wow. Attacking Obama for going on a date with his wife? Could the Republicans possibly look any more angry, petty, and out-of-touch?

    June 1, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  20. The Lorax

    Where were their complaints when W was chillin at his Crawford ranch while the world went to hell?

    June 1, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  21. KHILL

    I would like to know how he can spend tax payer money for "date" night. This is outrageous and we the taxpayers paid for that "date" night. How arrogant to spend this money when so many American people cannot afford "date" nights with their spouses.

    June 1, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  22. tracy

    i think it is great, he has been busy trying to save this county, I think he should have a day out on the town with the wife.

    June 1, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  23. revolution

    bet it cost as much as the photos over NY

    June 1, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. Hope

    They should go for more outings, he is doing a splendid job, any time, we will pay for it.

    June 1, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  25. The Broker.

    Where are the Critics?, Is every body on CNN pro Obama?

    June 1, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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