Who should pay for a political visit by the president?

Rick Moran
A small town in New Hampshire wants the Obama presidential campaign to pay from $20-30,000 in police overtime so that residents will be adequately protected during Obama's visit.

But the Obama campaign says it won't pay, which has prompted the Durham Town Council to call a special Monday morning meeting to address the issue.

"Certainly we welcome candidates," Durham Town Councilor Diana Caroll said. "It's important for our democracy. But when it comes to presidential candidates, it does cost a lot of money for all the services... Who pays for that? That's the question."

An Obama campaign official confirmed Saturday night that it will not cover the cost of any police details associated with Monday's visit. Typically, the campaign does not pay for security planning, the source said, only for expenses related to the event itself. For example, the campaign is paying to use Oyster River High School on Monday.

Durham is a small town with only about 14,000 residents, near the New Hampshire seacoast. It also serves as home to the University of New Hampshire.

"We are  hopeful that the campaign will ultimately reimburse us," Selig said. "As of (Saturday) afternoon, the campaign indicates their Chicago central office had declined to reimburse those costs.

"The argument is that they're not asking for public safety service, the Secret Service is, and they don't reimburse," he added. "Our response is the campaign is coming to Durham, and the town needs to ensure the safety of the town. If not for the campaign coming, we wouldn't have to incur that cost."

The town has typically covered the cost of presidential visits, but says it shouldn't have to cover expenses for a political campaign.

Thirty grand is a lot of money for a town of 14,000. And in these perilous economic times, I imagine that money might be better spent elsewhere.

But the president brings with him crowds of outsiders -- aides, newspeople, and the curious - who tend to spend a lot of money while they are there. That's a windfall that local businesses may see as justifying the police overtime.

For that reason, the town council will probably go ahead and welcome President Obama.

A small town in New Hampshire wants the Obama presidential campaign to pay from $20-30,000 in police overtime so that residents will be adequately protected during Obama's visit.

But the Obama campaign says it won't pay, which has prompted the Durham Town Council to call a special Monday morning meeting to address the issue.

"Certainly we welcome candidates," Durham Town Councilor Diana Caroll said. "It's important for our democracy. But when it comes to presidential candidates, it does cost a lot of money for all the services... Who pays for that? That's the question."

An Obama campaign official confirmed Saturday night that it will not cover the cost of any police details associated with Monday's visit. Typically, the campaign does not pay for security planning, the source said, only for expenses related to the event itself. For example, the campaign is paying to use Oyster River High School on Monday.

Durham is a small town with only about 14,000 residents, near the New Hampshire seacoast. It also serves as home to the University of New Hampshire.

"We are  hopeful that the campaign will ultimately reimburse us," Selig said. "As of (Saturday) afternoon, the campaign indicates their Chicago central office had declined to reimburse those costs.

"The argument is that they're not asking for public safety service, the Secret Service is, and they don't reimburse," he added. "Our response is the campaign is coming to Durham, and the town needs to ensure the safety of the town. If not for the campaign coming, we wouldn't have to incur that cost."

The town has typically covered the cost of presidential visits, but says it shouldn't have to cover expenses for a political campaign.

Thirty grand is a lot of money for a town of 14,000. And in these perilous economic times, I imagine that money might be better spent elsewhere.

But the president brings with him crowds of outsiders -- aides, newspeople, and the curious - who tend to spend a lot of money while they are there. That's a windfall that local businesses may see as justifying the police overtime.

For that reason, the town council will probably go ahead and welcome President Obama.