And then there were the reports of a 2,000 person entourage, 870 hotel room reservations, 34 warships, including an aircraft carrier, two jets armed with advanced communication and security systems, and a fleet of over 40 cars, 13 heavy-lift aircraft with high-tech equipment, three helicopters and 500 US security personnel...I mean, that seems unbelievable. Doesn't it?
The White House issued a blanket statement that the $200 million figure "had no basis in reality" and was "wildly inflated." The press office declined to disclose the trip's actual cost, citing "security concerns."
In a news briefing Thursday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs also refused to release numbers, but he told reporters point-blank, "We are not spending $200 million a day."
March 30, 2000
ABC News, apparently relying on unnamed Pentagon sources, has reported a price tag: a cool $50 million -- the "most expensive overseas trip ever taken by a president," as they put it during the March 23 broadcast of World News Tonight. And because the newscast did not fully identify the costs, it is unclear if this estimate includes only military costs - or even only Air Force costs.
Meanwhile, Air Force Times also pegged the cost at $50 million [3/27/00], implying this figure reflects Air Force costs alone. The article also identifies the numbers and types of aircraft dedicated to the trip: 14 C-17 Globemaster IIIs; 12 C-5 Galaxys, 3 C-141 Starlifters; and 2 C-130 Hercules. In addition, 7 KC-10 Extenders and 39 KC-135 Stratotankers were to deploy. The return mission was to require the same types and numbers of assets with some exceptions, but to include an additional 10 Galaxys and 3 more Stratotankers.
ABC News' John McWethy, while traveling with the President reported that:
"Ninety percent of the costs [cited by the World News Tonight anchor at $50 million] are for airplanes, drawn from an Air Force that is already stressed meeting military and humanitarian commitments overseas.
When a President travels, all the public ever sees is Air Force One, but consider this: Seventy-seven other Air Force planes are being used on this one trip, including 26 of the biggest transports, C-5s and C-17s".
The Marines also were called in to support this jaunt, as noted by the Washington Times on March 24:
"The U.S. military sent 10 CH-53 helicopters to India and Pakistan to support President Clinton's ongoing road trip. The large helicopters flew from the Marine Corps base at Kanehoe Bay, Hawaii, to ferry Mr. Clinton, daughter Chelsea and other friends of Bill.
"The helos arrived via giant U.S. Air Force C-5 transport aircraft. In addition, the Marines dispatched about 100 troops for air crews and support."
The General Accounting Office (GAO) examined just three of Clinton’s many trips, to Chile, China, and Africa in 1998, and found:
- Chile: $10.5 million cost; 592 people traveled, 109 from White House;
- China: $18.8 million cost; 510 people traveled, 123 from White House; and
- Africa (6 countries): $42.8 million cost; 1,300 people traveled, 205 from White House.
These figures are from 10-12 years ago, and do not include Secret Service costs. These trips were before 9/11. Before the terrorist attack in Mumbai. Before The Beast.
Or how about George Bush? He certainly wasn't above criticism for his own travel plans. (Someone tell that to Chris Matthews - he seems to think Obama is only getting criticized because of his skin color... I know, I know.)
Bush's Entourage of 700: What's It Costing?
Why on earth does President Bush need an entourage of 700 for his four day jaunt to England? That's ridiculous. What's even more galling is we, the American taxpayers, are footing the bill.US President George W Bush and his 1000-strong entourage have touched down in Sydney, triggering the biggest security lockdown in the city's history.
Mr Bush, his wife, Laura, and a 700-strong entourage worthy of a travelling medieval monarch, flew into Heathrow airport slightly late, at about 7.30pm. The couple were greeted by the Prince of Wales, then whisked to the palace by US military helicopter.
With up to 100,000 anti-war protesters planning to march through the heart of Whitehall tomorrow - and the cost of 5,123 police officers protecting the president likely to top £10m - Downing Street maintained a stiff upper lip in the face of predictions that the four-day visit could prove a major public relations disaster.
[President Bush] hopped into one of two black armour-plated limousines, which, with the president on-board, is known as Cadillac One.Thousands in security detail for Bush trip to Israel, Mideast
His vehicle left the tarmac in a convoy of no less than 40 vehicles, headed by two NSW police cars and including six ambulances and two paramedic motorcycles.
Accompanying the president was expected to be 150 national security advisers, 250 Secret Service agents, 200 public servants, 50 political aides, 15 sniffer dog teams and even five chefs.
The presidential 747 was accompanied by a second identical stand-in plane and followed by a third jumbo jet carrying 150 White House journalists, medical staff, advisers, public servants, Secret Service agents, dogs and cooks.
It is understood two or three transport planes carrying the presidential helicopter, Marine One, and dozens of motorcade vehicles including limousines, Secret Service wagons, VIP guest vans and an ambulance deployed in Sydney around two days ago to be ready for the president's arrival.
The total 1,000-strong delegation is more than three times larger than any other country, including the 300-strong Australian team.
The U.S. military has arrived in Israel to prepare for the visit of President George Bush.Security arrangements for Bush visit to cost Israel $25,000 an hour
The sources said Bush would be accompanied by a huge military force during his visit to Israel and tour of the Middle East. They said the president would be supported by at least four air transports that would contain special equipment as well as nearly 2,000 troops and bodyguards.
Officials said police would deploy 3,500 officers and army troops to protect Bush, Middle East Newsline reported. They said large areas of Jerusalem would be closed to traffic during Bush's visit.
