Obama’s Vineyard Vacation Will Cost Taxpayers Millions

Posted: August 11, 2011 in US News

Paul Bedard
US News
August 11, 2011

At a time when many more cash-strapped Americans are stuck at home instead of vacationing at the beach, President Obama next week will lead an entourage of several dozens to exclusive Martha’s Vineyard island at a cost of millions to taxpayers.

While technically he is paying for his estimated $50,000 a week rental of the 28-acre beachfront Blue Heron Farm in woodsy Chilmark, the dozens of U.S. Secret Service agents, communications officials, top aides, drivers, and U.S. Coast Guard personnel with him will be covered by taxpayers as with every other presidential vacation

His 11-day stay will require the Coast Guard to keep ships floating near Obama’s farm, a presidential helicopter and jet at the ready and security agents on 24-hour duty. Armored SUVs dubbed “war wagons” have been flown in to carry the presidential family around the island. It was the same way when former President George H.W. Bush visited Kennebunkport, Maine and Bill Clinton visited Martha’s Vineyard during their presidencies.

Typically, say former White House officials, the collection of aides is smaller for a summer vacation than for an official trip. And the motorcade is cut in half, to about 20 cars. What’s more, the press corps will be smaller, though they largely pay for themselves.

Obama’s vacation comes at an awkward time because of the economic turmoil roiling the nation and Wall Street. Surveys show that a growing number of Americans can’t afford even small vacations.

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