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In the midst of what Obama calls the "worst economy since the Great Depression" he takes staff of 500 to Europe

When George Bush went to visit Israel, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt over eight days last year there were 2,000 troops deployed to various positions to protect him. But that was the Middle East. And it was George Bush, who we have been told is the most despised American president in the history of the world. When Barack Obama visits Europe this week he will be accompanied by a staff of 500. But he is Barack Obama, and this is Europe, where we have been told he is beloved. I don't know how many troops have been deployed to protect Obama. The 500 includes secret service, but as far as I can tell that does not include additional military protection.

The idea of an entourage of 500 accompanying The One to Europe certainly makes a statement, but it isn't one of sacrifice and fiscal responsibility. I wonder what kind of impression this big show will have on the British after he so successfully dissed them on their trip to America? What kind of impression will this have on those AIG executives who were shamed by the President into giving back their bonuses and were threatened by angry mobs and a 90 percent tax by Congress? If I were one of them I would sure feel punked right about now.

With an entourage of 500 staff, an armour-plated limousine and a fleet of decoy helicopters, America's new president will arrive for his first visit to Britain amid huge razzmatazz on Tuesday for the G20 summit...Britain will get its first chance to see Barack Obama this week when a White House cavalcade - complete with armoured limousines, helicopters, 200 US secret service staff and a six-doctor medical team - sweeps into the UK.

Obama will fly into London for his first visit to the UK as president of the United States on Tuesday to take part in the G20 summit in the capital's Docklands area. He will not be travelling light.

More than 500 officials and staff will accompany the president on his tour this week - along with a mass of high-tech security equipment, including the $300,000 presidential limousine, known as The Beast. Fitted with night-vision camera, reinforced steel plating, tear- gas cannon and oxygen tanks, the vehicle is the ultimate in heavy armoured transport.

In addition, a team from the White House kitchen will travel with the president to prepare his food. As one official put it: "When the president travels, the White House travels with him, right down to the car he drives, the water he drinks, the gasoline he uses, the food he eats. America is still the sole superpower and the president must have the ability to handle any crisis, anywhere, any time."

If I put out the message that I was willing to negotiate with Iran without preconditions and voted to surrender in Iraq before we were winning and was closing Gitmo, etc., I guess I would want to surround myself with as many people as possible too -- for protection if nothing else. I believe the president of the United States, no matter who he or she is and no matter what the state of the economy, should be well protected.

It seems to me that as much as Europe loves Obama they might have offered to pick up the tab. (My tongue was firmly planted in cheek when I wrote that line, for those who might not have noticed.)

Remember the criticism of the AIG executives I mentioned above on the issue of "excess." Then remember the criticism of those politicians who supported the mission in Iraq, but wore bullet proof vests on their visits. Then remember all the talk of how much everyone in the world hated George Bush and loved Barack Obama. Remember the criticism of the Bush administration for the money spent on the Inauguration? Let's see how much criticism there is of the Obama administration for excessive spending during what Obama keeps referring to as "the worst economy since the Great Depression."

Update: Bush took less than 2,000 on his Europe trips. In 2003, when we had many more troops in Iraq, Saddam Hussein had yet to be captured and amidst massive anti-war protests, Bush took an entourage of 700 to Europe and he was criticized for it. Of course the economy in 2003 was not the "worst since the Great Depression" either. Note that in 2003 Bush was criticized because most of his meetings would be private, and in the article about Obama's visit we are told that "it will be his closed-door meetings with world leaders that are likely to prove the most significant of the trip."


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Comments (26)

LOL - ROCK STAR POLITICS! ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

LOL - ROCK STAR POLITICS! Go with enough people, and they HAVE to take you seriously!

Uh, don't they?

Besides, it's not like they're paying for it with THEIR money!

"Obama...takes staff of 500... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"Obama...takes staff of 500 to Europe"-lb

"Bush took "less than 2000 on his Europe trips'".-lb

Is this a trick post?

No, I think yours is a "tri... (Below threshold)

No, I think yours is a "trick" comment since you failed to quote that in the original post I said (up front at the beginning) that Bush took 2,000 on one of his trips or that I said it was fine to take as many people as needed to protect the president no matter who they were.

You also failed to quote the sentence immediately following the one you quoted from my update, "Bush took less than 2,000 on his Europe trips. In 2003, when we had many more troops in Iraq, Saddam Hussein had yet to be captured and amidst massive anti-war protests, Bush took an entourage of 700 to Europe and he was criticized for it. "

Here is the point, Obama tells us we have to cut back. Businessmen have to forego their bonuses or the gov't will tax them at 90 percent. We are also told that the world hated Bush and loves Obama, yet Obama takes almost as many people to Europe as Bush did, even though massive protests are not expected of Obama and the economy is in much worse shape now. But don't bother reading the whole post. Just cherry pick a couple of phrases and then try to misrepresent it. That is SOP for you.

The Guardian is sure baskin... (Below threshold)
prose:

The Guardian is sure basking in the full presidential glory, isn't it? Now that they have their own guy as the President.

No cause for outrag... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:


No cause for outrage here. Keep in mind that the President must be able to function as though in the White House wherever he/she may be.

Better to hope someone at the G-20 can pound some sense into him.

