There are times when my wife and I can’t get on quite the same schedule, and we have to travel in two cars to the same destination at different times in a single day. But I don’t think we would ever fly on two different planes to the same location on the same day. That’s just a little excessive. But that’s just what the Obamas did recently:
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were both in California at the same time yesterday, but the pair took separate flights for two different television appearances.
Yesterday, President Obama traveled aboard Air Force One to California for a TV appearance with comedian Jimmy Kimmel. The First Lady, however, flew on a separate plane to California for a TV appearance with Ellen.
And these aren’t separate flights on commercial airlines. This is Air Force One and a retinue of secret service agents. GOP representative Howard Coble has complained about this issue before:
“I will admit … that Air Force One belongs to President Obama and his wife, but Air Force One also belongs to you and me, and to every taxpayer in America,” Coble continued. “I simply ask the president and his wife to exercise more prudence and discipline regarding their aircraft activities. . . . When the wheels of Air Force One are up, the meter is on, and I’m talking about a heap of taxpayer dollars.”
A big heap of taxpayer dollars: about $179,000 per hour of flight time. The least the Obamas could do would be to fly on the same plane. Especially when they’re going to appear on talk shows. It’s not like we’re talking about a diplomatic mission or a political appearance. Sheesh.
It might seem like this is just trivial nitpicking. But this kind of extravagance is exemplary of an out-of-touch attitude and a serious lack of circumspection. Most people in the US are struggling to make ends meet. The national debt is climbing. And the President and his wife can’t even get their schedules synced up to save us a million or so here and there. Lame.