RUSH: UK Daily Mail online: ‘Bush Declares a ‘State of Emergency’ in Washington as Cost of Obama’s Swearing-in Ceremony Soars to £110m.’ This is over $150 million. Now, I was a little early when I was on the way to the White House yesterday, so I had the driver take me by the Capitol, the side that’s set up for the inauguration. I have never seen in my life so many Port-A-Potties all over everywhere. They’re surrounding the Washington Monument; they’re all the way down The Mall; they are on the grounds of Capitol Hill; the seats where the two-hundred and some odd thousand who are given official tickets will sit to witness the swearing-in ceremony. It’s just massive. It is just huge, and I’m thinking all the stories we’ve had downplaying expectations of the number of people showing up.
Here is the story from the UK Daily Mail: ‘Barack Obama’s inauguration is set to cost more than £100m making it the most expensive swearing-in ceremony in US history. The President-elect will take less than a minute to recite the oath of office in front of an estimated two million people–‘ oh, it’s down to two million now ‘– in the US capital next week. But by the time the final dance has been held at one of the many inaugural balls the costs for the day will be a staggering £110m,’ or over $150 million. Do you know where this number was revealed? It was revealed yesterday as Obama scrambled to answer questions about the nomination of Timothy Geithner. ‘Obama’s White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said in a statement that Geithner had committed honest mistakes that he quickly addressed upon learning,’ and then they went on to discuss this. Okay, so, $150 million, Obama inauguration. Got that?
Let’s go back to the Associated Press in 2005, the reporter Will Lester. This is a January 13th AP dispatch: ‘President Bush’s second inauguration will cost tens of millions of dollars — $40 million alone in private donations for the balls, parade and other invitation-only parties. With that kind of money, what could you buy? Two hundred armored Humvees with the best armor for troops in Iraq; vaccinations and preventive health care for 22 million children in regions devastated by the tsunami; a down payment on the nation’s deficit, which hit a record-breaking $412 billion last year.’ Speaking of that, without the stimulus, we got the first three months of the 2009 fiscal year budget. We’re on track to a $1.2 trillion deficit, and here in 2005, we’re spending way too much money on Bush’s inauguration, why, we could make a down payment on the nation’s deficit.
And finally, ‘All these questions, what could we better spend the Bush inauguration money on, have come from Bush supporters and opponents. Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?’ That was the lead, Will Lester, AP, January 13th. Yesterday, January 13th, 2009, Laurie Kellman: ‘So you’re attending an inaugural ball saluting the historic election of Barack Obama in the worst economic climate in three generations. Can you get away with glitzing it up and still be appropriate, not to mention comfortable and financially viable? To quote the man of the hour: Yes, you can. Veteran ballgoers say you should. And fashionistas insist that you must. ‘This is a time to celebrate. This is a great moment. Do not dress down. Do not wear the Washington uniform,’ said Tim Gunn, a native Washingtonian and Chief Creative Officer at Liz Claiborne, Inc. ‘Just because the economy is in a downturn, it doesn’t mean that style is going to be in a downturn,’ agreed Ken Downing, fashion director for Neiman Marcus.’
Not one story so far about how many people in Darfur could we feed with this $150 million? How many Africans could be vaccinated against AIDS for some of this $150 million? What size home could you buy the brother George Obama, still living in the hut with just a meager portion of this $150 million? Aunt Zeituni might even be able to buy her a green card with a portion of the $150 million. What about all the children without health care? What about all of the middle-class people without jobs? How many people could be aided with a portion of Obama’s inauguration budget? Bush, it was $40 million and they were asking how it could be better spent, that it’s unnecessary. We weren’t in a recession either, by the way, we weren’t in an economic downturn. Now in the midst of an economic downturn, oh, yeah, go out there and gussie it up all you can, dress it up, spend it up, bad economic times, this is when we need to indulge ourselves more. Change we can believe in. And here now is Bill in Tampa. Bill, great to have you here. Thanks for waiting as we head back to the phones on the EIB Network, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Good afternoon, Rush. Happy belated birthday to you.
RUSH: Thank you very much, sir.
CALLER: I’m an automotive wholesale parts distributor from Tampa to Orlando daily, and a major soft drink manufacturer, Pepsi-Cola, has changed their logo where it looks eerily similar to Barack Obama’s. They even have slogans like, ‘Are you ready to change the world?’ on these billboards and signage. It just amazes me how they’re backing this just like the media has since his 2004 speech.
RUSH: This is business. With business, don’t make the mistake assuming this is ideological. It’s not always. Sometimes it is. But in this case, this is just about selling Pepsi, and his logo was already close enough to theirs, they coulda sued him for copyright infringement. Instead, they’re getting on board. Pepsi’s always had a marketing challenge. How do we go against Coca-Cola? Their most famous campaign was, ‘The drink of a new generation.’ Well, they’re back to it. They’re just basically recycling it here. Somebody sent me an e-mail Sunkist is running ads that make it look like Obama and his family are endorsing the product.
RUSH: I saw a story yesterday — even while flying to Washington, I was doing show prep — and there was a story on all kinds of businesses who are trying to get themselves on television, somehow, during the inauguration because the people, the ratings, might rival the Super Bowl, and yet it won’t cost anything if they can find a way to finagle themselves in the TV coverage somehow.
CALLER: Well, they may be successful, but I doubt it ’cause I’ve drank my last Pepsi-Cola, that’s for sure.
RUSH: (laughing) All right. Look, I appreciate the call.
CALLER: Thank you, sir.
RUSH: Thanks el mucho.