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Cost of Obama's Trip is Dwarfed By George And Laura Bush's Africa Spending Spree

ProudProgressive 2013/06/15 03:03:45
Cost of Obama's Trip is Dwarfed By George And Laura Bush's Africa Spending Spree
By: Jason Easley
Jun. 14th, 2013

laura bushs africa spending spree jason easley jun 14th 2013

As conservatives rage about the cost of Obama's Africa trip, it is important to remember that George and Laura Bush made a combined 7 trips to Africa all on the taxpayers' dime.

We've played this game before, but anytime the nation's first black president spends more than a dollar, the right wing freaks out about Barack Obama "wasting taxpayer dollars." Back in 2011, the right claimed that First Lady Obama's Africa trip would cost taxpayers millions, but even if you use numbers that the White House disagrees with ($424,000), they weren't even close.

This time the right has whipped up the fake outrage over a leaked document showing that President Obama's upcoming Africa trip could cost $60-$100 million. What these same people don't tell is that George and Laura Bush loved to go to Africa on the taxpayers' dime…a lot.

During Bush's second term alone, Laura Bush made five "goodwill" trips to Africa. President Bush made the trip twice during his presidency. Here is former First Lady Bush at an event the night before their trip in 2008, "Tomorrow, President Bush and I leave for what will be my fifth trip to Africa since 2001, and his second trip to Africa since 2001. I've seen the determination of the people across Africa — and the compassion of the people of the United States of America."

Wow, that's a lot of trips to Africa. In 2007, Laura Bush also took her daughters with her, and they went on a safari. You know, the same kind of outing that President Obama just canceled.

Not much was going right for George W. Bush. Even before the economy crashed, his legacy was 9/11, the unpopular Iraq invasion, and Hurricane Katrina. Back in 2003, Bush laid the groundwork for making aid to Africa his legacy. One of the areas where Bush drew praise was that he spent billions of taxpayer dollars on aid to Africa. It's funny how conservatives don't utter a peep about George W. Bush dishing out more than ten times the amount of taxpayer money on aid than Obama will spend on his trip.

Why could the country afford to spend billions of dollars during Bush's no growth economy, but they can't afford to spend at least $60 million for the sitting president to travel today?

Giving aid to Africa to combat malaria and AIDS is a very noble cause. It literally saves lives, but 5 goodwill visits to Africa aren't cheap. Laura Bush wasn't flying all alone on a commercial flight. Her trips cost the taxpayers a pretty penny.

For some odd reason, the GAO (General Accounting Office) records on the cost of the Bush family's Africa travels seem to have vanished. The media has contacted the GAO, but no specific numbers have been provided yet. President Clinton's Africa trip in 1998 cost taxpayers $42.8 million. George W. Bush's two trips five and ten years later were likely more expensive.

The Washington Post story didn't say that Obama's trip will cost $100 million, but that the trip could cost $60-100 million, and that the cost was based on similar African trips made in recent years, "Obama's trip could cost the federal government $60 million to $100 million based on the costs of similar African trips in recent years, according to one person familiar with the journey, who was not authorized to speak for attribution."

President Obama hasn't made any trips to Africa, except a 22 hour stopover in Ghana in 2009, so it is pretty clear that Secret Service is basing their cost estimate on the cost of the Bush trips. Since George W. Bush made two presidential trips to Africa, it is likely that he spent more money in today's dollars as President Obama will on his trip.

The reality is that presidential trips are expensive. It would be fair to be opposed to all of them, but the hypocrisy of only being outraged when certain presidents travel is unacceptable. George W. Bush appears to have had himself quite a little African spending spree, but apparently cost only matters when Barack Obama is the president who is doing the traveling.

Read More: http://www.politicususa.com/2013/06/14/cost-obamas...

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Top Opinion

  • #Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT... 2013/06/15 03:56:17
    #Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT CONS
    +7
    Yeah my friend, we know how the schpeel goes. God forbid that America's First Black President should visit the continent of his father's birth. I don't know what President Obama's itinerary is however, I hope he will be able to see Nelson Mandela while over there. I don't think he'll be with us much longer.

