Now, I presume a lot of you will say "he has every right"...but...

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Posted 11/29/2012 by MizIndependent in NSBR Board
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MizIndependent
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Posted: 11/29/2012 2:47:26 PM
...how can this kind of expense even be considered given our current economic situation? How can the president justify this kind of expense when so much of the US population is truly hurting financially?

Hawaii Reporter: Residents Alerted to Obamas' Hawaiian Holiday Plans


BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN - KAILUA, OAHU - Residents living near the beachfront homes where President Barack Obama and First Family vacation with their friends every year since 2008 were alerted on Monday to some specifics of the Obamas' holiday vacation plans.

The report delivered to residents living along the ocean and canal that surrounds the multi-million dollar homes at Kailuana Place where the President stays, informed them of restrictions that will be implemented for 20 days beginning December 17 and running through January 6.

In a matter of weeks, Kailua residents will see the familiar street barricades fronted by U.S. Secret Service agents and Navy Seals and the U.S. Coast Guard stationed in canal and ocean waters.

The President, who spent some of his childhood years in Hawaii, brings his wife, two daughters, Sasha and Malia, with dog Bo in tow, each holiday season. They settle into the small town community known for its spectacular sparkling beaches, warm turquoise ocean, rolling surf, country shops and restaurants and friendly people.

The homes where they stay are just a two-minute drive from Kaneohe Bay and the Marine Corps Base Hawaii, where the Obamas and friends can access private white sand beaches and military workout facilities.

While many residents welcome the First Family, others are disheartened by the restrictions put on air, water and road travel while the President and family are in town, especially because it is the holiday season and many families on vacation want to use their boats or surf and paddle in the welcoming ocean waves fronting the Kailua homes. In addition, the President's caravan of at least 22 vehicles including an ambulance can easily overwhelm the community that typically has single lane streets.

Adding to the controversy surrounding the President's visit is the cost of the trip.

With the staff, special forces, local police presence and equipment, the President's visit adds up annually to at least a $4 million vacation courtesy of the Hawaii and federal taxpayers.

While the President and his friends pay for their own rental homes, taxpayers pick up the cost of security and waterfront housing for the Secret Service, Navy Seals and Coast Guard as well as staff accommodations at a plush beachfront Waikiki hotel.

TRAVEL: $3,629,622

The biggest expense is President Barack Obama’s round trip flight to Hawaii via Air Force One.

A Congressional Research Service report released in May 2012 said the plane typically used by the President, a Boeing 747, costs $179,750 per hour to operate. The U.S. Air Force has listed the cost of travel as high as $181,757 per flight hour.

Travel time for Air Force One direct from Washington D.C. to Hawaii is about 9 hours or as high as $1,635,813 each way for a total of $3,271,622 for the round trip to Hawaii and back.

The cost for USAF C-17 cargo aircraft that transports the Presidential limos, helicopters and other support equipment to Hawaii has never been disclosed in the years the President has traveled to Hawaii. However, the flight time between Andrews Air Force Base and Hawaii is at about 21.5 hours roundtrip, with estimated operating cost of $12,000 per hour. (Source: GAO report, updated by C-17 crew member). The United States Marine Corps provides a presidential helicopter, along with pilots and support crews for the test flights, which travel on another C-17 flight. That is $258,000, not including costs for the 4 to 6 member crew's per diem and hotel.

The rentals are fronted by the ocean and backed by a canal. So, the taxpayers must cover the costs for housing U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Coast Guard and Navy Seals in beach front and canal front homes around where the President stays.

Last year, that added up to about $200 per bedroom per day, or $21,600 per average home for a nearly three week period, with special forces renting at least 7 homes. Security arrives ahead of the President costing taxpayers about $176,400 for the length of the visit.

The President’s staff and White House Press Corps typically stay at one of Hawaii’s oldest and most elegant hotels, the Moana Surfrider. Besides its stunningly beautiful view of Waikiki, and its traditional Hawaiian architecture and decor, it is one of the most pricey hotels in the state and government rates are not available during the holiday season. Rooms start at around $270 but can cost as much as $370 a night for an ocean view before Christmas, and climb much higher around the new year.

A conservative estimate with rooms at $270 (excluding a 9.25 percent Transient Accommodation Tax and a 4.712 percent General Excise Tax on each bill, meals, internet charges and other charges) means the taxpayers are covering more than $129,600 in hotel bills for some two dozen staff.

LOCAL TAXPAYER COSTS: $260,000

Local police are paid over time for the President’s visit, which has historically cost Oahu taxpayers $250,000.

