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The Cost of Obama's Trip to India

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Forwarded emails based on unsubstantiated press reports claim President Obama's trip to India will require a staff of 3,000 people and a flotilla of 34 war ships, at a cost to American taxpayers of $2 billion.

Description: Rumors
Circulating since: Nov. 2010
Status: False

Example #1:
Email text contributed by an AOL user, Nov. 4, 2010:

Did you hear the latest?

The President of the United States, Barack Obama is traveling with 3000 people to New Delhi for the Ceremony of Lights? It is costing the American public 2 billion dollars!!! He has rented the entire Taj Majah for his personal stay WITH the rest of the 3000 people! They had to remove coconuts from the trees so they didn't fall on his head while he was riding a bike through the town. What? Spending our hard earned $ to travel with 3000 people during the height of unemployment, a recession???

On top of that expense to the American taxpayers, 34 warships sit in the water in case he is attacked. How much is that costing the taxpayers?

Does he have ears that hear not?
Eyes that see not?
A mind that does not take in the significance of the election results.
or.. Is it total arrogance?

Is it a lack of sensitivity to the American public..the taxpayers footing these bills?

Recession. Unemployment. Healthcare. Need I say more?



Example #2:
Email text contributed by an AOL user, Nov. 4, 2010:

TO INDIA. SITE OF THE TERRORIST BOMBING AND MASSACRE AT THE SAME LOCATION AS THIS "VISIT" TO WITNESS THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS CELEBRATION.

OUT OF CONTROL!!!!! Last I heard it was going to cost us $2 BILLION...that was before this bit of info! The "trip is to take 10 days; accompanied by 3,000 staff; rental of 800 hotel rooms; ONE AIRCRAFT CARRIER AND 33 SUPPORT SHIPS; A FLEET OF HELICOPTERS AND A BRIGADE OF MARINES FOR SECURITY.

THIS IS FOR A PERSONAL TRIP---NOT OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

Why Doesn't the guy just give us the finger and be done with it.?

NOVEMBER 2012 CAN'T GET HERE SOON ENOUGH FOR ME!!!



Example #3:
Email text contributed by Elizabeth K., Nov. 5, 2010:

Fw: OBAMA DEPARTS US

DOES THIS RECESSION HAVE YOU WATCHING YOUR PENNIES? DO YOU THINK OBAMA HAS BEEN WATCHING THE U.S. BUDGET?

OBAMA HAS BIG PLANS TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY JUST TWO DAYS AFTER THE REPUBLICAN ANNIHILATION TO GO TO INDIA. HE IS TAKING MICHELLE AND TAKING THE KIDS OUT OF SCHOOL FOR THIS BIG TRIP. DO YOU WANT TO KNOW JUST HOW BIG AND EXPENSIVE THIS TRIP IS GOING TO BE FOR THE U.S. TAXPAYER?

WELL... THE TRIP IS GOING TO REQUIRE 45 AIRCRAFT (yes, I did say 45 aircraft) INCLUDING BOTH AIRFORCE ONES. IT WILL REQUIRE 10 ARMOURED VEHICLES, 2 PRESIDENTIAL LIMOS, AND NUMEROUS OTHER SUPPORT VEHICLES INCLUDING THE DISMANTLING OF 3 MARINE HELICOPTERS TO BE SHIPPED IN PARTS AND REBUILT IN INDIA FOR HIS FAMILY'S USE. THEN THEY WILL BE DISMANTLED AND SHIPPED BACK TO AMERICA AND RE-ASSEMBLED. THERE WILL BE THOUSANDS OF SECRET SERVICE AND OTHER PROTECTION SERVICES, ADVANCED TEAMS, ETC.

DON'T YOU JUST WONDER WHY 45 AIRCRAFT ARE REQUIRED. IS HE TAKING HIS ENTIRE EXTENDED FAMILY FROM KENYA AS WELL???

