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. Change in America

    These Republicans are driven American crazy who cares if we pay for his date look what we pay for Bush...I hope President take his whole family on a cruise with my money he deserve it...The republican pary are coo coo birds

    June 1, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. Polar Bears Against Palin

    Hey, right-wingers? We have class in the White House, again. And, for all your complaining, the economy is showing signs of improvement. Have you noticed some of the important economic indicators of late. You right-wingers are pathetic. I bet you all feel grateful for the killer that whacked that women's health doctor at that church yesterday.

    June 1, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  3. Cathy Reid

    Well, if they want to point fingers, then lets point finger. Our previous failure for a President, George Bush was seen many times out playing golf and having a real good time, while scores of American men and women were DYING in Iraq. Now I think dying Americans are far worse than GM filing. They had poor greedy management that drove them down this path.
    So if we want to make a thing out of our President going out with his wife. Then lets remind everyone that Bush had a great time play golf while people were dying, in a war we should have never been in, and the Bush started for NO good reason. So SHAME on Bush!!!!!!!

    June 1, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. MJHS1967

    Who cares??? Didn't G. W. Bush take off 1/3 of his presidency?
    Oops ...he was also OFF the other 2/3 as well. So what!!! 🙂

    June 1, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. felicia

    To all you negative loonies, the Obamas's can go any da@n where they please, i'll send the President my money to have a night out. You people are pathetic.

    June 1, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. Matt

    I love everytime that Obama does something arrogant all we hear from the left is "But Bush did" arrgument. Two things nitwits. Bush is not president and Obama is the one who claimed to run under a promise of resposible government.

    Obama asked to be held to higher standard. Problem is that he is enjoying the power and the perks too much. He is arrogant and not in the least bit humble.

    Blaiming Bush does not excuse Obama even if your simple minds can not get around that fact.

    June 1, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  7. AJ

    I am a Democrat but must say that I think this underscores the arrogance of the Obama White House. At a time when millions of Americans are losing their jobs, he takes a taxpayer funded trip to New York for nothing more than a "date." And what about his vow for transparency? Why the big secret? Oh, right, if the taxpayer found out how much this frivilous trip really cost it might hurt the "honest Abe" image Obama has tried to portray. The truth is that Obama is just more of the same.

    June 1, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. revolution

    I like to hear all you people claim he is entitled.
    Bet that is how you think your life should be. You are entitled
    Those Union leeches thought they were entitled see what it got them
    They are HOPING to CHANGE jobs now.

    June 1, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  9. Donna

    Geez, people ( i.e. mostly Republicans in the Congress and Senate). Haven't you got better things to do than worry about the President and his wife having a "date night"? It's not like they can actually have any alone time. The cost is dictated by security etc which would happen no matter if it were Republican, Democrat or Independant. At least they are role models for a good marriage unlike most people in the public eye.

    June 1, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. Adrian Arnod

    Who cares? They still are a family and although the Presidency is a choice, we are the ones that said okay. He was up front about wanting to keep some normalcy in his life so naysayer's shut up! If we don't want a King then we shouldn't treat him like a King. A modest detail and arrangements could be made. Another thing – the President isn't GOD! GM going down wasn't going to change if he went to Kennedy Center or to to the darn Moon for that matter! The GOP, Dems, and America in general need to get on with shoring up the other real problems of the nation. Shoot, if I could get them to come out, they could come to my home in Maryland and chill for an evening! Wouldn't cost much, but I bet someone would have a stupid beef about Obama's hanging out with a common family!!

    June 1, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. Paul

    Any Republican coming forward with the costs of Bush's 77 trips down to Crawford and back on his many, many vacations? No? Then they can shut the hell up.

    June 1, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. Charlie in Calif

    And will George W pay for all his trips to Texas? Yet's get real. Mr Obama is not going to spend the next four years in the White House. He is not under house arrest! Whenever he goes somewhere it is going to cost the tax payers. If he does not go anywhere it is gong to cost the tax payers.

    June 1, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  13. Chris in NC

    So...the president should show a little sensitivity to the corporate clowns that drove GM into bankruptcy? What kind of logic is that? Should every public employee who's salary is funded by tax dollars simply hunker down at home and quit living till the economy turns around. You people are crazy. As for statements like "he should do this on his own dime" – NEWS FLASH – he is...it's all part of his salary and benefits package. Some people just like to think their tax dollars are personally set aside for things they don't like...doesn't work that way numb-nuts...your tax dollars pay for the Prez's dinner, same as they pay for body armor in Iraq, or freeways in Oklahoma...

    June 1, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  14. Patty in the CA mountains

    What did the frequent trips by bush to TX cost us? Bush was on vacation more than he was in DC....Obama has done more work in a few months than bush did in 8 years.....more distraction by those that benefit by the distraction

    June 1, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. Sally

    This is simply more carping by the Republicans. All they do is complain! Obama has worked his tail off since taking office...he deserves a night out!

    June 1, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. David from Morristown, NJ

    The Party of NO strikes again...

    June 1, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. kd

    Obama works his tail off, compared to Bush who was on vacation a full 3 of his 8 years (fact). Where were the whining Republicans when Bush was AWOL so much of the time?

    Obama deserved a break. It was nice to see. He should get out more often, as a matter of fact. The people love it.

    June 1, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  18. eric

    Bush was on vacation more than anyother president, no one seemed to complain as the nation was more secure with him away. Why this is reported is unknown to me.

    June 1, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  19. Joe, Chicago

    Was it appropriate for George Bush to take a record number of days off for any president in history prior to 9/11?

    This (non)news story is just political fodder.

    June 1, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. Mike

    They can't be serious?

    June 1, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Unhappy Dem

    I am a democrat and no I did not vote for bama. All of these other dems that are fawning all over him ( and I gather from these posts, a lot of them are women) make me sick. The man knows nothing about running anything, much less a country. I was very disappointed that my party fell for glitter show. According to the graphics it was mostly the yankee idiots that put him where he is.

    June 1, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. Sheila

    Too bad he didn't have a ranch in Texas to fly to...

    June 1, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  23. Matt

    How much did George Bush spend when he was spending all that time in Texas? I have no problem with the Obama's going out for the weekend.

    June 1, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. Pats

    I didn't know the Pres is supposed to be jailed in WH and/or D.C. for four years.

    June 1, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  25. Mike

    OMG, the Republicans have NOTHING to complain about, what a joke!!!!

    June 1, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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