The city ambulance the accompanies the President 24 hours a day through his entire visit is about $10,000 to city taxpayers.

UNKNOWN COSTS

There are several costs the White House annually refuses to release, citing security.

For example, the President’s security usually rents an entire floor of an office building in Kailua on the canal during the president’s stay.

There are security upgrades and additional phone lines to several private homes where Obama and friends are staying. That includes bullet proof glass installed, home security systems disabled, new security measures put into place and additional phone lines added.

There is the cost for car rentals and fuel for White House staff staying at a Waikiki Hotel.

And there are additional travel costs Secret Service and White House staff traveling ahead of the President.

The total cost (based on what is known) for a 20-day round trip vacation to Hawaii for the President and his family and staff and security is more than $4 million.

Hawaii Reporter annually has requested details on the cost of the President’s trip, but the White House will not release any figures, citing security concerns. A spokesperson has maintained the costs are "in line" with other presidential vacations.

Hawaii Reporter has sought to determine the cost of vacations for the current president and last two presidents but the Government Accountability Office referred Hawaii Reporter back to the White House spokesperson.

I am tempted to start calling him "Barack Antoinette".



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asr70
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Posted: 11/29/2012 2:52:01 PM

Barack Antoinette




Simply_Lovely
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Posted: 11/29/2012 2:52:49 PM
And how much did Bush's vacations cost?




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Posted: 11/29/2012 2:53:25 PM
There's expense incurred by US taxpayers for any president to travel. Bush went to Texas how many times? Same types of expenses would apply, housing, etc. Clinton went to the east coast, etc.

Would we rather he travel in coach? I think not.




MizIndependent
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Posted: 11/29/2012 2:55:55 PM
There is quite a difference between DC to Texas, and DC to Hawaii and at operating costs of at least $179,750 per hour...well, it doesn't take a mathematician to know that it's cheaper to fly to Texas than to Hawaii, cheaper by SEVERAL HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.



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ChrisB
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Posted: 11/29/2012 2:56:48 PM
No they wouldn't rather he not travel coach, they'd prefer he not travel at all...lock himself in the Whitehouse and eat bread and drink water until everything is absolutely perfect. Oh and he shouldn't smile either, or look like he's having any fun, cause, you know, some Americans are hurting.

not2peased
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Posted: 11/29/2012 2:57:34 PM
I think the OPs beef is absurd

when will this foolishness go AWAY?????


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lemonadedrinker
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Posted: 11/29/2012 2:58:26 PM
Oh please.....
restrictions are made all the time when certain people visit certain places. The security costs for even Z listers runs into $$$$. Bet they won't be bitchin when their house prices shoot through the roof because of the President using it as a holiday destination.

Costs escalate every year as new technology comes into play then new ways to combat any form of terror attack has to be increase which means increased expenditure. Maybe you'd prefer the President to stay in a Holiday Inn somewhere and dine out at Dennys rather than spend a dime on security

aprilfay21
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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:00:24 PM

No they wouldn't rather he not travel coach, they'd prefer he not travel at all...lock himself in the Whitehouse and eat bread and drink water until everything is absolutely perfect. Oh and he shouldn't smile either, or look like he's having any fun, cause, you know, some Americans are hurting.
Spot on. Can't it be enough that he's at least travelling and keeping the money within our country? He's bringing lots of business to Hawaii with this trip, is he not?




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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:01:31 PM
He has every right.

and I agree Kerry. It's becoming absurd.





MizIndependent
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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:02:22 PM

I think the OPs beef is absurd
Yeah, but how do you like my chicken?


Can't it be enough that he's at least travelling and keeping the money within our country? He's bringing lots of business to Hawaii with this trip, is he not?
I will certainly concede that very relevant point. He is putting the money into the US economy and that is a very good thing, especially at this time of year.



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mamato1
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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:02:47 PM
Here's an article detailing some of Bush's travel costs.

http://www.politicususa.com/cost-obama-christmas-vacation-bush.html

George W Bush spent $20 million JUST on flights to Texas during his presidency and that doesn't count ANY associated costs.

Bush also spent more time on vacation than Obama. Nearly double.

So...yeah. Can't get too bothered.

http://www.factcheck.org/2010/01/president-obamas-vacation-days/


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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:03:23 PM
Sorry OP, I can't get upset about this. It's not like the Obamas are jet setting on a high profile vacation just because. The article states that they do this every year and that it's like "going home " for the holidays. Just because it isn't his current home doesn't mean it isn't a special place to him.


