On Thursday, after watching a video of Iowa school children pleading with the White House to “please let us visit”, Fox New personality Eric Bolling offered to pick up the tab for an entire week of White House tours if the Obama administration would acquiesce. The plea and the generous offer were in response to the administration’s announcement that all White House tours are cancelled until further notice due to cutbacks resulting from sequestration. Essentially, the president’s accountants are cool with spending taxpayer dollars on golf outings, lavish dinners, and vacations. They’re just a little uneasy about paying the seven staffers that facilitate “self-guided” tours of the Executive Mansion. Truth be told, the tours are the only cuts the White House has made to date…
“Make you a deal. Jay Carney, grab a pencil. Let the families take the White House tours next week and I’ll cover the added expenses. The word is it’ll cost around $74,000. If I can get the White House doors open, I will pick up the tab. Mr. Carney, you know this is an offer you can’t refuse. Give me a call.”
While President Barack Obama has spent weeks warning of the dark consequences of across-the-board budget cuts, there’s one area of government where his staff has failed to calculate their impact: the White House itself.
Obama administration spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Thursday that “detailed decisions” have yet to be made about how the administration would meet a projected $24 million reduction to the executive office budget, which may include furloughs of presidential aides and other employees.
“I’m not going say that this person is going have to be furloughed today, if that hasn’t happened yet and we don’t know when that will happen specifically,” he said.
Nothing? But yet cutting White House tours rose to a Day 1 priority?
But wait. It gets better.
Compare the savings from cutting White House tours with other expenditures the Obama administration deems necessary…
Those savings are roughly half the cost of Obama’s Christmas vacation to Hawaii last year, which was thoroughly documented by the watchdog website Hawaii Reporter. They estimated the total cost of that trip was “at least $4 million,” although the true cost could be nearly five times that much.
The president is reportedly planning a jaunt to Martha’s Vineyard in August, a repeat of a trip he made in 2011, when he spent eleven days at a $50,000-per-week beachfront rental property. US News & World Report pegged the cost of that trip to taxpayers as being in the “millions.”
Last week, Senate Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) estimated that Obama’s recent golf outing with Tiger Woods cost taxpayers “over a million dollars,” which was “enough money to save 341 federal workers from furlough.”
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer echoed that Senator Sessions…
Back to the Iowa school children and their planned visit to “The People’s House”….
Iowa sixth graders begging for their tour of the White House to be rescheduled are out of luck.
Beginning Saturday, all public tours of the White House are canceled, a move administration officials said was necessary after $85 billion in across-the-board budget cuts kicked in March 1. Republicans counter that the move was made to maximize public frustration with the cuts.
In response, students from St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Waverly, Iowa made a video in which they held signs reading, “The White House is our house; please let us visit.” The video went viral Thursday but the White House says the Iowa students, along with all others scheduled for tours after Friday, won’t be accommodated.
Chris at Wyblog asks the million (or in this case $74,000) question. If these kids had made a video begging for more gun control, would the president be turning them away? - Maybe only children who are useful props can visit the Dear Leader’s White House.
Bolling’s offer may be contagious. (via Maggie’s Notebook)
Bolling and Hannity have the first two weeks… anyone out there in Lefty-land wanna bet against several more weeks being picked up by deep pockets on the Right if the White House was willing to go along with this?
But I think we all know that’s not going to happen – the White House going along part, that is. To do so would be damaging to the administration on three fronts: 1) The President’s “war on Fox News” would take a major hit – both Bolling and Hannity are Fox News personalities… end of story; 2) Letting private sectors players demonstrate to the American People that private charity can be far more targeted, effective, and efficient than the federal government would fly in the face of everything the president believes in; 3) Re-opening White House doors to visitors would overturn the cornerstone of the president’s “You’re going to feel the sequester” strategy. To date, it is the only sequester-related “real world” consequence being felt or noticed.
Like I said, we all know Bolling’s offer is going to fall on deaf ears at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. While I’m certain the president or his spokesman Jay Carney will be pressed about the offer(s), the tours will no doubt remain “cancelled” until further notice. And by “further notice”, I do mean until the president sees an opportunity to capitalize politically on once again rolling out the red carpet for the People that truly pick up the tab.