Obama is taking a luxury vacation trip to India Saturday for the festival of lights….according to the primary news source in India this trip is going to cost the American taxpayers $2 billion…..of course, the president’s office is trying to spin this down and they try to justify it that Clinton went on a trip that cost $5 million per day….????? I guess I live in a different world of single mothers who can’t put food on the table or a roof over their kids’ heads……our politicians have gone completely out of control, what lack of morals makes them think that this is okay………Marie Antoinette would be proud of them……
Those numbers, according to Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, are: $200 million a day, $2 billion total, 34 diverted Navy ships, a 2,000-person presidential entourage, and 870 hotel rooms in India.
“And these are five-star hotel rooms at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel,” Bachmann told CNN’s “AC 360” Wednesday night.
Pressed by Cooper to back up her numbers, Bachmann said, “These are the numbers that are coming out in the press.”
The press she was referring to is the Press Trust of India, one of the largest news organizations in that country. Its source for Tuesday’s article on the cost of Obama’s trip was based on a single anonymous source: “a top official of the Maharashtra government privy to the arrangements for the high-profile visit.”
The Press Trust article was picked up by The Drudge Report and other sites online and quickly made its way into conservative talk radio, sparking outrage by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and others.
The White House and Pentagon have fielded questions about the Indian report and have dismissed the claims in the article.
“I will take the liberty this time of dismissing as absolutely absurd this notion that somehow we’re deploying 10 percent of the Navy, some 34 ships and an aircraft carrier in support of the president’s trip to Asia,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters this week. “That’s just comical. Nothing close to that is — is — being done.”
While the exact cost of Obama’s 10-day trip to Asia is not known to the public, an examination of similar presidential excursions in the past support the likelihood that the $200 million-a-day figure is exaggerated.
For example, an 11-day trip by then-President Bill Clinton to Africa in 1998 involved about 1,300 people cost $5.2 million a day, according to the federal Government Accountability Office, which adjusted for inflation.
A top official of the Maharashtra Government privy to the arrangements for the high-profile visit has reckoned that a whopping $ 200 million (Rs 900 crore approx) per day would be spent by various teams coming from the US in connection with Obama’s two-day stay in the city.
“A huge amount of around $ 200 million would be spent on security, stay and other aspects of the Presidential visit,” the official said in Mumbai.
About 3,000 people including Secret Service agents, US government officials and journalists would accompany the President. Several officials from the White House and US security agencies are already in Mumbai for the past one week with helicopters, a ship and high-end security instruments.
Unprecedented security has been put in place both in Mumbai and New delhi.
“We have never seen this sort of an entourage going with the president before. And I think this is an example the massive overspending that we’ve seen – not only just in the last 2 years, really in the last four,” Bachmann said.
Asked for comment about Bachmann’s criticism of the trip, the White House said in a written statement that the figures cited by the Republican lawmaker “have no basis in reality.”
“Due to security concerns, we are unable to outline details associated with security procedures and costs, but it’s safe to say these numbers are wildly inflated,” White House spokesperson Amy Brundage said.
Bachmann s comments come on the same day she formally announced her bid to join the House Republican leadership and become the chair of the House Republican Conference in the next Congress. She already has at least one rival for job.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, is also seeking the number four spot in the GOP’s House leadership. Hensarling has already been endorsed by two powerful House Republican leaders.
Press Trust of India, Updated: November 04, 2010 19:04 IST
New Delhi: The White House will, of course, stay in Washington but the heart of the famous building will move to India when President Barack Obama lands in Mumbai on Saturday.
Communications set-up, nuclear button, a fleet of limousines and majority of the White House staff will be in India accompanying the President on this three-day visit that will cover Mumbai and Delhi.
He will also be protected by a fleet of 34 warships, including an aircraft carrier, which will patrol the sea lanes off the Mumbai coast during his two-day stay there beginning Saturday. The measure has been taken as Mumbai attack in 2008 took place from the sea.
Arrangements have been put in place for emergency evacuation, if needed.
Obama is expected to fly by a helicopter — Marine One — from the city airport to the Indian Navy’s helibase INS Shikra at Colaba in south Mumbai.
From there, he will drive down in Lincoln Continental — the Presidential limousine — to the nearby the Taj Hotel.
Two jets, armed with advanced communication and security systems, and a fleet of over 40 cars will be part of Obamas convoy.
Around 800 rooms have been booked for the President and his entourage in Taj Hotel and Hyatt.
The President will have a security ring of American elite Secret Service, which are tasked to guard the President, along with National Security Guards (NSG) and personnel from central paramilitary forces and local police in Mumbai and Delhi.
Similar arrangements will be in place in Delhi, with the Air Force One to be kept in all readiness throughout Obama’s stay here from Sunday afternoon to Tuesday morning.
Maurya Hotel, where the President will stay, has already been swarmed by American security personnel and protective measures have been put in place.
Security drills are already been carried out at the hotel as well as Rajghat which he will visit.
Sources said 13 heavy-lift aircraft with high-tech equipment, three helicopters and 500 US security personnel have arrived in India ahead of Obama’s visit.
The US security has also brought interception and obstruction device, sniffer dogs, rescue gadgets.
Apart from Obama’s Air Force One, a few private luxury jets carrying top American corporate leaders, who are part of Obama entourage, are also expected to arrive in India in next 2-3 days.
All high-rise buildings in the vicinity of Mumbai’s Taj Mahal hotel and Delhi’s Maurya Sheraton hotel, where the US President will stay, are being sanitised and security personnel will be positioned on rooftops to prevent any air-borne attack.
The Ridge area – opposite Delhi’s Maurya Sheraton hotel – has been illuminated by floodlights as part of the heightened security drill.
The Home Ministry has already issued an alert for Mumbai and Delhi asking authorities to take extra precautions during Obama’s visit as well as on Diwali on Friday.