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. mike

    You gotta be kidding me! How many times did Bush Jr. take Air Force One to Crawford for his many, many vacations? Should taxpayers have paid for that?

    June 1, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. MR

    We taxpayers have footed the bill for personal travel for presidents for many years... along with the press corp and the Secret Service. Regan's trips to his beloved California ranch were "personal" as were Clinton's trips back home to Arkansas and W's trips to Crawford. How is this different? It is part and parcel of being the leader of the free world, you can't just hop on a train, plane or in a car and drive to NYC. As long as it doesn't become a common practice, I don't have a problem with it. Those complaining, how else would you suggest he travel for personal reasons?

    June 1, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. Matt

    lol, what? "They will have something to remember since they're going to be in prison a long time."

    Also "TIME TO RESIGN."

    Ha, so, you think President Obama should resign because he took a night out with his wife? You must be the kind of person that booed at McCain when he said Obama was a good person.

    June 1, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. Ron

    Wow! What a stupid article. Obama is human. He is also the President of this country. He was "hired" to do a job. If he wants to take his wife to NYC for a date...more power to him. Because of his position, he can't take a commercial flight, he HAS to have the Secret Service with him, he HAS to have a certain "entourage" with him....he's the President of the U.S. for crying out loud. Let him have his date night. While there are certain disagreements over policy and management....there is a feeling he is doing something...... Aside from a couple of wars....what did President Cheney (oops, I mean W.) do over the past 8 years?

    signed...... A Libertarian

    June 1, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. Mikey

    So to all the Republican cry-babies out there:

    Did Dubya take all his trips to his Texas ranch (more vacations than any president in history) on his own dime? No? Then shut up...

    June 1, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. Charles

    The fact of the matter is that Obama is a walking, talking stimulus package. The GOP may make fun of his celebrity image, but where he goes – tourists follow. I bet you'll see a bit of an upswing in NYC tourism and Broadway ticket sales in the wake of this "date." Probably a pretty good return on the investment if you ask New Yorkers.

    June 1, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  7. Alan

    And - let's see - all the whining about Obama seems to overlook the freaking STOCK MARKET lately. And 8 out of 10 economists predicting the END of the recession THIS YEAR?

    It's not working. Obama's not working enough. Waaaa waaaa waaaaa.

    Wonder how much Rush Limpburgers spends on cigars and drugs?

    Wonder how much the GOP REALLY spent flying Palin and family around and CLOTHING them.

    Such complete soulless idiots.

    June 1, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. matt

    Libtards....Here's the difference....When Bush went on vacation, the country was not experiencing record unemployment, bankruptcies by major American companies, North Korea preparing for long range missle launches, losing wars in Afghanistan....

    Your President is AWOL. Suck it up.

    June 1, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. vjunior

    To Peggy Ledbetter. Who's lying now? Obama has done nothing but lie throughout his whole campaign and now in office.

    Get over it.

    We're coming and in droves.

    CHANGE '12

    June 1, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. marcus

    that is SO funny... the republicans criticizing obama for a date while GM goes into bankruptcy... the republicans spent the last EIGHT years putting the ENTIRE country on the edge of bankruptcy, and that didn't stop W from spending half his presidency vacationing in texas !! the hypocrisy is laughable !!! you people just need to shut up..

    June 1, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. kathy

    Only the stupid GOP PARTY (Grumpy Old Pricks) would find
    a problem with the Obamas having personal time together.
    At least he's human and treats his wife like the lady she is.
    The Repubilcans don't have a clue how to treat a lady. They're
    a bunch of old hags with not a brain in their heads nor anything
    to offer the American people. Shut up and go away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 1, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. honest Ab

    White men worrying about a small trip to NYC when they have totally destroyed this whole country and other nations. Please shut up and go suck on a lemon. You people are pathetic! I laugh every time I see foolishness like this; due to the fact that white men have been running this country, spending, stealing, and lying for the last 43 Presidents and now all of a sudden a black man is in office and they are worrying about the debit this country is in and trying to blame him for it and anything else that is collapsing in this country. POINT YOUR FINGERS TO YOURSELF WHITE MEN, YOU DESTROYED THIS COUNTRY!!!

