by Kate Newton
President Obama’s not having a great week with his critics: first, he got accused of looking like Satan, and now he’s getting flak from a familiar critic, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, for leading an excessively luxurious lifestyle that weighs on the backs of America’s most hard-working, penny-thrifting citizens...or something like that.
Here’s her quote from the Conservative Political Action Conference, where she spoke on Saturday:
“A new book is out talking about the perks and the excess of the $1.4-billion-a-year presidency that we’re paying for. And this is a lifestyle that is one of excess. Now we find out that there are five chefs on Air Force One. There are two projectionists who operate the White House movie theater. They regularly sleep at the White House in order to be readily available in case the first family wants a really, really late show. And I don’t mean to be petty here, but can’t they just push the play button? We are also the ones who are paying for someone to walk the president’s dog, paying for someone to walk the president’s dog? Now, why are we doing that when we can’t even get a disabled veteran into the White House for a White House tour? That isn’t caring!”
Glenn Kessler, the “Fact Checker” columnist for the Washington Post, quickly dismantled Bachmann’s claims: the $1.4 billion number, touted in two books recently published by a conservative authors (The 1.4 Billion Dollar Man was written by a Republican lobbyist) would have to incorporate the costs of the White House’s entire policy staff, as well as the entire budget of the Secret Service, which accounts for more than half of the expenses directly linked to the President. Indeed, I think we can agree that it’s an excessive, uncalled for “perk” for the President to want to make it through his day-to-day without getting shanked on the White House lawn.
Kessler granted Bachmann “four pinocchios,” the lowest rating of accuracy, which is pretty familiar feedback for someone who claimed last month that she never said anything untruthful in the GOP debates or while on the campaign trail. So, if the words aren’t coming out of her mouth, then they must be...well, you get the idea.
The Fact Checker also noted that Pres. George W. Bush, if held to the same cost standards applied to Obama (aka the 1.4 Billion Dollar Man, because I can’t imagine calling him anything else now), racked up a bill of $1.6 billion a year while in the White House, making Obama a certified steal.
Bachmann’s no stranger to fabricating the glamour of Obama’s trips overseas: in 2010, she told Anderson Cooper that the President’s trip to India would “cost taxpayers $200 million a day” and include a 2,000 person entourage and five-star hotel stays...but was promptly taken down a peg by Politifact.