Obama under fire for costly date on Broadway
Republican rivals have accused the First Couple of wasting taxpayers’ money on a Saturday night out that reportedly cost around $75,000
It took him 131 days, but on Saturday night Barack Obama finally made good his campaign promise to his wife Michelle that he would take her to a Broadway show as soon as he had a night off. However, the First Couple's 'date night' in Manhattan - which cost around $75,000 - has been heavily criticised for wasting taxpayers' money in a recession.
The date, which the Obamas paid for themselves, was not extravagant. Barack and Michelle dined at the trendy but unpretentious Blue Hill in New York's West Village, renowned for its menu of local produce. After dinner, they took in a Broadway show, Come And Gone, Joe Turner's highly acclaimed drama about African-Americans in the 20th century.
Although tickets for the show plus a couple of Martinis at the Belasco theatre reportedly cost around $200, it was the transport costs which pushed up the cost of Obama's Manhattan jaunt.
Instead of taking Air Force One, the Presidential Boeing 747, the Obamas opted for a Gulfstream jet, meaning two extra planes were needed to carry the President's entourage and reporters. Each flight cost around $25,000. The cost of the date was pushed even higher with the use of two helicopters to ferry the Obamas to and from Washington and JFK airports.
While New Yorkers lined Broadway to greet the President and his First Lady, Obama's rivals accused him of insensitivity at a time when US car giant GM is set to plunge into bankruptcy.
"As President Obama prepares to wing into Manhattan's theatre district on Air Force One to take in a Broadway show, GM [General Motors] is preparing to file bankruptcy and families across America continue to struggle to pay their bills," said a statement from the Republican National Committee (RNC).
The RNC spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said: "If President Obama wants to go to the theatre, isn't the Presidential box at the Kennedy Centre [in Washington] good enough?" ·
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