OH, I FORGOT TO TELL YOU THAT THE ENTIRE TAJ MAHAL HOTEL HAS BEEN RENTED OUT FOR THE ENTIRE WEEK. THAT IS 570 ROOMS FOR THE PRESIDENTIAL PARTY. 570 ROOMS! WHO THE HELL IS GOING ON THIS TRIP AND WHY? TO APOLOGIZE FOR AMERICA'S COLONIALISM AND BAD BEHAVIOR THESE PAST 234 YEARS, I PRESUME. OH YEAH, AND HE IS TAKING MULTIPLE TELEPROMPTERS. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME A TELEPROMTER HAS EVER BEEN USED IN THE COUNTRY OF INDIA.

FINALLY, IF YOU THINK I AM BLOWING HOT SMOKE UP YOUR YOU-KNOW-WHAT... FEEL FREE TO GO TO THE WHITEHOUSE WEBSITE AND VERIFY EVERY ONE OF THESE DETAILS. HECK, I HAVE HAD OBAMA LOVERS/VOTERS BLOW HOT SMOKE UP MY YOU-KNOW-WHAT FOR THE PAST 21 MONTHS. AND JUST LOOK HOW IT HAS LEFT THE STATE OF THIS UNION.

SO... CONTINUE TO WATCH YOUR PENNIES WHILE OBAMA SPENDS YOUR DOLLARS ON TRIPS AND LOBSTER FOR MICHELLE (have you seen the size of that woman? the same woman running the obesity campaign.) I DO HAVE ONE SUGGESTION FOR PENNY PINCHING: WE COULD TURN OFF THE LIGHTS, AIR-CONDITIONING, ETC., AT THE WHITE HOUSE AND LOCK UP THE OVAL OFFICE. OBAMA IS NEVER THERE DOING THE PEOPLES' WORK ANYWAY. 5 OUT OF EVERY 7 DAYS HE IS ON AIRFORCE ONE FLYING SOMEWHERE AND SMOKING HIS MARLBOROS AS HE LOOKS DOWN ON ALL OF US DUMMIES, OR AT LEAST ON ANY OF YOU DUMMIES WHO VOTED FOR THE MESSIAH. PLEASE CONTINUE TO ENJOY YOUR HOPE AND CHANGE WHILE "ROME BURNS."



Analysis: These and similar exercises in hyperventilation began circulating in early November 2010, shortly before President Obama embarked on a 10-day trip to Asia with scheduled stops in India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan. Contrary to what is stated in some of the messages, the President is traveling on official business, not a "personal visit."

Specific claims about the number of people in the presidential entourage (3,000), the number of hotel rooms reserved (800 in one version, 570 in another), the number of warships deployed (33 or 34), and the cost of the journey ($200 million per day, or $2 billion total), etc. originated in Indian press reports which were repeated uncritically by partisan news outlets in the U.S. The Press Trust of India cited an unnamed Indian official as the source of the information; the Times of india cited no sources at all.

The claims were flatly denied by U.S. officials. "Due to security concerns we are unable to outline details associated with security procedures and costs," said the White House press office, "but it’s safe to say these numbers are wildly inflated." Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell dismissed the notion that Obama and staff would be protected by 34 warships as "absolutely absurd." White House Press Secretary Robert Gibss said the cost of the trip would be "comparable to when President Clinton and when President Bush traveled abroad."

FactCheck.org notes that $200 million per day is more than it currently costs the U.S. military to prosecute the war in Afghanistan.


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Sources and further reading:

The Cost of Sending Obama to India
About.com: U.S. Government Info, 5 November 2010

Pentagon Dismisses Reports of 34 Warships
ABC News, 4 November 2010

Rep. Michele Bachmann Claims Obama's Trip to India Will Cost $200 Million a Day
Politifact.com, 3 November 2010

Trip to Mumbai
FactCheck.org, 3 November 2010


Last updated 11/11/10

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