Michelle Obama’s Africa Trip Cost More Than $424,142

Michelle Obama’s Africa Trip Cost More Than $424,142

October 4, 2011    RSS Feed      Print 

First lady Michelle Obama’s family trip to South Africa and Botswana  in June cost taxpayers well over $424,000, according to new accounting  based on Air Force manifests obtained by Judicial Watch, a taxpayer watchdog  group.

The use of Air Force aircraft alone for the June  21-27 trip cost $424,142, said the group, and that doesn’t include the  food, lodging, and ground transportation for the 21 family and staff  members.

[See   photos of the Obamas abroad.]

Judicial Watch said it based the jet costs on the  Pentagon’s hourly rates for the C-32A aircraft used for the trip. The  documents don’t give exact cost calculations, which is typical for  presidential and first family trips.

The White House this afternoon disputed the costs calculated by Judicial Watch. “The number stated is misconstrued and out of context. The hourly rate is not the marginal cost of operation the plane – it is an accounting figure that prices in a number of fixed costs from maintaining the Air Force fleet for this kind of plane over a year,” said an official. “For example, it includes estimated replacement parts, depreciation, repairs, and costs that would have been incurred regardless of this flight. Also, for security reasons Mrs. Obama must fly on military aircraft.” Also, during her good-will mission, the first lady attended five to seven official events daily.

Obama is like many  first ladies, spending summers traveling on good-will missions,  sometimes with family and friends. On the June trip, during which she  was accompanied by her daughters and mother, the first lady urged young  people to engage with their governments and she pushed her education and  wellness agenda. They also took a safari in South Africa, well known  for its beautiful Lion King-like settings.

The costs of the  trips have often won media scorn, as did her trip to Spain the previous  summer.

[See photos   of Michelle Obama.]

But presidential experts say that the value of first lady  visits is priceless, especially in cases like Obama’s to Africa where  the first family has special ties and where the president has been  pursuing a personal agenda, especially in Kenya, the home of his father.

Here is a link to the Judicial Watch files and  their release:

Charges for the  Aircraft and Crew Alone Amount to $424,142

Contact  Information:

Washington, DC — October 4, 2011

Judicial Watch,  the organization that investigates and fights government corruption,  announced today that it has obtained mission expense records and  passenger manifests from the United States Air Force related to the June  21-27, 2011, trip taken by First Lady Michelle Obama, her family and  her staff to South Africa and Botswana. Judicial Watch obtained the  documents pursuant to an August 19, 2011, Freedom of Information Act  (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Air Force (No. 11-1496)).  Judicial Watch is investigating the purpose and itinerary of the trip as  well as a breakdown of the costs to taxpayers.

On June 28,  2011, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request seeking the mission taskings,  transportation records, and passenger manifests for Michelle Obama’s  Africa trip. Documents were only provided after Judicial Watch filed  suit:

• According to U.S. Department of Defense’s published  hourly rates for the C-32A aircraft used for the trip, Judicial Watch  calculated the total cost to American taxpayers was $424,142 for use of  the aircraft (34.8 flight hours x $12,188 per hour). (The C-32 is a  specially configured military version of the Boeing 757.) Other expenses  – meals (off the plane), transportation, security, various services,  etc. – have yet to be disclosed.

• The passenger manifests  confirm the presence of Obama’s daughter’s, Malia and Sasha on the trip.  The two girls are listed as “Senior Staff.” The manifests also list  Mrs. Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, and niece and nephew, Leslie and  Avery Robinson, as well Mrs. Obama’s makeup and hairstylist (Carl Ray  and Johnny Wright).

• The expense records also show $928.44  was spent for “bulk food” purchases on flight. Overall, during the trip,  192 meals were served for the 21 passengers on board.

The  professed purpose of Michelle Obama’s trip to South Africa and Botswana  was to encourage young people living in the two growing democracies to  become involved in national affairs; and during her scheduled stops in  Pretoria and Cape Town, South Africa and in Gaborone, the capital of  Botswana, the First Lady used the opportunity to speak on education,  health and wellness issues.

