Here's the email's contents; "The U.S. Secret Service has two new buses in its fleet for President Obama to use on his three-day, three-state Midwestern bus trip that kicked off Monday. CBS News has learned the buses were purchased in recent months at a cost of just under $1.1-million each and will serve as part of the fleet of vehicles the Service uses for all of its protectees. In the past, the Secret Service would lease buses as needed and outfit them with the security and communications equipment. "We have not been satisfied with the level of protection offered by leased buses," said a Secret Service official. Last year, the Secret Service placed an order for two buses with the Hemphill Brothers Coach Company of Whites Creek, Tennessee at a combined cost of $2,191,960. The buses have lavish interiors and are usually leased to transport stars of the entertainment industry. The company's website says its clients have included Beyonce, Cher, Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, Stevie Wonder, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Jack Nicholson, and Pope Benedict.
Mr. Obama will travel through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois on the tour. He has four town hall meetings planned, as well as a forum on rural economic issues. Although the bus trip has the feel of a campaign swing, the White House is billing it as "official." That means taxpayers pick up all the related costs. When Mr. Obama ventures out on political trips, his campaign or the Democratic National Committee pay a small portion of the cost of presidential travel, as required by the Federal Elections Commission.But spokesman Jay Carney says "the president is not engaged in a primary election and he is doing what presidents do, which is go out in the country and engage with the American people, have discussions about the economy and other policy issues."
Aboard Air Force One en route to the start of the bus trip in St. Paul, Minn., Carney told reporters that "to suggest that any time the president leaves Washington it's a political trip would mean that presidents could never leave unless they were physically campaigning on their own behalf, and he's not; he's out here doing his job and meeting with the American people." But Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called a news conference in Minnesota this morning to raise objections to the taxpayer-funded nature of the president's trip.
Sounds like a reasonable news story doesn't it? But after closer inspection, it is simply a story cynically manipulated by the GOP to tweak the emotions of the readers to oppose Obama, and it obviously worked on our unsophisticated and intellectually suspect sender. How can I claim this is the product of Spin? By taking a closer look at the article itself and the FACTS reported about these buses over 16 months ago. The facts are as follows:
It was reported in April, 2011 that the Secret Service purchased these buses, not exactly "in recent months." The Secret Service determined that it would be cheaper to buy the buses and outfit them with the necessary security equipment rather than continue to lease buses and retrofit them for the gear. Although the types of buses may be used by celebrities for luxury travel, these buses were outfitted with sophisticated security equipment and protection gear (not for luxury travel). The article seems to accurately state that the buses will be used for all protectees, but this fact is somehow glossed over when the article pivots from the cost of the buses to the cost of providing protection to the president when he is on the campaign trail. Conveniently missed in this article is the FACT that a similar bus is currently used by Mitt Romney on the campaign trail, or that the Secret Service provided over $10 Million in protective services to ALL GOP candidates during the most recent primary season (and as of yesterday, Ann Romney has been given her own secret service detail...where is the outrage from the GOP over that cost?). And when was this article written? RNC Chairman Priebus has been in Tampa for over a week, so why is this even presented as a real story when Preibus is quoted as being in Minnesota when he has been in Tampa? Ironically, every president has taken advantage of being the incumbent while campaigning for reelection or for other candidates within their party. It is called "Incumbency Advantage" and every president, Democratic AND Republican have taken advantage of that political edge since the beginning of our Republic. For the GOP Chairman to complain, knowing each GOP candidate had the same protection and that Romney currently has one of the buses in his campaign, is disingenuous. Ah, but they know that readers like the guy who sent me the email don't know any real facts. So, Spin it is, without regard to facts in a continuous effort to misguide the electorate into believing "I never disliked someone more than this man!" When it comes to Spin, I'll take my facts set on Permanent Press!
For more on Incumbency Advantage, check out Ch. 11 in "How Our Government Really Works, Despite What The Say."