Don't even try looking for a hotel room in Jerusalem this week. There may be 7,000 hotel rooms in the capitol, but just about all will be occupied by U.S. President George W. Bush's delegation during his visit here Tuesday through Friday. A large number of rooms are booked for the 8,000 police and security officers coming to Jerusalem to guard the visit and keep order. About 450 rooms in the King David Hotel, where Bush is staying, and the Dan Panorama will be used by his entourage and as a press center.Considering the price tags for Clinton's trips, and the number of planes, trains, and automobiles involved with Clinton's and Bush's trips, it’s really not THAT hard to believe the numbers being reported for Obama's trip, is it? Especially based on his own past travels.
FactCheck.org reported even though the administration won't release a price tag, there is "simply no evidence to support" a claim of $200 million a day. One reason to doubt the report, according to the group: The entire war in Afghanistan costs $190 million a day.An entourage of 500 staff, an armor-plated limousine. a fleet of decoy helicopters, 200 US secret service staff, a six-doctor medical team and his kitchen staff.
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 armored transport.
US security teams have already carried out three visits to prepare for Obama’s first official visit to Britain.
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."
And should anything befall the President, a White House medical unit will be at hand to provide emergency care. The team consists of surgeons, nurses and other medical personnel and carries supplies of blood of the type AB, the president's blood group.
That is not to say that some of the precautions for Obama's first presidential visit to India aren't possibly a tad over the top. As the BBC reports, Indian officials have been removing coconuts from any trees that Obama might walk under, to prevent anything from falling on the presidential head. And as London's Daily Telegraph notes, the country has deployed trained monkey catchers to prevent any "simian invasion" (a measure that Indian officials also took when President Bush visited in 2006).I agree, it is hard to fathom anyone spending $200 M a day, but come on....
Do you really think Obama is incapable of out-spending Bill Clinton or George Bush?
Their command over the English language has unwittingly landed nearly 300 city cops in virtual confinement as they have been assigned duties at the Taj and are not allowed to leave the hotel till US president Barack Obama leaves on Sunday afternoon.
Bomb-proof tunnel with air conditioning: Obama's security go to extraordinary measures for his tour of the Gandhi museum
Obama to use teleprompter for Hindi speech
Namaste India! In all likelihood that will be silver-tongued Barack Obama's opening line when he addresses the Indian parliament next week. But to help him pronounce Hindi words correctly will be a teleprompter which the US president uses ever so often for his hypnotising speeches.Barack Obama's India trip set to seal £6bn worth of deals for US
The Obamas were due to stay overnight in the hotel before flying to Delhi today. An entire floor has been reserved for their use and all 570 rooms booked for their entourage and security.Full security in place for Obama's visit: HM
Around 10,000 security personnel have been deployed. The president, who is travelling with hundreds of investors and trade officials, addressed an audience of top Indian businessmen in Mumbai last night. The White House, aware of the role the fragile American economy played in last week's poor poll results, has been keen to underline the economic gains the trip is expected to bring for America.
Around 2,000 police and paramilitary personnel will be deployed in and around the hotel which had earlier hosted US Presidents Bill Clinton in 2000 and George W Bush in 2006 besides US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last year.
Mumbai has turned into a fortress as security personnel on Friday took their positions with a massive three dimensional security-- land, air and water put in place for the US President Barack Obama's two day visit beginning from Saturday.
Nearly 5,000 security personnel, including US security men, Indian Intelligence officials and elite commandos have been deployed in south Mumbai alone as all venues on the itinerary of the POTUS fall in this region, police said.
Indian Navy and Coast guard officials have stationed their ships off the shores of Mumbai to secure the coastline even as the warships including US Navy's Peleliu, an amphibious assault ship, carrying choppers, are in Indian waters off the Mumbai harbour, police said. A massive convoy of Presidential vehicles have been brought in Mumbai in aircrafts, police said.
UPDATE: I would like to point out that the original article read:
He will also be protected by a fleet of 34 warships, including an aircraft carrier, which will patrol the sea lanes off the Mumbai coast during his two-day stay there beginning Saturday. The measure has been taken as Mumbai attack in 2008 took place from the sea.It doesn’t say the US is sending 34 warships – it says he will be protected by 34 warships. There are photos of a US warship off the Mumbai coast, there for protecting Obama. It is quite possible that India also sent their own warships, isn’t it? According to the Guardian, around 10,000 security personnel have been deployed.
The Indian Navy and Coast Guard have 259 ships between them, including:
AIR CRAFT CARRIERS
- Delhi Class – Delhi, Mumbai, Mysore
- Rajput Class – Rajput, Rana, Ranvir, Ranjit, Ranvijay
- Godavari Class – Ganga, Godavari, Gomati
- Talwar Class – Talwar, Trishul, Tabar
- Brahmaputra Class – Brahmaputra, Betwa, Beas
- Giri Class – Dunagiri, Udaygiri, Taragiri, Vindhyagiri
- Khukri Class – Khukri, Kuthar, Kirpan, Khanjar
- Kora Class – Kora, Kirch, Kulish, Karmuk
- Veer Class – Veer, Nirbhik, Nipat, Nishank, Nirghat, Vibhuti, Vipul, Vinash, Vidyut, Nashak, Pralaya, Prabal
- Abhay Class – Abhay, Ajay, Akshay, Agray
- Sukanya Class – Sukanya, Subhadra, Suvarna, Savitri, Sharada, Sujata
- Pondicherry/Karwar Class – Pondicherry, Porbandar, Bedi, Bhavnagar, Allepey, Ratnagiri, Karwar, Cannonore, Cuddalore, Kakinada, Kozhikode, Konkan
- Mahe Class – Mahe, Malpe
- Magar Class (LST) – Magar, Gharial
- Kumbhir Class (LST(M)) – Ghorpad, Cheetah, Guldar, Sharabh, Mahish, Kumbhir
- LCU – L 32 – 39