Asked by George Stephanopoulos whether it was necessary to cancel the tours, which the Secret Service says cost about $74,000 per week, the President answered:
(Sorry I did not understand about half of this).“You know, I have to say this was not a decision that went up to the White House. But what the Secret Service explained to us was that they’re gonna have to furlough some folks. What furloughs mean is that people lose a day of work and a day of pay. And, you know, the question for them is how deeply do they have to furlough their staff and is it worth it to make sure that we’ve got White House tours that means that you got a whole bunch of families who are depending on a paycheck who suddenly are seeing a 5 or 10% reduction in their pay.”
Let me get this straight: President Obama had nothing to do with the politically-sensitive decision to shut down America’s House! He had been stirring up hysteria for weeks that the sequester would cripple the economy and wreak untold disaster and inconvenience on the American people. Strange. If such a decision does not go up to the White House, what does?
The President now tells us that someone else – the Secret Service – did it. Moreover, we learn from him that – he was told – that we need the tour cuts to prevent families who depend on a paycheck from seeing their pay cut. By cutting the 34 secret service officers who guard the tour route, we are saving the paychecks of others! Strange.
Now that all hell has broken loose, I can imagine a “wink-and-nod” meeting between the President and Mark Sullivan, the director of the Secret Service:
Obama: Mark: You know that the Republicans are using the closing of White House tours to hurt me politically. How could you (wink) have cancelled them without telling me? (wink)
Sullivan: Mr. President, we in the Secret Service did not feel that closing America’s House, the very house in which you live, was worth bringing to your attention. (nod)
Obama: And I told the press that we had to do this to save on costs. I guess you are sure that we could not afford to keep the tours going. (wink)
Sullivan: Mr. President, the tours were simply too expensive (wink). (The taping system picks up whispering: “Mr. President: I would not tell anyone that the White House tours cost two tenths of one percent of the Secret Service budget. The 34 agents used in the tours are one half of one percent of our Secret Service work force.”)
go to forbes.com