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Closing White House Tours Backfires on Obama

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Let's go to the audio sound bites. I mentioned that the president is having a little trouble here with the sequester and the White House tours being shut down. In fact, in Politico there's a story: "Now Democrat Worry: Did President Obama Cry Wolf? -- President Barack Obama hopes to spark a pitchfork revolt against Republicans over sequester-induced budget cuts -- but many Democrats fret that he’s undermined that effort with an early strategy marred by hype, poor planning and muddled messaging."

Imagine that! Democrats saying all of that about Obama? Hype, poor planning, muddled messaging? "The stakes in the sequester debate aren't quite as high as they were during the debt ceiling battle of 2011, but Democratic veterans of the Obama-Republican wars of 2009 and 2010 are getting a creepy sense of deja vu from a White House messaging shop they believe fumbled the rollouts of the stimulus and health care initiatives." (interruption)

No. They never got above 50%. They're very worried here that people can't find these sequester cuts -- and when you can find 'em, they're cuts that don't make any sense. We're shutting down White House tours while Obama takes a 20-vehicle caravan one half a mile? By the way, that's how far the trip was from the White House to dinner with the Republican ruling class guys last night: Half a mile! Twenty cars! How many people in those cars do you think attended dinner?

One. Well, I don't know. Maybe McCain and Graham drove over there with Obama. I have no idea. But I guarantee you that the people in those 20 cars for a half a mile were not at dinner. Yet we can't keep the White House open for tours, and it's not playing well for Obama and the media. The media is mad. Here's ABC. We have Diane Sawyer and Jonathan Karl talking about it. I mean, even Diane Sawyer was a little upset about this last night on World News Tonight.

SAWYER:  The White House says they're forced to shut down White House tours.  Little kids are disappointed, and people have been e-mailing us today saying, "Really?  Is that the only way to save money?"  Yeah, see, that's not the way this is supposed to happen.  What's supposed to happen is that little kids are supposed to be running around acting like they did when the Republicans were gonna starve them back in 1995.  Back in 1995, when these little kids were gonna be starved to death, they were writing letters to the Republicans, "Dear Mr. Congressman:  I can't study when I'm hungry.  I can't live if I don't have food.  I don't want to die.  Please don't starve me. Please don't cut the school lunch budget." Little kids writing letters to that effect. 

Now, what they're supposed to have been doing here is writing letters to Republicans blaming them for shutting down the White House tours, but they're not, they're blaming Obama.  That's not how it's supposed to go.  Democrats are worried.  Here's Jonathan Karl, his report last night, the White House wants the media to go find victims and children who are victims. They want to go find victims willing to blame the Republicans, but it backfired because they're now victims of the White House, not Republicans.  And the Republicans, in fact, may end up being the good guys here, which could be Obama's worst nightmare.

KARL:  For tourists visiting the nation's capital today, the decision to close the White House has hit with a thud. What do you guys make of this decision for the White House to say that they’re going to cut White House tours?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Basically, it is just bull... [bleeped].

KARL:  We talked via Skype to a 6th grade class from Waverly, Iowa, just told their White House tour next week has been canceled. How big a deal is it to be able to go to the White House?

KAREN THALACKER:  It's very important. They'll remember it for the rest of their lives.

KARL:  Now they've launched a Facebook campaign to get the White House reopened. The message...

WAVERLY, IOWA, SCHOOL CHILDREN:  The White House is our house! Please let us visit!

KARL:  We ran into the Speaker of the House. The President says he has to cancel the tours because of the budget cuts.

JOHN BOEHNER: We're open and Americans are welcome.

RUSH:  So Boehner said, "Well, we're open at the Capitol, have 'em come by and see us."  Now, you might remember, they opened a massive visitor center in the US Capitol down in the basement.  Dingy Harry actually went to the floor of the Senate to complain about how bad it is down there in the summertime, 'cause you can smell the tourists.  Remember that?  They come in there and they got all this body odor, they stink, they smell, it was not a good idea.  But nevertheless, Boehner is welcoming them. How about these kids?  "The White House is our house.  Please let us visit."  And of course everbody knows the Republicans aren't in the White House.  They got nothing to say about whether it's open or not.  And then Jonathan Karl did the math.  He did the math.  He figures out the White House is only saving $18,000 a week during this.

KARL:  The White House says it is canceling the tours because sequester spending cuts have sliced $84 million out of the Secret Service's $1.6 billion budget. And they are the ones who secure the tours. They wouldn't say how much this saves, so we did some math. Tours are open 20 hours a week and use 30 uniformed Secret Service officers at about $30 an hour. Total saved? Approximately $18,000 a week.

RUSH:  Now, what does it cost for 20 cars to transport Obama a half a mile?  By the time you add up all the man-hours, the fuel costs, everything else involved to take Obama a half mile to have dinner with the Republican old guard... See, the shutdown of the White House tours is purposeful.  They wanted people to be disappointed.  They wanted kids and everybody to be sad. These people planned for this years in advance, certainly by a minimum of a month that you have plan one of these things, and they wanted people disappointed.  They wanted people sad and let down, and they wanted people blaming the Republicans for it.  And it's backfiring, not working.

END TRANSCRIPT

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