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November 5th, 2010
10:49 AM ET

KTH: The $200 million myth about Obama's Asia trip

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - It's a story that originated from a single, unnamed sourced in India - but it quickly gained momentum, spreading like wildfire among critics of the Obama administration in the United States and eventually, the airwaves.

The claim: The United States will be "spending a whopping $200 million per day" on President Barack Obama's trip to Asia.

That's roughly the amount the federal government spends each day on the war in Afghanistan. The figure has been dismissed by the White House as "wildly inflated."

What's more, the claim doesn't appear to hold water.

The former chief of staff for George W. Bush told CNN's Anderson Cooper in a Thursday interview that it doesn't pass the "sniff test."

"It doesn't to me, but I think the White House is appropriate in saying they don't talk about what it costs for the president to travel," said Andrew Card. "We want our president to be safe wherever he goes. I can't imagine it would cost $200 million a day.

"If it costs anywhere close to that number, the president should be asking tough questions of the Defense Department and the Secret Service and the State Department. But he should also be paying attention to keeping his entourage as small as credibly possible and still do the job that he has to do for the country as he travels."

While the White House has not released specifics on the cost of the trip, citing security concerns, White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage has said, "It's safe to say these numbers are wildly inflated."

Those numbers, according to Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, are: $200 million a day, $2 billion total, 34 diverted Navy ships, a 2,000-person presidential entourage, and 870 hotel rooms in India.

"And these are five-star hotel rooms at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel," Bachmann told CNN's "AC 360" Wednesday night.

Pressed by Cooper to back up her numbers, Bachmann said, "These are the numbers that are coming out in the press."

Full story

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. TM

    What I would like to see is how much comparable trips costs from other Presidents. Everyone needs some actual monetary figures to compare it to between historical figures and an average daily cost of the wars we are putting on. Don't forget Indian is the largest democracy in the World and a powerful ally to the U.S., especially since most americans do not especially like Pakistan or China. Seriously, 200M a day...lets hope he is staing at the Ritz or Westin.

    November 5, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  2. John

    So it's not 200Million. Is it 180Million? The White House won't announce the number but does not CNN have reporters to investigate how many planes are involved, the number of people in the official party, how many rooms are reserved and other items. Then those reporters can find some experts to estimate a cost.

    November 5, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
  3. michael Fillman

    Thank you Mr. Cooper for standing up for the truth and for dispelling such rabid myths about our president (this time in regards to his Asia trip). Truly, I have never seen in my 60+ years such outspoken and unwarranted hatred for a president. What ever happened to the American value of respect for our president?

    November 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  4. wes

    what is the cost for 2 jumbo jets, remember the back up jet, Back up limos, back up helicopters, security checks for 1 month,and special fuel brought in, along with other secret stuff. You have all seen the president go to NY and have seen the 50+ vehicle entourage. That is here in the states, one can only imagine what takes place overseas.

    November 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  5. Nate

    Isn't it possible that this mysterious Indian source was quoting the daily cost of the President's trip in rupees? Given the current conversion rate, 200 million rupees would be approximately four and a half million dollars–in line with the reported costs of previous trips.

    It could easily be a coincidence, of course, but at the very least it's another simple common-sense litmus test that this "story" was apparently never subjected to.

    November 5, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  6. Elizabeth Martinez

    How much have we spend on trips for all the previous presidents.

    November 5, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  7. Cindy

    It is amazing this woman has been able to spit lies over and over and over again, and no one in her party, and obviously her state, finds this disturbing. There was a time when a liar was not respected and certainly not revered.

    November 5, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  8. Ken Walters

    Such falshoods are the prime reason I have gone from Republican to Independent, leaning Democrat. Rep Bachmann, either get your facts straight before opening your mouth, or be still. You're making the US look silly before the rest of the world.

    November 5, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  9. Craig

    Anderson–Thanks for exposing the deception behind this ridiculous story. It has been three days since the election and already Michelle Bachman is spewing false allegations and her ultra-conservative friends jumping on the bandwagon. It is sad to think that over half of the country thinks that these are the people that are going to Save America when they can't even get their facts right nor even seem to care to do so! Spew hate first, validate later...maybe!

    November 5, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  10. Ken

    200,000,000 Indian Rupees= 4.5 Million US Dollars. I think the mystery of what the source was try to say has been solved.

    November 5, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  11. B. O'Neal

    I feel sorry for whatever state she represents because when it comes to anything related to the President she will not investigate nor ask intelligent questions to find the truth - she appears interested in only the negativity. Why is that? If the best that she can come up with is "These are the numbers that are coming out in the press." than that's just pitful.

    November 5, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  12. Roni

    This makes it absolutely clear that all those political pundits and politicians attacking the president every single day can't stand a black president living in the White house.

    November 5, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  13. larry

    Mr. Anderson,
    You and your staff are doing a great job by checking to keep facts into the news you report. The Asia Trip by our President Obama was one of many that shows folk like Repulican Rep. Michele Bachmann needs a education in truth, before coming out in public, people like her who speaks with little or no facts,need to be shown, as you have for what they spill out. Ms. Bachmann,Rush,Savage or anyone else who spills lies on news programs need to be held accountable. Keep doing an outstanding job.
    Cherish Life,
    Larry

    November 5, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
  14. Ann

    Her is a prime example as to why the Republicans have taken over the house. It appears as if the average American person has no reasoning ability. Why would anybody in their right mind believe this propaganda. This story has to be a lie because the questions is .........when did the secret service start disclosing where the President of United States stays when he is abroad ? They do not even disclose where he stays when he visits other states other than Washington. Please people stop showing your ignorance.

    November 5, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  15. Susan

    Too bad Michelle Bachmann and her crowd don't realize the $200,000,000 is quoted in the India papers is India RUPEES, not US dollars. This works out to about $5,000,000 per day, about what President Clinton's trip to Africa cost. She (and the rest of the screaming right) should venture out of the country once in awhile to get a more global perspective.

    November 5, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  16. Jim Walker

    Anderson Cooper,

    200,000,000 India Rupees equals $4,523,761.05 US Dollars.

    Since this story came from the India Newswire I would think the most logical explanation is someone forgot to convert Rupees to Dollars.

    November 5, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  17. Lawrence

    I would like to thank Anderson Cooper for being the only person in the media to take time to do the research on this issue. Republicans as you can see from the video are out to humiliate the President. President Obama is trying his best to clean up the eight year disaster we went through as a nation due to our former President. Unfortunately President Obama has no supporting cast from the Republicans. Again thanks Anderson for getting the facts straight and truly making a mockery of Congress woman Michelle.

    November 5, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  18. Al Stokes

    The $200 Million Myth about Obama's Asia trip:
    Most likely the US congressman read the figures in a newspaper from India. This would be Rupees 200 Million a day which is about 4 to 5 million dollars per day. Looks like the congressman confused the Dollar with the Rupee!

    November 5, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  19. Reginald McCray

    That story sounded so false, there is no way 200 million dollars a day, or 34 warships, if anything its probably the usual 5 million a day, and warships, i dont even know but i doubt its 34!!! i'll say 1 or 2 ships

    November 5, 2010 at 10:59 am |