President Obama’s speeches are already costing taxpayers well over $1 million – and probably closer to $2 million – as the president jets around the country campaign-style to drum up support for his agenda.
The tally includes a two-stop trip Wednesday that took Obama to Galesburg, Illinois and Warrensburg, Missouri; an excursion Thursday to Jacksonsville, Florida; and a fourth speech planned for Tuesday in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Further trips are on tap but haven’t been announced.
The bill for Air Force One, which is known to cost about $180,000 per hour to fly, totals close $1.3 million alone based on the travel time already incurred and the estimated travel time Tuesday.
Additional costs include tens of thousands of dollars for a cargo plane that accompanies the president everywhere he flies, spending on the chopper that takes him from the White House to Andrews Air Force Base where he hops aboard Air Force One, staff, motorcades, and logistics on the ground in the places he visits.
The White House says it’s worth it. “Traveling across the country and laying out his vision for how best to accomplish those priorities is an important part of his job,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest Thursday.
Nevertheless, it’s also an expensive part, particularly during a moment when government services are being cut due to the sequester and a budget battle looms for Obama with Republicans in Congress.