July 4th, 2012
08:57 AM ET

The politics of presidential vacations in an election year


CNN White House correspondent Dan Lothian reports the Obamas will not be vacationing again in Martha's Vineyard this year. He examines the "optics" of presidential vacations especially in an election year.

May 31st, 2012
10:59 PM ET

Three presidents gather for Bush portrait unveiling

There were smiles, laughter and tears - but little politics - when former Presidents George W. Bush and his father, George H. W. Bush, joined current President Barack Obama at the White House for the unveiling Thursday of the younger Bush's official portrait.

It pays to be an EX-president
January 27th, 2012
05:02 PM ET

It pays to be an EX-president

Washington (CNN) - Being president pays; $400,000 a year, in fact.

There's the free transportation in the presidential limousine, Marine One and Air Force One. And don't forget the free housing in Washington's most famous mansion, complete with a killer view of the Washington Monument, along with other perks (a personal chef, for one).

When a president leaves the White House he's still on the government payroll, receiving an annual pension of about $200,000, health care, paid official travel and an office.

Rent for President Jimmy Carter's Atlanta office is $102,000 per year, according to 2010 figures compiled by the Congressional Research Service. President George H. W. Bush's Houston office costs $175,000 per year. President Bill Clinton's office in the pricey real estate market of New York City is $516,000.

Not too bad, huh?

For the complete story, read it on CNN.com

Campaigning on the taxpayers' dime
President Barack Obama and Linkedin CEO Jeff Weiner speak at the LinkedIn Town Hall meeting in Mountain View, California on Monday, September 26, 2011. (Jim Castel/CNN)
September 27th, 2011
10:41 PM ET

Campaigning on the taxpayers' dime


During President Obama's three-day swing through Washington State, California and Colorado, he fielded questions at a town hall meeting in Silicon Valley and visited a high school in Denver.  Two official events to promote his jobs plan.  Compare that to seven fundraisers he headlined, raising at least $8 million for his re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Who paid for the trip?  You did.  And so did we.  Taxpayers are footing the bill for almost the entire trip, which also cost millions of dollars.

It's standard practice for presidents, both Democratic and Republican, to go on predominantly fundraising trips with taxpayer's paying for most of the travel costs.  It's completely legal.  Do some official White House business on the trip and - voila! - the president's re-election campaign and party shoulder very little of the cost.

"Usually, a political party only covers a fraction of the costs of presidential travel, usually in the single digit percentages," says Pete Sepp with the National Taxpayers Union, a nonpartisan nonprofit group against wasteful government spending. "Most of the money raised really comes at a free cost to the parties. They only reimburse for a few hundred thousand dollars, on a given trip, if tax payers are lucky."

The price tag on presidential travel is exorbitant.  Air Force One costs $181,757 per flight hour to operate, according to the Air Force.  There's a C-17 military support plane to fly the president's limousines to his destination, perhaps another if Marine One will be used during the trip.

And the personnel: the salary costs of a Secret Service detail and dozens of White House staffers who also required meals, transportation and hotel rooms.  There are also local security costs like overtime pay for police officers who escort the presidential motorcade or provide security along the travel route.

There is little transparency in determining the cost of presidential travel.  A White House spokesman declined to say how the White House and the DNC divided the cost of Obama's western trip, citing security concerns.  Other administrations have refused on the same grounds. FULL POST

The presidency and aging
August 4th, 2011
09:54 AM ET

Is 50 the new 40? Apparently not for commanders in chief

As President Obama celebrates his milestone 50th birthday today, CNN.com put together a photo gallery of how Mr. Obama along with several of his predecessors showed the physical signs of age after several years in the high pressure job.  Take a look!

President George W. Bush on death of Osama bin Laden
Large crowds gathered outside the White House react to news that Osama bin Laden is dead
May 2nd, 2011
12:11 AM ET

President George W. Bush on death of Osama bin Laden

"Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al Qaeda network that attacked America on September 11, 2001.  I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission.  They have our everlasting gratitude.  This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001.  The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message:  No matter how long it takes, justice will be done. "