Carney Rejects Questions on Cost of Presidential Travel, Golf Outings

By Fred Lucas | March 13, 2013 | 7:54pm EDT

President Barack Obama at the Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, Mass., on Friday, Aug. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

( – The White House would not answer a question about the cost of security for President Barack Obama’s golf outings or the president’s trip to Illinois this week when compared to the cost of the recently cancelled White House tours.

During the press briefing Wednesday, a reporter asked about the cost of Obama’s trip this Friday to Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Ill., compared to the $74,000 per week cost of Secret Service security for White House tours.

“The president represents all of the people, and he travels around the country appropriately,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. “I don’t have a figure on the cost of presidential travel. Obviously, it’s something that every president deals with – a significant undertaking. The president has to travel around the country. He has to travel around the world. That is part of his job.”

The reporter, Jonathan Karl of the ABC News, followed, “How much does it cost for him to go and play golf?”

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Carney responded, “Jon, again, you’re trivializing the impact here. People will lose their jobs. Three-quarters of a million people will lose their jobs.”

Karl followed, “This is about choices?”

Carney went on to blame the matter on Republicans.

“The law stipulates what the cost will be for each agency,” Carney said. “Those jobs will be lost. You can report on White House tours or you can find out what the impacts are out in the real world, additional real impacts. This is a real world impact here. It was unfortunate, and it was an unhappy choice.”

“The fact of the matter is that Congress made this choice. Republicans made this choice,” Carney continued. “Their option was to do what they did a few months ago and delay the sequester to allow for time to try to negotiate a bigger deal.  “They chose not to, because they refused to accept the principle that the well off and well-connected should pay a little bit toward deficit reduction.

“That was a choice, and it was a choice that was presented to the American people as a homerun, as something that was politically advantageous, in the back pocket of the Speaker of the House and the Tea Party, but there are consequences to that victory for the Tea Party,” Carney added.

The announcement of the cancelled White House tours came after the sequester – a 2.3 percent reduction in growth of federal spending.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R- Texas) previously proposed a measure to defund security for Obama’s gold outings until after funding for White House tours are restored.

Obama will fly to Chicago on Friday, where he will go to Argonne, Ill. for an event focused on energy.

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