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Tilting at Windmills

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November 4, 2010

THE MADE-UP INDIA TRIP COSTS.... President Obama is getting ready to depart for a trip to India -- it was scheduled long before the midterm elections -- the right wants to complain about it. Apparently, it's not cheap for a U.S. delegation to travel abroad.

First, Drudge and Limbaugh started whining about a $200 million-per-day price tag. Then Glenn Beck. Then Sean Hannity.

And last night, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) got in on the act. CNN's Anderson Cooper asked her to detail the kind of spending cuts the public can expect from the new House Republican majority. She didn't answer, exactly, but Bachmann did complain about the India trip.

"Well I think we know that just within a day or so the President of the United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day," Bachmann said. "He's taking two thousand people with him. He'll be renting out over 870 rooms in India. And these are 5-star hotel rooms at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. This is the kind of over-the-top spending, it's a very small example, Anderson." [...]

"But don't all Presidents take overseas trips, and stay in hotels where there's security?" Cooper asked Bachmann.

"Not, not, not at this level. We have never seen this sort of an entourage going with a President before. And I think this is an example of the massive overspending that we've seen, not only just in the last two years, but really in the last four," she responded.

When told the White House has already said these figures are wildly inflated, Bachmann suggested administration officials are lying. She had no proof.

Look, I realize the discourse can be mind-numbingly stupid at times, but this is just silly. Sometimes, presidents travel abroad on official business. It's part of an effective foreign policy, and it's not controversial. There are costs associated with these trips, but partisans usually know better than to whine incessantly about it.

For security reasons, the administration can't actually release detailed figures, but independent analyses of the right-wing claim have concluded that the allegations are "probably false" and "highly doubtful."

Given that the entire war in Afghanistan costs about $190 million a day, it seems highly unlikely this presidential visit to India will be even more expensive.

Jay Bookman described the entire argument on this "a case study in pathological lunacy." That sounds about right.

Steve Benen 1:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (61)

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Comments

If those 870 hotel rooms cost $2000 per night, that's about 1.5 million. So what is the remaining 198 million for?

Posted by: Joe Buck on November 4, 2010 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

But Rush, Sean and Glen can't be wrong. Bachmann is right to call the administration a bunch of liars. The fact that 200 million a day doesn't make any sense is no reason to doubt Rush, Sean, and Glen. I think Bachmann should draft impeachment articles today. Don't you?

Posted by: Ron Byers on November 4, 2010 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

last time Obama was in Des Moines, he stayed at the Hampton Inn out by the airport (seriously. and it was big news that he chose such a modest hotel.)

I'm guessing Bachmann stayed someplace nicer when she came in to speak at Steve King's rally.

Posted by: zeitgeist on November 4, 2010 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

I just read in an email from my cousin Clarence that when Clinton left he stole all the "W"s off the typewriters. But, those nasty, dirty nigras left the WhiteHouse smellin' like chitlins and Afrosheen.

Posted by: Clayton Bigsby on November 4, 2010 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

"So what is the remaining 198 million for?"

I'm sure Glenn Beck will imply it's for hookers and blow.

Seriously: I can almost kind of understand when they get in a bunch over the first lady's trip to Spain, but a sitting President taking a trip over seas? It's called diplomacy. Oh wait...I get it now...that word, just like the word "empathy" doesn't exist in the right wing lexicon.

Posted by: delNorte on November 4, 2010 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Here's another almost daily example of Total Political War. Take something out of context, impute sinister motives, scream about it, and dominate the discourse for the day. That's why Republicans win.

There's no downside here because the MSM has been neutered. Moreover, Democrats don't have the guts or the megaphones to fight back (and the ones who do like Alan Grayson are quickly taken out). We live in a world of fake outrage, chain e-mails, utter projection, and insanity clobbering sobriety with a two by four.

Posted by: walt on November 4, 2010 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

How much you wanna bet that the whole dang trip (that includes 4 countries) does not cost $200mm?

Posted by: sue on November 4, 2010 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, it's positively criminal for Obama to be traveling to India and spending all this money.

But, spending a cool billion a week on the war in Iraq - hey, no prob.

