Obama's Hawaii Trips Cost More Than Palin's Clothes
Sunday, October 26, 2008 3:21 PM
By: Ronald Kessler
Barack Obama's trips to Hawaii on a chartered Boeing 757 each cost more than twice the price of Sarah Palin's new clothes.
Brad Blakeman, who was in charge of scheduling for President Bush, says a Boeing 757 costs about $20,000 an hour for fuel, crew, and maintenance. Since a trip to Hawaii entails 10 hours of flying time from Chicago, the total cost for each round-trip comes to about $400,000.
Obama used the Boeing 757 for trips to Hawaii over the summer for a vacation and again last week to see his failing grandmother. Admirable though that visit was, "By Obama using a private jet to go on a purely personal visit to see his grandma, he's wasting not only energy, but he's using the money that his supporters have given him for campaign purposes," Blakeman says. "It's a purely personal visit paid for with campaign funds."
On the other hand, the media are highlighting the Republican National Committee's purchase of $150,000 in clothes for Palin, even though the dresses will be donated to charities. The New York Times played the story on page one.
"They're picking on Palin, who was provided a wardrobe by the RNC strictly for political purposes, and it was always intended that these garments would be then given to charity," Blakeman says. "So there's a benefit that's going to charity, not a benefit that Palin will have after the election. There was a need for it because she's a modest person who didn't have an extensive wardrobe to do 24/7 campaigning."
To pick on Palin without going after Obama's plane trips is "an absolute journalistic abuse," Blakeman says. "This is the same plane that he took to Hawaii when he went on vacation. In the summertime, when gas was soaring and Americans were having to pinch their pennies, this guy gets on his campaign plane and goes to Hawaii on vacation. He did a couple campaign stops in a state that is not a swing state and is a guaranteed win for Obama. That was clearly to cover the tracks of this vacation."
Blakeman notes that at the height of the gasoline price surge, Obama suggested that Americans check their vehicle's tire pressure as a way of conserving fuel.
"I wonder if he checked the tires on his jumbo jet before taking off for a purely personal visit?" Blakeman says. "The way he spends campaign money is a direct reflection of how he will spend ours. He could have easily flown commercial or taken a much smaller corporate aircraft that would cost a fraction of a 757."
Ironically, it was Palin as governor who saved money for Alaskans by selling the state's jet and instead flying commercial.
Kellyanne Conway, one of the most respected Republican pollsters, says the media's attack on Palin's clothes is an example of elitist snobbery or "classism." Noting the media's treatment of her, "I can't believe her own family still approves of her, after the unprecedented, personal and relentless attacks that this woman has undergone," Conway says.
Besides attacks on Palin over her clothes, Conway cites snide remarks about "the way she speaks, her husband's lack of a college degree, the barefoot and pregnant 17-year-old daughter, you know who hunts moose anyway? The classism is so raw and unapologetic, so unconsidered and so undisguised."
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com.
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