    June 1, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  13. Doris

    Defending the President's 'date night' by comparing costs to previous Presidents is ridiculous. This is only part of the issue. I think what is bothering most of us is there are people in the United States that cannot even afford to put food on their table, buy their much needed medications, have no health insurance because they cannot afford it,losing their houses, cars and jobs and he spends thousands of dollars on a 'date night'. Something is missing in his priorities!!!!!!

    June 1, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Hey didn't you all vote for "Change". So what if it's taking all of the change out of our pockets. Let them have their date nite. It won't matter how much we whine about their dates, he's not going to "Change". It's just another thing thrown if our faces. All I can say is we are SOL if we think things will "Change" for the better.

    June 1, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Love the moral equivalancy once again by the dope smokin' libs and all of you idiots who voted for him because he promised change and transparency, I hope you are getting a clue now, and you Al Gore believers, does it tell you anything? And joe@, of course he has to play the race card, stupidly play it, but play it nonetheless and then there are just the dope smokin', unemployed libs who use this as an excuse to attach republicans, conservatives and Bush. I guess the synapses are just shot and not connecting anymore.

    June 1, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. marla

    Again what has General motors problem has got something to do with Obama taking a break after slaving off for the people non stop for 4 months after the election. All president do this. It's hypocritical for them to judge him , when they did nothing of sort with Bush who spent only a third of his 8 years in office supposedely "doing" his job as president.
    Or because this president is Black and you can treat him as slave. This republicans are becoming tranparent in their racisism. aren't they?

    June 1, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. terri sel

    Give me a break – the man hasn't had time to breathe since he's taken over this huge mess. I can't believe this is being scrutinized – look at all the vacation time the person who left him this mess took!

    June 1, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. Megan P

    TALK about being petty! This occasion is absolutely no different than other trips taken by past Presidents...and at least President Obama is not hiding out at a Texas ranch for extended periods of time like G.W. did, while there are crises to be addressed!

    June 1, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. J.Crobuzon

    Didn't Bush fly home to Crawford every night to feed his cattle and "cut brush?" How much did that come to over eight lazy years? How often did Cheney fly off to Iraq to run Halliburton operations there? Are they paying it off on the installment plan?

    June 1, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  20. Grace Hansen

    Oh, for Pete's sake! Can't the guy even go on a date without everyone having a cow?

    June 1, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  21. Thomas E. Stubblefield

    What a tempest in a teapot! If the President of the United States wishes to take in a Broadway show with his wife on a Friday night so be it. He travels by jet and limo where ever he goes both for convenience and security. Perhaps the whining losers in the GOP would prefer he travel by bus, and now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure they would prefer that he sit in the back.

    June 1, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  22. Reese

    Who cares what it costs this is Obama we are talking about. Can't believe you are even insinuating he can use our money unwisely. He won the election and he has the right spend trillions however he wants and his decisions should not to be contested.

    June 1, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  23. Mike

    For those of you who think the Obama's taking a weekend trip to NYC has any significance whatsoever please do us all a favor and follow through with that lobotomy you've hoped for. Better still, keep listening to Rush Limbaugh and watching Fox News. Hopefully you will be convinced to move to Utah where you can be with your friends all day long and the rest of the country can get back to reality.

    June 1, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  24. revolution

    I bet it cost as much as the photos over NY

    June 1, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  25. Allen

    Enough already. The Presidency is a job, people with jobs deserve days off. Ask General Motors, they are in the habit of giving people many days off with pay. In fact they, for many years, paid people for standing around not doing much of anything while at work. Let's poll all The Congress and see how many, on either side of the aisle gave up their weekend pleasures in lieu of General Motors well deserved bankruptcy?

    June 1, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
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