~Jen


eebud
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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:05:38 PM
I read about this trip today. I actually have no problem with vacations that the president takes. I realize that they can work from anywhere, etc. Most of the time, this is something that is really a non-issue for me. However, the timing of this trip is what I have a problem with. I realize it is Christmas and I realize that the president and his family would like to get away but I think that everyone in Washington, including the President, should stay IN Washington until the Fiscal Cliff mess is worked out. IMO, the president should be in the city to meet face-to-face as needed until all sides can work out a compromise with our current fiscal crisis that is looming. Sometimes, conference calls are not the same and in my opinion, this is one of those times that Obama should be on site to Lead.





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smilesnpeacesigns
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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:07:18 PM
Wow! But, I never noticed how much Bush, Clinton, or Bush Sr. spent of the tax payers money for their Christmas's so I can't in all honesty say if that is going over board or not.

I know everyone has different Holiday Traditions but I thought that the President and his family had duties to attend to in the month of Dec. FOR the tax payers.

Is he going to fly up and light the lights, talk to the people who have loved ones across the world, is she done decorating and making sure that someone is there to meet dignitaries from other countries?

Are "they" going to feel slighted because the most important person in America thought that "his" Christmas was more important then taking care of his duties in Washington?

And with my rant, keep in mind that the only thing I know about Christmas in the White House comes from DIY channel, Christmas at the White House special....


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MizIndependent
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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:10:58 PM

I realize it is Christmas and I realize that the president and his family would like to get away but I think that everyone in Washington, including the President, should stay IN Washington until the Fiscal Cliff mess is worked out.
It would seem that Pres. Obama is certain it will be resolved one way or the other or he probably would not be leaving DC.

Now, whether "resolved" means postponing the fiscal cliff or letting the US go over, that is a different matter altogether.



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desertpea
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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:12:02 PM
Bush's ranch isn't in the middle of a metropolitan center, and he went to Camp David quite a bit -- the whole reason why Camp David exists and is paid for by the taxpayers to maintain.

I tend to agree with the whole Barack Antoinette meme. The man is completely out of touch with the mood of the nation.

ChrisB
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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:22:17 PM
Snort! The mood of the nation indeed! He was just reelected by said nation.

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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:29:19 PM
I was in Hawaii in August and loved it!! So my mood is jealousy.




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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:29:23 PM

Snort! The mood of the nation indeed! He was just reelected by said nation.


Snort.....decisively too! OVER 300 electoral votes!






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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:34:45 PM
ITA with Desertpea!

smilesnpeacesigns
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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:36:15 PM
snopes said, Regan, Clinton & Bush Jr spent Christmas at the white house
so that the employee's could spend Christmas with their families, Bush Sr. left one year on the 22Nd, for Christmas Vacation.



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Susie Pea
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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:37:08 PM
Sure, he needs a vacation, but with all of the talk about how in debt we are, couldn't he tone it down a bit. Who cares what Bush, etc. did. This mess is Obama's to fix and he needs to do his part.

If you were in debt up to your eyeballs, would you tone down your Christmas or would you just continue to spend, spend, spend?

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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:38:24 PM
It doesn't really bother me that he's taking another vacation. They need that time together as a family. BUT does it really need to be for 20 days? How many American families extend their family vacations to 20 days? I wonder how many Americans get 20 paid vaction days each year? If he decreased the amount of days he would save a considerable amount of money, but I'm guessing he's not concerned about the cost. I would be president or not.


Jen


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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:38:41 PM
MSP!





peas&carrots
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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:40:15 PM
I will state no opinion on the President's travels.

But this...



No they wouldn't rather he not travel coach, they'd prefer he not travel at all...lock himself in the Whitehouse and eat bread and drink water until everything is absolutely perfect. Oh and he shouldn't smile either, or look like he's having any fun, cause, you know, some Americans are hurting.




Is almost verbatim what I am told daily the American people want from me as a federal employee so in turn that is what my supervisor on up expects.

Carrie


MizIndependent
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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:40:29 PM
This is, first and foremost, a perception issue. The perception is unnecessary extravagance. He is not doing one thing to counteract that perception and the next logical step is to be perceived as not caring.


-snopes said, Regan, Clinton & Bush Jr spent Christmas at the white house
so that the employee's could spend Christmas with their families, Bush Sr. left one year on the 22Nd, for Christmas Vacation.
I didn't know that, but very cool.



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lynlam
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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:40:48 PM
"I will certainly concede that very relevant point. He is putting the money into the US economy and that is a very good thing, especially at this time of year. "
---------
Yes but the money has to come out of the economy to be put back in. Sure it's a boon for that area of HI, but somewhere else along the way that $4million won't be spent by the private sector. Broken window fallacy and all.

