Obama’s trip to Copenhagen cost $1 million or more

Friday, October 2, 2009

Obama’s Copenhagen trip wasn’t cheap

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s failed bid to bring the 2016 Olympic Games to Chicago cost more than a bruised ego.

Taxpayers shelled out probably $1 million or more for the president, his wife and others to fly to Copenhagen and back to woo members of the International Olympic Committee.

A 2006 congressional study pegged the cost of flying Air Force One at $56,518 an hour. The Pentagon recently said it cost $100,219 an hour to fly the huge, reconfigured Boeing 747 without Obama aboard. The Pentagon estimate included more costs for support needs, such as maintenance.

At those rates, the president’s 14-hour trip to Copenhagen and back cost about $790,000 to $1.4 million.

However, presidential travel requires additional spending, especially for security personnel and equipment. Also, first lady Michelle Obama and some administration officials traveled to Copenhagen at public expense ahead of the president.

The Copenhagen trip was not devoted entirely to the Olympics bid. Obama spent 25 minutes conferring with Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, his top Afghan war commander. McChrystal had been in London for a speech, and he made the relatively short trip to Denmark to meet with Obama.

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