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. Jeff in Virginia

    Why weren't the Republicans screaming at the top of their lungs when Bush was flying back to Crawford whenever he felt like it?

    Typical partisan hacks, the lot of them.

    June 1, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. justyn baker

    give me a break. Obama didn't run GM in to the ground. Are we all to feel guilty for spending any money on life's pleasures? The republicans sure are reaching on this one. . . .

    June 1, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. RCasson

    This is absurd. If taxpayers paid for this President to take his lovely wife out, I'm happy to have contributed to the bill! He deserves it for all he's already done in only 4 months.

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

    I understand that President Obama actually THREW AWAY ONE OF THE CREAMER PACKETS THAT CAME WITH HIS MORNING COFFEE!!!! Oh, my God, it's the end of the Republic!!! The terrorists have won!!! Run for the hills!!! I demand an IMMEDIATE investigation into this wasteful spending. Shame on you, CNN, why are you not all over this earth-shattering story???

    June 1, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  5. Vic of New York

    Geez and Moses - What else do Republicans have to complain about?

    I've been around since Eisenhower, and this is the first time I've EVER heard anyone complain about the President taking a night on the town.

    I think it's great that the world know that our President has a life beyond the White House. BTW - have Republicans added up the costs for the 60% of his time as President Bush spent vacationing in camp David and and Texas, and the cost to the American taxpayer while Bush fiddled with his bicycle?

    Get a life - Repugnicans!

    June 1, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  6. Wordsmith

    Thank you, Sharon.

    Get back to me on the cost to the taxpayer of every 'vacation' Dumbo made to Crawford, Texas. Not to mention that Dumbo took more vacation time than any president. Lazy & stupid.

    As for 'says cession' – do it . That "trillion dollars of your kids money" – you KNOW that came from the prior administration. Ya don't think, ya don't read, you don't investigate. Ya just accept the talking points doncha?

    June 1, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. Sharon

    I have to admire the Republicans for the sheer brazeness of this whining. Perhaps they have already forgotten Jack Abrahams and the golfing trips to Scotland paid for by lobbiest money????? How many of them have ridden that gravey train to all sorts of really nice resorts and we won't even mention good old "DUKE" and all the stuff he glommed prior to getting taken down for the antiques, trips and other "fringe benefits" that came his way. Republicans better watch out when they start slinging that kind of mud as there is quite a bit that sticks to them.

    June 1, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  8. RepugliKLAN conscience

    If Reporters are complaining about the cost then they need to talk to the Reporters who went along for the ride. Every President has costs associated with his security detail. Bin Ladin would like nothing more than to take down a US President and Repukliklans would be happy to oblige by reducing security. What about the costs of dozens of trips to Crawford Texas and back from Washington DC? I guess Repukliklans didn't care about Bush's security spending.

    June 1, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. ib

    Obama is pushing a cap and trade bill that will increase everyone's energy cost. He said he is trying to make a smaller carbon footprint. He then takes three that's three planes to NYC for a date night. Obama is like Gore " do as I say not as I do". Obama is a hyprocrite when it comes to the so called global warming.

    June 1, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  10. St Louie

    Look in the mirror repubs! Leave the poor man and his wife alone for goodness sake's. He's done more work in 3-4 mos than Bush did in 8 yrs with all his vacationing. Who paid for that BTW?

    June 1, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  11. J Durham

    Our President should be able to nurture a relationship with his wife. It is because of his service to us as President that he would be unable to do like you or I and just drive wherever, so of course the necessary protections and precautions must be at taxpayer expense. What, do you expect him to stay in and watch re-runs on television all the time?

    June 1, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. David in Houston

    Is this what passes for news these days?

    June 1, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. Peter

    It is the normal cost of doing business. If you can't handle the expenses. Perhaps you should fuly reimburse your company for that last Christmas party, client lunch, or service appreciation gift you received.

    June 1, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. OBAMA: Reimburse us!

    In the middle of a deep recession when millions are out of work, it is totally wrong for the Obamas to go on a "date" to NYC at taxpayers' expense. They should be ashamed.

    June 1, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. jeff

    I think the average joe should be able to do the same and have the goverment foot the bill

    June 1, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  16. Mark, Bradenton,FL

    Openess and transparency and not they do not even release the cost of the trip. Obama promised us honesty. We had enough for the last 8 years. Where was he when GM went into bankruptcy over the weekend. He gave them our money. TIME TO RESIGN.

    June 1, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. leon

    GAL of HAWAI

    Sorry you need to take it like it is. yes it is a new era and we all have the right to scrutinized the presidnet Actions. that was part of the base for his campaing so it goes both ways.

    June 1, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. Demetria

    Wow....the GOP brings this up when Bush took more vacation days and trips than any other president...why didn't we juxtapose one of his trips with Obama's to see who really spent more money. The man wants to take his wife to a play and the GOP raises all of this hell? Please, find another bone to pick.

    June 1, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  19. Robin

    @ Laverne June 1st, 2009 4:39 pm ET

    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.

    The taxpayers do not pick up the tab when we go out to dinner, and it does not run into the hundreds of thousands.

    June 1, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. Dave

    I challenge the Republicans to disclose **every** the costs of trip that every Republican Senator and Representative, as well as President Bush, took. And, I challenge them to disclose it **truthfully**.

    People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones...

    June 1, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. KLK

    The President and his lovely deserved a night out. I hope they had a great time and have more "date nights" to keep the marriage fresh and the stress levels low. GET OVER IT HATERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 1, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. Michael Everett

    THIS is important ?? Give me a break. Is there anything the republicans can think of that might be a tad more worthy of their efforts.

    June 1, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  23. Shari, NY

    Oh dear! A married man can't have a little fun with his OWN wife? He promised his lady this date since last year and I am sure he planned it with frugality and common sense on his mind too.

    June 1, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  24. richard

    It makes me laugh that he is getting critizised for this when Bush and previous presidents took days off during times of crisis and utilized the exact same resources.

    June 1, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. dblzap

    Petty GOP yet puts another nail in the o'l coffin

    They are running out of feet to shoot!

    June 1, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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