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  • mich52 2013/07/04 21:03:22
  • Magus BN-0 2013/07/04 18:42:33
    Magus BN-0
    +2

    The righties in their reality-proof bubble will ignore this.
  • Idiot repubs 2013/06/15 21:01:56
    Idiot repubs
    +4
    If the right wing didn't have lies they would have nothing.
  • DutchHeretic Native non-Ame... 2013/06/15 17:19:31
    DutchHeretic Native non-American
    +5
    Finally a post that refutes this segment of the always present anti Obama hate posts ..
  • Tuna 2013/06/15 11:05:43
    Tuna
    Bush's no growth economy; LOLOLOLOLOL. 5%-8% average. Obama's booming economy .1% (one-tenth). Bush unemployment 4.5%, Obama's 12%-20% when you factor in those who dropped out.
  • Crystal For Truth 2013/06/15 07:36:36
    Crystal For Truth
    +3
    Lets say it folks: the difference is, it wasnt Bush robbing people's money from them through taxation then turning around and taking lavish trips to Martha's Vineyard and Hawaii.
  • Crystal For Truth 2013/06/15 07:30:08 (edited)
    Crystal For Truth
    +3
    The difference is Bush and Laura were trying to make a difference for the people of Africa. To this day even U2's Bono is now friends with Bush as they together set out on a crusade to help the African people. I highly doubt Bush was heading to Africa for "vacation" and "leisure".

    Do the people of Hawaii, Martha's Vineyard, hot shots on the golf course, and Hollywood elites need help? But that's where you'll find this President who tells us we all "need to make sacrifices"..oh yeah, except for himself.
  • tytyvyllus Crystal... 2013/06/16 19:12:37
    tytyvyllus
    +1
    and if bush's trips were not strictly working vacations how do two wrongs make a right? we need to stop this excess immediately.
  • Crystal... tytyvyllus 2013/06/18 18:01:31 (edited)
    Crystal For Truth
    Bush did not spend as much money as Obama on trips nor did he vacation during inappropriate times. After 911, he didn't jump on air force one to go to a campaign rally the way Obama did after his ambassador and navy seals were murdered in Benghazi.
  • tytyvyllus Crystal... 2013/06/18 18:09:28
    tytyvyllus
    +1
    and I did not say he did
  • sjalan 2013/06/15 06:16:48
    sjalan
    +4
    Well Said PP. VERY WELL SAID!
  • MtDuffer 2013/06/15 05:40:42
    MtDuffer
    +3
    Well, another Left Wing BS post. I have notice that most of the Left actually believe to this day that Bush is still causing problems. He was held accountable that is one thing that the Left can not or will not do for Obama hold him accountable.
  • Crystal... MtDuffer 2013/06/15 07:33:55
    Crystal For Truth
    +4
    "Proud Liberal" will be one of those remaining 10% who are so religiously liberal, they will never not support Obama.
  • MtDuffer Crystal... 2013/06/15 15:31:12
    MtDuffer
    +1
    You are so right [pardon the pun] on that note add in the Progressives.
  • tommyg - POTL- PWCM-JLA 2013/06/15 04:30:55
    tommyg - POTL- PWCM-JLA
    +1
    lol You fell for it.

    No worries. I catch myself doing the same.
  • VoteOut 2013/06/15 04:00:16
    VoteOut
    Lol
  • #Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT... 2013/06/15 03:56:17
    #Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT CONS
    +7
    Yeah my friend, we know how the schpeel goes. God forbid that America's First Black President should visit the continent of his father's birth. I don't know what President Obama's itinerary is however, I hope he will be able to see Nelson Mandela while over there. I don't think he'll be with us much longer.
  • White P... #Justic... 2013/06/15 04:19:01
    White Panther
    Don't you mean the land Obama was born in?
  • #Justic... White P... 2013/06/15 04:35:38
    #Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT CONS
    +6
    No, I said what I meant. I'm NOT an INSANE BIRTHER!
  • White P... #Justic... 2013/06/15 10:50:05
    White Panther
    No, just a gullible idiot.
  • #Justic... White P... 2013/06/15 16:57:43
    #Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT CONS
    +1
    I have had it with your trolling SOCK behind & now I'm gonna do what I should've done a long time ago. GOODBYE WP!
  • Hawkeye White P... 2013/06/15 08:30:47
    Hawkeye
    Don't forget.. HILLARY " the Racist" was the ORIGINAL Birther..

