American Citizens Have Every Right to Know What They Are Paying For.

While researching the topic of President Obama’s trip to Asia, I stumbled upon a video of a press conference where Mr. Robert Gibbs takes a few questions in regards to its expense, and the rumors that have been floating around since India’s press began circulating the projected amount: $200 million dollars.

Mr. Lester Kinsolving, (WCBM Radio – Baltimore), asked Mr. Gibbs about the amount. Mr. Gibbs denied the claim. Mr. Kinsolving then asked just how much DID the trip cost. Mr. Gibbs refused to divulge the actual amount. Let me pause from typing for a moment so you can re-read that. I know you’re probably a little stunned.

Yes, you read it correctly.  The actual amount of money that you and I and every other blue and red-blooded American are providing is not going to be disclosed.

This is like a college student refusing to give an account to his parents for the balance on the credit card bill because he knows they won’t be happy about the unnecessary expenses on it. “Excuse me, may we please have the itemized list, son?”

“No, mom and dad. I know it’s your money but…”

It gets better.

Mr. Gibbs throws the blanket term of “security to the president” over the entire trip, using that as an excuse to not provide any monetary details.  He then decides to use some random psychology-101 technique to deflect the focus from himself by singling out Mr. Kinsolving – questioning him.  While rude, it is successful in preventing any the other journalist from asking the same type of question. Who wants to be grilled and made to look like a fool by Robert Gibbs? “Not me….”, I can almost hear them thinking.  

Mr. Gibbs turned the tables on Mr. Kinsolving by asking him discourteous questions. It seems Mr. Gibbs seems to have forgotten that mutual respect is expected in the professional world.  “So, let me get this straight, Lester…just the things you have previously agreed on you agree with?”  {That is not what Mr. Kinsolving said.}  Then he repeats the answers Mr. Kinsolving gives him in a condescending manner…as if they make no sense.  You  can actually see the other journalists shifting uncomfortably in their seats when the camera pans back.

Whed did it become appropriate to talk down – not to only an elder – but to a respected journalist who has earned the right to sit up close to the lectern in the briefing room?  Robert Gibbs chose to mock and humiliate – treating Mr. Kinsolving like a rambling elderly person, all the while, avoiding the original question of extravagant expense. He briefly addressed the portion of expense (providing no detail whatsoever) used to protect the president. He completely ignores the fact that there are friends and colleagues sleeping in hotels while America foots the bill.

I have a little information for Mr. Kinsolving.  One bottle of liquor in the president’s hotel cabinet in India cost a mere three thousand dollars.  I know it seems extravagant, but there were others more reasonably priced…a few hundred per bottle, but little expenses like that add up when you are taking a few more than two thousand people on a trip with you.  I am sure that not every one had access to Louis XIII Black Pearl cognac, ( “bargain basement price of $10,000.00 US – each”) since they aren’t – as he likes to remind us – “The President of the United States” (President Obama in his press conference Nov 3, 2010). 

Even if his guests were offered a sip,  I am not sure many could drink a glass with a clear conscience, knowing they were swallowing what could possibly be some out of work American’s house payment. I know I couldn’t.

In closing, Mr. Robert Gibbs could have divulged a few more details than he chose to. Instead, he spoke to Mr. Lester Kinsolving in a manner that shames – not Mr. Kinsolving – but himself.

We all know that the trip is not free, Mr. Gibbs.  It costs somebody something.

American citizens have every right to know what they are paying for, not just in money, but in tears of frustration.

The entire question and answer portion left me with a bad taste in my mouth.  It was angering; not only because Gibbs evaded the answer, but because he chose to use an elderly reporter and mockery to do so… 

Just another arrogant shadow cast on so many associated with this administration.

Bad Form, Mr. Gibbs.

Bad Form.

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One thought on “American Citizens Have Every Right to Know What They Are Paying For.

  1. Aurelius November 17, 2010 / 10:46 am

    Interesting article…where’s all this “transparency” that the President promised?

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