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. nubia-ny

    Hey people how about Cheney admitting there was no connection between Saddam and 911 terriorist attacks. Now That's some news or how come when King George is out about all he did for the first year was take vacations, and then led us to his lying war. Are we not worth more than that! Oh well continue on...keep the blinders on, and keep the hate.

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

    I feel completely mislead by the President. He talked to us about coming together and making a change but nothing has changed. All of your comments comparing him to Bush and how he isnt as bad doesnt make it better. Obama spent two years talking about how he was going to to be different and its been one huge lie. It doesnt matter if you are a Democrat or Republican he isnt doing what he promised and that is what is the most disappointing.

    June 1, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  3. Rich in Seattle

    How did Bush get to Texas every few months? Ferry boat?

    June 1, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  4. Joshua Kukowski

    If the purpose of this article is to criticize the presidet's weekend excursion, then maybe you should spell presidet's correctly

    June 1, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  5. Ashlee

    Come on people! The man is human! First everyone says he did too much right away, now people are bickering because he took some time off. I didn't even vote for Obama, but I don't really care that he took a little weekend trip. You try running a country and see how long you can last.

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

    Where is the sacrifice you have asked all of us for, Mr. President? I'm all in favor of taking your wife on a "date night" and I understand security is an issue with public transport, but maybe now is not the best time to be jet setting to Broadway. I live in St. Louis, and can barely afford to take a trip across the Mississippi River...

    Look at the bigger picture, Mr. President.

    June 1, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    This discussion is very stupid. The government has deemed that the President should be under surveillance and protection at atll times. Therefore, the government picks up the tab for providign security for his outings.

    If it were a Republican or Independent President, it would be the same application. He or she goes out to dinner, Uncle Sam provides the security. Enough already of the nitpicking.

    The man and his wife deserve a night out! Leave them in peace.

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

    Bush was always running off to his ranch for the weekend. How is this any different?

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

    I would gladly have the tax payer pick up the tab for an occasional date for our President and his wife....

    It is the $2 TRILLION DEFICIT that I find offensive.
    It is the $750 BILLION PORK bill that he signed for Nancy pelosi that sickens me.
    It is the $50 BILLION that we are given GM that is wasted because they are going bankrupt anyway
    The $700 BILLION TARP waste
    The PROJECTED $5 TRILLION in debt over the next 4 years that makes me think we need to impeach President Obama.
    He has to stop blaming BUSH and take responsibility for his irresponsible financial policies that will cripple our country.
    At this rate he will go down in history as the most irresponsible President in history and we'll be left with the bill.

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

    Boy, the Republicans must be desperate if this is the best issue they can bring up.

    June 1, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. DAN

    W spent 1 out of 3 days on vacation. Do you think spending that much time on vacation was free?

    Anyone recall when W couldn't even bother to come off vacation for 3 days while an American city drowned during Katrina?

    How much did that cost?

    You clowns need better material. You reek of lame desparation.....

    June 1, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  12. jason

    OK, you left wing idiots. Bush owned the only place he quote went on vacation to, and he hosted a lot of world leaders at that venue. Also, for any of you to say this was ok for a sitting President to rub it in half of Americans face that he is on the verge of be the first communist/socialist President we have seen should just go ahead and move to Venezuela! You are the same people that are ok with being bombed by terrorists instead of doing what we have to do to get info out of them to keep us save. Let’s just be real. This President will never be held to any standard just because he is dark skinned. Again, for you color blind nimrods you still haven't got a black president he half that means he is just as white as black, stupid people!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 1, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. I vote both ways

    George W. spent how many days at his ranch?

    June 1, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  14. MrRex

    I am a supporter of the President and I wish him well.
    He does need to reign in his expenses, and I have believed this for all presidents. A president needs to set an example and expending tons of jet fuel and thousands of dollars to fly to a location for "fun" while the country is facing dire economic times doesn't do the job. He was wrong and should curtail these junkets until his time in office is over and he is back in civilian life.

    June 1, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  15. Michael

    If the last many GOP presidents had scrupulously avoided spending a dime of taxpayer's money on some frivolities, this might be worth paying attention to. But they didn't. How much did Nancy Reagan spend to redecorate half the White House?

    Typical GOP attempt at distraction from the real issues, which they don't have any solutions for anyway.

    Top marks for effort, though.

    June 1, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  16. T

    What is the big deal. Bush was always on vocation. I am sick of
    this.........why are we talking about this? You want him to take the shuttle?

    June 1, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  17. cassie

    Ridiculous. Just because he's president doesn't mean he can't choose to go to New York to see a show if he wants to. If I wanted to see a show in NYC and I lived in DC, I'd probably take the train–but a) I have the time to do that, and he's president, so I think the faster the better for him and b) I don't need a slew of secret service agents and security everywhere I go. For god sakes, give me a break. He's human and he deserves a night out with his wife. I guess he must be doing a pretty good job if this is all the Republicans can find to whine about.

    June 1, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  18. craig

    This is what wrong with our country always in other people business let the man live & date his wife..if our republicans government can concentrate and get along with themselves we wouldn't be in this mess i suggest. Republicans get a life it will help the divorce rate to go down in our country

    June 1, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. Kayla

    Okay, The President Obama is not our slave. Slave days are over GOP,RNC whatever you want to call yourself. No one said a word when President Bush was jetting off to Crawford Texas when the whole country was in crisis. President Obama should continue to wine and dine his wife as he did before he became President Obama.
    Why doesn't the Republican party spend more of its collected brain power to help President Obama fix the mess that the previous President left him instead of worrying about what he and Michelle are doing on their down time. Maybe they should take a lesson from Obama and have a date night with their wives and they wouldn't be so anal.

    June 1, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  20. Bill in Illinois

    Did I miss something or did Doobyah not make a few vacation trips to Texas and it seems that he may have used the big AF1 rahter than a smaller plane.

    The repugs need to remember that the sevret service dictates how the President travels as they are the ones directly responsible for his safety. What do they expect him to do, sit at home and stare at the walls?

    This just further demonstrates how desperate and worried that they are getting. Perhaps some young hotshot investigative reporter should look into all of the trips that AF1 went on during the last administration. That might be a real eye opener. Also – calculate the daily cost of keeping it on the ground and ready to go during those trips. That would raise a few eyebrows methinks!!!

    June 1, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  21. anita

    what I dislike about the liberal argument is the same thing I dislike about the argument from my teenagers , "well, Lisa did it" and so on.

    That is utterly ridiculous and often introduced and re-introduced by Obama and his minions whenever they can.
    How can you justify this type of spending with your 1.4 trillion in new spending for this fiscal year. CHARLATANS

    June 1, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  22. Dailydubya

    Umm, would anyone care to calculate the cost of all that brush that president Bush cleared on his ranch while he was in office? So the president and first lady go to NY for a date. Isn't there any "news" to report?

    June 1, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. queenbee

    When are you kool-aide drinkers going to realize that the Obama's are "do as I say, not as I do" liberals? He actually believes he is above it all and he is "special"! He is a hypocrite of the worse kind and an arogent incompetent! Sure hope the "darling couple" enjoyed thier date night!!!!

    June 1, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. Stephen

    Stupid Bush had a year of vacation over his 8 years.

    This is so ridiculous, it is not as if he headed off to FRANCE.

    June 1, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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