Posted by: gifgrrl on November 4, 2010 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

This estimate was first attributed to an anonymous Indian government official. He must have impecable credibility because he isn't part of the U.S. "lamestream media" as far as Bachmann is concerned [sarcasm intended]. However, he also probably stated the supposed cost in rupies rather than dollars. If that were the case, the cost would more likely be around $4.5 million a day. Hopefully, Limpballs, Crazy Mickey Bachman, Sean Vannity and the BeckerHead will soon wipe the egg off their faces and issue corrections on this one (but I won't hold my breath).
Given the fact that Obama is using the trip to improve trade relationships with India and other Pacific Rim countries and also attending the G20 meeting, I think this is a reasonable investment of our money and his time and attention. Certainly, it will have a higher payoff than when we sent GDumbya to Athens for the Olympics. All we got out of that were pictures of him stumbling-down drunk at a stadium and patting some female volleyball players on the ass on an outdoor court.

Posted by: Bo on November 4, 2010 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

The implicit message here is surely that, following the midterm election, Obama has no claim to be the legitimate representative of his country, and so should not be doing any official visits at all.

Posted by: davidp on November 4, 2010 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Produce the long-form hotel receipts!!!!!!!

Posted by: shortstop on November 4, 2010 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure the real facts will come out sometime during the weeks that the House committee investigates "Hadji-gate".

Posted by: SteveT on November 4, 2010 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Produce the long-form hotel receipts!!!!!!! Posted by: shortstop

We have a winner!

Posted by: zeitgeist on November 4, 2010 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

last time Obama was in Des Moines, he stayed at the Hampton Inn out by the airport (seriously. and it was big news that he chose such a modest hotel.)

He's big on the free breakfast of warm yogurt and squishy bananas. You know black people -- always trying to get something for nothing. Was the remote missing when he checked out?

Posted by: shortstop on November 4, 2010 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Bachmann is DOUBLY wrong: India's a crucial partner for the U.S. in inumerable ways. We shouldn't care what they're spending on this trip -- it may be the most important mission since Nixon opened China. They can't send enough people! They can't spend enough on it!

Posted by: ManOutOfTime on November 4, 2010 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

And I find it just about impossible to believe that 2,000 people are going also. This just sounds like it was made up out of whole cloth.

Posted by: Michigoose on November 4, 2010 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "Jay Bookman described the entire argument on this 'a case study in pathological lunacy.' That sounds about right."

NO, that sounds totally wrong.

It's a case study in a carefully scripted and focus-group-tested, well-orchestrated, media-friendly campaign of ruthless, vicious, unrelenting dishonesty.

But hey, it's fun to pretend that Republican propagandists, who are consistently beating the pants off of Democrats and liberals at every turn when it comes to effective messaging, and blanketing the corporate mass media with deliberate lies every day, are just "lunatics".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on November 4, 2010 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

The $200million estimate is probably from the same people at Fox who estimated the size of Beck's rally.

Posted by: martin on November 4, 2010 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe we can send her on a Congressional junket to, oh, let's say, Somalia
And, being the good Christian that she is, and in order to save the taxpayers some money, she go there defended only by a slingshot. Hey, it worked for David!
This stupid asshat is trying to be the 3rd most powerful Republican in Congress. It's too bad she doesn't try to be the 3rd smartest student in a 2nd grade class for autistic children.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on November 4, 2010 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

The $200 million estimate includes the cost of sending over 30+ naval warships to guard the Mumbai port; the building of a bomb-proof tunnel to protect the president during one leg of his travel; and the flotilla of other government personnel who went in advance to prepare for the security.

I have no problem with the cost - but the question remains: if they really have serious issues with security, should the POTUS be going there in the first place?

Posted by: Badlands on November 4, 2010 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously Obama doesn't believe compromise with the GOP is possible. Especially considering a news station is prepared to literally slander the President of the United States to it's listeners. I do however think Obama needs to get off the kabuki of compromise to assuage low information voters because he's discouraging a lot of progressives who don't see the theater of pretending "bipastisanship" is possible.

