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The Obamas' Big Apple Escape: Dinner and a Show

Associated Press
President Obama made good Saturday night on a campaign promise to his wife, Michelle, jetting to New York to take in an August Wilson play on Broadway.

Obama said in a statement to the media that he had promised his wife "during the campaign that I would take her to a Broadway show after it was all finished."

Once in New York, the couple dined for a little more than two hours at Blue Hill, a Greenwich Village restaurant, before heading to the Belasco Theater for its revival of "Joe Turner's Come and Gone." They then returned home to the White House.

The play is about black America in the early 1900s, with residents of a boardinghouse recalling their migration from the sharecropping farms of the South to the industrialized North.

As the presidential motorcade drove up Sixth Avenue to the theater, crowds of people, at times about eight-deep, gathered on the sidewalks of the blockaded street to wave as the Obamas passed. Some cheered. Cab drivers opened their doors and stood on the frames of their taxis to glimpse the president and first lady.

The White House declined to say how much the trip cost taxpayers.

The Republican National Committee chastised Obama for hopping up to New York for "a night on the town" while General Motors prepared its expected bankruptcy filing.

By Post Editor  |  May 31, 2009; 1:27 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Michelle Obama  
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Next: At Blue Hill, It's President and Mrs. Foodie


obama's date cost us over 250,000 dollars...
with so many hurting obama going on a date with his wife in new york to see a play is akin to caesar playing the fiddle while rome burns...

Posted by: DwightCollins | June 2, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

This is the CHANGE that the Obamas promissed to their followers?
How much did they pay?
How much do we pay while we can hardly support our own children?
Obama is keeping his word to his family so far he has given the dog that he promissed to his kids, he takes his wife to NY to a play and fancy dinner because he has promissed her too. Are we here to see all his promisses fullfil towards his family and friends while the rest of us are getting homeless, are un-employed?
Is this the change that they both promissed?
You do not need to be a genius to make a logical conclusion that he promissed change to his own ONLY. It is bad for the rest of us because they are doing nothing.

Posted by: rosalynneus | June 1, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Listening to the remaining reactionary right wing Republicans, you'd think they still believe anyone cared about their predictable phony outrage and indignation.

Fear, Hatred, Distraction and Division. That's all they've got to offer. Had enough?

Posted by: thebobbob | June 1, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

It's not just Presidential Expenses that need to be cut back:

Posted by: JakeD | June 1, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

It's not just Presidential Expenses that need to be cut back:

Posted by: JakeD | June 1, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse


No modern-day President takes a "vacation" day (as most Americans define that word) away from work -- but, let's concentrate on THIS Administration and THIS economic crisis we are going through -- you are aware that Obama hasn't even been in office 879 days and that GM filed for bankruptcy today, right? I would rather Obama doesn't make such a big show when the average American is hurting.

Bottom line: how much did this "date night" cost the U.S. taxpayers? Why is the White House "declining" to comment on that in particular? As for Obama "chose" not to fly AF 1 (I assume you are referring to the larger Boeing 747):

#1 any Air Force jet he flies is referred to as "Air Force One" and

#2 it may have cost LESS to take the bigger AF 1 than the THREE jets (and helicopters) they used instead.

Posted by: JakeD | June 1, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

We can safely say that they are workaholics, The President and his Administration. He hasn't spent 879 days on a ranch in Crawford, TX, but after five months in office, just one night in New York City. The President and the First Lady chose the industries that need our crucial support: The small farmer and the American theatre. They also chose not to fly AF 1.

What message of patriotic support, pray tell, did Bush ("The Most Vacationing President Ever") send while on his ranch for nearly 879 days?

Posted by: maitresse | June 1, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Where's his necktie? WTF? Who dresses to the nines, goes out formally and DOESN'T wear a necktie? He looks like slob for all of his "suave".

Posted by: Mainer1776 | June 1, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Can you imagine the cost of Air Force One and his security, Remember the fly-over. That was about $365,000, no security, not helicopter, no cars. They could have stayed in D.C., or kept the Broadway for a time when he happens to be in New York.

Was this an unfortunate mistake?


Posted by: usadblake | June 1, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse


Yes. They are all just two sides of the same coin, in America no less than in other countries.

Posted by: hramsden1 | May 31, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Obama behaves like the CEOs of the auto companies, like Mr Bush, like Mr Mugabe and Mr Zuma, all of whom have propensities for flying their wives to expensive shops and theaters at the expense of the people.

