Drudge is reporting that “disgruntled” Clinton staffers circulated via email this photo of Senator Barack Obama over the weekend. Taken during a five country African trip in 2006, Obama is wearing the garb of a Somali Elder.
Drudge claims Clinton staffers are complaining that if the photo were of Hillary, it would have been splashed across the covers of the MSM.
We wondered if the Clinton staffers were right, would we “be seeing this” if it were Hillary instead of Senator Obama?
We set our intrepid Google staff to work.
Hillary did take a trip to Africa back in 1997 and again in 1998.
The General Accounting Office, or GAO, reported back in 2000 that tax payers shelled out 292 million for foreign trips taken by Bill, Hillary, and Al Gore during a three year period, from ’97 to 2000, with Hillary’s cost to taxpayers for twenty trips, adding up to 12 million in costs.
That’s right, in three years, between 1997 and 2000, First Lady Hillary managed to get in twenty taxpayer subsidized foreign trips to the tune of 12 million dollars.
The president’s 27 trips since 1997 account for 85 percent of total aircraft operating costs, or $247 million, according to GAO. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 20 trips make up 4 percent of costs, or $12 million, and Vice President Gore’s eight trips total 4 percent, or $.12.5 million, of the total. The logistics of flying the president (and total costs incurred) can be mind-boggling. Clinton’s 11-day trip this March to India, Bangladesh and Pakistan (the single most expensive that he took) required 146 military cargo flights to ferry around vehicles, communications equipment and his limousine.
The GAO didn’t factor in other costs, which, undoubtedly brings the taxpayers’ total tab, higher:
That estimate is thought to be conservative, since Congress’ accounting arm only was able to count the costs incurred by the Department of Defense, which has the responsibility for flying White House principals around. The additional costs of advance work, Secret Service protection, lodging and ground transportation for the legion of staff who ride along, telecommunications and other logistics never have been quantified because they’re unknown or hidden from the public supposedly for security reasons.
In a paper titled,The Foreign Policy Activism of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Anthony Eksterowitz and Glen Hastedt summarized some but not all of Clinton’s trips abroad as First Lady:
Hilary Rodham Clinton’s first trip abroad as first lady was accompanying President Bill Clinton to the G-7 economic summit in Japan in July 1993. In early 1994 she made her first official trip abroad without the president leading the American delegation to the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. Later that year, in May, the first lady joined Vice President Al Gore as a last minute replacement for the president as a member of the U.S. delegation to the presidential inauguration of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. March 1995 would see Hilary Rodham Clinton take her first extended trip abroad without the president when she traveled to South Asia. In September she traveled to China where she served as honorary Chair of the American delegation and delivered a key address at the United Nations Fourth World Conferences on Women. In November, 1995 she would join the president on an official trip to England, Ireland, Germany, and Spain. The next summer she would partner with United Nations Ambassador Madeline Albright on a tour of Eastern and Central Europe. Accompanied by Chelsea as she often was on her foreign travels, the first lady returned to Africa in March 1997. In July Hillary Rodham Clinton accompanied the president to a NATO Summit in Madrid where she was the keynote speaker at Vital Voices: Women in Democracy meeting. Before the year ended she traveled to Great Britain and Northern Ireland for a “Third Way” meeting and to Central Asia. 1998 saw the Clintons visit Africa, China, Russia, Ireland, and the Middle East. They returned to the Middle East in January, 1999 for the funeral of King Hussein of Jordan. The first lady would also make trips that year to Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and the Balkans. Source – Allacademic
At the rate Senator Obama is overtaking Hillary’s lead in the primaries, Hillary may have to put on hold her next trip: