The Murray campaign is panicking (what I wouldn’t give to see their internal polling) and calling in all the big guns from the other Washington. President Obama will arrive the Seattle area again today to help boost her campaign but not the economy.
As reported by Meg Coyle of King 5 News, Kenmore Air has been grounded for the duration of the President’s visit. Company president Tom Banks (the only president mentioned in this article with real-world experience creating jobs) estimates they’ll lose $50,000 in revenue.
Not to mention the added costs for the City of Seattle for police coverage (which should, of course, be paid by the Murray campaign) or to US taxpayers to cover the President’s travel expenses.
There is a price to federal taxpayers for any presidential visit, including the costs of operating Air Force One and of the Secret Service agents who accompany the president.
Under federal rules, the government must be reimbursed for the costs associated with purely political events. That means political campaigns get billed for some of the flight costs of the president and his staff (except for Secret Service agents), at a rate equal to the cost of a commercial flight. (That doesn’t come close to covering the actual cost of operating Air Force One, which was estimated at up to $58,000 an hour in 1998.)
In a case like Obama’s Seattle trip, which includes both official and campaign events, a political campaign is typically billed for half the cost of the president’s travel and lodging, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.
And the President’s “offcial business” on this trip? A backyard chat about the economic issues facing women. Surely that’s worth a few hundred thousand dollars to the taxpayers.
Update 1: Dan Riehl weighs in.