One way to start is to give the "Fox is not a legitimate news station" memo another go-round. I understand the mainstream media disgracefully stood tall for Fox last time, but I think declaring war on Fox's lies is one way to get progressives and the professional left riled up. He couldn't do it now because Fox would reframe it as an act of desperation after a midterm clobbering but that should be part of Obama's reelection strategy going into 2012.

Posted by: Archon on November 4, 2010 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Senator-Elect Dan Coats was interviewed on right-wing radio this morning and the host asked him what he thought about the $200 million a day trip to India which also includes 3,000 people. Coats, to his credit, said that it sounded like a hoax. Now if only the wing-nuts would show the same skepticism. But, I guess that is asking too much.

Posted by: Sheridan on November 4, 2010 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Kryst-almighty, must we continue to suffer this incredible Rovian bullsh*t from these a**holes (pardon my French). Once again, the MSM will give credence to this crap by broadcasting it, and Dem's will take the wussy, bend-over defensive stance ("Um, we'll need to review our policies to ensure blah, blah, blah...")

When will Dem's come out swinging and simply say, "Hey -- those guys are LYING!!!"

Utterly pathetic. It's no wonder Dem's lost big-time. Sigh.

Posted by: nemisten on November 4, 2010 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Secular Animist But hey, it's fun to pretend that Republican propagandists, who are consistently beating the pants off of Democrats and liberals at every turn when it comes to effective messaging, and blanketing the corporate mass media with deliberate lies every day, are just "lunatics".

I don't know that it's fun, exactly, but it does make your cute little doom-mongering head with its permanent frowny face explode daily, so there's that benefit.

Posted by: media buyer on November 4, 2010 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

How quickly memories fade.

This is just a small example of the imperial presidency under the Shrub when he visited London in June 2008:

Mr Bush's travelling party includes the Air Force One 747, a back-up 747, a 757 jet and four helicopters.

On Thursday armoured cars arrived at the London airport - which led to 60-minute delays for some passengers.

On Friday, four helicopters will land as part of a major rehearsal ahead of the visit.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2119557/George-W-Bush-visit-to-cause-Heathrow-misery.html

And that trip was not diplomatic in nature -- it was a "farewell tour." Bush's visit caused days of travel delays at Heathrow because he refused to use a military airport.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1026137/Thousands-passengers-face-delays-cancellations--allow-President-Bushs-Air-Force-One-jet-land-Heathrow.html

Posted by: karen marie on November 4, 2010 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

I doubt that releasing the cost of the trip would compromise security. It might be illegal, but I suspect that enough poking around in unclassified information would permit a pretty good estimate.

So in this case, a focus on security leads us down the wrong road. This is just the opening of a dirty campaign to smear Obama as a big spender who wastes taxpayer dollars on frivolous extravagances. He should invite Bachmann to join him on the trip.

Posted by: James Conner on November 4, 2010 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

If those 870 hotel rooms cost $2000 per night, that's about 1.5 million. So what is the remaining 198 million for?
Posted by: Joe Buck

pay per view movies

I have no problem with the cost - but the question remains: if they really have serious issues with security, should the POTUS be going there in the first place?
Posted by: Badlands

i might be wrong but it seems to me that this is an important part of the world and there are critical strategic and economic issues between us. using go to meeting just wouldn't cut it.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on November 4, 2010 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Our zeitgeist

Sounds like a good reason for impeachment...
Another travel office cover up.

Which is all to say:
This is just the beginning.
It is going to be like this day in and day for at least the next two years.

Got the energy for this?
Got the energy to defend and defend and defend?
Got the energy to deflect stupid charges from stupid people, all shouted very loudly?

I don't.
And I don't think most Americans do either.
I suspect the Q-ratings from the beltway are going to go lower than anytime in history.
More people are going to turn off and tune out this thieving cesspool of do-nothing stink.

The bad news is the country is in serious trouble.
The good news is: it now belongs as much to the republicans as to the democrats.

I've been wondering lately about our time's zeitgeist.
Do we have one in this great conflicted land of stupid versus stupid?
I finally figured it out:

Our zeitgeist is a food fight in a DC cesspool
Where the rich get richer and the poor get breadcrumbed with nightsoil...
And where the angry shouting and empty hate never stops...