The trip also included such  tourist events as visits to historical landmarks and museums, plus a  nonworking chance to send time with Nelson Mandela, a meeting that Mrs.  Obama described as “surreal.” The trip ended with a private family  safari at a South African game reserve before the group returned to  Washington on June 27.

“This trip was as much an opportunity  for the Obama family to go on a safari as it was a trip to conduct  government business,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This  junket wasted tax dollars and the resources of our overextended  military. No wonder we had to sue to pry loose this information.”

Previously, Judicial Watch uncovered that the First Couple’s 2009  “date night” trip to New York for dinner and a Broadway show cost  taxpayers over $11,000 in Secret Service costs alone.

Updated 10/4/11: This post has been updated to include a White House response Corrected on 10/5/11: An earlier version of this article’s headline misstated the cost of a Michelle Obama’s trip to Africa. The trip cost at least $424,142.

Michelle’s photo-op at Target store was staged

Michelle’s photo-op at Target store was staged

Rick Moran

It turns out that the AP photographer
who snapped the photos was tipped off that Michelle Obama would be at the store,
according
to Yahoo:

Looks like Mrs. Obama’s security
threw on their street clothes to blend in because no suits with earbuds were
spotted in the store.

Right outside of D.C. in Alexandria,
VA, FLOTUS decided to grab a few things for 30-40 minutes with her assistant at
the local Target. She was dressed in a floral button down, black pants, a Nike
baseball cap, and shades. But of course, she was still somewhat noticeable. The
Associated Press reported that Secret Service arrived 30 minutes before her and
blended with the other customers. The only person who recognized the First Lady
was her cashier!

In case you’re wondering if it was
really her, the White House confirmed it this afternoon
saying,

“It is not uncommon for the First
Lady to slip out to run an errand, eat at a local restaurant or otherwise enjoy
the city outside the White House gates,” said Kristina Schake, communications
director for the First Lady.

CBS News reports the pics
were snapped by an Associated Press photographer who says he was tipped off that
she would be there.
(emphasis
added).

The fact that the White House tipped
off a well known photographer about the “shopping trip” gives the lie to the WH
statement that the First Lady likes to “slip out to run an errand.” Stage
managing this Precious Moment of supposed normalcy will do little to change the
perception of the First Lady that she is a luxury loving social climber who
looks down on the rest of us.

HT: Gateway
Pundit

Expensive massages, top shelf vodka and five-star hotels: First Lady accused of spending $10m in public money on her vacations

Expensive massages, top shelf vodka and five-star hotels: First Lady accused of spending $10m in public money on her vacations

//

The Obamas’ summer break on Martha’s Vineyard has already been branded a PR disaster after the couple arrived four hours apart on separate government jets.

But according to new reports, this is the least of their extravagances.

White House sources today claimed that the First Lady has spent $10million of U.S. taxpayers’ money on vacations alone in the past year.

Expensive taste: Michelle Obama, pictured yesterday in West Tisbury, Massachusetts, has been accused of spending $10m of public money on vacationsExpensive taste: Michelle Obama, pictured yesterday in Massachusetts, has been accused of spending $10m of public money on vacations

Branding her ‘disgusting’ and ‘a vacation junkie’, they say the 47-year-old mother-of-two has been indulging in five-star hotels, where she splashes out on expensive massages and alcohol.

 

The ‘top source’ told the National Enquirer: ‘It’s disgusting. Michelle is taking advantage of her  privileged position while the most hardworking Americans can barely  afford a week or two off work.

‘When it’s all added up, she’s spent more than $10million in taxpayers’ money on her vacations.’

His and her jets: The President and his wife, who are spending nine days on Martha's Vineyard, have come under fire for travelling on separate planesHis and her jets: The President and his wife, who are spending nine days on Martha’s Vineyard, have come under fire for travelling on separate planes

The First Lady is believed to have  taken 42 days of holiday in the past year, including a $375,000 break in Spain and a four-day ski trip to Vail, Colorado, where she spent $2,000 a night on a suite at the Sebastian hotel.

