Monday, October 05, 2009

How much?

When I made the snide comment about how much the jaunt to Copenhagen and back was for taxpayers, I honestly did not think that it cost us this much:

A 2006 congressional study pegged the cost of flying Air Force One at $56,518 an hour. The Pentagon recently said it cost $100,219 an hour to fly the huge, reconfigured Boeing 747 without Obama aboard. The Pentagon estimate included more costs for support needs, such as maintenance.

At those rates, the president's 14-hour trip to Copenhagen and back cost about $790,000 to $1.4 million.

However, presidential travel requires additional spending, especially for security personnel and equipment. Also, first lady Michelle Obama and some administration officials traveled to Copenhagen at public expense ahead of the president.

The Copenhagen trip was not devoted entirely to the Olympics bid. Obama spent 25 minutes conferring with Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, his top Afghan war commander. McChrystal had been in London for a speech, and he made the relatively short trip to Denmark to meet with Obama.

That is base costs to fly an empty plane. How much for the staff? How much for security personal? Of course, the President should travel with security, we do want to keep him safe. We still would be paying for security personal, even if he were sitting in the White House. But to pack up hundreds of people and send them to Copenhagen was horrifyingly expensive.

Of course, that is just a start.

We also paid to send the First Lady and her entourage to Copenhagen. All of the security, hotel and food costs for herself and however many people she chose to travel with is staggering.

Minimally, this little jaunt had to have at least cost taxpayers at $2.5 million. I am not sure it is possible to have done it cheaper than that.

I do understand the Obama actually met with McChrystal, but that was just the President trying to save face after the total embarrassment of the world finding out that he had held only one meeting with his commander in months and months.

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