Remember that little speech the President made in Elkhart Indiana in February. The one where he said:
But, you know, you are not going to be able to give out these big bonuses until you pay taxpayers back. You can’t get corporate jets. You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers’ dime. There’s got to be some accountability and some responsibility, and that’s something that I intend to impose as president of the United States.
This afternoon that same President took his wife on the “Corporate” Jet (Airforce One) and Helicopter, along with the Secret Service, his “corporately paid body guards” and flew to New York for dinner and a Broadway Play.
Politics Can Wait: The President Has a Date
By JULIE BOSMAN
The Obamas escaped Washington on Saturday in search of a quintessential New York evening — dinner and a Broadway show.
They found it at Blue Hill, a low-key Greenwich Village restaurant, and at the Belasco Theater near Times Square for a performance of “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” the Tony-nominated August Wilson play.
It was the Obamas’ first joint visit to the city as the first couple. And even cooler-than-thou New York allowed itself a bit of excitement over their arrival.
“I thought I was dreaming,” said Kecia McCowen, a 45-year-old utility worker and student from Brooklyn; she bought tickets for the show three days ago, but found out that the Obamas would be there only after she arrived. “I was like, stop playing!”
Along Avenue of the Americas, pedestrians stopped to wave, snap pictures and press against metal barricades as the Obamas’ motorcade zipped by.
Times Square was even more frenetic than usual, as throngs of pedestrians — certainly including many tourists — lined several blocks waiting to catch a glimpse of Mr. and Mrs. Obama. The presidential date night began with a late-afternoon flight from Andrews Air Force Base, with Mr. Obama wearing a dark blue suit (no tie), and Mrs. Obama a black cocktail dress and a sleek updo, holding a turquoise clutch.
They landed at Kennedy International Airport at 4:45 p.m. and after taking a quick helicopter ride to Lower Manhattan, the presidential motorcade snaked its way up to Blue Hill, a restaurant off Washington Square Park that specializes in cuisine from the Hudson Valley. (It sounded like the choice of Mrs. Obama, who favors local food.)
Hours before the show began, the Secret Service cordoned off the entire block of 44th Street between Avenue of the Americas and Broadway, where the Belasco is located. Outside the theater, as the actors in the play began to trickle in, one of them, Chad L. Coleman, signed autographs and spoke with reporters, wearing a broad smile and an Obama cap.
“There are no words for it,” he said. “I told people I got two in one: a Broadway debut and the president attending.”
Ernie Hudson, one of the show’s stars, insisted that the cast did not have butterflies.
“We’re all very excited,” he said. “You really can’t do anything differently. You always do your best show possible.”
The Obamas arrived at the theater in a black stretch limousine just before 8 p.m., but lines at the metal detectors delayed the show more than 45 minutes.
When the Obamas walked down the aisle to take their seats, “it was utter pandemonium,” said Tim Johnson, who was in the audience, and described a scene of shouting, clapping and a long standing ovation.
Meryl Streep sat a few rows in front of the Obamas, said Mr. Johnson, 52. “No one seemed to notice,” he said.
While the Obamas’ visit to New York was considered private, there was some very public criticism of the trip. In a press release that was issued on Saturday afternoon with the headline “Putting on a Show,” the Republican National Committee suggested that the outing was inappropriate and that Mr. Obama was out of touch, especially given the looming bankruptcy of General Motors.
Shortly afterward, a White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, quickly relayed a message to reporters from Mr. Obama.
“I am taking my wife to New York City,” the president said in the statement, “because I promised her during the campaign that I would take her to a Broadway show after it was all finished.”
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Now whether you agree with the President or not, you can’t argue with the fact that the guy has a very high pressure job, and should have a night off to take his wife out. But his little junket to see a Broadway play with Michelle is no different that those corporate Junkets to the Super Bowl or Vegas.
Hell,I can’t afford to take my wife to a dinner in NYC and a show on Broadway, why the heck do I have to pay taxes for him to take HIS wife?