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BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – KAILUA, OAHU – The U.S. Secret Service has arrived, street barricades are in place, and the U.S. Coast Guard has stationed itself in the waters surrounding Kailua, Oahu.

That is a sure sign President Barack Obama’s security team is preparing for the first family to arrive in the small beachside community as early as Friday night for what is expected to be a 17-day vacation.
The President and his family are traveling separately to Hawaii because he wants resolve the payroll tax cut issue before leaving Washington – and his wife does not want to wait.

But the advanced trip and the cost that comes with it – as much as $100,000 (flight and security) – adds to an already expensive vacation for the taxpayers.

Hawaii Reporter research shows the total cost for the President’s visit for taxpayers far exceeded $1.5 million in 2010 – but is even more costly this year because he extended his vacation by three days and the cost for Air Force One travel has jumped since last assessed in 2000. In addition, Hawaii Reporter was able to obtain more specifics about the executive expenditures.

The total cost (based on what is known) for the 17-day vacation roundtrip vacation to Hawaii for the President, his family and staff has climbed to more than $4 million. Here’s why. TRAVEL: $3,629,622

The biggest expense is President Barack Obama’s round trip flight to Hawaii via Air Force One, a cost the GAO office estimated at $1 million in the year 2000. Contacted today, the GAO confirmed there is no report the independent office affiliated with Congress has prepared since 2000 to operate Air Force One and Air Force Two. READ MORE

At a time when even he is preaching about sacrifice, about helping our neighbors, about joining together to reach a common goal to improve our economy and create jobs of the millions out of work, it is wonderful to see how seriously he takes the notion of personal sacrifice. Don’t get me wrong! Every working person deserves a vacation, or at least time off. I don’t begrudge him that … although the exact amount of work he does is a bit ambiguous. Nevertheless, time off, fine! But geez! Nearly $4 MILLION? Isn’t that a little extravagant under the best circumstances? And after firmly placing the blame for the fiasco in which we find ourselves squarely … everyplace but where it ought to be, on HIS shoulders, and bragging that he has accomplished as much in his first two years as all but 4 other Presidents … True enough, I guess. He didn’t necessarily say he IMPROVED the USA, just how much he accomplished! God, help us!

Before I rant on … zipping lips!

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