I was sent this news clipping, begging a comment…
And my response was:
Care to guess how many accompanied George Bush on HIS first trip to Europe in June 2001? NY Times reported somewhere between 750 and 900. Where are those monsters of journalistic integrity – Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Coulter, Megyn Kelly, and of course, the mighty Bill – now? Why aren’t they crying foul that President Obama is undermining the presidential image (I mean more than they usually cry) by downsizing the entourage?
In 2002 Bush and Veep Cheney flew some 83 times to campaign (not work), costing $6.5M of which only $198K were covered by contributions.
So taxpayers paid $6.3M. ($4.6M for prez, $1.7M for Veep). That was just in 2002 (Google the report to Rep. Waxman).
Per Col Mark Tillman, the only pilot of Air Force One for both of his terms, Bush43 took 1675 flights in AF1, more than 200 per year. Cost per hour of flight for AF1 appear to range from $40-58K. And AF1 never travels alone – they fly with three C5 Galaxies ferrying that armored limo and other vehicles unless it’s just a small jaunt to Crawford. Average cost per year for that eight years was $185M of taxpayer dollars.
Now, I’m not saying the numbers quoted in the article above weren’t excessive, if true. I was only able to find anti-Obama sites and the Guardian reporting it, but the 500 still appears to be fewer than his predecessor.
And we shouldn’t forget how much his predecessor spent and wasted on all those trips to Crawford when he had a perfectly good and MUCH more secure vacation spot in Naval Support Facility Thurmont (Camp David). How many more Secret Service are required for a private residence than a military installation? Plus, it’s cheaper to get to Camp David by Marine One than to fly to Texas by Air Force One. Somehow, that never seemed to come up on the Hannity Comedy Hour.
It probably won’t interest anyone else to know this, but, recognizing that a president never really is on vacation…as far as that goes, it seems Bush broke Reagan’s record for days away from the office in 2005, with 3.5 years left in his term.
In all, Bush spent 487 days at Camp David (149 trips). He also flew 77 times to Crawford (490 days total). And we can’t forget the 11 trips to Kennebunkport (43 days).
By the numbers, W Bush took 1020 days in eight years, Clinton took 152 days in eight years, HW Bush took 543 in four years (!), Carter took 79 in four years, and Reagan took 335 in eight years.
So comparing the Democrat work ethic to Republican work ethic:
Dems 229 days in 12 years or 5% off
Repubs 1898 days in 20 years or 26% off.
Bottom line – memories of past (recent?) extravagances and what some might call abuses as a privilege of the office are pretty short. Which is why it is funny that a $26K trip to NYC got such attention; yet more than that was spent in just 30 minutes in the air on just one of the 77 trips to Crawford.
With the exception of the unconfirmed entourage numbers for Obama and Bush, the rest should be verifiable.