President Barack Obama obviously can’t travel as lightly as the rest of us – just try fitting a secret service detail in your SUV. But will Obama’s trip to India cost $200 million per day, as one web site is alleging? The very simple answer is no, and here’s why.
First, the source of the story is incredibly dubious. An Indian news agency quoted an anonymous source in Mumbai, who said that the president will have a 2,000-person entourage. This report was later picked up by Rush Limbaugh, who repeated the $200 million cost to his listeners, and thus an apparent urban legend was born.
The liberal web site MediaMatters.org has since debunked the report, as has FactCheck.org. The main problem is that no one seems to be able to source these numbers – and the White House itself dismissed the claim, saying the numbers were “wildly inflated.” But it’s caught hold in the press, probably in part because First Lady Michelle Obama was criticized earlier this year for going on a lavish vacation that required a secret service detail.
If the $200 million were true, of course, we bet Obama’s daughters, the socially aware Sasha and Malia, would call him out on it – they know their dad doesn’t need to take over the 570-room Taj Mahal when there are so many domestic programs that need funding.