But a small modicum of common-sense and sensibility should have alerted Mr Obama that such an act was a poor choice and horribly self-revealing.

As a liberal, I must say I am sorely disappointed in Mr. Obama (though not entirely surprised given the glamor of his campaign).

As the modest driver Nyasha in Zimbabwe said: "(... he's no different) ... The first thing he did as an American President was war more on another country". (Afghanistan)

Mr. Obama is apparently yet another self-serving high class act not for the people at all.

One is disappointed but not overly surprised.

Posted by: hramsden1 | May 31, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

What the devil is wrong with you jealous and immature people on this site. this man was in a campaign that ran almost up to the time of inauguration, he started gathering his staff immediately after the election. Does he not deserve time with his family? I notice that he is using his own personal money to make his living quarters update, Bush used your money and he had a lot of his own. He used his own money to provide a play set on the grounds, not just for his children, but for all the children of the people working with the White House and some visiting children and it will be left behind when his term is finished. I don't care what this man does, Many of you simply hate him and his family and will complain if he takes time to go the toilet
just as you did when he took time of the campaign trail to visit his dying grandmother. The jobs didn't just dissappear when he became president and you are well aware of that. Like the woman told you above, say what you have to say and move on with the discussion. We get it. You hate President Obama, we get it. Stop lying and making up crap and speak your piece. Move on to your state people where some of them have refused to take the stimulus money to help out those who have lost their jobs. Why aren't you on that website?

Posted by: calethia_hill10 | May 31, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and the answer to thinking outside of the box: NEITHER BUSH NOR OBAMA SHOULD SPEND ONE DIME OF OUR MONEY ON THEIR OWN PERSONAL ENTERTAINMENT. You all act like children when you cry: well he did it so why shouldn't Obama get to do it.

Both parties are two sides of the same coin. They only pretend there is a difference so you will think you are "choosing" something.

The game plan is the same. Steal from us and give to their friends. (I sure wish my name was Bank of America.)

Posted by: wakeuppeople2 | May 31, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I do not care about the President's trip to NY. I do care about him abandoning the only democracy in the middle east and therefore implicitly supporting the 9/11 terrorist attacks. America has now changed its policy towards the middle east which was the aim of the attacks in the first place. Terrorism works!

Posted by: fx33187 | May 31, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Everyone seems to think the question should be framed as: since Bush spent millions of taxpayer money on vacations, why shouldn't Obama.

Think outside the box for one second.

This is YOUR money he spent to have a night out on the town. He flew a very expensive jet, had a slew of agents come with him just so he could see a show on Broadway.

Notice the promise to his wife: When the campaign is over I will take you out on the town.

Well, the campaign was over as soon as he won. He had plenty of time to take her out BEFORE he was President. Had he done that, he would have taken her out on HIS dime. That would have been fine.

But he didn't. He waited until he was officially in office.

Why are all you folks so happy to buy this man dinner and show that probably cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or even just tens of thousands of dollars when you add in all the costs?

That is MY money he is spending and I am angry. I can't afford to eat fresh vegetables anymore. I have to eat off a dollar menu at a fast food joint these days. I am on a fixed income and while the CPI doesn't count food in its little "inflation" pretense, I sure as heck do!

(Oh, and to be clear, inflation means inflating the money supply, increased prices are a symptom of that issue, not the cause.)

I can't afford a Broadway show because I have lost all purchasing power of my money, my pension is virtually worthless now, and my savings have disappeared.

Bush/Obama (they are virtually the same except that one of them can speak clearly) have wiped me out financially. I cannot afford to bailout their friends, I cannot afford to buy other people a home, I cannot afford a carrot due to the effects of their creating money out of thin air and making my money worthless.

So, I don't care if this man wants a day off. Take it at home and rent a movie from Blockbuster like the rest of us!

Posted by: wakeuppeople2 | May 31, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The Horsefeathers Republican party song.

I don’t know what they have to say,
It makes no difference anyway --
Whatever it is, I’m against it!
No matter what it is or who commenced it,
I’m against it.

Your proposition may be good
But let’s have one thing understood --
Whatever it is, I’m against it!
And even when you’ve changed it or condensed it,
I’m against it.

I’m opposed to it --
On general principles I’m opposed to it!

Chorus: He’s opposed to it!
In fact, in word, in deed,
He’s opposed to it!

