Once again, Yahoo's political blog, the Upshot, provides me with motivation. As a side note, I will be making a 2010 election response post soon.
For now, I'll turn to the offending post. The article revolves around a piece of information that has been spread with so little regard for the truth it should be criminal. A very questionable newspaper in India wrote a completely unsubstantiated article that claims that Obama will be spending 200 Million dollars per day on his 10 day trip to India. The sheer ridiculous of this number should be obvious, but I'll try to put it into context later. The reason this is a prominent story is that several republicans (Notably: Huckabee and Bachmann) have picked up this headline and repeated it as truth. This should be soundly denounced, but those repeating the claim use the fact that the White House "won't" release the actual cost as proof of some diabolical plot to defraud America.
As the secret service has done for many, many presidents, they restrict the cost of any presidential trip (foreign or domestic). The logic for this is sound - releasing that information has serious security implications. Armed with just the cost information, it would be possible to draw some pretty realistic conclusions about the level of security for the president. That information would be a crucial first step to mounting an attack on the president.
So, please join me in laughing at this claim, and ridiculing those that promote it. Fox News, Huckabee, Bachmann - lending any credible to this is shameful. Now - for some fun facts:
· If this figure were accurate, the total cost of the trip would be 2 billion dollars.
· This is 50% of the total spent on ALL campaign commercials, advertising and the midterm elections for 2010.
· To earn this amount, you would need to win “Who wants to be a millionaire” 2,000 days (5.4 years) in a row.
· Mike Huckabee’s former state would make approximately the same amount in the same period. That’s EVERYONE in Arkansas. I don’t think Obama is bringing them all along.
· As factcheck.org mentions, previous presidential trips with a 600 person entourage cost approximately 2.1 million per day. Mike Huckabee thinks Obama is bringing 60,000 people, I guess. Think he’d bring me?