Entries in Travel (5)


Joe Biden's Million Dollar Nights in London & Paris

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to Europe last month led to a hefty tab with over one million dollars dedicated to securing hotels for himself, staff and security for two nights in London and Paris, government documents show.

As first reported by The Weekly Standard, documents show that the U.S. government obtained contracts with two five star hotels in London and Paris where the vice president stayed for two nights during a five day tour of Europe last month.

One contract was awarded to the Hyatt Regency London for a total of $459,338.65 while another contract was given to the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand for $585,000.50

While the figure may be eye popping, a State Department official said these costs are par for the course in high-level international trips as they also include staff, security details and military personnel.

“These costs are nothing out of the ordinary. They are in line with high level travel across multiple administrations,” the State Department official said.  “The contract costs cover the entire range of support, including accommodations for military, communications, secret service staff, and other support professionals.  Security experts are also required to travel in advance of the President or Vice President. Safety and security are not negotiable.”

A 1999 GAO report showed that trips President Bill Clinton took to Africa, Chile and China in 1998 cost $42.8 million, $10.5 million, and $18.8 million dollars, respectively – adding up to over $72 million.  1302 travelers were on the trip to Africa while 592 and 510 people were on the trips to Chile and China, respectively.

The White House normally does not disclose the amount paid for the vice president and president’s travel.  Last year, an Air Force official told ABC News that one hour of flying time aboard Air Force One totaled $179,750 in FY2012.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney would not reveal how much the president’s day trip to Illinois earlier this month would cost when asked about it by ABC News’ White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl.

“I don't have a figure on the cost of presidential travel.  It is obviously something, as every president deals with because of security and staff, a significant undertaking,” Carney said. “But the President has to travel around the country.  He has to travel around the world.  That is part of his job.”

In an interview during the campaign last year, President Obama said the decisions about travel are not up to him when he was asked if he was out of touch with ordinary Americans if his family is “jetting around” on Air Force One.

"The fact of the matter is, I think if you look at my track record, I'm raising a family here. When we travel, we got to travel through Secret Service, and Air Force One, that's not my choice. I think most folks understand how hard I work and how hard this administration is working on behalf of the American people," Obama told KMOV of St Louis.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Rubio Stops in Jordan During Trip to Middle East

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is on a tour of the Middle East this week, which will include a stop in Israel.

Rubio met Monday with King Abdullah II in Jordan along with other members of the Jordanian government to talk about the Syrian war and the economic and security cooperation between the United States and Jordan.  Rubio also met with former Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab, who defected to Jordan last year.  This marked Rubio’s first-ever trip to Jordan.

The Florida senator, who is accompanied on the trip by his wife Jeanette, will make his second trip to Israel at the end of the week, when he will meet with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“America’s friendship with Israel is a truly special one, and we must continue to do all we can to support this beacon of democracy, religious freedom and free enterprise in the heart of an unstable region,” Rubio said in a post on his website over the weekend. “As Iran continues its pursuit of a nuclear weapon, we must continue to apply pressure through every possible means in order to prevent a nuclear Iran. And I look forward to assessing the impact American security assistance is having and discussing the importance of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt and how we can maintain it during this time of great uncertainty and tumult in Egypt.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Where’s Jan Brewer? Arizona Governor Takes Secret Trip

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is MIA. Sort of.

The governor, who is best known for championing the state’s controversial immigration law, is currently taking a week-long work trip out of state, but her office has refused to disclose where she is going.

The mysterious trip leaves Secretary of State Ken Bennett as the acting governor, as outlined by the state’s constitution. Bennett spokesman Matt Roberts tells ABC News that the secretary’s office was notified on Friday that the governor would be gone from Sunday through Saturday, but they were not told where the governor was going.

There has been one Brewer sighting so far this week in the Washington, D.C., area. Her whereabouts on Sunday and her plans for the rest of the week, however, are a mystery.

Brewer missed the certification Monday of Arizona’s 2012 election results. Bennett, who in his job as secretary of state is already responsible for overseeing elections, oversaw the official canvas.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ann Romney Visits Her Ancestral Roots

Scott Olson/Getty Images(LLANGYNWYD, Wales) -- Ann Romney will find herself in the middle of an old Welsh love story during her weekend getaway to her ancestral home.  After leaving the London Olympics, she is visiting the 850-year-old Old House Inn in Llangynwyd, Wales.

According to Richard Stephens-David, landlord of the Old House Inn, she should be arriving with a group of about 30 to 40 people, though the names of the guests have not been made public.

After breakfast Ann heads to a nearby church called Cynwyd. There, Stephens-David said she will speak with a local historian to look up her Welsh family heritage. “It is believed that some of her ancestors are buried in the graveyard there” Stephens-David said. “While she is there, she will have a male voice choir from a neighboring village sing to her.”

“The old Cynwyd Church that Ann will be visiting is attached to an old Welsh love story,” Stephens-David told ABC News. “The love story is about a wealthy landowner’s daughter who fell in love with a laborer.”

The landlord tells the tale of the young girl’s family disapproving of her love affair with a laborer and ultimately marrying her off to local solicitor.

“Both the daughter and the laborer died of a broken heart,” Stephens-David said. “They are both buried at that church. Wil Hopcyn, the laborer, is buried outside because he was a pauper, and the daughter, Ann Thomas, is buried inside because she came from wealth.”

Later in the afternoon, after her church visit, Romney is expected to return to the inn for lunch. “We will have a locally produced menu consisting of Welsh lamb and black beef for Ann and her guests,” said the innkeeper.

“But the choir boys will not be joining us for lunch.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hillary Clinton to Be Most-Traveled Secretary of State in US History

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touches down in Latvia Thursday, she will hit a milestone, having traveled to a staggering 100 countries in less than four years. Clinton will become the most-traveled secretary of state in U.S. history.

The previous record holder was Madeleine Albright, who visited 96 countries when she was the nation’s top diplomat from 1997 to 2001.  Clinton’s predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, visited 85 countries in four years.

Rice talked to Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Tuesday night about how living out of a suitcase is a requirement of the job.  The frequent visits demonstrate that the secretary of state has to travel, “widely because the inbox for the world is really the American secretary of state’s inbox,” Rice said. “That is really what those numbers show. You have to get out there and represent the United States.”

Besides Lativia’s being the 100th country Secretary Clinton has visited, it will also be the first time a secretary of state has visited the tiny Eastern European country in nearly 20 years.  A senior State Department official called Clinton’s industrious travel, “a testament to the enormous activity that she has put into her job.”

And she’s not done yet. Clinton still has six more months before she says she will depart her post, which means more time on planes as the public face of U.S. diplomacy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio