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Michelle Obama’s Costly Travel

Original post made by Cindy Cross, Parkside, on Aug 15, 2011

Michelle Obama’s Costly Travel by Cindy Cross
The start of the new school year is upon us. The kids have all gotten their new school clothes and supplies. Registration for Amador and other Pleasanton schools is next week. Parents can breathe a sigh of relief that the kids will get back to the regimen of a school once again.
Teachers may have to forgo the customary writing assignment that many of us may remember the first week of school—‘What we did during summer vacation.’ With the high number of unemployed, the price of gas at over $4.00 per gallon, many families had to either scale down on the vacation plans, or scrap plans all together.
Many families had to explain to their kids the importance of sacrifice, and the need to conserve during tough times. But other families seem to think that vacations are a right and not a privilege; especially when it’s on the tax payer’s dime.
Michelle Obama, in 2011, has racked up a staggering amount of money traveling across the globe. Here is what her itinerary looked like so far this year:
• Trip to Latin America to discuss trade and the global economy doubled as a vacation since it was spring break for daughters Malia and Sasha.
• Panama City, Florida
• Martha’s Vineyard
• Hawaii
• Trip to Africa where Michelle brought her two daughters, mother, two nephews, a few friends and a few white house staffers
• Trip planned for later this year to Corvallis, Oregon to see her brother
Although the first family is responsible for picking up the tab for many of the costs involved in recreational travel, the taxpayers are paying for air travel and security. Michelle Obama has been using Air Force 2, which is usually reserved for the Vice President. Air Force 2 is a C-32a which is the military version of the 757 which flies at a cost of $12,723 per hour. The cost round trip to Africa would be $165,399 for air travel alone. Put in the cost of Secret Service agents protecting her entire entourage and the price tag is substantial.
Even the most ardent supporters of Obama and his administration should agree that you must lead by example, and this is sending the wrong message to the middle class who is sacrificing everywhere they can to stay afloat.

Comments (14)

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Posted by Caesar
a resident of Charter Oaks
on Aug 16, 2011 at 12:03 am

Ah, Cindy hops on the bandwagon of racist hatred. Not quite as bad as Nancy Reagan's insistence on a new $180,000.00 set of china, do you think? Your colors are beginning to show. Worse, you really don't have anything to say. Spit out grade school summaries of mainstream news, add nothing, and then sit on the sidelines, too timid to face the fire of criticism. Joke.

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Posted by Joelle
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 16, 2011 at 2:10 am

Cindy, How does Ms. Obama's travel compare with other First Ladies? Are you suggesting that the First Lady, under enormous stress that comes from being in the White House, should restrict her travel and refrain from visiting her relatives at her own expense?

There are truly important issues in the world. We're burning up, economies are collapsing, people are starving in drought-stricken areas around the globe, wars are being fought and revolutions are being waged ... and you write about this? [Portion removed because it was disrespectful]

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Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Aug 16, 2011 at 7:24 am

Cindy, you must have put a lot of thought into your little essay. You use three paragraphs building up a grand introduction before getting to your point: That you think that Michelle Obama spends too much money traveling.

The fact is, First Ladies of the US tend to do a lot of traveling. As unofficial ambassadors of the US, they're expected to go out and meet foreign dignitaries and officials as well as ordinary people. You claim that Michelle Obama "racked up a staggering amount of money traveling across the globe". How about the previous First Lady? Would you characterize her travel spending as "staggering"? No? Why not since she and other First Ladies have all done about the same amount of traveling?

I'm not claiming that President Obama is the perfect President. I'm not saying I agree with all of his policies. But your singling out the First Lady's travels for criticism comes across to me as being a bit petty.

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 16, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Another point of view - Aircraft used to ferry government VIPs generally belong to the USAF. These aircraft need to be flown a certain number of hours per month or else the aircraft starts to deteriorate on the tarmac. Also the aircrew need a certain amount of flying time along with duties associated with the various aircrew functions. For example pilots need a certain number of takeoffs and landings (day and night) to stay qualified in the aircraft that they are assigned to.

So....the aircrew can practice drilling holes in the sky or they can ferry VIPs on good-will missions. Either way the most expensive part of the mission is the fuel, which is an ongoing expense that is budgeted to the maintenance and upkeep of the strategic resource.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Aug 19, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I'd love to be chosen to travel with the First Lady. I'm gonna write her a letter, send a photo of myself, and ask her if I can show her around the Basque Country. I wouldn't visit any of the bigger cities, just small villages and places where she and her children could hike and eat home cooking!!!

The food is so good she would surely go nuts!

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Aug 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Good-will missions are an important and time-honored part of the First Lady's job; and given the fact that the president's wife is the ultimate in unpaid staff, I think we can appreciate what a great bargain we are getting.

I'd also say she sets one heck of a great example by being our nation's premiere volunteer.

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Posted by Yet Another Teacher
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Aug 20, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Hi, Cindy.

