WH thinks $100 million Obama trip to Africa a real bargain

Rick Moran
I understand now how supposedly intelligent people can say the dumbest things.

No, it's not that many administration officials were dropped on their heads as infants, although we might want to check on some OMB employees to make sure.

I think it's probable that many of them slept through certain lessons in school like American history, the Constitution, and especially math.

How else can you explain Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes saying that spending $100 million dollars for a presidential trip to Africa is getting "great bang for our buck."

The Hill:

He said the White House doesn't determine the cost of security and argued traveling to the often overlooked region would help the U.S.

"Frankly, there will be a great bang for our buck for being in Africa, because when you travel to regions like Africa that don't get a lot of presidential attention, you can have very long-standing and long-running impact from the visit," Rhodes said.

The White House spokesman added that "the president's not going to retreat from an entire continent on terms of the cost."

"We don't determine the cost of the president's security, just as President Bush didn't and President Clinton didn't," he said. "The Secret Service is going to do what they think is necessary to protect the president. That's going to come with its own cost. But we don't sit here and say, 'We want to spend X amount of money on a trip.'"

The Washington Post reported Friday that the weeklong visit would require moving some 56 support vehicles, dozens of Secret Service agents, and military jets and ships to the continent. The White House reportedly scrapped a planned safari for Obama and his family when the Post inquired about the costs.

According to the newspaper, the safari would have required "sniper rifles with high-caliber rounds that could neutralize cheetahs, lions or other animals if they became a threat."

At the White Hose on Friday, Rhodes did not address the safari but argued that Obama's failure to visit the "overlooked" region would be ceding U.S. leadership.

"You've got some of the fastest growing economies in Africa. You've got a massively growing youth population," he said. "You've got key security and counterterrorism issues that we work on with African countries."

The president will be visiting South Africa, Senegal and Tanzania - hardly economic powerhouses with South Africa being the only one of the three with anything approaching a decent economy. The seriousness of Obama's trip was demonstrated by their plans to go on a safari. Without the Post's querries, we no doubt would have had nice pics of the president looking at all the wildlife - while out of sight, army snipers would have trained their guns on the animals hoping the rhino didn't charge or the lion didn't look at Michelle as if she would make a delicious snack.

There are far more important countries in Africa that impact our national security. It is doubtful that the Islamic government of Senegal cares much about Islamists operating in North Africa. But the scandals are making Washington a little too warm for Obama, so its off to Africa and damn the cost.


I understand now how supposedly intelligent people can say the dumbest things.

No, it's not that many administration officials were dropped on their heads as infants, although we might want to check on some OMB employees to make sure.

I think it's probable that many of them slept through certain lessons in school like American history, the Constitution, and especially math.

How else can you explain Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes saying that spending $100 million dollars for a presidential trip to Africa is getting "great bang for our buck."

The Hill:

He said the White House doesn't determine the cost of security and argued traveling to the often overlooked region would help the U.S.

"Frankly, there will be a great bang for our buck for being in Africa, because when you travel to regions like Africa that don't get a lot of presidential attention, you can have very long-standing and long-running impact from the visit," Rhodes said.

The White House spokesman added that "the president's not going to retreat from an entire continent on terms of the cost."

"We don't determine the cost of the president's security, just as President Bush didn't and President Clinton didn't," he said. "The Secret Service is going to do what they think is necessary to protect the president. That's going to come with its own cost. But we don't sit here and say, 'We want to spend X amount of money on a trip.'"

The Washington Post reported Friday that the weeklong visit would require moving some 56 support vehicles, dozens of Secret Service agents, and military jets and ships to the continent. The White House reportedly scrapped a planned safari for Obama and his family when the Post inquired about the costs.

According to the newspaper, the safari would have required "sniper rifles with high-caliber rounds that could neutralize cheetahs, lions or other animals if they became a threat."

At the White Hose on Friday, Rhodes did not address the safari but argued that Obama's failure to visit the "overlooked" region would be ceding U.S. leadership.

"You've got some of the fastest growing economies in Africa. You've got a massively growing youth population," he said. "You've got key security and counterterrorism issues that we work on with African countries."

The president will be visiting South Africa, Senegal and Tanzania - hardly economic powerhouses with South Africa being the only one of the three with anything approaching a decent economy. The seriousness of Obama's trip was demonstrated by their plans to go on a safari. Without the Post's querries, we no doubt would have had nice pics of the president looking at all the wildlife - while out of sight, army snipers would have trained their guns on the animals hoping the rhino didn't charge or the lion didn't look at Michelle as if she would make a delicious snack.

There are far more important countries in Africa that impact our national security. It is doubtful that the Islamic government of Senegal cares much about Islamists operating in North Africa. But the scandals are making Washington a little too warm for Obama, so its off to Africa and damn the cost.