And the first family’s nine-day stay in Martha’s Vineyard is also proving  costly, with rental of the Blue Heron Farm property alone costing an  estimated $50,000 a week.

The source continued: ‘Michelle also enjoys drinking  expensive booze during her trips. She favours martinis with top-shelf  vodka and has a taste for rich sparking wines.

‘The vacations are totally Michelle’s idea. She’s like a junkie. She can’t schedule enough getaways, and she  lives from one to the next – all the while sticking it to hardworking  Americans.’

The Obama administration was forced to pull a warning about racism in Spain - just as the First Lady arrived in the country for a summer holidayTravelling in style: Mrs Obama during her $375,000 trip to Spain last year

A bevy of bodyguards surrounds the U.S. First Lady and eldest daughter as they take a stroll on the Costa del Sol

High security: Bodyguards surround the First Lady and youngest daughter Sasha as they take a stroll on the Costa del Sol

While the  President and his wife do pay for some of their personal expenses from  their own pocket, the website whitehousedossier.com says that the amount paid by the couple is ‘dwarfed by the overall cost to the public’.

The magazine also reported that Mrs Obama, whose fashion choices are widely followed, had been going on ‘wild shopping sprees’, much to the  distress of her husband, who, its sources reveal, is ‘absolutely  furious’ at his wife’s ‘out-of-control spending’.

The President has already come under fire this week over his decision to take a family vacation while millions of Americans are out of work and countless more are financially strapped.

Chilled: The President enjoys an ice cream with his daughters as he relaxes on his Christmas holiday in HawaiiLuxury break: The President and his family, pictured in December, splashed out more than $1.5million on a Christmas holiday in Hawaii

Tranquil: A Coast Guard patrol dingy rides up the canal near the house in Kailua where President Obama is staying ‘Winter White House': The property in Kailua cost $38,000 to rent

But the situation sparked further anger after he and his wife elected to fly separately to the Massachusetts retreat – despite travelling on the same day.

Mr Obama left the White House aboard Marine One on his way to Andrews Air  Force base to hitch a lift aboard Air Force One – along with First Dog  Bo.

After landing at Cape Cod Coast Guard Air Station, he then took a final helicopter to his holiday destination to complete the remarkable 500-mile journey.

His wife and daughters, who arrived just four hours earlier, were also travelling from Washington, but took a specially designed military aircraft.

They would also have had their own motorcade from the airport to the vacation residence.

FIRST LADY OF LUXURY TRAVEL: HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE OBAMAS’ LAVISH GETAWAYS OVER THE PAST 12 MONTHS

GIRLS’ TRIP TO SPAIN: AUGUST 2010

The exact cost is unclear as Mrs Obama and her 40 friends footed many personal expenses, such as hotels and meals themselves.

But the U.S. taxpayer would have paid for the First Lady’s 68-strong security detail, personal staff, and use of presidential jet Air Force Two.

Per diems for the secret service team runs at around $281 each – nearly $98,000 for the length of the summer break.

Use of Air Force Two, the Air Force version of a 757, comes in at $149,900 for the round trip. This does not include time on the ground.

Mrs Obama’s personal staff, of which there are an unknown amount and might cost considerably more per day, should also be taken into account.

CHRISTMAS BREAK IN HAWAII: DECEMBER 2010

According to the Hawaii Reporter, the bill for the $1.5m trip included:

  • $63,000 on an early flight bringing Mrs Obama and the children to Hawaii ahead of the President.
  • $1,000,000 on Mr Obama’s return trip from Washington on Air Force One.
  • $38,000 for the ‘Winter White House’ beach property rental.
  • $16,000 to rent nearby homes for Secret Service and Navy Seals.
  • $134,000 for 24 White House staff to stay at the Moana Hotel.
  • $251,000 in police overtime.
  • $10,000 for an ambulance to be on hand at all times

SKI TRIP TO VAIL: FEBRUARY 2011

Mrs Obama and her daughters stayed at the Sebastian hotel on Vail Mountain, where rooms cost more than $2,400 for  multi-bedroom suites.

