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Taxpayer Bill for Obama’s Hawaii Vacations: $20 Million

by Keith Koffler on January 4, 2013, 10:07 am

Michelle Obama recently revealed that she and President Obama don’t give Christmas gifts to each other. They merely say, “We’re in Hawaii,” and that’s Christmas gift enough.

But actually the present is from taxpayers, and it’s an expensive one.

The total cost to taxpayers of Obama’s vacations to Hawaii since becoming president is likely in excess of $20 million, and possibly much, much more. During a time of budget deficits that threaten the nation’s security and its future, the Obamas have chosen to  maintain a “family tradition” and vacation halfway around the world instead of finding far cheaper alternatives closer to home.

The $20 million figure is based on estimates of the cost of the four Hawaii vacations the Obamas have taken during Christmastime 2009-2012. According to a detailed breakdown by the Hawaii Reporter, the annual excursions in 2009, 2010, and 2011 cost about $4 million, much of it attributable to the expense of taking Air Force One, at an hour rate of about $180,000, on an eighteen-hour roundtrip journey to Honolulu and back.

New Year's Day, 2012

New Year's Day, 2012

But $4 million almost certainly underestimates the true tally, as it does not include many miscellaneous items like the cost of flying advance teams out to Hawaii and separate flights Michelle Obama took in 2010 and 2011, when she left ahead of her husband, who was forced to stay in Washington to finish up work with Congress.

This year, Obama returned from Hawaii to complete a deal on the Fiscal Cliff and then jetted back to Honolulu, where he is now engaged in Part 2 of his vacation. The second roundtrip flight added about $3.24 million to the tab this time, bringing the cost of the 2012-1013 vacation to well over $7 million.

If we assume the estimates are probably quite low, then it’s likely to the bill for the combined vacations is more than $20 million.

Given that much of the cost involves transporting the First Family and its retinue, the Obamas could have saved taxpayers millions by doing what the vast majority of Americans do: taking either one trip a year, or none.

The Obamas get plenty of vacation. They have sojourned every summer in Martha’s Vineyard except for last year, when campaigning and pre-election concern about appearances got in the way. They often take a side trip somewhere else during the year, and Michelle goes skiing annually out West.

At the very least, they could spend their Christmas holidays at Camp David or at one of the many fine resorts outside of Washington, which would require only the use of the presidential helicopter to get them there.

If they must find a warm haven, a rental home on the Gulf Coast, the Atlantic shore of Florida, or even Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands could easily be arranged at a fraction of the price of getting to Hawaii.

Some argue that Obama is justified in returning to Hawaii because that is where he spent his formative years. But how many of us get to go visit our roots for a two week vacation every year?

The Obamas probably also feel they must go to Hawaii because they are creatures of habit. While there, they do the same things and visit the same places every year. But their allegiance to routine is costing the taxpayers – including those in the middle class Obama claims to care so much about – millions of dollars.

Which brings us to OBAMA 5-0.

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{ 658 comments… read them below or add one }

mmilesll January 4, 2013 at 12:18 pm

They are pond scum

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helpus January 4, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Ommm Oh Rogue Wave Oh please, oh please Rogue Wave will you wash our sins away and save US from this Communist creature

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Anonymous January 4, 2013 at 12:21 pm

My question is this…has anyone checked to see if and how often the Obama’s went to their “hometown” of Hawaii for Christmas before Obama was elected President?

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lc southern January 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm

they didn’t.

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BillyBob January 4, 2013 at 12:23 pm

I don’t care how many of these vacations he takes as long as we tally up the cost and then 1099 him for them. Make him pay income taxes on it.

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Failed Obamessiah January 4, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Let them eat wagyu and arugula…

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Brodave January 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Rather than “let them eat cake”, I think Obama’s response is “I really don’t give a damn what the suckers think.”

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lc southern January 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm

ugh…

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mesa January 4, 2013 at 12:29 pm

…why is everybody surprised. Hes just rubbing it in the face of the great white supressor. Besides, his kind of behavior is typically predictable…

…wise up you jerks…

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Playrighter January 4, 2013 at 12:31 pm

One apparent side benefit of Obama returning to Hawaii this time: He was (for a change) actually on time for his brief “victory speech” Tuesday night. When he’s got a plane to Hawaii to catch, he figures out how to read a clock. Other times, the words “beginning shortly” are permanently burned into the White House streaming site for his speeches.