Lori, I read your post, exc... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Lori, I read your post, excising superfluous commentary* (since "500" seemed to be the subject and a signal amount), and then noticed the "update" with numbers of ">2000" and "700" that apparently counter your thesis (again, excising superfluous commentary).

Pure cant wrapped up as commentary, e.g. "The One". That's peanuts for the elephants. However, an ORIGINAL epithet is always welcome.


I wonder if Zero and his en... (Below threshold)
apb:

I wonder if Zero and his entourage will be dining on Wagyu beef all week?

The depression only applies... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

The depression only applies to the "little people".

Why does the One take 8 Med... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

Why does the One take 8 Medical poeple with him?
I mean he is going to the place of the best Health Care in the world.

Only 500 staff people?<br /... (Below threshold)
justpassingthrough:

Only 500 staff people?
Oh wait he's also bringing 10,000 teleprompters.

I watched a special (Histor... (Below threshold)
Diane:

I watched a special (History Channel???) a few weeks ago about President Bush's last trip to Africa, and all the work that goes into a presidential trip outside of the US. It was an extremely interesting show and might better explain the large numbers traveling on behalf of all of our presidents. Watch it if you get the chance.

Did you know...
--the US sends all of its own fuel & fuel trucks for the planes & limo everywhere they go (plus, guards for these trucks?)
--All the food the president & staff eats for practically every meal is prepared in the hangars at the military base to take on the planes?
--the decoy Air Force 1 plane not only is a decoy, but flies through turbulent weather & debris such as volcanic ash ahead of the real AF1, to make sure the Pres's plane can make it through safely?
--the pilots of AF1 are military but can not wear any uniform, only regular suits, so they will not look forceful on foreign grounds?

Lots more fascinating info...Watch the show if you get the chance.

Well it takes a lot of staf... (Below threshold)
914:

Well it takes a lot of staff to run a proper socialist party.

Now if every CEO was limite... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

Now if every CEO was limited to the same pay and perks as the Presidnet like Pelosi said.
Oh wait

Will Daniel Hannan be at th... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Will Daniel Hannan be at this meeting? And will he be addressing Obama? I'd pay to see that.

As much as I criticize Obam... (Below threshold)
Weegie:

As much as I criticize Obama, I don't see how this is a legitimate criticism. Obama doesn't decide on the majority of the people who travel with him - no president does.

Secret Service, AF1 and AF2 crews and support, Marine 1 crews and support, etc, etc, make up the vast majority of the group. I would expect the same would be necessary regardless of who is president, regardless of the state of the economy.

Remembering the Good Ol' Da... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Remembering the Good Ol' Daze of a Clinton budget surplus.

*sigh*

Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Lorie!


I'm hoping Gordon Brown giv... (Below threshold)
Tim:

I'm hoping Gordon Brown gives Obama a set of classic Britcom DVDs. He's sure to love Are You Being Served!

I agree with Weegie. When ... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

I agree with Weegie. When you consider support/security I think 500 people is not a large number. I am not an Obama fan in the least but for the Office of the President I do not think this is an outlandish number.

That must be a typo of some... (Below threshold)

That must be a typo of some sort.

Why would he need that much security in such a safe, gun-free Utopia as the UK? Everyone knows that once you ban the civilian possession of small arms, peace and tranquility ensue.

The only way to use this as... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

The only way to use this as any sort of true critique would be to eliminate the staff associated with security from the count. I fault no POTUS for bringing security in any amount anywhere off US soil.

If he were bringing 500 assistants, family members and friends beyond those needed for security then this would have been a legitimate criticism. Especially if former POTUS' had brought significantly smaller staff.

No, I did not vote for Obama. My personal belief is that his staff is immature and neophytes in foreign affairs and that he and his his staff are economic morons.

I wonder if this little cav... (Below threshold)
914:

I wonder if this little caviar trip will cost more than Sarahs wardrobe? You'd think the media would be right on aN EXPOSE of the cost right?

ODS... (Below threshold)
max:


ODS

Just a question, do they pr... (Below threshold)
mag:

Just a question, do they protect some presidents more than others, or if we are at war, or if the situation calls for more protection????

I think people are making w... (Below threshold)
Danielle:

I think people are making way to big of a deal out of this entourage thing. Just a few months ago, everyone was talking about how Obama would need so much protection- more so than any other President. People were freaking out about assassination attempts and worried for his safety. Now, it's true we have bigger things to worry about with the economy, but how quickly we change our minds! I agree that he needs to be able to function in Europe just as he would in Washington, and if taking these people, this technology, allows him to do that then so be it. What is important is what he gets done at the summit, not who goes with him. This is our chance to bring world leaders together and fix the economy- either Obama's way or someone else's. Will other countries' go along with Obama? This video has a lot about the summit and how other countries are reacting http://tinyurl.com/ctl5bg. I just hope they can come together with plans to solve the crisis.

Here is the point, Obama... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Here is the point, Obama tells us we have to cut back. ... yet Obama takes almost as many people to Europe as Bush did

Bush: 700
Obama: 500

That's a 29% reduction. That's "almost as many" to you?

Talk about cherry picking a couple of phrases and then trying to misrepresent it!

IN OBAMA THEY TRUSTED IN OB... (Below threshold)
Flu-Bird:

IN OBAMA THEY TRUSTED IN OBAMA WERE BUSTED




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