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Alvin Ailey Draws Obamas to Kennedy Center

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Linda Celeste Sims and Glenn Allen Sims in Alvin Ailey's Revelations. (Nan Melville)

By Anne E. Kornblut
It's Friday, and that means one thing around the Obama White House: date night.

Tonight, for the first time, President Obama is taking Michelle to sit in the president's box at the Kennedy Center, a White House aide said.

They will see the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater performance, which just arrived in town (and is, tonight, sold out). They are taking along some friends (no word yet who) for the show at the Center's Opera House, a celebration of the dance company's 50th anniversary.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 6, 2009; 11:05 AM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Washington Life  
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The very first post on this thread was from csdiego: "I'm glad the Obamas are getting out. They're setting a good example in this time of cutbacks." I'm simply pointing out it's NOT a good example. I understand budgets just fine, but the price for gasoline is not the only additional cost.

Posted by: JakeD | February 10, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

JakeD, I read your budget, and these travel costs are already built into the budget. I'm not sure you are grasping the concept of budgeting or that I already took into account the cost of gas and wear and tear on the vehicles. Since it is obvious your actual sour grapes result from a dislike of the president, I think it is prudent to point out that many of us were dissatisfied with the previous administration, but did not lay our disapproval on his support (or insupport) of the arts. I can take criticism of our president, especially since I was not initially a supporter, but parochial thought developed on a foundation of poorly sited blogs? That is insulting to the American people. I find your stance the real inconvenience to the American people: ignorance.

Posted by: mckearne | February 9, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

See also "Restless Soul" thread (above).

Posted by: JakeD | February 8, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

At the very least, Obama should not be complaining about CEO compensation.

Posted by: JakeD | February 7, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

As the link points out, it's not just extra gasoline. If you want an estimate, I'll say $40,000 to $50,000.

Posted by: JakeD | February 7, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Jake, what extra cost for them to go to the Kennedy Center - except for the 5 minues of gas. The Kennedy Center was built and most costs for construction of the Center were gifts to America by foreign government, rest donations in honor of Kennedy. All 5 theatres have a Presidential box and no one else sits in it except the President or his guests. The box is there no matter if the President or his friends attend or not. So, not an expense for taxpayers. The Secret Service are on duty whether he is in bed or out, and all food or beverages he has, they pay for it, not taxpayers. I volunteered there and it is nice to know that we have a President that is enjoying the arts and appreciates such a golden opportunity.

Posted by: llbrock1 | February 6, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Not really worth my time, JakeD, but you might want to do the math on how much Bush's obscene amount of vacation time cost all of us:

Posted by: bogey_style | February 6, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

I would not fault Obama for resigning the Office of President of the United States, effective immediately.

Posted by: JakeD | February 6, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

I think it's great our new president is honoring his wife by taking her out. I couldn't be more excited about the tremendous public image of our new first family. What does worry me, is folks like JakeD who could find fault in ANYTHING the Obamas do. If they draw a breath, he's got a reason why it's wrong. Sheesh. Get a life.

Posted by: ScoutieDog | February 6, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

The total cost to run the White House is at least $1.6 billion (probably over $2 billion) per year.

Posted by: JakeD | February 6, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse


All travel away from the Residence costs U.S. taxpayers more than simply staying put -- it's much more than the Secret Service detail -- it inconveniences real Americans too.

Posted by: JakeD | February 6, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Last time I checked, the Kennedy Center receives government funds for its memorial status only. Its performance venues are maintained through just that: performances. While you may be upset that the president has an opportunity to attend performances for free, you should be equally appalled at people who receive complimentary tickets (i.e. most press reporters, friends of the performers, volunteers and assorted workers). Please tell Rosie the volunteer usher that she is also wasting your money. Your point would be just as invalid. Perhaps you are upset with the extra cost incurred from just the travel portion of these "excursions". While we do foot the bill for the secret service, they're salaried. It costs us not a cent more. Perhaps the cost of the transportation (less than 1 mile) is the true offense. We should each subtract a tenth of a cent from our taxes for the gas.

It's funny that you mention cutbacks because eventhough we are in a time of crisis when many people at the Kennedy Center face uncertain futures since their jobs are NOT secured by the government, they still try to bring art to every American through free daily performances at their Millenium Stage. But why would the president and his wife want to support the arts? Especially when it's free and the Kennedy Center would be glad for the support?

Posted by: mckearne | February 6, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse


You do realize that the taxpayers are footing the Obama's excursions, right?

Posted by: JakeD | February 6, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad the Obamas are getting out. They're setting a good example in this time of cutbacks.

Posted by: csdiego | February 6, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

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