So you find an article on the Fox News site, or Newsmax, do CTRL + C and then CTRL + V?

Hey, that's great!

We teachers have a word for it: it's called "plagiarism". You know, stealing other people's words and ideas and passing them off as your own.

I know why Tea Partiers seem to hate Mrs. Obama (who has no legal obligation to fulfill her unpaid duties as First Lady) even more than Mr. Obama: the only thing worse than seeing a black man as President of the United States is seeing his "uppity" black wife jet around the world on goodwill missions.

Yep, it's racism. And some of them lib'rul college perfessors has done proved it:

Web Link

From the article:

*Scholar Robert Putnam, best known for his study of American atomization in "Bowling Alone," has produced new data on the Tea Party and it's being billed as a shocker. Sit down before you read this: They are older, white conservative Christians "who were highly partisan Republicans long before the Tea Party was born."*

To quote Joan Walsh, the author of the article:

"The role of race is nothing new. A New York Times survey as well as a University of Washington study found Tea Party members more likely even than other Republicans to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people, that the Obama administration favors blacks over whites, and to blame black disadvantage on the shortcomings of black people, rather than on the legacy of slavery and discrimination. Is it only about having a black president? Um, that probably doesn't help. But it's worth noting that these are the same people who've been fighting the Democratic Party since the days of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and the beginning of the War on Poverty, almost 50 years ago. They associate those long overdue social reforms with giving folks, mainly black people, something they don't deserve. I sometimes think just calling them racist against our black president obscures the depths of their hatred for Democrats, period."

A long-winded way of saying "the Tea Party are a bunch of old white people who always have been, and still are, racists."

Yeah, that's what I thought.

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Aug 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm

I have found that the more the participants in such a conversation understand about the underlying mechanism of politics, the less emotional the individual comments are.

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Posted by Irving
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm

We must strive to be perspicuous and perspicacious in our platitudes so as to seek to earn all levels of reproach. I learned that in the inestimable bastions of epistemological and ontological consciousness of the Army.

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Aug 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm


And could any of us veterans ever forget the admonition that a soldier who fails to learn the proper maintenance and operation of his equipment often ends up doing more damage to his own position than he does to the opposing force?

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Posted by David
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2011 at 7:39 am

Boy, Critcize Barrack or Michele and the liberal racists just come out of the woodwork. Why is it everyone who does not agree that the Obamas are the best thing since sliced bread are racists? Trying to sell a Honda as a Mercedes will never work.

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Posted by Shefali
a resident of Walnut Hills
on Sep 28, 2011 at 8:20 am

I think this was an informative article, and the author was doing her job as a member of the press - holding those in power accountable. The same was done when Bush and Clinton were President, and it's a good thing. Some of Michelle Obama's trips (to Africa, Martha's Vineyard, Spain) were not in the role of good-will ambassador but were vacations. During a recession, Jimmy Carter and family went to Camp David. Ronald Reagan went to his California ranch. Obviously the Obamas should take vacations, but why don't they follow the example of other Presidents, and forgo the expensive trips until we are in an economic recovery?

BTW, people who say the Tea Party are racists - how do they explain that Herman Cain is currently the Tea Party favorite among Republican candidates? Herman Cain grew up as a black man in the Jim Crow South, endured horrible racism, yet went on to accomplish great things. His Dad was a chauffer and his Mom was a maid. If the Tea Party were racist, why did they vote Cain the winner in the Florida Straw Poll?
Meanwhile, it was Joe Biden and Harry Reid who were glad Obama was so clean-cut, articulate, etc. - in other words, he "sounded white". Cain, meanwhile, has a distinctive Southern black accent, which didn't stop the Tea Party from voting for him.

The reality is that race should be irrelevant. It's the job of journalists to speak truth to power and to be the watchdogs, so this article on the First Lady's travel is part of the job of the media.

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Posted by Terry
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2011 at 1:07 pm

You make a good point about the TEA party. They are not actually racist. but you must have noticed that in the political environment in which we live today, "Racist", is what one yells when one has no other cogent argument. The accusation is impossible to refute, which makes it all the more attractive to cast at your enemies.

The problem with calling "Racist" to all who disagree with you is this: After a short while, people notice. They notice that one never has an ability to argue intelligently, and to support one's arguments with facts. They learn that the accusation of racsim is bandied about freely.
Thinking individuals also notice that false cries of racism undermine and devalue real instances of racism.

Crying "racist" undermines the speaker's position, undermines those suffering from actual racism, and increasingly, renders ones opinions moot.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Sep 29, 2011 at 8:12 am

Yeah for Michelle Malkin of Fox News for pointing out the federal bullying over a little article that is based on fact. Ms. Malkin blogged about this in the article below and also mentioned it on Fox News on Sept. 28.

Good for Cindy Cross and the Pleasanton Weekly for exercising free speech, good journalism, and to not back down to federal imperialists!

Web Link

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