The family appear to have flown there on Air Force Two.

They were escorted to the resort by a motorcade of about a dozen vehicles, including 15 state and local law enforcement officers

SUMMER HOLIDAY ON MARTHA’S VINEYARD: AUGUST 2011

The Blue Heron Farm estate, where the Obama family are currently staying, rents for about $50,000 a week.

According to U.S. News and World Report, the Coast Guard is required to keep ships floating near the property, the presidential helicopter and jet remain at the ready and security agents will be on 24-hour duty.

Cartoon of the Day: Michelle Obama’s Valentine’s Day Gift

Impatient Michelle’s $63,000 Flight

Impatient Michelle’s $63,000 Flight

Jeannie DeAngelis

Recently, children at Long Branch Elementary School in Virginia gathered around President Obama’s feet at a book reading and heard there is no Santa Claus when he said: “Not everybody is as lucky as we are. There are a lot of kids out there who may not be able to get a lot of presents for Christmas because their parents don’t have a lot of money.”

Granted, it is good to remind children to be grateful for blessings and to be mindful of reality and those less fortunate.  However, one can’t help but wonder how Barack reconciles his own family’s in-your-face extravagance while burdening middle class seven year-olds with guilt at Christmas.

While Barry urged wide-eyed tots, looking forward to Christmas presents under the tree, to “have fun” – but not so much fun that they forget the “Tiny Tims” of the world – Michelle was loading up an Air Force C-40B because she couldn’t wait a couple of days to start an extravagant Hawaiian vacation.

Barack decided to postpone the trip so he could deliver coal in the stocking of the military just in time for Christmas and oversee Congress ramming through the ultimate Christmas special: “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” 

Lord knows, Michelle won’t tolerate being kept waiting, as evidenced the night of the White House Christmas party when Obama handed over the press conference reins to Jolly Ole Bill Clinton to rush off to meet Michelle under the mistletoe, dressed in an economical $2,500 secondhand frock.

Barack knows if he’s late Michelle will leave without him, which is exactly what she did.  Michelle intended to get every second of well-deserved vacation time – two weeks is two weeks and not a second less.  So Shelley packed up the girls and the dog and departed as scheduled, leaving the President behind to do as much damage as possible before the end of the year.

“Mrs. Obama’s decision to go without the president forced her to take a separate plane, meaning two flights instead of one are needed to ferry the First Family to their vacation destination.” At $6,330 per flight hour for a 10-hour flight, the first lady gave nary a thought to $63,000 in additional expenses billed directly to taxpayers, such as the parents of the children Barack was reminding to be cognizant of the less fortunate.

The whole operation will be repeated when Barry flies into Hawaii via AF1 to meet the wife and kids. “Since the cost of moving the entire family together on Air Force One would not likely have been much different than that of taking just the president, the first lady’s trip is a $63,000 add-on.”

By leaving early on her own aircraft, Michelle, who epitomizes someone who “spend[s] time thinking about the less fortunate,” incurred even more than a $63,000 get-the-First-Lady-to-the-luau-on-time/Christmas-in-Hawaii expense, especially if “logistical support operation[s] – including a retinue of Secret Service agents” are added to the tab. Not to mention the “Sasquatch-sized carbon footprint … commandeering her own jet to take her to Hawaii” imposed on the environment.

Nonetheless, to appear less extravagant, Mrs. Obama sacrificed by taking a modestly sized high priority transport instead of sending AF1 back and forth like a shuttle bus to pick up presidential vacationers.  In other words, Michelle roughed it for the cause!

Meanwhile, while the kiddies in Virginia see visions of impoverished children instead of sugar plums dancing in their heads, in a “trio of multimillion dollar beachfront homes” the “Obama family and friends will be [spending] Christmas and New Year’s” in the lap of luxury, spending lots of time “thinking” about the less fortunate.

