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 Who should pay for Obama's two-state bus tour? 
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Modmin Dude
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Post Who should pay for Obama's two-state bus tour?
Miami Herald wrote:
Who should pay for Obama's two-state bus tour, taxpayers or his campaign?

By Steven Thomma
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — There's no free ride in politics — but there often is a debate about who pays.

President Barack Obama's bus trip this week through North Carolina and Virginia is generating questions about whether it's just part of the job, and thus something that should be billed to taxpayers — or is instead a campaign-style tour meant to generate votes next year in two states key to his re-election, and thus something his campaign should pay for.

Officially, Obama is traveling through the two states Monday through Wednesday to rally support for his proposed $447 billion jobs bill. He flew Air Force One to Asheville, N.C., on Monday, and will roll north through the state into Virginia on the sleek armored black bus bought by the Secret Service earlier this year.

But he's pitching a bill that the Senate's already set aside, and it's got zero chance of passing Congress whole, though parts of it may make it.

More in play are the two 2012 election-battleground states he's visiting. He won both in 2008, but polls suggest that he faces an uphill climb in each this time.

"He has the right and privilege to do that," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. "I think the question might be, 'Is that appropriate on the taxpayer's dime' since it is clearly campaigning."

Republicans in North Carolina are blunter.

"This is a political campaign," said Rob Lockwood, a spokesman for the North Carolina Republican Party. "We believe his campaign should pay for this."

North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes said the trip — plus others in the campaign for the jobs bill — would cost taxpayers "tens of millions of dollars."

That estimate was likely an exaggeration.

Traditionally, presidents and their campaigns or political operations pay very little for his travel. Their campaigns do pay when renting space for a purely political event, such as a fund-raising dinner or a re-election rally. The campaign also is expected to reimburse the government for at least some share of airfare when part of a trip is purely political.

Yet that is based on commercial airline fares, not the cost of maintaining and flying Air Force One. A 2006 report to Congress found that the George W. Bush campaign and Republicans paid for just 2.3 percent of the cost of Air Force One on political trips, and just 5.7 percent of the cost of Air Force Two, the vice president's plane.

A 60-day campaign by President Bush and his administration in 2005 to sell an overhaul of Social Security cost a total of $2.6 million, according to a 2007 study by the Congress's Government Accountability Office.

That included $1.6 million for staging events; $437,000 for the use of Air Force One and Air Force Two; and $369,000 for travel by others in the executive office of the president.

That price tag for 228 events — 40 of them featuring the president and seven featuring the vice president — did not include salaries, which have to be paid anyway, or Secret Service costs, which are kept confidential.

Whether $2 million or tens of millions, the cost of such presidential campaigning often kicks off a partisan debate about whether the government or the president's campaign should pay.

In this case, the White House argued that it is part of the president's job to travel the country selling a legislative proposal to the public.

"There are people in Washington, D.C., and all across the country who are eager to ascribe political motivations to everything the president does," said Josh Earnest, the White House deputy press secretary. "But an important part of his job is to travel out of Washington, to talk to people about the economy and how his economic policies are affecting them."

What some people in Washington think about the costs of presidential travel seems to depend at times on which political party holds the presidency.

When Bush, a Republican, traveled to pitch his Social Security plan, at least one prominent Democrat thought that was an "extravagant" waste of taxpayer money.

"Campaign-style events cost tens of thousands to stage," said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., then the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. "And millions of taxpayer dollars were spent to try to convince the American people to support a flawed and unworkable proposal."

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/10/17/2 ... z1b9NXepkF

I'm not sure why in this day and age of technology why anyone feels the need to travel across the country for anything. If he, or anyone, wants to discuss something, have a teleconference.

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October 18th, 2011, 12:11 pm
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Post Re: Who should pay for Obama's two-state bus tour?
But, he's not discussing anything, he's campaigning. He's holding babies, and shaking hands... You can't do that VIA teleconference. And, to answer the question, his campaign funds should be footing the bill. Doesn't matter though, this little jaunt, plus his hundreds of vacations will be fodder come election time.


October 18th, 2011, 12:46 pm
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Post Re: Who should pay for Obama's two-state bus tour?
wjb21ndtown wrote:
But, he's not discussing anything, he's campaigning. He's holding babies, and shaking hands... You can't do that VIA teleconference. And, to answer the question, his campaign funds should be footing the bill. Doesn't matter though, this little jaunt, plus his hundreds of vacations will be fodder come election time.

Agreed.
I should have been clearer. My statement was in response to those that think us taxpayers should pay for it.

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October 18th, 2011, 1:09 pm
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Post Re: Who should pay for Obama's two-state bus tour?
You do realize that Obama is blatantly lying to the American people yet again by saying that this isn't a campaign trip, don't you? Therefore, he would refuse to pay for it anyway.

Regardless, the transportation and security for the President should be paid for by the taxpayer, no matter the reason IMO. However, the transportation, lodging, wages, etc. for all support personnel even remotely involved in his campaign should be paid for with campaign funds on all political trips.