That is our country.
That is our government.
That is our zeitgeist.

Its been trending that way for 30 years...
Feel free to brag about it.

Posted by: koreyel on November 4, 2010 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Senator-Elect Dan Coats was interviewed on right-wing radio this morning and the host asked him what he thought about the $200 million a day trip to India which also includes 3,000 people. Coats, to his credit, said that it sounded like a hoax. Now if only the wing-nuts would show the same skepticism. But, I guess that is asking too much.
Posted by: Sheridan

the tea party has a recall petition out against coats.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on November 4, 2010 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

You know every time Crazy Shelly opens her mouth it costs the taxpayer $96 Bazillion to let people know that she's mistaken.

Why does Crazy Shelly hate the taxpayer?

Posted by: madstork123 on November 4, 2010 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

200 mill. Suddenly the cost of the "Chelsey Wedding" doesn't seem so over the top.

Has anyone noticed that these serial outrages are becoming more frequent? The Right probably has a million monkeys, a million typewriters, and a Shakespeare impersonator on retainer.

Posted by: DAY on November 4, 2010 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

$66,000 per person per day for this trip! If elitist Obama could make do with iceberg lettuce and French's yellow mustard instead of arugula and Dijon, all of this could have been prevented. Probably his cocaine habit has started up again and that's where the money is going.

Posted by: shortstop on November 4, 2010 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Now here is a funny idea...I get the "security reasons for not giving DETAILED information but what if CNN et all used their $$ to hire people to actually fact check or collect facts on issues relevant for the day BEFORE having on these lying asshats??? Silly wabbit then we'd have a press that actually did the job they SHOULD be doing instead of staring dumbfounded into cameras while the REPUGS make stuff up for their braindead followers...UGH

Posted by: Dancer on November 4, 2010 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Well, with that kind of reasoning, and fact checking I have to say that crazy shelly's appearance on CNN is costing the state of Minnesota 5 million dollars a day in good will. And now it is in the media so I can quote it as a fact.:)

Posted by: Dave on November 4, 2010 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

It seems every time M. Bachmann makes a statement, she displays an intellect cancerous to our democratic way of life!

Compromise is the fulcrum of a healthy democratic people, and our scale seems to be broken by too much Tea Partying weight! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on November 4, 2010 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK
Produce the long-form hotel receipts!!!!!!!

Excellent!

I'm sure Glenn Beck will imply it's for hookers and blow.

And I am sure that Beck will have, what was his name, Larry Sinclair (?) on to support that theory...since he personally did blow and had illicit homo sex with Obama in the back of a limo.

Posted by: MsJoanne on November 4, 2010 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Slightly OT, but I feel this is necessary to post regularly. You may see this on other threads. This is a paraphrase from Pachamama Alliance.

"I recognize the anger and frustration with the results of this election. I would like to offer a narrative for all of us to adopt:

Imagine you are speaking with your grandchildren and great-grandchildren in about 30 years (or someone else's if you don't have any). How would you answer their questions:

What did you do in your life to eliminate poverty, hunger, violence against others, homelessness and hatred? Can you identify the acts that you undertook and the words you spoke to create a better, more loving and peaceful world?

Do you have the courage to answer this question honestly? Did you vote for the candidates who addressed the issues of humanity or did you vote for the ones who preached hatred and division?
Ask yourself the questions and answer them honestly. Even if you don't speak them out loud, you will know in your heart how you answered.
Pass this question along to your friends and associates.
Ask your representative in government these same questions. Ask you children, now, how they think you might answer these questions.


I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation
peace,
st john
Posted by st john at November 3, 2010 2:55 PM

Posted by: stjohn on November 4, 2010 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

...unlike Bush's two world tours (that one where he puked and that other one where he was shoed) and Cheney's undisclosed travel budget...because you know liberal spending is abhorent and conservative spending is sacrosanct.

Posted by: Skip on November 4, 2010 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Bachman needs to STFU. Really professor B? Talk about a 2nd amendment solution looking for a problem..

Posted by: Trollop on November 4, 2010 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see. Two thousand people. So if it costs $200 million a day that's $100,000/day/person.

