It all began at a town hall in Elkhart, Ind., on Feb. 9, 2009, when Obama discussed how federal bailout money should be spent: "You can't go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers' dime."Well next month, the First Family will be taking a trip to Mumbai, India that will make the expense of even the most extravagant corporate Sin City event look (in the words of Herman Cain) "like a rounding error." From The Economic Times (of India):
To ensure fool-proof security, the President’s team has booked the entire the Taj Mahal Hotel, including 570 rooms, all banquets and restaurants. Since his security contingent and staff will comprise a huge number, 125 rooms at Taj President have also been booked, apart from 80 to 90 rooms each in Grand Hyatt and The Oberoi hotels. The NCPA, where the President is expected to meet representatives from the business community, has also been entirely booked. The officer said, “Obama’s contingent is huge. There are two jumbo jets coming along with Air Force One, which will be flanked by security jets. There will be 30 to 40 secret service agents, who will arrive before him. The President’s convoy has 45 cars, including the Lincoln Continental in which the President travels.”Almost 800 rooms. You can check out the room rates for the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower here. Hint: it's a five star hotel. Not cheap.
Since Obama will stay in a hotel that is on sea front, elaborate coastal security arrangements have been made by the US Navy in consonance with the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard. “There will be US naval ships, along with Indian vessels , patrolling the sea till about 330-km from the shore. This is to negate the possibility of a missile being fired from a distance,” the officer said.
The President will be accompanied by his chefs, not because he would not like to savour Indian cuisine, but to ensure his food is not spiked.
This international boondoggle will seem even more surreal when seen through the prism of an election four days earlier which saw the President's party lose control of the House and the Senate.
Update: The President is also catching it from the left for the upcoming trip. But for different reasons, of course.