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davidkachel January 4, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Obama is toilet scum!

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Steve January 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Ugh…the arrogance of Obama seems to have no bounds. It seems that they think we OWE it to them. And to them I say, “remember Marie Antoinette…her attitude and what happened to her”.

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CV January 4, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Living the Jig life.

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DT January 4, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Could I have just 1/1000th of that?
I really need my prescription refilled.
Hope you had a nice vacation, Obama.

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Rusty January 4, 2013 at 12:39 pm

It’s convenient to say “Obama spent $20 million on vacations.” In reality, however, the cost of maintaining and operating the fleet of VC-25s and support craft are fairly well fixed. The flight crews, ground crews, and support crews are all salaried professionals, so whether they’re on the ground or in the air, they’re paid. There are a couple of unmarked VC-25s that AF1 pilots use to train, and they’re in the air a lot. On average it costs about $180 million a year for the Air Force One fleet, so a few million on a flight to Hawaii is but a very small percentage of a fixed expenditure. Makes for an easy target, but it’s not an honest look at the situation.

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Otis Driftwood January 4, 2013 at 2:30 pm

the unmarked VC-25′s are also assigned other missions and on board support equipment is not close to the 2 marked VC-25′s. So their cost per hours is going to be allot lower.

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John Kvastner January 4, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Except that charging personal vacations on the public dime violates the Constitution (not that that every stopped him before). According to the seventh paragraph, Section 1, Article II of The Constitution of the United States of America:

“The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.” (Bold emphasis mine)

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Chris Edens January 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm

I’m hoping to take a vacation here soon. It will probably be about 25miles away in a dirt hole with a camp fire. It’s about all I can afford and now with the payroll tax cut not being extended it will probably be a small fire.

I hope the king and queen enjoy their vacation at our expense. I know how difficult it must be to even consider cutting back or at least leading by example on fiscal responsibility. We wouldn’t want you to have to cut back on things like the rest of us. I am also a creature of habit but this fiscal mess has forced me to do it.

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Jason January 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Where is a hungry shark when you need one …

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Cahd January 4, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Why no story about the United States taxpayers sending over 8 MILLION to Israel…EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. That is 3 BILLION per year. Why don’t you people care about that ? All of Obama’s vacations would be payed for with less than 3 days of our handouts to Israel.

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suzy January 4, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Israel is OUR Friend and ONLY friend. We are sending tons of money to our enemies, why don’t you mention them?

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HudsonValleyWest January 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Nothing like a little “shared sacrifice,” right Barry?

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Avenger January 4, 2013 at 12:45 pm

This is addressed to anyone who voted for B.O……………YOU ARE AN IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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suzy January 4, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Amen to that!

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Bob C January 4, 2013 at 12:47 pm

A new look at “While Rome burned Nero played his fiddle”.

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Withheld January 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm

It’s reparations folks, pure and simple.

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Coach January 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm

It’s time for a method to be put in place that gives Congress the authority to curb spending for personal reasons by the resident of the White House. How many vacations did the Jeffersons, oops, Obamas take to Hawaii before they hit the tax-payer funded, unlimited credit limit lottery? ZERO! It’s time to stop the insanity!

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suzy January 4, 2013 at 2:15 pm

ha ha ha it will be a cold day in hell!

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ILikeRush January 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Obozo lives the good life while millions of us look for jobs and many millions mooch off the government.

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SJ January 6, 2013 at 10:57 am

You been collecting unemployment while you’re looking for a job, by any chance?

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Richard January 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Doesn’t seem like enough……only 20 million?

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Candi January 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Where did Gunner go after receiving the news that Obama’s $20m+ Hawaiian vacations (that figure is just for Hawaii–not all the other vacations the Obama’s have taken at taxpayer expense) are not GWB’s fault?

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Tyrone January 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Can we just get our plane back and leave all of the useless “baggage” over there?
Perhaps Obama could run for supreme surfer bum or pineapple picker in chief.

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michael misenheimer January 4, 2013 at 12:59 pm

the black communist bastard should pay his own way.not taxpayers.

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suzy January 4, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Clinton flew his daughter and mother in law all over the world the last year he was in office. Nobody said or wrote a word about it.

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kaddi January 4, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Salary is $400,000 a year plus a $50,000 expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment.

Why are the obama’s entitled to another expensive vacation at OUR expense? They should be responsible for paying for their own vacations! Our country is broke but these people continue to splurge on borrowed money! They are heartless and selfish. Twenty million would have fed a lot of hungry people!

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Lynda January 4, 2013 at 1:00 pm

The fact is, no one has/can accurately estimate the cost of an hours travel on Air Force One. The costs given are for fuel alone and do not take into account the hourly costs to operate the Andrews AFB runway (security, weather, operations, public affairs for media, protocol, etc.) the AF One presidential hangar (security, maintenance, flight crew, fuel specialists, etc.). The $180,000 also does not take into consideration the costs for the 24/7 security, operations, protocol, fuels, weather, public affairs, etc., at Pearl Harbor/Hickam AFB for the men and women in the military whose own Christmas vacations are sidelined because the Obamas choose to fly there instead of remaining in D.C. Finally, the presidential aircrew and the Secret Service, etc., must stay locally in Hawaii during the vacation, so be sure to add in those costs. The per diem rate per day in Hawaii is $303 PER person.

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Otis Driftwood January 4, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Lynda,

the Pentagon has put in writing that AF1 cost per hr is 179,000.. to 181,000.00. Google it. Also look at other posts showing outside news agencies confirming this.

As per DOD written regulations the cost per hour also includes fuel, maintenance program and authorized crew costs. The 187th Wing’s budget absorbs the cost of the hangers, ground support personnel, yellow gear, addition security, etc. They also receive additional money from other agencies for the extra security. The also split the cost with all tenants of Joint Base Andrews for maintaining the runways 24/7.

The assigned AF One aircrew are on 24/7 notice when away from Andrews, if they are told to be airborne / wheels up in 30 min it can happen anywhere any time. So their close to the aircraft. The SS detail(s) are also close to the aircraft as well as the family members. The lowest / highest military Per Diem for Hawaii is 202.00 / 404.00 per person (as per the JFTR – Joint Federal Travel Regulations). However these amounts can be waved at anytime upon request (and have been routinely for Presidential Ops). The SS and other govt civilian agencies are governed by the FTR.

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three rivers January 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm

to just be fair and balanced…

THE FAMILY TRADITION did not become tradition until the taxpayer began paying for his trips…how many times did the obama family visit Hawaii before he became president??
will be interesting to see how often they return when they have to foot the ENTIRE cost…

we are living in a sad time today…America as we knew it is now gone…I weep for the Nation we have lost…

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suzy January 4, 2013 at 2:19 pm

so do I, I left my land to come here and be free and now we are going back to what I left behind. You think you are sad???? I am sick with sadness.

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William Mozdzierz January 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Americans are being played for suckers by the Con Man in Chief. Sign this petition to stop spending taxpayer money on the President’s vacations: http://wh.gov/Q0l1

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Ibulena January 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Of course they don’t exchange Christmas gift.

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Mandy January 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm

This Hawaii vacation ploy is the same as what the Clinton’s did when Bill was Prez. They pick places that will keep the media happy. Bill and Hillary would always go to Martha’s Vineyard. Who would want to go to Arkansas or Chicago for vacation? No one. Look how the media complained when they had to go to hot, boring Texas for the Bushs’ vacations.

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B January 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Publish these numbers all you want…eventually people will finally realize that Obama and his family DO NOT CARE about the taxpayers or how much money they cost them.
It’s really very simple…they DO NOT CARE!!!

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Barbara O'D January 4, 2013 at 1:08 pm

With every blink of an eye,with every sunrise and every sunset, Obama makes me sick. He actually makes me both physically ill and mentally ill. I am serious.

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Bud January 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm

I think a more appropiate place for him to vacation is Leavenworth Prison. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper, and for the crimes he has committed, it would be a perfect vacation hot spot for this Chicago Thug.

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Ken Hilliard January 4, 2013 at 1:14 pm

So sad that for years we Americans have elected into office at all levels leaders that wrote and passed laws that violated the constitution. They also put in judges like Roberts who uphold laws that are unconstitutional. No we have a system that fails to protect the American citizens vote. They have open many doors for fraud and illegal votes. Our failure has resulted in lose of liberty. If we had done what we were suppose to do by voting and kicking out any elected official who didn’t follow the constitution we would not have Obama in office. Now we bitch about him (rightfully so) but in the long run every American citizen is responsible for our government. Now it is way pass the cliff…we are speeding toward the bottem.

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Citizen Director January 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm

“The Obamas probably also feel they must go to Hawaii because they are creatures of habit.”

