CBS Fawns Over Obama Date Night in NYC, Excuses Cost
Published: 6/2/2009 12:30 PM ET
On Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen mentioned President Obama taking the First Lady on a date night to New York City over the weekend: "The President and First Lady had a long-planned night out in New York City on Saturday, doing dinner and Greenwich Village and taking in the Broadway show, 'Joe Turner's Come and Gone'" Co-host Maggie Rodriguez commented on the restaurant the first couple went to: "Blue Hill, down in Greenwich Village. It's a wonderful restaurant." Co-host Harry Smith added: "Probably impossible to get a reservation now, right?"
Later, Rodriguez explained the "long-planned" excursion: "...this is something that he [Obama] promised her, apparently, when he was on the campaign, 'I'm going to take you out on a date night in New York City.'"
Guest co-host Amanda Holden, judge of the talent show 'Britain's Got Talent,' remarked: "Oh, that's so sweet."
Rodriguez agreed: "I know, it is sweet."
Holden went on: " They're such a good looking couple, aren't they? Fantastic."
Rodriguez again agreed: "They're beautiful."
After gushing over the romantic evening, Rodriguez did manage to briefly mention the controversy surrounding the cost of the getaway: "But there's - you know, some people aren't that happy about it because we footed the bill, and it was like $24,000 for each plane." A surprised Holden responded: "Oh, my goodness...That is quite a lot." Chen commented: "That's an expensive date." Rodriguez acknowledged: "So it did make a few waves."
On Tuesday, the Early Show focused a little bit more on the "waves" created by the Obama's jaunt to New York on the taxpayers' dime, with correspondent Michelle Gielan reporting: "President Obama and Michelle Obama stepped down from Marine One to board a Gulfstream 500 that cost $20,000. Add to that two additional planes for staff and press, and we're at $60,000. Once the jets landed at JFK, two helicopters, at $5,000 each...The approximate total cost for the date, without security detail and motorcade costs, $81,000."
However, immediately following Gielan's totaling of the bill, weatherman Dave Price defended the expense: "No, I mean - no, he's the president. They - he has to have security. That's how he has to travel. And you know what? He's entitled to have a night with his wife." Julie Chen agreed and added: "Right. I mean, if...if not the President of the United States, then who? And also, you know what? It did some for - some business for the local economy, I'll bet you ticket sales went up for that show and maybe other Broadway shows." Harry Smith explained: "They did, they actually tripled." Price replied: "Did they really triple, yeah? Yeah, I mean, give the - give the guy a break. I mean, you know."