The right is freaking out because Obama is staying in a $345 a night room during his August Martha’s Vineyard summer vacation, but Bush spent more on one flight to Crawford than Obama’s hotel costs.
The Blaze titled their story, “OBAMA PLAN $7.6 MILLION MARTHA’S VINEYARD VACATION.” Gasp, the president is spending $7.6 million on his summer vacation. Cue, the outrage. How dare he waste taxpayer money on such luxury? At least, this is the emotional response that Republicans and the right wing media are hoping for.
What Republicans and their media are conveniently leaving out is that President Obama isn’t spending $7.6 million on his vacation. The president is staying at a $7.6 million resort.
The Washington Examiner reported, “Local reports indicate that the first family will likely be staying at a $7.6 million resort home on southern edge of the island in the town of Chilmark where homes feature water access to Chilmark Pond, tennis courts and swimming pools.” This is apparently where Republicans stopped reading and began foaming at the mouth. Later in the same article the actual details of the cost of the trip are revealed, “While the president typically keeps to himself and carries with him only a handful of staffers to Martha’s Vineyard, security will be tight. As in the past, the Wesley Hotel in Oak Bluffs will house security and communications officials. The owner told the Vineyard Gazette that the Secret Service has booked 70 rooms and another five have been reserved for the Transportation Security Agency. Rates at the hotel run from $225-$345.”
Let’s do a little quick math on Obama’s “$7.6 million” summer vacation.
Nightly room cost: $345
Estimated Number of Nights Stayed: 7
Total Cost of Obama’s Room: $2,415
Number of Rooms Reserved: 75
Room Cost For Obama’s $7.6 million Vacation: $181,125
In previous years, President Obama has stayed at a private residence in Martha’s Vineyard, but that option was not available to the president this time, so he is staying at a resort. $345/night doesn’t seem particularly extravagant for the President of the United States. They will need lots of rooms for Secret Service and security, plus transportation, food, and wages, but the total cost will not be $7.6 million.
Republicans argue that Bush’s vacations were cheaper because many of them were taken at his ranch in Crawford, TX, but this is not true. President Bush spent more taxpayer money on a single flight to Crawford ($805,000) than Obama will be spending on 70 hotel rooms for a week ($181,125). The flight from the White House to Crawford is 1,435.8 miles each way. The distance from the White House to Martha’s Vineyard is 494.8 miles. The flight to Martha’s Vineyard is 75 minutes. The cost of Obama’s flight should be $214,000 each way. What Bush may have gained by owning the ranch was offset by the fact that his flight was three times longer. Obama’s hotel and flight still cost a little less than half as much as one Bush flight to Crawford.
President Bush also inflated his vacation costs, because he rarely just flew to Crawford and back. The Bush administration tried to combat criticism of the then president’s constant vacationing, by setting up a series of day trips on each vacation. President Bush’s “working vacations” cost taxpayers a small fortune, because he used Air Force One as his personal taxi service to make trips all across the country, and returned to Crawford at night.
Obama is not spending $7.6 million in taxpayer money on a “luxury” vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. Republicans keep believing that they can turn the country against President Obama if they distort the cost of every single move he makes. It never works, but yet they keep trying. The fact is that Obama’s vacation spending will never compare to Bush’s because the Republican did travel excessively while spending 32% of his presidency on vacation.
Over the upcoming days and weeks, you will hear the false information spread from Drudge to Rush Limbaugh to Fox News about the cost of Obama’s “luxury” vacation. Eventually, the talking point may be picked up by a few Republican members of Congress.
None it will be true, and all of it will be spoken to with the goal of getting America to hate President Obama as much as they do.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association