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Forum Post: Obama's Africa Trip Could Cost $100 Million

Posted 5 years ago on June 14, 2013, 8:06 p.m. EST by TheNorthern (-7) from Hollister, CA
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President Barack Obama's trip to Africa later this month could be one of the most expensive of his tenure, costing the government as much as $100 million.

According to a confidential internal planning document obtained by The Washington Post, hundreds of Secret Service agents will be dispatched to secure facilities in Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania, which the first family will visit from June 26 to July 3.

A Navy aircraft carrier or amphibious ship, with a fully staffed medical trauma center, will be stationed offshore in case of an emergency.

In addition, military cargo planes will airlift in 56 support vehicles, including 14 limousines and three trucks carrying bulletproof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the Obamas will stay. And fighter jets will fly in shifts to provide around the clock coverage over the president's airspace.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama also had planned to take a Tanzanian safari during the trip, which would have required a special counterassault team to carry sniper rifles in the event of a threat from wild animals, the Post reported, citing the document.

But the safari was canceled in favor of a trip to Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, where Nelson Mandela was held as a political prisoner, officials told the newspaper.

The Post noted that when it first asked White House officials about the safari last week, they said no final decision had been made, adding that a White House official said Thursday that the cancellation was not related to the newspaper's inquiries.

Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also traveled to Africa multiple times. A report from the Government Accountability Office, according to the Post, showed that Clinton's 1998 trip to six African nations cost the federal government at least $42.7 million. Obama's overseas travels — he will visit Northern Ireland and Germany next week — come as government agencies, including the Secret Service, face spending cuts mandated by the sequester.

The Secret Service reportedly has had to cut $84 million, and this spring the agency canceled public tours of the White House in order to save $74,000 a week in overtime.

In total, the Obamas' Africa trip could cost $60 million to $100 million, a person familiar with planning for the journey told the Post.

"The infrastructure that accompanies the president's travels is beyond our control," Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, told the newspaper. "The security requirements are not White House-driven. They are Secret-Service-driven."

Rhodes said the emerging democracies on the president's itinerary are crucial partners in regional security conflicts. Obama will hold bilateral meetings with each country's leader in an effort to forge stronger economic ties. He will reportedly also highlight global health programs, including HIV/AIDS prevention.

According to the internal document, Obama will spent a night in Dakar, Senegal, two nights in Johannesburg, a night in Cape Town, and one night in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Among the 56 vehicles for the trip are parade limousines, a specialized communications vehicle, a truck that jams radio frequencies around the presidential motorcade, a fully loaded ambulance, and a truck for X-ray equipment



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[-] 1 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 5 years ago

They also left out how congressional RepubliCons and Bush-Cheney let 9-11 happen, LIED us into two bogus wars, let Enron ENRON us, let Big Pharm Medicare Part D us, allowed WS to Rob Foreclose and Fleece us, encouraged the Job Creators to Offshore and Unemploy us, enabled Big Biz to Tax Evade us, Aided and Abetted the 1% in Redi$tributing us... and then these FACTS:

Cost of Obama’s Trip is Dwarfed By George And Laura Bush’s Africa Spending Spree

By: Jason EasleyJun. 14th, 2013

Embarrassing pic of (semi-retarded RepubliCon) U.S. President George W. Bush dancing with Senegalese performers at the White House in Washington

As conservatives rage (like Tweens at a canceled Justin Bieber concert) about the cost of Obama’s Africa trip, it is important to remember that George and Laura Bush made a combined 7 trips to Africa all on the taxpayers’ dime.

We’ve played this game before, but anytime the nation’s first black president spends more than a dollar, the right wing freaks out about Barack Obama “wasting taxpayer dollars.” Back in 2011, the right claimed that First Lady Obama’s Africa trip would cost taxpayers millions, but even if you use numbers that the White House disagrees with ($424,000), they weren’t even close.

This time the right has whipped up the fake outrage over a leaked document showing that President Obama’s upcoming Africa trip could cost $60-$100 million. What these same people don’t tell is that George and Laura Bush loved to go to Africa on the taxpayers’ dime…a lot.

During Bush’s second term alone, Laura Bush made five “goodwill” trips to Africa. President Bush made the trip twice during his presidency. Here is former First Lady Bush at an event the night before their trip in 2008, “Tomorrow, President Bush and I leave for what will be my fifth trip to Africa since 2001, and his second trip to Africa since 2001. I’ve seen the determination of the people across Africa — and the compassion of the people of the United States of America.”

Wow, that’s a lot of trips to Africa. In 2007, Laura Bush also took her daughters with her, and they went on a safari. You know, the same kind of outing that President Obama just canceled.

Not much was going right for George W. Bush. Even before the economy crashed, his legacy was 9/11, the unpopular Iraq invasion, and Hurricane Katrina. Back in 2003, Bush laid the groundwork for making aid to Africa his legacy. One of the areas where Bush drew praise was that he spent billions of taxpayer dollars on aid to Africa. It’s funny how conservatives don’t utter a peep about George W. Bush dishing out more than ten times the amount of taxpayer money on aid than Obama will spend on his trip.

Why could the country afford to spend billions of dollars during Bush’s no growth economy, but they can’t afford to spend at least $60 million for the sitting president to travel today?

Giving aid to Africa to combat malaria and AIDS is a very noble cause. It literally saves lives, but 5 goodwill visits to Africa aren’t cheap. Laura Bush wasn’t flying all alone on a commercial flight. Her trips cost the taxpayers a pretty penny.

For some odd reason, the GAO (General Accounting Office) records on the cost of the Bush family’s Africa travels seem to have vanished. The media has contacted the GAO, but no specific numbers have been provided yet. President Clinton’s Africa trip in 1998 cost taxpayers $42.8 million. George W. Bush’s two trips five and ten years later were likely more expensive.

The Washington Post story didn’t say that Obama’s trip will cost $100 million, but that the trip could cost $60-100 million, and that the cost was based on similar African trips made in recent years, “Obama’s trip could cost the federal government $60 million to $100 million based on the costs of similar African trips in recent years, according to one person familiar with the journey, who was not authorized to speak for attribution.”

President Obama hasn’t made any trips to Africa, except a 22 hour stopover in Ghana in 2009, so it is pretty clear that Secret Service is basing their cost estimate on the cost of the Bush trips. Since George W. Bush made two presidential trips to Africa, it is likely that he spent more money in today’s dollars as President Obama will on his trip.

The reality is that presidential trips are expensive. It would be fair to be opposed to all of them, but the GOP hypocrisy of only being outraged when certain (Dem) presidents travel is unacceptable. George W. Bush appears to have had himself quite a little African spending spree, but apparently cost only matters when Barack Obama is the president who is doing the traveling. ~ Just the latest in a long list of GOP hypocrisies!


You Cons are sooooooooooo dumb.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 5 years ago

why doesn't wikipedia mention the US annual budget at the top ?


Oh here it is, 3,539,000 million


[-] 0 points by defenstrationist (-4) 5 years ago

National Buffoon's European vacation PT:2

(or 3 or 4, we've lost count).

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33496) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 years ago

we've lost count).

Problem keeping track with your multiple ID's?


[-] 0 points by gameon (-51) 5 years ago

left out of the story is that they're ALL ( the kids, mother-in-law assorted friends) going to Ireland and Berlin before they hit Africa.

[-] 0 points by benjie (-13) 5 years ago

AND Shelly and the kids are going to hop back across the pond on Air Force 1 to change clothes and repack and THEN go to Africa.

[-] -1 points by Stormcrow2 (-184) 5 years ago

Who gives a shit - apparently he doesn't and you are paying for it.