Skip to comments.Aloha Obamas! First Family's Vacation Comes to an End, but Taxpayers Left with Hefty Bill
Posted on 01/03/2012 9:12:49 AM PST by Responsibility2nd
KAILUA, HAWAII - President Barack Obama and his family and friends left Oahu on January 2, 2012, after a 17-day, notably low key vacation.
While the Obamas were in the islands, they visited the grave of Stanley Dunham, President Obama's grandfather, at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and an exhibit at the East West Center that featured work of Stanley Ann Dunham, the president's deceased mother.
The family also stopped at the President's favorite Kailua shave ice store, Island Snow, and the President played golf with his friends at Mid Pacific Country Club in Kailua and at Ko'olau Golf Course, one of the world's most challenging courses, in Kaneohe.
The President and Michelle Obama also visited with US troops stationed in Hawaii on Christmas Day at the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base, located just two minutes away from their multi-million dollar Kailua beachfront home rental.
The President was criticized last month for skipping the Pearl Harbor 70th anniversary events remembering the 2,400 Americans who died during the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor - several of the Pearl Harbor survivors gathered at Pearl Harbor for one last time - but the President and his wife Michelle took time out to lay a wreath there three days ago.
Steffan Tubbs, a talk show host in Denver, Colorado and a board member with the Greatest Generation Foundation who was in Honolulu for the December 7 tribute, earlier criticized the President in Hawaii Reporter noting: "There were thousands of people in attendance at the Pearl Harbor remembrance, yet President Barack Obama born just a few miles from the USS Arizona memorial was not only a no-show, but did not bother to send a written or videotaped greeting thanks to these men," Tubbs said. He also noted Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was a no show, even though his bio and picture were listed in the program and he was scheduled to deliver remarks in person.
Parts of Kailua, a laid back beach front community on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, has been under lock down since the Obamas arrived. U.S. Coast Guard boats have guarded the canal and ocean front surrounding the Kailuana Place home and residents on Kailuana Place and Kailuana Loop have had to endure extensive Secret Service searches for themselves and pre-registered guests just to get to their homes.
While many Hawaii residents were pleased the Obamas chose to vacation here - the President is still popular in the state where he lived through high school - their time in the islands came with a steep price for taxpayers.
The total cost (based on what is known) for the 17-day vacation roundtrip vacation to Hawaii for the President, his family, security and staff climbed to more than $4 million. Hawaii Reporter research shows the total cost for the Presidents visit for taxpayers far exceeded $1.5 million in 2010 but was even more costly this year because the family extended their vacation by three days and the cost for Air Force One travel has jumped since last assessed in 2000.
■The biggest expense is President Barack Obamas round trip flight to Hawaii via Air Force One, a cost the GAO office estimated at $1 million in the year 2000. Contacted today, the GAO confirmed there is no report the independent office affiliated with Congress has prepared since 2000 to operate Air Force One and Air Force Two. However, the U.S. Air Force provides the most current numbers of $181,757 per flight hour. Travel time for Air Force One direct from Washington D.C. to Hawaii is about 9 hours or $1,635,813 each way for a total of $3,271,622 for the round trip to Hawaii and back. ■The cost for USAF C-17 cargo aircraft that transports the Presidential limos, helicopters and other support equipment to Hawaii was not made available. However, the flight time between Andrews Air Force Base and Hawaii is at about 21.5 hours roundtrip, with estimated operating cost of $12,000 per hour. (Source: GAO report, updated by C-17 crew member). The United States Marine Corps provides a presidential helicopter, along with pilots and support crews for the test flights, which travel on another C-17 flight. That is $258,000, not including costs for the 4 to 6 member crew's per diem and hotel. ■Mrs. Obamas early flight to Hawaii costs about $63,000 (White House Dossier), but add security and personnel for a total of about $100,000. HOUSING: $151,200
■The President and his family pay for their own beachfront rental (they are not staying in the Winter White House this year but rather a house on the same street further to the ocean point). ■The Kailua rentals are fronted by the ocean and backed by a canal. So, the taxpayers must cover the costs for housing U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Coast Guard and Navy Seals in beach front and canal front homes in Kailua. That costs about $1,200 a day ($200 allocated per bedroom per day). Since security arrives one day early, homes are rented for 18 days. That is about $21,600 per home for approximately 7 houses rented at a total cost of $151,200 for security to stay nearby. HOTEL: $72,216