I think this is ridiculous. A week I might me able to swallow. But three? Now? When the mess he created is about to blow up in our faces? Asinine. He is completely out of touch with all reality.





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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:41:55 PM
^ YES!


MizIndependent
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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:42:25 PM

When the mess he created is about to blow up in our faces?
I have to say I do not believe he created this mess, obviously he has contributed just like the administrations before him. This mess has been a LONG time in the making.



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SmartyPants71
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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:44:46 PM
He can do whatever he wants, but I think I would prefer to stay at the Whitehouse for Christmas. It just seems more Christmas-y to me.
However, this:


While many residents welcome the First Family, others are disheartened by the restrictions put on air, water and road travel while the President and family are in town, especially because it is the holiday season and many families on vacation want to use their boats or surf and paddle in the welcoming ocean waves fronting the Kailua homes. In addition, the President's caravan of at least 22 vehicles including an ambulance can easily overwhelm the community that typically has single lane streets.



would totally piss me off. If I were to have a vacation home in Hawaii, I would expect to able to use all the amenities of my community while I'm there.

chocluver
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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:46:22 PM
Los Angelos to Honolulu is actually closer than Los Angelos to Anchorage. So Sarah Palin actually did the U.S. a favor by not winning!!!

MizIndependent
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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:47:13 PM

Los Angelos to Honolulu is actually closer than Los Angelos to Anchorage. So Sarah Palin actually did the U.S. a favor by not winning!!!
In so many ways, in so many ways.



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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:47:19 PM

Sure, he needs a vacation, but with all of the talk about how in debt we are, couldn't he tone it down a bit. Who cares what Bush, etc. did. This mess is Obama's to fix and he needs to do his part.

If you were in debt up to your eyeballs, would you tone down your Christmas or would you just continue to spend, spend, spend?


You're clueless. He doesn't have "tone it down". He's won re-election, he and his family deserve to have the kind of holiday THEY want to have, not what his critics THINK he should have. Besides, it's not like it's his personal debt and it not just HIS to fix, that's not how it works.





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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:48:00 PM
I could not care less.

It's a tiny amount of money in the grand scheme of things and presidents are completely entitled to travel and be protected during those trips, including ones that are theoretically vacations (though the idea of the POTUS having an actual vacation is ludicrous).

And I felt EXACTLY the same way when Bush was president.

eebud
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Posted: 11/29/2012 3:52:53 PM

I realize it is Christmas and I realize that the president and his family would like to get away but I think that everyone in Washington, including the President, should stay IN Washington until the Fiscal Cliff mess is worked out.
It would seem that Pres. Obama is certain it will be resolved one way or the other or he probably would not be leaving DC.

Now, whether "resolved" means postponing the fiscal cliff or letting the US go over, that is a different matter altogether.


If the Fiscal mess is worked out, then I don't have a problem with him taking a vacation. I realize it costs a of money and it is at the taxpayers expense but I also realize the president, regardless of who is sitting in the white house, has the most stressful job in the country. All of that said.........if I were a homeowner and now MY vacation was affected because of the president's visit, I would NOT be a happy camper.

Everyone in the House, the Senate and the White house should be required to stay IN Washington, DC until they work this Fiscal mess out though.





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2boysandwill
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Posted: 11/29/2012 4:05:07 PM
He's our PRESIDENT for crying out loud and his travel plans are such REGARDLESS of where he goes. We have no right to impose what *we* think he should be spending his VACTION MONEY on.

Now if you want to post about how expensive it is to employ the secret service and what not? Again, REGARDLESS OF WHERE THEY ARE. Then go for it. Nice to see that you're willing to put a price on their wages too.

Having an entourage of secret agents and a personal ambulance is a perk that comes along with being the president. Much like Customer B who gets an automatic lemon cookie every Tuesday.

2boysandwill
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Posted: 11/29/2012 4:07:51 PM

Everyone in the House, the Senate and the White house should be required to stay IN Washington, DC until they work this Fiscal mess out though.


I'm sorry...but if doctor's and nurses are allowed to change shifts and take vacations despite their patients condition? The House, Senate and WH staff should be able to disconnect. Sometimes you need JUST THAT: disconnect to think and make things happen.

MizIndependent
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Posted: 11/29/2012 4:16:19 PM

He doesn't have "tone it down". He's won re-election, he and his family deserve to have the kind of holiday THEY want to have, not what his critics THINK he should have. Besides, it's not like it's his personal debt and it not just HIS to fix, that's not how it works.
Perception is everything, especially in this country.