Author’s content: www.jeannie-ology.com

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/12/impatient_michelles_63000_flig.html at December 24, 2010 – 10:07:09 AM CST

Sarah Palin Jabs Michelle Obama’s Anti-Obesity Campaign With S’mores

Sarah Palin Jabs Michelle Obama’s Anti-Obesity Campaign With S’mores

The Huffington Post
|  Nick Wing
First Posted: 12-20-10 10:09 AM   |   Updated: 12-21-10 12:06 PM
Sarah Palin took a shot at Michelle Obama
during Sunday’s episode of her reality TV show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,”
jabbing the first lady’s anti-obesity campaign for attempting to deprive
Americans of dessert.
While searching for s’mores ingredients on a family camping trip, Palin remarked:
“Where are the s’mores ingredients? This is in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert.”
Michelle Obama has been a key proponent of an initiative to improve
children’s health by encouraging better diets and sufficient exercise.
In May she announced her “Let’s Move” program, which promoted dessert alternatives, among other dietary suggestions.
The Associated Press reported at the time:
One in 3 American children is overweight or obese, putting
them at higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol
and other illnesses. Obesity is even more prevalent among black and
Hispanic children. Some public health experts say today’s children are
on track to live shorter lives than their parents.
But Palin has maintained that Obama’s effort to combat child obesity — which was recently aided by the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act
— is one that seeks to take away “God-given rights to make our own
decisions.” Some have since slammed that comment as Palin’s demanding that Americans cling to their “God-Given right to be fat.”
During an appearance on Laura Ingraham’s radio program last month, Palin complained:
“Instead of a government thinking that they need to take
over and make decisions for us according to some politician or
politician’s wife priorities, just leave us alone, get off our back.”
And CNN relays another incident in Pennsylvania last month, in which the former Alaska governor sought to criticize the first lady’s health plan:
Palin also hand-delivered cookies to a Pennsylvania school
last month before delivering a speech there, saying: “Who should be
deciding what I eat? Should it be government or should it be parents? It
should be the parents.”
WATCH (via Politico):

‘Food porn’ – Is your favorite restaurant on this list?

‘Food porn’ – Is your favorite restaurant on this
list?

November
19, 2010 – 11:54am

‘Food porn’ – Is your favorite restaurant on this
list?

November
19, 2010 – 11:54am

There are 620 calories in an order of
small fries at Five Guys and a 1,460 in a
large. (WTOP File Photo/Lainie Frost)
WASHINGTON
– It’s “food porn.” That’s what the Center for Science in the Public
Interest dubbed the 1,030-calorie, deep-fried Lasagna Fritta appetizer at the
Olive Garden.
The restaurant, known for its “bottomless” salad and breadsticks,
made the consumer group’s 2010 “Xtreme
Eating Awards”
.
Other restaurants you frequent also made the list: P.F.
Chang’s, Five Guys, The Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, Outback,
Chevy’s and Bob Evans.
Two Cheesecake Factory dishes were also singled out. The pasta carbonara –
described as spaghettini with smoked bacon, green peas and a garlic-parmesan
cream sauce — is loaded with 2,500 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat. The
chocolate truffle cake has 1,670 calories and 48 grams of saturated fat.
The group, which some call the food police, knocks Five Guys for its
700-calorie hamburger and its fries (620 calories for the small and 1,460 for
the large). Five Guys is “no friend to your hips,” CSPI says,
pointing to the bacon cheeseburger and large fries adding up to 2,380 calories.
In issuing its awards, CSPI says two out of three adults and one third of
children are now overweight or obese in America.
Nearly 30 percent of young people are too heavy to join the military.
Restaurants are changing their ways,
with more of them offering smaller portions or lower-calorie fare.
They’re doing it ahead of a U.S.
healthcare law that will require calorie counts to be posted on menus as early
as next year.
WASHINGTON – It’s “food porn.” That’s what the Center for
Science in the Public Interest dubbed the 1,030-calorie, deep-fried Lasagna
Fritta appetizer at the Olive Garden.
The restaurant, known for its “bottomless” salad and breadsticks,
made the consumer group’s 2010 “Xtreme
Eating Awards”
.
Other restaurants you frequent also made the list: P.F.
Chang’s, Five Guys, The Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, Outback,
Chevy’s and Bob Evans.
Two Cheesecake Factory dishes were also singled out. The pasta carbonara –
described as spaghettini with smoked bacon, green peas and a garlic-parmesan
cream sauce — is loaded with 2,500 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat. The
chocolate truffle cake has 1,670 calories and 48 grams of saturated fat.
The group, which some call the food police, knocks Five Guys for its
700-calorie hamburger and its fries (620 calories for the small and 1,460 for
the large). Five Guys is “no friend to your hips,” CSPI says,
pointing to the bacon cheeseburger and large fries adding up to 2,380 calories.
In issuing its awards, CSPI says two out of three adults and one third of
children are now overweight or obese in America.
Nearly 30 percent of young people are too heavy to join the military.
Restaurants are changing their ways,
with more of them offering smaller portions or lower-calorie fare.
They’re doing it ahead of a U.S.
healthcare law that will require calorie counts to be posted on menus as early
as next year.