■The Presidents staff and White House Press Corps stay at one of Hawaiis oldest and most elegant hotels, the Moana Surfrider. Hawaii Reporter confirmed they stayed there this year as well. Besides its stunningly beautiful view of Waikiki, and its traditional architecture, it is one of the most pricey hotels in the state. Government rates are $177 per night, but that only is available during certain times a year. Rooms typically start at $250 but can cost on average as much as $450 a night, and are even higher during the holidays. Hotel spokeswoman Marsha Weinert said she could "neither confirm nor deny" the president's staff is staying there. A conservative estimate with rooms at the government rate of $177 per day (excluding a 9.25 percent Transient Accommodation Tax and a 4.712 percent General Excise Tax on each bill, meals, internet charges and other charges) means the taxpayers are covering more than$72,216 in hotel bills for an estimated 24 staff. LOCAL TAXPAYER COSTS: $260,000
■Local police over time for the presidents visit has historically cost Oahu taxpayers $250,000 but may be more expensive this year with the extended vacation. ■The city ambulance the accompanies the president 24 hours a day through his entire visit is $10,000, according to city spokeswoman Louise Kim McCoy. ■City officials have not yet totaled the bill for local taxpayers for police enforcement and ambulance service for this trip. UNKNOWN COSTS
There are several costs the White House annually refuses to release, citing security. For example:
■The presidents security usually rents an entire floor of an office building in Kailua on the canal during the presidents stay. ■There are security upgrades and additional phone lines to several private homes where Obama and friends are staying. That includes bullet proof glass installed, home security systems disabled, new security measures put into place and additional phone lines added. ■There is the cost for car rentals and fuel for White House staff staying at Moana Hotel. ■And there are additional travel costs Secret Service and White House staff traveling ahead of the President. The total cost (based on what is known) for a 17-day round trip vacation to Hawaii for the President and his family and staff and security is an estimated $4,113,038.
Hawaii Reporter has sought to determine the cost of vacations for the current president and last two presidents but the Government Accountability Office was able to provide those costs and referred Hawaii Reporter back to the White House spokesperson. A spokesperson for the White House said the cost is "in line" with other presidents.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosis has been vacationing at a resort on another island, Hawaii Island.
Pelosi spent at least the last three holiday vacations in Kona at the same hotel, The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.
While she is here, Pelosi, like the Obamas, was escorted by secret service and local police.
Over the last two years, Hawaii county taxpayers paid more than $34,000 for local police to escort Pelosi.
Oahu taxpayers paid for local police overtime for the presidents security at a cost of about $250,000 a year.
Police on Oahu and Hawaii Island have not yet released the cost for security and overtime.
For reading a teleprompter? Good work if you can get it.
In fact among the only pictures I saw were the first family marching up church steps on Christmas day & their visit, an obvious afterthought, to the Arizona memorial.
The list, Ping
Let me know if you would like to be on or off the ping list
And this Four million dollar waste of tax payer funds could have been better spent where . . . . . . . . . . yet we get hung with the bill. THEY should have had to pay the entire thing. Every dime.
Yet his "Home" in Chicago remains unused. What is that costing us? Yet people say we are not living under a Monarchy. "Let 'em eat sushi!"
This POS is in it for the PERKS, nothing else.
THEY should have had to pay the entire thing. Every dime.
Wow. Talk about pouring money down a ‘Rat hole.....
Actually, I think it might be cheaper all the way around if he just stayed in Hawaii until the end of his term.
One of the few silver linings to my son’s current deployment in Afghanistan is that he’s away from MCBH while The One chooses to visit the base.
And while He’s there, the Marines are prohibited from using their own gym, the mess hall, and other facilities should He choose to make an appearance.
And to add insult to injury, He and Moose stuck the taxpayers with the $4 million plus tab.
And I thought the Clintons were bad...
The Presidents staff and White House Press Corps stay at one of Hawaiis oldest and most elegant hotels, the Moana Surfrider w/ stunningly beautiful view of Waikiki, and its traditional architecture, it is one of the most pricey hotels in the state on average as much as $450 a night,
I feel sorry for those unfortunate enough to have their vacations coincide with the Kenyan Klown and his entourage.
how often did he visit his white grandparents after becoming an adult?
this annual vacation to Hawaii only became annual after he became president...how often did they as a family go there before? I would really like to know?
VOTE NOV. 6, 2012 AND RETURN THEM TO CHICAGO.
Maybe that's why there was little coverage ... they're all suffering from walking socialism ... a fatal desease, especially under ozedocare.
White grandfather, or white father?
btw, they will never return to Chicago. They have spent two nights in their Chicago house over the last 3 years..yet, it has 24/7 security
Obama shouldn’t feel to bad. I’m sure he’s looking forward to his next vacation he will take in a few weeks.
I actually don’t like these types of articles. Including the Airforce One flight is what balloons the costs into the millions of dollars.
Setting a precedent that it is fair game to go after a President’s use of Air Force One as extravagant will only come back to bite us once a Republican is in office.
Which is a drop in the bucket in comparison to the check THEY are going to stiff us for when he walks in 2013. I can just hear MOOCHelle laughing now.
as for his Chicago home, wonder why he doesn't shed it now??maybe it is not really his? possible?