Opinion: Obama and Air Force One: It’s good to have a 747
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President Obama will spend Monday night flying across the Pacific and United States after his latest vacation, 11 days in Hawaii. It will be his first trip of 2011 aboard Air Force One.
Last year Obama flew in Air Force One 172 times, almost every other day.
White House officials have been telling reporters in recent days that the Democrat doesn’t intend to hang around the White House quite so much in 2011.
They explain he wants to get out more around the country because, as everyone knows, that midterm election shellacking on Nov. 2 had nothing to do with his healthcare bill, over-spending or other policies, and everything to do with Obama’s not adequately explaining himself to his countrymen and women.
And with only 673 days remaining in the neverending presidential campaign, the incumbent’s travel pace will not likely slacken.
At an Air Force-estimated cost of $181,757 per flight hour (not to mention the additional travel costs of Marine One, Secret Service, logistics and local police overtime), that’s a lot of frequent flier dollars going into the president’s carbon footprint.
We are privy to some of these numbers thanks to CBS’ Mark Knoller, a bearded national treasure trove of presidential stats. According to Knoller’s copious notes, during the last year Obama made 65 domestic trips over 104 days and six trips to eight countries over 22 days. Not counting six vacation trips over 32 days.
He took 196 helicopter trips, signed 203 pieces of legislation and squeezed in 29 rounds of left-handed golf.
Obama last year gave 491 speeches, remarks or statements. That’s more talking than goes on in some entire families, at least from fatherly mouths.
In fact, even including the 24 days of 2010 that we never saw the 44th president in public, Obama’s speaking works out to about one official utterance every 11 waking hours. Aides indicate the Real Good Talker deems we need more.
As the president so often says, ‘Please be seated.’
-- Andrew Malcolm
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