Skip to comments.Some Now Question Cost of Inauguration
Posted on 01/13/2005 7:20:49 PM PST by alessandrofiaschi
WASHINGTON - President Bush's second inauguration will cost tens of millions of dollars $40 million alone in private donations for the balls, parade and other invitation-only parties. With that kind of money, what could you buy?
_200 armored Humvees with the best armor for troops in Iraq.
_Vaccinations and preventive health care for 22 million children in regions devastated by the tsunami.
_A down payment on the nation's deficit, which hit a record-breaking $412 billion last year.
_Two years' salary for the Mets' new center fielder Carlos Beltran, or all of pitcher Randy Johnson's contract extension with the New York Yankees.
Weeks ago, the inauguration and its accompanying costs were considered a given, an historic ceremony with all the pomp, pageantry and celebrations that the nation had come to expect every four years.
But a recent confluence of events the tsunami natural disaster, Bush's warning about Social Security finances and the $5 billion-a-month price tag for the war in Iraq have many Americans now wondering why spend the money the second time around.
While the Presidential Inaugural Committee hopes to raise $40 million in private donations for the balls, parades and candlelight dinners for high-roller donors, millions of government dollars will be spent on construction of the platform and stands at the Capitol, police overtime, military personnel and the tightest security for the first post-Sept. 11 inaugural.
The questions have come from Bush supporters and opponents: Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?
New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat, suggested inaugural parties should be scaled back, citing as a precedent Roosevelt's inauguration during World War II.
"President Roosevelt held his 1945 inaugural at the White House, making a short speech and serving guests cold chicken salad and plain pound cake," according to a letter from Weiner and Rep. Jim McDermott, voting record), D-Wash. "During World War I, President Wilson did not have any parties at his 1917 inaugural, saying that such festivities would be undignified."
Lawmakers representing the Washington area have complained to the White House about the District of Columbia not getting enough federal help to cover the estimated $17.3 million security costs of the inaugural.
Organizers of the inaugural defended the celebration.
"The inauguration of a United States president is one of America's greatest traditions, a tradition that transcends partisan politics," said Tracey Schmitt, a spokeswoman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee. "Our theme is celebrating freedom and honoring service."
She cited the Commander in Chief inaugural ball that offers free tickets to service members back from Afghanistan and Iraq and their family members. That ball is one of nine; the other eight require a ticket.
"Every inaugural there's a really good reason given why you should spend whatever donors are sending in on something else," said Rich Galen, a veteran Republican activist, saying many of the complaints come from the losers of the election.
Billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks, voted for Bush twice. Cuban knows a thing or two about big spending, once starring in ABC's reality TV show, "The Benefactor," in which 16 contenders tried to pass his test for success and win $1 million.
Cuban questioned spending all that money on the inaugural.
"As a country, we face huge deficits. We face a declining economy. We have service people dying. We face responsibilities to help those suffering from the ... devastation of the tsunamis," he wrote on his blog, a Web journal.
Cuban challenged Bush to set an example: "Start by canceling your inauguration parties and festivities."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Will Lester covers polling and politics for The Associated Press.
It's so horrible when people spend their own money in a manner that the AP doesn't approve of.
good points. But this is a tough call.
Except .. if this were a Kerry inauguration - would this subject even be spoken of .. I think NOT! That's why they can go pound sand!!! I don't care what it costs!
Will Lester is a lefty hack trying to make a big deal out of nothing.
Oh yes, I agree, but that's not my point. We, the Republicans should be for SMALL GOVERNMENT, and this event is a shining example of the contrary, IF it will be used Federal cash money (and DC's citizens tax money).
Did you or the press speak out when Clinton was having the party? or when he spent $40 million to take his family and a 100% democratic delegation to China? or dig a tunnel for traffic in Boston?
$40 million alone in private donations
Once again the liberals want to tell people how to spend their money. Their own pocket money. Not their tax money, mind you, which gets spent by others whether we like it or not. This is plain hypocrisy on the liberals part. Not one penny of theirs is being spent in this $40 million but they can see such better uses for this money. I can too. Destroy the pro-abortion lobby. Now, get out of my face liberals and go to that party that Ted is throwing.
Well .. you don't have to agree .. but that's my point. If this was a democrat president this "cost" would not even be a factor .. that's why it's NOT AN ISSUE. The very fact that the govt cannot spend money to celebrate a national election is just beyond lunacy.
And .. you can bet your sweet bippy that the "shove it" person would NOT HAVE PAID FOR HER OWN GOWNS.
Both of Clinton's inaugurations were close to 30 million each, the first "in the worst American economy in 50 years" or so he said. Bush hardly had an inauguration in his first term and if DC can't spend a small part of that 250 million dollars in HSA grants on security then there needs to be an investigation into why not.
Funny...I don't remember any such squawking from the Leftist media at Carter's or Clinton's inaugural expenses...
Would the same complainers have told Kerry to have an inauguration "on the cheap"?
Why can't we give to the tsunami victims, AND have a party?
And, please! Mark Cuban, who gave a million dollars to some lame reality show, has a lot of room to complain about how money's being spent.
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