There are 620 calories in an order of
small fries at Five Guys and a 1,460 in a
large. (WTOP File Photo/Lainie Frost)
WASHINGTON
– It’s “food porn.” That’s what the Center for Science in the Public
Interest dubbed the 1,030-calorie, deep-fried Lasagna Fritta appetizer at the
Olive Garden.
The restaurant, known for its “bottomless” salad and breadsticks,
made the consumer group’s 2010 “Xtreme
Eating Awards”
.
Other restaurants you frequent also made the list: P.F.
Chang’s, Five Guys, The Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, Outback,
Chevy’s and Bob Evans.
Two Cheesecake Factory dishes were also singled out. The pasta carbonara –
described as spaghettini with smoked bacon, green peas and a garlic-parmesan
cream sauce — is loaded with 2,500 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat. The
chocolate truffle cake has 1,670 calories and 48 grams of saturated fat.
The group, which some call the food police, knocks Five Guys for its
700-calorie hamburger and its fries (620 calories for the small and 1,460 for
the large). Five Guys is “no friend to your hips,” CSPI says,
pointing to the bacon cheeseburger and large fries adding up to 2,380 calories.
In issuing its awards, CSPI says two out of three adults and one third of
children are now overweight or obese in America.
Nearly 30 percent of young people are too heavy to join the military.
Restaurants are changing their ways,
with more of them offering smaller portions or lower-calorie fare.
They’re doing it ahead of a U.S.
healthcare law that will require calorie counts to be posted on menus as early
as next year.
WASHINGTON – It’s “food porn.” That’s what the Center for
Science in the Public Interest dubbed the 1,030-calorie, deep-fried Lasagna
Fritta appetizer at the Olive Garden.
The restaurant, known for its “bottomless” salad and breadsticks,
made the consumer group’s 2010 “Xtreme
Eating Awards”
.
Other restaurants you frequent also made the list: P.F.
Chang’s, Five Guys, The Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, Outback,
Chevy’s and Bob Evans.
Two Cheesecake Factory dishes were also singled out. The pasta carbonara –
described as spaghettini with smoked bacon, green peas and a garlic-parmesan
cream sauce — is loaded with 2,500 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat. The chocolate
truffle cake has 1,670 calories and 48
grams of saturated fat.
The group, which some call the food police, knocks Five Guys for its
700-calorie hamburger and its fries (620 calories for the small and 1,460 for
the large). Five Guys is “no friend to your hips,” CSPI says,
pointing to the bacon cheeseburger and large fries adding up to 2,380 calories.
In issuing its awards, CSPI says two out of three adults and one third of
children are now overweight or obese in America.
Nearly 30 percent of young people are too heavy to join the military.
Restaurants are changing their ways,
with more of them offering smaller portions or lower-calorie fare.
They’re doing it ahead of a U.S.
healthcare law that will require calorie counts to be posted on menus as early
as next year.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers