Obama's $8.67 million Asia AF-1 tab makes him most traveled president

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Alaska,South Korea,Philippines,Air Force One,Malaysia

President Obama returns from an eight-day trip to Asia on Tuesday, and all Americans got was an $8.67 million Air Force One tab, according to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.

The trip to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines made him the most traveled president in history at this point of the presidency. He has spent 133 days abroad on 34 total trips, including 73 stops, said NTUF.

“With this voyage to Tokyo, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, and Manila, NTUF’s ongoing study of Presidential Travel notes Barack Obama has now journeyed to 10 countries, spending 14 days abroad on 3 total trips this year,” said the taxpayer watchdog group.

They also put a price tag of $8.67 million on the trip, just for Air Force One. That is based on Air Force calculations that the big bird costs $228,288 an hour to operate, times the 38 hours of flight time estimated for the world tour.

Those costs do not cover his staff, security, naval ships, communications and all of the equipment prepositioned in each of the cities including limos and helicopters.

“Presidential travel entails substantial planning, logistical support, security provisions, and, therefore presents significant costs for taxpayers,” said NTUF Policy Analyst Michael Tasselmyer.

“The $8.7 million price tag of operating Air Force One offers perspective on what some of those costs can be, even though the full extent of the fiscal impact remains unclear. Given that diplomacy is a vital part of the chief executive’s duties, this is only the latest reminder that taxpayers would benefit from greater transparency and disclosure of travel expenditures no matter who occupies the White House,” Tasselmyer concluded.

In March, NTUF released a study of travel of other presidents at that stage of their second term: George W. Bush, 116 days on 28 trips; Bill Clinton, 27 journeys for 113 days; Ronald Reagan, 14 trips for 73 days; and Richard Nixon, 12 trips for 60 days.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.