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SDeven
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Posted: 11/29/2012 4:24:37 PM
Really, in the scheme of what is spent on Presidential travel, security, etc...what's 3mil?

He's gotta go somewhere. He's gotta have security. Security guards get paid--that's jobs for Americans. And I'm sure it's a boost for the Hawaiian economy.

I didn't vote for the President, never agree with him on policy, but I don't find fault with him acting like a President. It's not like he could sit at home in the White House and order out for pizza on Christmas.






MizIndependent
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Posted: 11/29/2012 4:26:47 PM

It's not like he could sit at home in the White House and order out for pizza on Christmas.
smilesnpeacesigns pointed out that this is exactly what our most recent presidents have done (probably except ordering pizza for Christmas), all the way back to George Bush Sr (except for one Christmas that he traveled).



Youtube: Hungry For Change - Your Health is in Your Hands. Dieting doesn't work, this movie tells you why.

Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behavior does.


angievp
Ideay pues?

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Posted: 11/29/2012 4:27:30 PM
There is no "but." It's a vacation. He's entitled to it. Yes, he will probably do it again next year, and for the next 4 YEARS. Why do we keep talking about vacations? I don't think he needs to "tone it down."

nanett
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Posted: 11/29/2012 4:32:16 PM
Kaneohe Marine Corp base has a VIP cottage overlooking an amazing white sand beach, minutes from Kailua. The security, disruption and expense would be much less if he stayed there. President Clinton stayed there when he visited Hawaii.

Kailua really is a tiny little town with very narrow streets. The disruption, security needs and expenses there are going to be greatly increased.

Why isn't he staying on the Marine base? I'm assuming the cottage is still there and available???

Long ago Barney
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Posted: 11/29/2012 4:33:52 PM
He's irresponsible-has been-will be -until we can get rid if him!! Another 4yrs no surprise!!


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angievp
Ideay pues?

PeaNut 143,106
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Posted: 11/29/2012 4:35:05 PM

Why isn't he staying on the Marine base? I'm assuming the cottage is still there and available???



Do we get to criticize on how you spend your vacation? He's allowed to enjoy his vacation with his family as he sees fit.

MizIndependent
Is there another word for synonym?

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Posted: 11/29/2012 4:36:49 PM

Do we get to criticize on how you spend your vacation? He's allowed to enjoy his vacation with his family as he sees fit.
Are our tax dollars contributing a healthy amount in footing your vacation bill? Of course he should enjoy his vacation, but hell yes we get to criticize!



Youtube: Hungry For Change - Your Health is in Your Hands. Dieting doesn't work, this movie tells you why.

Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behavior does.


nanett
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Posted: 11/29/2012 4:47:24 PM


Do we get to criticize on how you spend your vacation? He's allowed to enjoy his vacation with his family as he sees fit.


My vacation would in no way cause an entire community the kind of disruption this is going to cause Kailua. Even if the expense isn't the issue, providing for the safety and security he needs will disrupt this community for the entire time he's there plus some set up time. This is not a large metropolitan area. It's a tiny beach front community with narrow streets and close houses.

And a military base with a VIP cottage is RIGHT THERE.

ChrisB
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Posted: 11/29/2012 4:48:00 PM
You can criticize to your hearts content, it doesn't change the fact that the man and his family can vacation where they want, when they want. All Presidents before him have and those after him will too. He doesn't have to stay at a cottage on a Marine base to make you (the collective you bitching about the President's vacations) happy.

The whole idea that "other people's vacations/holidays will have disruption" or whatever because of the President's vacation goes back to the idea that the only way some of you would be happy is if the man never stepped foot out of the Whitehouse so as not to inconvenience a single soul in this country or any other. Of course, then he'd be criticized for not "mingling" with the "common" folk.

For some of you the man could never do anything right, even if he shit enough gold bricks to pay of the debt and have a surplus to last 100's of years.

MizIndependent
Is there another word for synonym?

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Posted: 11/29/2012 4:50:07 PM

even if he shit enough gold bricks to pay of the debt and have a surplus to last 100's of years.
Whoa! Is that an option?




Youtube: Hungry For Change - Your Health is in Your Hands. Dieting doesn't work, this movie tells you why.

Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behavior does.


ChrisB
PeaNut

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Posted: 11/29/2012 4:52:14 PM
* even if he shit enough gold bricks to pay of the debt and have a surplus to last 100's of years.*

Whoa! Is that an option?

I wish!
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