June 1st, 2009
08:55 PM ET
14 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. Says Cession

    Hey, get off poor Obama's back. The guy just spent a trillion dollars of your kids money...he needs to take a break and spend some of your dollars.

    June 1, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. Laverne

    The republicans argument is absolutely ridiculous! I wonder how many of them enjoyed fancy dinners and shows over the weekend without giving one single thought about GM. They will criticize this president over any and everything, so damn petty! President Obama must have secret service at all times and it is obvious why, read some the blogs on this post and listen to the republicans. His well being is always a constant concern. Get off his back, he has a family too!

    June 1, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. John in Austin

    straws anyone? nobody cried like a baby when bush took so many freaking trips to his ranch and golf trips. SHUT GOP's you all are desperate and your party is a dying breed. evolution ensures only the smartest survive!

    June 1, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. share

    why didn't they take a few homeless people with them! what happened to SHARE THE WEALTH!!!!!!

    June 1, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. Fed Up

    Gibbs should ask TOTUS for the answer. TOTUS knows everything.

    June 1, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    In all fairness, the cost should be disclosed. President Obama promised transparency and this is an example of when it is needed. I don't care that he took his wife out, I think it is good for the President to support the arts and help the sagging Broadway theater scene. I find it funny the GOP is making a big deal about this, in light of Dick Cheney's comments about Al-Queda and Iraq.

    June 1, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |

    Give it a Rest Republicans you are Being Petty. He is the President of the United States, we have Paid for all the Presidents Travels god you Republicans will stop at Nothing whats Next Bashing the Obamas Dog oh wait you did that already

    June 1, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  8. cam

    The cost is major but what about the so called "carbon footprint" when he treavels hither and you? He's carping about carbon footprints yet goes to "town hall" meetings (even after the election...nuts) and "dates". Was there a press plane on that date? If so didn't leave yet another gigantic footprint. I am now part owner of GM, I don't want to be part owner of the Presidant's social life.

    June 1, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. Steven NY

    Funny criticism from the GOP when Bush spent most of his Presidency on Vacation. Including 9/11.

    June 1, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  10. joe

    Let's get the cost of slavery by America!

    June 1, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  11. Elizabeth

    It isn't the Obama's fault GM is in financial difficulty. As a taxpayer, I'd rather pay for their date than bail-out a company mismanaged for years. I'm sure some of those GM executives gave themselves bonuses equal to the cost of their date, many times over.

    Maybe the Repubs need some cheese with their whine.

    June 1, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. David

    Obviously they are embarrased of admitting how much this cost taxpayers....Gibbs is so nervouse looking on tv. Like a man who know's that he doesn;t know what he's doing...think about it for a seconds....ok, now you liberals got it...just took sometime to process

    June 1, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  13. Dave

    Whereas, it was ok for Bush to visit McCain for a birthday party while people were suffering from hurricane Katrina.

    Find an issue GOP. But can you try a little harder?

    June 1, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  14. OneWiseGuy

    Who cares! If they find the time to go do something like this once in a while I hope they continue to do it. Keep up the awesome work Mr. Obama.

    June 1, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  15. Steph

    In over four months, he has taken one weekend off to visit his home in Chicago and now the man went to his daughter soccer game and then took his wife out to dinner and a play. You're going to complain about that, really?

    Geez people, get over it! This is beyond dumb!

    How much did it cost the taxpayers to fly W back and forth to his ranch for his many, many vacations (most vacation days taken by a president in history).

    June 1, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. rds

    Who cares! This little nit picking at every little thing is so childish! Do we even have to calculate the number of trips and vacations GWB took, why is this an issue. What does his weekend trip have to do with GM filing for bankruptcy, they were going to do that no matter where is was.

    June 1, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  17. JamesMinNJ

    Hmmm... the Republicans want to know how much a trip to NYC costs the President when their guy ("W") started an unnecessary war of choice which may end up costing, oh say, around a trillion. Put in the balance, I'll take Obama's NYC trip any day.

    June 1, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  18. The Party of NO is only “pro-life” to save a zygote now, so it can then kill the “babies” 18 years later as soldiers in an elective religious war.


    The WH can release the cost when the shrub's office releases the TOTAL cost of all the trips to Crawford at 57K per hour.

    He was there over 500 days of his term, over one year spent flying and vacationing in TX.

    What was wrong with Camp David?

    June 1, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  19. jean

    He didn't go to see his friends in Saudi Arabia, How many times did bush go to saudi Arabia to see his buddies and how much did it cost the taxpayers?

    June 1, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  20. David

    I bet TOTUS knows. And Sats Cession is absolutely right...Obama has been sooooo busy spending so much money, I AGREE, he needed a break from it. He needed to spend some money outside of his office, ya know, change the scene up a little.

    June 1, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. Lynn

    Why isn't CNN asking about the cost of flying to Crawford every weekend? Why do the press have to cover his every move and why aren't the media owners paying for their flight? There is no way they were needed. Who paid for their expenses while they were there?

    Becoming president is not a prison term and America is a violent country which has assassinated presidents unlike other western democracies. Are the media and the Republicans going to complain when he goes on vacation? How many members of Congress flew home for the weekend and who apid for them.

    The republicans are just jealous that people line up to see him every time he goes anywhere while they can't even muster up more than 50 people on their one and only "listening tour" in a strip mall.

    Really Cnn has become a disgrace and more of a tabloid that a news source.

    June 1, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. I can see Canada from my house!

    Did anyone think to ask how much W owes us for trips to Crawford? He spent more time on vacation than any president I can think of. I do think it was ridiculous for President Obamato go to New York, especially given how things are, but I don't ever recall anyone in the GOP raising their voices over Bush going to his ranch in Crawford.

    June 1, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  23. Hawaii gal

    This is so ridicoulus! I have never seen a President so scrutinized before. I am so sick of the GOP....the longer they continue on this Obama bashing campaign the sooner they will completely implode. Pres. Obama cannot fly commerical, we need to keep him and his wife safe, so they have to use the Presidental helicopter and Air Force One when they travel, period. If they want to go on a small trip once in a while, fine with me! They deserve to have some kind of personal life. Pres. Obama has been working his butt off trying to fix what Bush screwed up over the last 8 years. He deserves some R&R with his lady. GOP leave him alone in his personal life.

    June 1, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I recall seeing Bush at the ranch more than I did at the White House. I preferred he stayed there actually. A trip to NYC. What's the fuss about. You right wing knuckleheads expect the POTUS to fly on Airtran.

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

    Laverne, I dont care if EVERY REPUBLICAN took a flight to New York, Dined and went to a show...as long as they did it on their OWN DOLLAR and not mine. You don't get the point because you're a typical obama follower, THROW AWAY THE FACTS AND GET PENTACOSTAL...

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