The “habit” started after O won the primary. There were no annual luxury visits to Hawaii prior to that.

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DLinc January 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Why are we paying for this for any president. I have to pay for my own and if the funds are not available, then there is no vacation. Which by the way is a strong probability after the fiscal cliff BS. Just saying!!

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Entitled 2 Free Stuff January 4, 2013 at 1:18 pm

$20 million? That’s at least 180 new homes for storm victims that went un-bulit to buy Obama a vacation instead.

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Art January 4, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Hey, I only get 1 vacation per year and I have to pay for it myself. I think the people should start a petition that calls for congress to pass a law that would limit a president to 1 taxpayer paid vacation per year and limit the dollar amount to $10 million. Any amount over that or extra vacations would not be paid by taxpayer money. Obama has spent way more than his fair share of our money for his entertainment. He needs to figure out have to save US money instead of spending it. Call or write your senators and representatives and let them know it really is time for a change.

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Bud January 4, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Everyone stop paying taxes ! This is how our hard earned money is being wasted ! If we stop paying taxes, the Federal Government will shut down, then we can fire all the employees and replace them with people who actually care about this Country. We can stop payments to all the countries that hate us, kick the UN out of New York, start drilling for oil on our own land, get rid of the IRS and make a simplified tax code. We will have all the money we need to flurish. We just need to get the corrupt politicians out of washington, and stop the special interest groups from corrupting them.

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Ren757 January 4, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Obama is all in for himself, now. He doesn’t need any more campaign contributions so he doesn’t care who he offends. He’s a sickening human being.

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Entitled 2 Free Stuff January 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm

$20 million would pay for an ordinary American family’s vacation for the rest of their lives.

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Doug Huffman January 4, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I’m sure they do not exchange Christ Mass gifts. Axe dem ’bout Kwanzaa gifts.

Some compare previous presidents’ vacations to Obummer’s vacation dollars and days.

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Entitled 2 Free Stuff January 4, 2013 at 1:25 pm

$20 million could have paid for the life-saving cancer treatments of 60 dying children.

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Pam B January 4, 2013 at 1:27 pm

I live in the town where he vacations.

I think the nation should witness the entourage of police cars and staff that accompany the Obamas while we all wait in stopped traffic trying to get to work to pay for all of it. This is a really expensive state to live in! While he is hiking or having shave ice hundreds of people are inconvenienced. I say bring the shave ice machine over to your REALLY expensive vacation compound instead of making us all wait hours to get out of our neighborhood.

We are not all on vacation in Hawaii. Some of us are just trying to get to work or take our kids to soccer practice. One of my daughter’s friends missed her Nutcracker performance waiting in traffic while the Obamas went for a hike.

He should stay on the Marine Base next door to the posh residence he stays in and save us all a little money. He goes to MCBH almost every day to the gym anyway, followed by a huge security detail. The Obamas act like the nouveau riche with no concept of how hard everyone else is working. How many schools could be rebuilt with this vacation money?

MAHALO for calling him on it. Our state is allowing him to get away with it. I can’t imagine Chicago would close down streets so he can go hiking and golfing. I appreciate that the Clintons and other presidents used Camp David. The Obamas should consider the same.

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Steve January 4, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Come on, like him or not he and his family are entitled to go on vacation where they want to go, whenever they want to go. The fact that in this day and age it costs so much is an expense we have to live with. He is not a prisoner of the White House, he is the President of our great country.

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ImJustSayin January 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm

What is great about a country that murders millions of men, women and children overseas? That has no manufacturing? That is owned by banksters that have and are stealing more than the workers of this country have ever even made? That has a government that has sold out to big pharma, big corporations and perpetual war? That is so far in debt that it can never recover? That has and is letting its entire infrastructure crumble? That steals from the pensions and social security of its own people? That has rigged elections with only elitist picked swine as candidates? That has a lying congress that does and will do anything to keep themselves in power regardless of what it does to the people and the country? That has 50 million people on food stamps and welfare, that sends the youing to foreign soils to fight meaningless battles and then discards them when they finally come home? Just what fn great country are you referring to?

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suzy January 4, 2013 at 2:21 pm

not so great country any longer!

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ImJustSayin January 4, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Just more disgusting behavior from the top pig in this pig government. I would expect no less. This country is toast.

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H.C.Phillips January 4, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I didn’t realize Negroes could swim.

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