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Republican leader slams Obama's 'over-the-top' India trip

Last updated on: November 4, 2010 13:41 IST

Republican leader slams Obama's 'over-the-top' India trip

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The costs of United States President Barack Obama's upcoming trip to India has been criticised by a Republican leader as 'over-the-top' spending.

When asked whether she would support cuts to social security and medicare, Representative Michele Bachmann, a
Republican from Minnesota slammed the White House for the 'massive overspending' on Obama's maiden visit to India.

Obama's three-day trip starts from Mumbai where he will arrive on Saturday before proceeding to New Delhi the next day.


Image: US President Barack Obama

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$200 million per day for Obama's visit?

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A top official of the Maharashtra government privy to the arrangements for the high-profile visit has reckoned that
a whopping $200 million (Rs 900 crore approximately) per day would be spent by various teams coming from the US in connection with Obama's two-day stay in the city.

"A huge amount of around $200 million would be spent on security, stay and other aspects of the Presidential visit," the official said in Mumbai.

Nearly 3,000 people including Secret Service agents, US government officials and journalists would accompany the President. Several officials from the White House and US security agencies have already been in Mumbai for the past one week with helicopters, a ship and high-end security instruments.



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'An example of massive overspending'

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Unprecedented security has been put in place both in Mumbai and New Delhi.

"We have never seen this sort of an entourage going with the President before. And I think this is an example of the massive overspending that we have seen," Bachmann said.

Asked to comment about Bachmann's criticism of the trip, the White House said in a written statement that the figures cited by the Republican lawmaker "have no basis in reality."


Image: The Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, where Obama will stay
Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
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'These numbers are wildly inflated'

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"Due to security concerns, we are unable to outline details associated with security procedures and costs, but it's safe to say these numbers are wildly inflated," White House spokesperson Amy Brundage said.

Bachmann's comments come on the same day she formally announced her bid to join the House Republican leadership and become the chair of the House Republican Conference in the next Congress. She already has at least one rival for the job.

Republican Jeb Hensarling, a Republican from Texas, is also seeking the number four spot in the GOP's House leadership. Hensarling has already been endorsed by two powerful House Republican leaders.


Image: The Humayun's tomb in Delhi, which Obama will visit
Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters
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