For months before my son was born,
I used to yell from night till morn,
Whatever it is, I’m against it!
And I’ve kept yelling since I commenced it,
I’m against it!

Posted by: glacy3 | May 31, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

It is amazing that the Republicans and their talk-show leaders are such slow learners. Want to talk waste? How much time, energy and money has the RNC wasted on childish complaints about the President's occasional leisure time? The Republicans haven't caught on to the fact that whining and dirty campaigning led in part to John McCain's defeat! Indeed, America has come to see the GOP as "Grumpy Old People." The party of "No." Yes, the GOP has shot itself in the foot several times and is doing it again. They can't change their ways because they were elected by shallow, greedy, ignorant people led by Limbaugh and the other out-of-touch radio clowns. Barack is the most presidential President America has had in decades. In a sane America, half the GOP would be impeached for their string of constitutional violations, invasions of privacy, falsehoods, corruption, and flat-out incompetence. Are you better off than you were 10 years ago? I'm happy to see the President and his beautiful wife out on the town. Bush spent most of his term in Crawford and at Camp David. Too bad Barack's popularity drives the Republicans crazy. AAaahhha ha ha ha ha! I love it! Go get'em, Barack!

Posted by: dajerryguy | May 31, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Interesting, Obama takes a night off, and its somehow costing taxpayers bazillions of dollars, pretty sad state the party of No has gotten to.

SO, how much did it cost taxpayers for Bush's vacations?
879 days at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, trips for his staff and security, to and from the ranch?

Posted by: TrueAmerican5 | May 31, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

President Bush took more time off than any other President in history. If we started adding up all his trips to his Ranch in Crawford, then we would be talking about some serious taxpayer dollars. It's funny how all these so called conservatives have all of a sudden become fiscally responsible. Where were you when Bush spent his way to the biggest government in history???

Posted by: charaiponh | May 31, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Bush took more days of vacation than any president in history - Obama taking an evening off hardly compares. It probably did cost taxpayers something, but I like the fact that he's getting out and doing things other people do. I live in the Rockies and I would love to see him come strap on a pair of skis (though he would probably never be allowed to) and hang out with us too!

Posted by: waterwarior84 | May 31, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I am 71 yrs old and have seen quite a few things in this crazy world....
I still dont understand one thing I see on so many chat boards.
The idea of name calling like the poster who calls Obama Baby Killer or Mack daddy...
denigrates all else the poster is tryin to get across..
If what you have to say (IS) important, to the point and relevant, then your words will be better heeded with out sounding like a kid in kindergarten on a school playground!
Pls grow up , state your reasons and points and lets have an intelligent debate

Posted by: loudubin | May 31, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Mack Daddy also promised me greater transparency and accountability in government.

Posted by: rtfanning | May 31, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

What is wrong with you people???? When the CEOs of GM were taking their BIGGER than BIG vacations ,dinners, junkets....did they not think if they did not cut back on their lavish spending with their private jets, this is where they may end up??? Yes we the tax payer may be footing the bill for a well deserved night out for the President and the first Lady, but how much money have we the tax payers given GM???,and they still could not make it.! So should the the President and his family put their life off to wait for GM?? Well we all know what would happen to them....or may be that is the plan of the GOP. The Republican National Committee really needs to spend more time getting their party back on track, instead of sweating the small stuff...get a life please

Posted by: fairlady58 | May 31, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm...wonder how many people who have lost their jobs under this admininstration would like to go out to dinner and a play too?

It's only going to get worse. With BabykillerObama's reckless spending spree, the economy will continue to suffer, the dollar will continue to lose value and inflation is on the rise.
His Spendulous Plan hasn't done anything positive nor will it. He has managed however to get us closer to bankruptcy. Now that's "change you can believe in"

Posted by: NO-bama | May 31, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I recall the Democrats attacking Bush for playing golf during a war. Why do they give Obama a free pass?

He has not only played golf, but gone to basket ball games, vacations and now dinner and play!

"Do as I say, not as I do". Classic liberals!

Posted by: heathergreeneyes | May 31, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Every human being deserves a respite from work. The Obamas" night out is surely a whole lot less than Pres Bush flying to his ranch in Texas!.
I would rather have a President spend money for He and his family to have some time together before going on a trip that has huge implications....
For those who are complaining about the money spent.. I would venture to say almost all businesses today are feeling an impact from the economy..
I will give up my paid vacation voluntarily?

Our President works very very hard.

Posted by: loudubin | May 31, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

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