President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama landed in New York Saturday afternoon, and after taking a helicopter from JFK into Manhattan, drove up the West Side Highway, where the northbound lanes were shut down by police for their visit, past Ground Zero, into the Village for dinner at the Village's Blue Hill restaurant. From there, they went north to Times Square, where they went to to see a production of "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" at the Belasco Theater on West 44 Street. Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest read a statement from Obama: "I am taking my wife to New York City because I promised her during the campaign that I would take her to a Broadway show after it was all finished." Asked about the cost of the trip, which Republicans have criticized as indulgent, coming just ahead of the expected announcement of GM's bankruptcy filing on Monday, Josh Earnest told pool reporter Dave Michaels of the Dallas Morning News, that he "didn't anticipate being able to provide a cost estimate tonight." After the play let out at about 11:30 p.m., the presidential motorcade went down Sixth Avenue, shut down by the NYPD, and onlookers packed onto the East side of the street cheered as the presidential motorcade passed as the Obamas headed back to JFK for a return flight to Washington.
The Republican National Committee slammed the outing in an "RNC Research Piece": "As President Obama prepares to wing into Manhattan’s theater district on Air Force One to take in a Broadway show, GM is preparing to file bankruptcy and families across America continue to struggle to pay their bills. ... Have a great Saturday evening – even if you’re not jetting off somewhere at taxpayer expense. ... PUTTING ON A SHOW: Obamas Wing Into The City For An Evening Out While Another Iconic American Company Prepares For Bankruptcy." The RNC's Gail Gitcho added: "If President Obama wants to go to the theater, isn’t the Presidential box at the Kennedy Center good enough?”
And, from Asher Embry at The American Spectator:
Kim Jong Il’s deployed plutonium, and missles, threats, and lies. Iran is daily plotting still for Israel’s demise. In Pakistan there’s turmoil and the country could implode. Near Georgia, Russia readies troops and trouble they forebode. At home, our spending’s soaring, and our deficits balloon. Tax revenues are sinking fast, down drastically through June. GM’s declaring bankruptcy, and no one knows who else. So all of us are cutting back and tightening our belts. While “everyday Americans” are struggling every day, So glad Barack could find the time for dinner and Broadway.