    RENENBER that "insanity" come 2016..
  • HatrickPenry (babaji) 2013/06/15 03:28:26
  • cjj ~ F... Hatrick... 2013/06/16 04:50:12
    cjj ~ FTGOP
    +2
    Tell it to the families of the 2,606 killed in the Twin Towers and the 4000+ dead in Iraq as well as those in Afghanistan.

    Wanna know which president is STILL saving lives?

    "In 1986, the disease afflicted an estimated 3.5 million people a year in 21 countries in Africa and Asia. Today, thanks to the work of The Carter Center and its partners — including the countries themselves — the incidence of Guinea worm has been reduced by more than 99 percent."

    http://www.cartercenter.org/h...

    And all while GWB is back in TX quietly eradicating brush.
  • Hatrick... cjj ~ F... 2013/06/16 05:33:14
  • cjj ~ F... Hatrick... 2013/06/16 16:50:02
    cjj ~ FTGOP
    +2
    Well, maybe YOU were alive for the Civil War. I was not.

    How "big" is "big enough" when it comes to a body count? Again, I dare you to ask the families of the dead. My guess their answer would be ONE.

    As for Nam: That deadly game of dominoes began way back in 1945, 20 years prior to LBJ/JFK.

    http://www.english.illinois.e...

    FYI- "Libruls" is actually spelled "liberals" (to avoid you any further embarrassment).
  • Hatrick... cjj ~ F... 2013/06/16 17:01:15
  • cjj ~ F... Hatrick... 2013/06/16 17:13:21 (edited)
    cjj ~ FTGOP
    +2
    That would be YOUR FAMILIES personal decision. Do not lay it at the feet of the president. I had many family/friends who absolutely hated fighting in Nam but went anyway because regardless of their disagreement with the policies felt it was their duty as Americans. Difference is that back in the Nam era there was NO choice. (I won't even get started on how they were treated upon their return.) Present day it is most fortunate for you and yours that serving is optional. To decide not to participate is your right as a present-day American. What a blessing, eh?
  • Hatrick... cjj ~ F... 2013/06/16 17:40:02
  • cjj ~ F... Hatrick... 2013/06/17 01:27:23 (edited)
    cjj ~ FTGOP
    +2
    Yep. That it is YOUR choice and your families to discontinue participating in the military. You are all very lucky we are at a time when the choice is possible. An opt-out has not always been available simply because one does not like the person sitting in the oval office or their policies. Although your reasons are not valid, merely opinion not fact, it IS by YOUR choices. Obama has nothing to do with it other than your obvious dislike of him. Period.
  • Hatrick... cjj ~ F... 2013/06/17 01:45:29
  • cjj ~ F... Hatrick... 2013/06/17 01:51:41
    cjj ~ FTGOP
    +2
    No. Not smoking socks. I could never fit one of ya in my pipe.

    Majority? Another opinion? Show me the data. No blogs or opinions. Actual data supporting that claim.

    You have time to try to find it. My computer's in need of a charge.
  • Hatrick... cjj ~ F... 2013/06/17 01:56:02
  • cjj ~ F... Hatrick... 2013/06/17 06:33:28
  • kir 2013/06/15 03:27:13
    kir
    +2
    Wait, so you say that George and Laura Bush's spending spree dwarfed Obama trip but do not say how much they spent because you do not have numbers on it? Wow, there's some real investigative reporting right there. Look, I'm not a fan of any of the establishment politicians, but if you're going to make a claim like that, don't use extrapolations based on assumptions.
  • cut and... kir 2013/06/15 03:56:08
    cut and paste king
    +2
    Same goes for this obama trip we won't know how much it will cost yet but rest assure that bush. Trips to Africa were not a cent cheaper either
  • MtDuffer cut and... 2013/06/15 05:37:48
    MtDuffer
    It is not so much the cost, but the reason. Bush had a very good reason. What reason do Obama have?
  • cut and... MtDuffer 2013/06/15 05:49:43
    cut and paste king
    +3
    What makes you think that bush had a good reason for him his wife and kids take a total of 7 trips to Africa
  • MtDuffer cut and... 2013/06/15 05:54:03
    MtDuffer
    You answer my question first.
  • cut and... MtDuffer 2013/06/15 06:54:25
    cut and paste king
    +4
    The reason Obama needs to visit Africa is the economic ground America is losing, and not just to China, with its President Xi Jinping recently visiting Tanzania, South Africa and Congo Brazzaville. The 5th BRICS Summit held in Durban highlighted the influence that Brazil, Russia, India and others like Turkey have in Africa. This influence is strengthened through institutions like Beijing’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Moscow has a similar situation through its Russia-African business forum. Adding to this dangerous mix for America is African countries’ continuously wondering [and worrying] if Washington will extend its African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) when it expires in 2015.

