The White House announced that it was canceling all public tours of the president's home because of the sequester spending cuts.
In an email the White House stated: "Due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration, we regret to inform you that White House Tours will be canceled until further notice. Unfortunately, we will not be able to reschedule affected tours."
Capitol staffers who use the building's West Front entrance that looks to the National Mall were also told that door would be closed in order to save money. It's quite an embarrassment for this administration when even the VOLUNTEERS who give the White House tours have to be cut! It only shows that this administration will do anything to try to gain a political advantage.
President Obama originally recommended the sequestration in hopes of using it as a hammer to beat down Republicans for political purposes. When that backfired the administration switched tactics and begin pushing its doom and gloom projections to the public due over the sequester reductions. In this case, they hoped to show how sequestration cuts could severely cripple our way of life.
That strategy also failed miserably, turning into a public relations nightmare. In pointing out how minimal the White House budget tours are in the scope of the overall budget, one reporter said that the cut of $352,000 is about what it costs to operate Air Force One for two hours!
This president seems to have little regard for "we the people", the rightful owners of his temporary residence. In the president's eyes, those White House field trips and family vacations that American families have been planning for months are obviously much less important than say, his recent golf date with Tiger Woods in Florida. According to press reports, that pleasure trip cost the taxpayers a cool $1 million. If Obama would have stayed at home, 341 federal workers would have been spared their furlough slips.
Republicans in the House who take the interests of the American taxpayer seriously are challenging this president's frivolous spending, both with the federal budget which he has been mismanaging for over four years now, and in his frequent personal vacations. Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas filed an amendment to a resolution that would prohibit federal funding of Obama's golfing trips until public tours of the White House resume.
When one reporter recently shouted out a question to the president about the tour cancellation as he was walking from Marine One top the Oval Office, Obama simply smiled and waved, his latest answer to a 2008 vow that this was to be the most transparent presidency in history. Obama has been triple-bogeying on the transparency promise from day one in the oval office.
The explanation over whose decision it was to shut down the White House tours has been as unclear as the phony transparency line we've been asked to swallow. Last Wednesday, Obama maintained that it was the secret service that was behind the decision to suspend the White House tours. But press secretary Jay Carney confused matters when he said that the White House made the final decision to suspend the tours.
The negative public reaction quickly forced the image conscious president to reassess. He told one news network that he's talking with the Secret Service about restoring some visits.
That's nice, but we can't help but feel sorry for the group of sixth graders from a Lutheran school in Iowa who had planned a trip to Washington and tour the White House. The disappointed students even posted their own Facebook video.
In the clip, they are shown holding up handmade posters and chanting, "The White House is our House."
Are you listening, Mr. President?
By Jim Zbick