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October 18th, 2011, 1:53 pm
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Modmin Dude
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Post Re: Who should pay for Obama's two-state bus tour?
slybri19 wrote:
You do realize that Obama is blatantly lying to the American people yet again by saying that this isn't a campaign trip, don't you? Therefore, he would refuse to pay for it anyway.

Regardless, the transportation and security for the President should be paid for by the taxpayer, no matter the reason IMO. However, the transportation, lodging, wages, etc. for all support personnel even remotely involved in his campaign should be paid for with campaign funds on all political trips.

In case you didn't read the previous posts:
TheRealWags wrote:
wjb21ndtown wrote:
But, he's not discussing anything, he's campaigning. He's holding babies, and shaking hands... You can't do that VIA teleconference. And, to answer the question, his campaign funds should be footing the bill. Doesn't matter though, this little jaunt, plus his hundreds of vacations will be fodder come election time.

Agreed.
I should have been clearer. My statement was in response to those that think us taxpayers should pay for it.


Seems to be we already covered the fact that Pres Obama is campaigning. :wink:

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October 18th, 2011, 2:12 pm
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Post Re: Who should pay for Obama's two-state bus tour?
Wags, you missed my point. You, wjb, and myself all agree that he's campaigning, but Obama is denying it. I may have phrased it wrong, but I was pointing out that Obama was lying about what most people can see plain as day.

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October 18th, 2011, 2:38 pm
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Modmin Dude
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Post Re: Who should pay for Obama's two-state bus tour?
slybri19 wrote:
Wags, you missed my point. You, wjb, and myself all agree that he's campaigning, but Obama is denying it. I may have phrased it wrong, but I was pointing out that Obama was lying about what most people can see plain as day.

Oh, ok. Gotcha.
Sorry, I've been conditioned to automatically assume anytime any politician opens their mouth, they're lying.

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October 18th, 2011, 3:04 pm
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Post Re: Who should pay for Obama's two-state bus tour?
CBS News wrote:
Obama's bus tour costing taxpayers thousands
By Mark Knoller

If Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Herman Cain or any of the other presidential challengers were to embark on a three-day bus trip like the one now underway by President Obama, it would cost their campaigns tens of thousands of dollars. Perhaps more.

They would have to pay a variety of expenses, including:

air travel to their first destination
leasing of one or more buses appropriate to the journey
rental for halls or meeting rooms for their candidates' appearances
the cost of lodging and meals for their candidate and staff

But not the Obama campaign. The White House declared that Mr. Obama's three-day trip through North Carolina and Virginia are official events and not campaign appearances, even though the two states are known to be political objectives of his re-election bid.

So Mr. Obama's expenses are borne by taxpayers, including:

the pro-rated costs of his flights aboard Marine One and Air Force One that brought him to his first stop yesterday in Asheville, NC
the two buses used by him and his staff, owned and operated by the United States Secret Service
costs associated with setting up speech sites including microphones, speakers, amplifiers, teleprompters and TV lights
lodging and meals for the president and his political staff

It's an advantage enjoyed by every incumbent president seeking re-election -- and a disadvantage endured by his challengers. And though the White House has said the trip is not political, Mr. Obama has repeatedly used his speeches to take Republicans to task for opposing the provisions of his jobs bill.

"They said no to putting teachers and construction workers back on the job," the president said yesterday in Asheville. "They said no to rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our airports. They said no to cutting taxes for middle-class families and small businesses when all they've been doing is cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans."

He continued: "They want to gut regulations; they want to let Wall Street do whatever it wants. They want to drill more. And they want to repeal health care reform. That's their jobs plan."

On the Senate floor Monday, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., raised concerns about the partisan rhetoric from his 2008 presidential rival.

"In fact, I was somewhat taken aback, since the president and his spokesperson had billed his trip as a taxpayer-paid visit," said McCain.

He said Mr. Obama has the right to express his views about GOP policies but wondered, "is that appropriate on the taxpayers' dime? Since it is clearly campaigning."

A day before the trip begin, White House officials held a conference call with reporters and repeatedly made the case that the president's trip was about the jobs bill, not his re-election, even though he was traveling in states he won in 2008 and wants to keep in his column next year as well.

Some of Mr. Obama's bus trip events had the sound and feel of campaign rallies. As he arrived in Asheville for his first event, his audience on the tarmac chanted, "Four more years!"

And Mr. Obama himself would shift into the higher-decibel, campaign-style cadence that served him so well as a candidate for president three years ago.

If this bus trip was billed as a political journey, his campaign and/or the Democratic party would be paying the costs, but not as much as his presidential challengers might. He could still ride the 747s that serve as Air Force One, and pay only a small pro-rated portion of the expense, as per Federal Election Commission rules.

To date, the White House has refused repeated requests from CBS News to disclose its calculations of how much the Obama campaign or DNC must reimburse the government for Mr. Obama's political travel expenses.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20122149-503544.html

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October 19th, 2011, 6:09 pm
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