It’s the final presidential debate tonight, are you watching? Last week, Alex Francis reported on Mitt Romney’s campaign hotels and now she sinks her teeth into President Obama’s campaign travels.
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have been bouncing from hotel to hotel around the country in order to prove that they are worthy of boasting the prestigious 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue address for the next four years. And with just two weeks left before the election, the two candidates are probably looking for any form of comfort they can get, whether it comes from poll results or hotel pillows.
Last week we looked at the hotels and travel expenses of the Romney campaign and found out that the governor has a bit of a penchant for luxury, so this week we’re checking out if the incumbent president takes his lush White House lifestyle with him on the campaign trail.
But once again, my foray into the world of FEC campaign finance reports has proven to be very interesting. The categorization of expenses seems surprisingly unregulated, and rather than separating travel expenses out into air travel, hotel fees, etc., Obama’s disbursement reports only have two travel-related categories: travel/lodging and travel agency fees. The reports show that his campaign had $3,612,332.71 worth of expenses in the former category and $25,823.51 in the latter.
This is further complicated by the fact that the president has Air Force One at his disposal for official business, which is paid for by tax dollars—and while incumbents are required to foot the bill for their own campaign travel, official business and campaigning often overlap. To address this, federal election law requires the president to reimburse the state for campaign-related Air Force One usage at the cost of chartering a Boeing 737 for a comparable trip. Between March and August of this year, the Obama campaign paid $1,235,723.48 to a “Travel Offset Account,” presumably for this reason.
So all in all, the President Obama’s campaign seems to have paid a grand total of $4,873,879.70 in travel-related expenses.
Despite the absence of a dedicated lodging category on Obama’s disbursement reports, we fortunately live in a world where the whereabouts of famous people regularly make headline news. Here are a few of the hotels that President Obama has stayed in on his journey to reclaim the White House.