Critics to Obama: Give up golf, not W.H. tours
March 5th, 2013
07:42 PM ET
10 years ago

Critics to Obama: Give up golf, not W.H. tours

(CNN) - After the White House announced it would stop giving tours due to the forced spending cuts, some Republicans gave an alternative proposal: Cancel the golf trips, instead.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, is trying to make it illegal for President Barack Obama to use tax dollars for commuting to golf trips. On Tuesday, he submitted an amendment to the continuing resolution that would prohibit the president from using federal funds to travel to or from a golf course until the White House resumes public tours.

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The White House Visitor Center will stop the tours effective Saturday, a move meant to cut costs in the wake of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that hit the entire federal government last Friday.
An automated message at the visitor center's hotline informed callers of the news on Tuesday.

"Due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration we regret to inform that White House tours will be canceled effective Saturday March 9, 2013 until further notice," the message said. "Unfortunately we will not be able to reschedule affected tours."

Speaking on the House floor Tuesday, Gohmert read a statement from first lady Michelle Obama–which is also posted on the White House's website–about the White House being the "People's House."

"It’s a place that is steeped in history, but it’s also a place where everyone should feel welcome," she said in the statement. "And that's why my husband and I have made it our mission to open up the house to as many people as we can."

"I'm sure she was not consulted today," Gohmert said, after reading her quote.

Putting the tours back on schedule will only cost "one or two golf trips less" for the president, Gohmert argued.

Obama has long taken heat for his golf outings, and critics are quick to point out that he's played at least 115 times since taking office.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich echoed Gohmert's line of criticism.


Gingrich argued that "Obama should be challenged" and called on him to publish the cost of White House tours. "This is silly and demeaning," he wrote.

Max Milien, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said officers normally assigned to tours will be reassigned to other security posts at the White House.

"This staffing measure will reduce overtime costs overall and may ultimately reduce the number of potential furloughs necessary by our agency," Milien said.

The Secret Service has been developing a plan to deal with the cuts and maintains that the agency's protective duties will not be affected, according to a Secret Service official.

Public, self-guided tours of the White House's East Wing are generally offered Tuesday through Saturday. Visitors can get tickets from their representative in Congress, and if they're lucky, they may even run into the president or first lady, who've both been known to personally greet visitors on occasion.

As he returned to the White House Tuesday after visiting wounded veterans at a Washington hospital, President Barack Obama did not respond to shouted questions about the tours being canceled.

House Speaker John Boehner, meanwhile, confirmed that tours at the Capitol will still continue.

"While I’m disappointed the White House has chosen to comply with sequestration by cutting public tours, I’m pleased to assure you that public tours of the United States Capitol will continue," Boehner said in a statement.

- CNN’s Adam Aigner-Treworgy and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Louie Gohmert • Newt Gingrich • President Obama • White House
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Andrew

    While I agree the golf trips should go before tours and other things, I think it is pretty hypocritical for the republicans to challenge him considering how much of the debt is related to the Iraq War, Bush tax cuts, Prescription drug plan and measures taken because of the 2007 economic collapse under Bush.

    March 5, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  2. Syvia Taylor

    The republicans continue to be racist and ignorant.

    March 5, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  3. fullclarity

    Will Gohmert give back all of his perks to the American people? Pots and kettles, it sounds like.

    March 5, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  4. king

    its amazing how these repubs war on the middle class is getting weirder and weirder. they want to vacuum all the money from mainstreet and give to wallstreet then complain that this president is not doing his jobs for our middle class, after theyve killed our unions and have wallstreet paying our workers 10 dollars an hour. lesson the longer we allow the repubs to push this deficit hawk pretending stuff on the american people, which theyve been pushing for the past 2 years. the chinese people will just keep modernizing their country, drawing more investment from wall street, and the world and leave us in a crumbling down country, which no one not even the mexicans would want to come to.

    March 5, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  5. David Kajut

    Yes, he canceled the tours to make the sequester seem that it is severely impacting the US, bet you that he will continue to take those $4M dollar vacations to Hawaii. Just one of those trips would pay for the tours for a year. Stay home and do something Obama!

    March 5, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  6. Jerry D

    Obama's move is just plain sill and reflests his desire to try to the show the sequestration is worse than it needs to be. I assume the GOP response is meant to mimic the silliness. Makes you proud to be an American...

    March 5, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  7. lac

    You've got to be kidding....................I'd like to know the tally on costs for plane trips taking Reagan to and from CA.....or Bush to and from TX, both were there as much as they were in DC...............AND the cost of making those residences 'secure and safe'........done on our dime.
    Petty, petty, petty................shame on you, Louie Gohmert.

    March 5, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. Charlie

    When oh when with these idiots in the GOP just stop their petty Obama bashing? When its their guy in the WH the trips and vacations are just fine. Gohmert has not contributed one positive solution or suggestion to our problems and now he wants to waste time on this.

    March 5, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  9. R.Williams

    I wonder how much we can save by cutting the large number of Congressional staffers and Congressional travel?

    March 5, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  10. flick69

    I use to get angry with the antics of Republicans, but now all I can do is laugh. I've never seen a bigger bunch of hypocrites in my life. It's like they are basically saying, It's ok for all the white Presidents to use Federal funds, but this black president, well he just needs to get him a Prius and drive himself. And poor Louie, all I can say about his is that I'm so glad he doesn't represent me or my family, and even more grateful that I don't live in that horrible state called Texas. With Louie Gomer Pyle and Cruz, it's clear the people have low standards in electing officials. And as for Gingrich, he's so irrelevant that a comment isn't even required. Seriously it has to be an embarrassment to be a Republican these days, and if you aren't embarrassed, well, you should be. So Gomer quit flapping your lips over something that means nothing and actually start working for the people that elected you. You might as well work as hard as you can now, because you Repubs are on the way out the door, so at least try to leave on a good note. The Alex P. Keaton Repubs of yesteryear are gone, now we just have crazy fringe baggers. You people must be so proud.

    March 5, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  11. Mikey

    It always amazes me how things that President Obama does are so terrible, yet those exact same things were perfectly fine when other presidents did them. It's just like all the chatter about vacations. Yes, the President has taken more days per year than Clinton or Carter did, but he has taken abut 1/4 the annual average of his three GOP predecessors; Reagan, Bush, and Bush.

    March 5, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  12. James Ruston

    Gohmert proves once again that he has neither intelligence nor wisdom.

    March 5, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  13. Larry L

    This is the sort of political theater we can always expect from the Republicans. We get nothing substantial – no jobs created, no practical immigration ideas, not even any workable suggestions to close tax loopholes. Republicans make childish accusations to make us forget the truth – that they only work to protect the rich and everybody else is unimportant.

    March 5, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  14. freedom

    Closing the doors to the White House to the people of America, releasing felons from prison before they've served time, allowing knives on airplanes, reducing our military training – don't you dare compare this destructive president to Reagan or Bush. YOU are the one who's petty – and you need to wise up – your country is being taken from you.

    March 5, 2013 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  15. cbr

    Ahhhh Rep Gophmert. Another very mature idea from Congress. The President travels to play golf just as he travels anywhere, under the watchful eye of the Secret Service. Perhaps the Congressman is unaware that the Secret Service sets some parameters which the Presidents must accept.

    President Obama probably has a better record of being on the job than some past Presidents. He does not leave Washington for Texas, California, etc. He does go to Hawaii once a year. I reckon that Rep. Gohmert believes that is too much. I would ask how many times a month or year does Rep. Gohmert go to Texas. Of course, those trips for Congressmen and Congresswomen could be cut, too. Obviously the members are not listening to their constituents because we are still in this mess and they have not asked their leaders to sit down and solve the problems. Too many people will not move off the dime because they are afraid certain groups including the TEA Party will put up a new candidate to run against them in the next election. They are all running scared.

    March 5, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  16. Mb

    Grow are sounding pathetic....what an embarrassment you all our to our country....The Republicans are digging themselves...DEEPER.....and DEEPER...YOU ARE ALL JERKS!!!!!!!!!!

    March 5, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  17. Maeve

    Let's face it: there are some who would call President Obama out for, according to them, not even being able to drink a glass of water correctly.

    March 5, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  18. B

    Oh please! George W. Bush and his dog Barney had spent so much time at Camp David on the taxpayers' dime, that I had actually started to think that the nation's capital in Washington, D.C. had been moved there!

    March 5, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  19. tammyk tammy

    Maybe the Prez could set up a driving range outside the entryway into the chamber of the House of Representatives. A couple of good thwacks to the head with a golf ball every morning might do our Congressmen some good. Knock some sense into them. They couldn't get any stoopider than they already are. Solves the problem of Obama's need to golf while benefitting the nation at the same time. FORE, Speaker Boehner, FORE!

    March 5, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  20. Randy, San Francisco

    Nice try at diverting the public's attention but it won't work. Polls indicate a majority of Americans blame Republicans/Tea Party for the sequestration.

    March 5, 2013 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  21. Buster the Dog

    I Noticed you mentioned only Republicans presidents in your tirade.......Both Bush and Reagan were returning to their homes.....note that they never said Obama should stop returning to Chicago......shame on you lac...near sited partisianship is the real problem with Washington

    March 5, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  22. rs

    Mr. Obama- go cut switch grass and shrub in Texas, that is the Presidential sport they support. 1.5 YEARS out of 8 spent on a "ranch" in Texas didn't bother them at all.

    March 5, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  23. Walt

    The closing of White House tours is disgusting and an indication of the audacity and disregard this President has for the American people. He is a petty politician.

    March 5, 2013 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  24. daj2300

    Yet another example of subtle racism. All the other presidents took vacations without anyone saying a word. To be honest, the only time I raised a fuss was when bush took a vacation during Hurricane Katrina recovery. Knowing the stress of being president though, I think they are more than entitle for some R & R. What is wrong with playing golf? Again, the congressional republicans are bitter that they lost the election and to a black man.

    March 5, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  25. Vicki

    Sickening is what these republicans are. They have stooped to a new low of being the most horrible republicans ever when the country needed these republicans to care about this country is some way.

    March 5, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
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