    Then there are the vast security concerns from Mali to Somalia to CAR to the DRC that need to be discussed with key stakeholders. Obama has strengthened Washington’s efforts to stem the spread of violence on the continent. He recently sent 100 troops to construct a new drone base in Niger to target Al Qaeda. Obama also determined that Somalia may now receive US military assistance meaning the Somali government is eligible for “defense articles and defense services” under American arms export and foreign aid laws.

    Both the economics and security concerns boil down to good old-fashione...









    The reason Obama needs to visit Africa is the economic ground America is losing, and not just to China, with its President Xi Jinping recently visiting Tanzania, South Africa and Congo Brazzaville. The 5th BRICS Summit held in Durban highlighted the influence that Brazil, Russia, India and others like Turkey have in Africa. This influence is strengthened through institutions like Beijing’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Moscow has a similar situation through its Russia-African business forum. Adding to this dangerous mix for America is African countries’ continuously wondering [and worrying] if Washington will extend its African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) when it expires in 2015.

    Then there are the vast security concerns from Mali to Somalia to CAR to the DRC that need to be discussed with key stakeholders. Obama has strengthened Washington’s efforts to stem the spread of violence on the continent. He recently sent 100 troops to construct a new drone base in Niger to target Al Qaeda. Obama also determined that Somalia may now receive US military assistance meaning the Somali government is eligible for “defense articles and defense services” under American arms export and foreign aid laws.

    Both the economics and security concerns boil down to good old-fashioned politics and Obama needs to smoothen relations with individuals like new Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and others. US Vice-President Joe Biden represented Obama at Kenyatta’s swearing in ceremony in Nairobi this week.

    Obama told the four African leaders back in Washington that he intended to continue to engage with them through a range of programs such as America’s agency for development (USAID) and their HIV/AIDS initiatives. “But we’re also looking for new models that can potentially improve our bilateral relations even more,” Obama stipulated.

    Washington launched the doing business with Africa campaign late last year through its Department of Commerce. This led to a Doing Business in Africa Forum at the White House in February. The US also has its upcoming AGOA forum that will take place shortly in Ethiopia, It will bring together over 600 government leaders and private sector stakeholders from the US and Africa, as well as promote discussion on the future of AGOA. And then there is the 9th Biennial US-Africa Business Summit run by the Corporate Council of Africa being held in Chicago on 08-11 October 2013.

    Although this may sound like enough, it is not. Washington must launch ‘new models’ for US-Africa cooperation like Obama described. One might start with America establishing a strong FOCAC type setup that can help strengthen the current initiatives and therefore the political and economic dimensions of US-Africa relations.

    US Senator Chris Coons, the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs has also put forth realistic recommendations in his 07 March 2013 report “Embracing Africa’s Economic Potential” that should be carefully examined.

    Overall, much has changed in recent months and one can see how the US is losing ground on a continent that has an enormous amount of potential. I am not just talking about mineral and oil resources, but opportunities in financial services, tourism, telecommunications and retail. All of these sectors are further strengthened due to the continent being full of hard working and ambitious youth. If these opportunities are seized, it will undoubtedly have positive implications for the African people such as job creation and a growing middle class. This serves not only America’s political and economic interests, but ultimately its security interests as well.
    (more)

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