Literally. Plus parts of a couple other hotels. And they're bringing an enormous posse along. Who they all are or why they need to be there, I can't say. But I think we need a new word; "tone-deaf" doesn't begin to describe the Obamas' disconnectedness from the American people.
The Times of India reports:
To ensure fool-proof security, the President’s team has booked the entire the Taj Mahal Hotel, including 570 rooms, all banquets and restaurants. Since his security contingent and staff will comprise a huge number, 125 rooms at Taj President have also been booked, apart from 80 to 90 rooms each in Grand Hyatt and The Oberoi hotels. The NCPA, where the President is expected to meet representatives from the business community, has also been entirely booked.Well, he is a pretty good president. But the costs of this trip must be astronomical.
The officer said, “Obama’s contingent is huge. There are two jumbo jets coming along with Air Force One, which will be flanked by security jets. There will be 30 to 40 secret service agents, who will arrive before him. The President’s convoy has 45 cars, including the Lincoln Continental in which the President travels.”
Rumors that the first couple and their entourage will be riding in on elephants haven't been confirmed.*
And Michelle is planning a royal visit with some prostitutes. For real:
Adding to the Obamas’ busy schedule is Michelle’s likely visit to Kamathipura, where she will meet commercial sex workers on the invitation of an NGO. The highprofile visit is likely to inconvenience the citizens, as there could be a complete clampdown on traffic on some main roads of south Mumbai and sanitisation of buildings flanking them.I wonder whether she'll wear her $600 food bank sneakers so as not to lord it over the prostitutes.
*Husband made that up. But the rest of it is true.
How bout a little Sinatra to put us in the traveling mood?
**Update: It's another Obama summit. 200 CEOs will comprise part of the president's vast entourage. They're coming along to attend a gold-plated "panel discussion and brainstorming session." It's not clear who's paying for tab for the 200. From DNAIndia:
Meanwhile, over 200 chief executives of US companies in the Obama entourage, including Pepsico’s Indra Nooyi and Wal-Mart’s Mike Duke, will interact with CEOs of top Indian firms, both in Mumbai and Delhi.Why isn't the "next generation" using technology instead of costly, risky, old-school travel for their meeting? Maybe they could brainstorm about that.
On November 8, captains of the US industry will get a chance to interact with senior representatives of the Indian government during a day-long summit in the capital, which will be jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and US-India Business Council (USIBC).
During that summit in the capital, [various Indian ministers] are expected to share their views on government plans and policies with the American and Indian industry honchos. A networking reception will follow the day-long brainstorming.
As reported earlier, industry leaders from the two countries will hold panel discussions and interactions on various issues in Mumbai on November 6.
The issues will revolve around ‘innovation that will shake the economic destiny of the 21st century’, ‘next generation leadership’, and ‘leap-frogging technology through collaborations’.
Has anyone in the administration explored the option of not making this exorbitantly expensive trip when the country is in such bad financial shape? Whatever happened to "belt-tightening"? To paraphrase that guy in New Jersey: We can't afford it. We don't have the money.
Obama sure loves his summits, but this has got to be his most costly thus far, coming in a probable second to his nuclear summit in DC last spring.
From 2009, Jason Zengerle wrote on Why Obama is Obsessed with Summits: it's "the ultimate empty gesture."
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