Can any of these people do arithmetic?

Posted by: Bernard Yomtov on November 4, 2010 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Maintaining a president isn't cheap. What does it cost per day to operate the White House with its security and communications structure and transport the President around town? A guess in the tens of millions would probably not be too high.

Posted by: Tom O'Neill on November 4, 2010 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it's a good thing Cooper called her on it instead of asking a follow up question that made it sound like an entirely reasonable figure and something accepted as commonplace in Washington culture.

Posted by: doubtful on November 4, 2010 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

So all of the press is now the National Enquirer (which just died, by the way, I guess there's no need for it, now that the MSM is doing its kind of work).

Once this baloney gets on the air, and gets a lot of press, it lingers like a proverbial you know what in a phone booth.

I WISH the media would ignore these idiots, because having to deny is always the weaker position. The Left and the Democrats should just start charging Republicans and the Bushies with the very real crimes they committed.

Posted by: jjm on November 4, 2010 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

When will Dem's come out swinging and simply say, "Hey -- those guys are LYING!!!"

Well, that'd be nice, but I'd prefer for the media to say it. Imagine Anderson Cooper responding to this crap with: "That's not true. You don't know what you're talking about."

Posted by: josef on November 4, 2010 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't it obvious, being a secret muslim, Obama is going to the Taj Mahal Hotel, site of a the 2008 terrorist attacks, to pay homage to his fallen comrades. I'm really surprised that nobody on Fox News has picked on this line yet.

Posted by: pepe_fly on November 4, 2010 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Let me put my business planning hat on for second. $200 million a day in expenses for an entourage of 2,000 translates to $100,000 per day, per person. That should set off some alarms right there. $100,000 is a lot of money. How much? Well, I'm pretty sure Paris Hilton doesn't burn money at that rate, so a bunch of government workers on a $211 a day per diem are facing a pretty big challenge.

Still, let's put together a ridiculously expensive trip and see if we can spend $100,000 a day.

Assume everyone stays in a single hotel room and the hotel rooms cost $2,000 a night -- which they don't but let's assume it. After hotel expense, that leaves $198,000 a day. Assume these government hogs-at-the-trough eat four meals a day at $1,000 each -- again, too high, but we're trying to get to $100,000 a day so work with me. We're down to $194,000 a day.

Individual limousine transport for everyone! Also $1,000 a day, though I'm thinking you can probably find someone in India to drive you around in their Mercedes for a lot less than that. Still, we've got $193,000 a day left to spend.

For security, let's assume 10 mercenaries and two bomb-sniffing dogs per guest. (Though, to be fair, security personnel are no doubt a part of the 2,000 person entourage, so we're double-billing here. But what do we care? It's government money!) Call it $1,000/day per mercenary and $500 per day per dog, and rent the best trucks in India to drive them around at another grand a day. That brings us to a total of $12,000 per day per guest for personal security, leaving us with $181,000 a day unspent. (And, for the record, enlarging the entourage from 2,000 to 22,000 people, which you would think Bachman would have mentioned.)

Travel: First class airfare from DC to Mumbai is roughly $7,500, but these guys are flying charter so we'll triple the charge: $22,500 per person, amortized over a four day stay, round up for the sake of ease, and call transport $6,000 a day. Still $175,000 per day left over.

Sure lots of people are going to spend their time in meetings, but when the meetings are over they've got to unwind. So let's toss in $5,000 a day for incidentals: Champagne, caviar, ornately embroidered blankets to cut the chill, elephant rides and snacks if anyone gets peckish between the four $1,000 meals.

Still $170,000 a day left.

Wait! I forgot tips. Lets assume each of our totally unnecessary travelers hands out tips every day that are equal to what the CIA World Factbook estimates to be India's annual per capita income: $3,100.

I think that covers everything, leaving $166,900 remaining out of Bachman's $200,000 per person, per day estimate.

Even assuming these ridiculous expenses, Bachman has overstated the cost of the trip by something like 500%. Which may make big news on Fox and get the rubes in a lather, but strikes me as not even being close enough for government work.

Posted by: Tom Johnson on November 4, 2010 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

they did the exact same thing with the exact same arguments over a Clinton trip to India in 2000. Never seemed to bother them about Bush trips though.

The point is though - there's only so much air in the room - and here we are (yet again!) squandering it on some made-up right wing faux outrage. How does it feel to be so easily and constantly manipulated?

Posted by: andy on November 4, 2010 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

that one where he puked

That was H.W. blowing chunks all over the Japanese PM. Or did Junior barf on a head of state, too, and I missed it? After the German chancellor's backrub, I kind of couldn't bear to watch the overseas travel.

Posted by: shortstop on November 4, 2010 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

This is just a teaser taste of what's to come.

koreyel is right. 2 years of exactly this type of bullshit over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over over and over and over......................

The point is though - there's only so much air in the room - and here we are (yet again!) squandering it on some made-up right wing faux outrage. How does it feel to be so easily and constantly manipulated?
Posted by: andy

No. The point is that lock stepping Republican faux outrage is going to be ramped up out of the stratosphere. The mid-term elections proved to the Republicans that their scorched earth (and salt it for good measure) strategy is working.

Trying to neuter the President at every turn just got a little easier for them. Ready the Murdoch Wurlitzer, it's now warp speed ahead .

Posted by: Oh my on November 4, 2010 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously? That argument again? Gah. I would respect the Republicans a bit more if they came up with new scandals. But I guess as long as the media falls for it again and again and again, it really doesn't matter.

ZOMG - is Barack Obama having an affair with an intern? Someone better start watching him.

Posted by: Julene on November 4, 2010 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Transportation aside, 2000 people at $1000 per day is $2 million per day. Where did they come up with $200 million ? That would be $200,000 per day. Just what kinds of hotel accomodations are they getting ?

Posted by: rbe1 on November 4, 2010 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Imagine Anderson Cooper responding to this crap with: "That's not true. You don't know what you're talking about." - josef @ 15:33

OR Imagine Anderson Cooper responding with a correction, "ah no, that is b as in billion. 200 billion" keep a straight face and stare down their BS. See if they truly speak fluent lunacy.

Posted by: Kevin (not the famous one) on November 4, 2010 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

The idiots reporting the $200 million/day trip didn't figure the exchange rate.

The original report that tabbed the cost of the trip was an Indian one, citing an Indian government official. The official quoted the price in rupees.

If you convert rupees to dollars, it comes out to roughly $4.4 million/day.

Nothing to see here.

Posted by: Hoi Polloi Wingnutia on November 4, 2010 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Look, I realize the discourse can be mind-numbingly stupid at times, but this is just silly.

Remember, for the Right and most of their media handmaidens, Real Americans (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) don't have any use for "facts." Those are only for pointy-headed elites and faggoty, terrorist-lovin' lib'ruls.

Posted by: electrolite on November 4, 2010 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously the answer is to nuke India back to the stone age.

Posted by: rabbit on November 4, 2010 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

Snopes is on it:
http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/india.asp

Some Indian tabloid wrote a crap story.

SCTV had a National Enquirer skit with John Candy as a factchecker: "SOMEBODY said it, so it MUST be true." And Roger Ailes saw that skit and saw his whole business plan.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on November 4, 2010 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

When M Bachman et all start lies about items such as the outrageous commnet about a cost for a trip that doesn't exist. The rejoinder should be" M Bachmann has voted for increasing the national deficit."

Posted by: MLJohnston on November 5, 2010 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

1-4 people in those 870 rooms = about 2-3+000 people. That at least seems to be correct.

What about the 34 warships and the 1 km long bomb-proof, air-conditioned tunnel, with closed circuit tv? Why are the India newspapers making this stuff up?

And the removal of all of the coconuts off of the trees so the President doesn't get hit in the head? It seems these stories are coming out of the coconut trees! Could at least some of them be true? Or perhaps all of them are!

Posted by: SteveMT on November 6, 2010 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

Great accounting analysis by Tom Johnson! I often skip the long blog entries, but this one covered it with such dry wit that I can't think of much else to add. I think you got $100k and $200k a bit mixed up, Tom, but that hardly detracts from the point. Who cares about a factor of 2 when everything else is off by 10^4?
Thanks!

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