Should Taxpayers Be Footing the Bill for Obama's Midwest Tour?

Should taxpayers be footing the bill for president's bus trip?


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," August 16, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Today is day two of Obama's campaign tour. I mean bus tour. And he really came out right out of the gate yesterday from criticizing the GOP presidential candidates to claiming he reversed the recession. Take a listen.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We have reversed the recession, avoided a depression, got the economy moving again, created 2 million private sector jobs over the last 17 months. But over the last six months, we've had a run of bad luck.


ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: A little bit of bad luck, huh, sir? Arab spring, earthquake, anything but you, right, sir? That's what I thought.

Dana, the legacy of Obama will be a failure to create jobs, failure to grow the economy and a colossal failure to lead.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: I love how you never hold back and just let us know how you feel --

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: Was that a question?

BOLLING: I'm tossing to Dana.

PERINO: On the campaign/bus tour, OK, any president running for re- election in the year before there is an actual election will be accused of just running for re-election. The problem for them is they're not announcing anything. They're going out -- he is like he is on a campaign.

So, I don't know what they're going to do next August. The backdrop there kind of looked fake. It looks very campaign-y.

What's interesting is yesterday, all of a sudden, out of the blue he said, "In September, I'm going to announce a plan." And I just have this feeling that back at the White House, they were thinking we have to come up with a plan by September?

BOLLING: We have to come up with an idea.

PERINO: And then they can go in another bus tour.

BOLLING: You know, Bob, here's what he did. He flew to Minnesota on Air Force One. He got on the bus, did first a little speech, did a 45- minute ride to Iowa, spoke a little bit -- and then get this, he took out an entire hotel in Iowa. He took another 60 rooms in a college nearby. He worked out in the gym. He slept in the hotel, got back on the bus for 45 minutes again, made another stop.

What is this? Who is believing any of this?

BECKEL: He didn't sleep in a teepee? I'm surprised.

Listen, Eric, can I fill you in on something? Because you were an oil trader. I'll admit to you, that is a campaign trip. That's what happens when you're running a year out from the election.

BOLLING: But if it is, Bob --

BECKEL: And, you know, 60 hotel rooms, that's about normal, as Dana will tell you, for a presidential entourage. And you know something?

Would you give the guy a break just once? He's out there. He's got the bully pulpit to himself.

BOLLING: Bob, I'm sure no one has a problem with that being a campaign tour, trip. However, we're paying for it.


BECKEL: His message is very clear. The Republicans are do-nothing Congress who have done nothing. He's got a record -- you may not like it but he's got has a record. Republicans have nothing but bupkis.

BOLLING: And we're paying.

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: We are paying for it. And I'm sure Harry Reid really appreciates him saying that it's do-nothing Congress. I mean, don't forget, they need to hold on to the Senate, the Democrats.

But building on what Dana says, why would have a bus tour when you have nothing to announce? And, look, his campaign should have paid for this because as you say, Eric, it looks really bad that the taxpayers are doing it. And, frankly, he is criticizing the GOP candidates. It sounds to me like the president is really worried. I mean, to come out this early in political season and already start attacking the GOP presidential candidates on something you build that's not political, that's bad.

But I'll tell you what? When you have people that have been carrying your water on the far left saying you have no credibility on the issue -- Arianna Huffington, first time I agree with her. Let's take a listen, if you can't win her, well, he is in big trouble.

Listen to this.


ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, HUFFINGTON POST: That is the most laughable thing that Obama said yesterday, that now we've solved the debt limit crisis, we're going to move on to jobs. He has been saying that month after month, ever since the last State of the Union. And we never really move onto jobs. He's no longer credible on this issue.


BECKEL: You'd think after 30 years in this country, Eric, you'd learn to speak English. The Greek thing is just too much. I love her, but too much.

TANTAROS: But she is saying he has no credibility on the issue, Bob.

What are you going to do? With an accent or not, she's right.

BECKEL: But you sit back and raise the issue about the taxpayers paying for that -- did we raise an issue when George Bush landed on the aircraft carrier and say "mission accomplished"?


BECKEL: We did not.


BECKEL: We did not raise. We didn't say it was campaign money should have paid for that, which he should have paid for it.

PERINO: You guys should have paid for it because it ended up being your campaign slogan.

BECKEL: Well, it was Bush's Iraq statement.


GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Here's the thing -- this would not be a problem if what President Obama was doing -- if he was doing something useful. You know, he should be driving the bus and there should be a bunch of retirees in there and he should take them to casinos, because that's what a bus is for. If we are going to pay for this, Bob, make it useful.


BOLLING: But at the end of this three-day, whatever this thing is where he spends 45 minutes on a bus and makes a couple of speeches and works out in his hotel in between, he is going to go back there. Allow me



BOLLING: Just let me finish.

BECKEL: Allow me. Allow me to beat up --

BOLLING: Ten days, Ms. Perino. Ten days on Martha's Vineyard in the full lap of luxury.

BECKEL: Are you going to your ocean front villa yourself?


BECKEL: Are you going to show one of these rude Tea Party people --

BOLLING: I'm asking Dana a question here.

BECKEL: I want to try to move you on your script here.

BOLLING: I want to know if he should be spending 10 days after this little, you know, campaign tour he is doing.

PERINO: I think he does need a vacation.

BECKEL: Thank you, Dana.

PERINO: I think he deserves a vacation. And I think we all need a break from it. He is not doing himself any favors out on this tour.

He did get a little good news today and that Fitch's, one of rating agencies, said they think America still has AAA rating. So, that's good.

But it's not good enough and especially if you are going out and you're already not going to rise above trying to unite the country, say something encouraging, have something to talk about. But instead you're going to go after GOP presidential candidates that are fighting amongst themselves?

BECKEL: Your want him to go to Mississippi?

BOLLING: No. I simply said, look, if you want to make it a campaign, make it a campaign but pay for the darn thing yourself.


BECKEL: Would you stop beating up Obama and go to the Tea Party --

TANTAROS: But can I ask you a political question? Isn't it telling that he is going to three states that he did very well in, in 2008?

BECKEL: Of course.

TANTAROS: Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. And he's lost -- his approval rating has actually tanked -- 12 points, 14 points, 17 respectively.

PERINO: Those are not gimme states. In Illinois, his home state, they elected Mark Kirk, a Republican senator.

BECKEL: Dana, you know and I know that gimme states don't matter this far out because gimme against who? Against your favorite Republican candidate. Generic.


BOLLING: We'll get to that. We're going to get to that.

In the meantime, Rush Limbaugh had very, very poignant thing to say about the way the mainstream media is treating Mr. Obama. Take a look.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I don't know of a classy way of saying this.

LIMBAUGH: Well, you know, next time Obama has a colonoscopy, I wonder who they'll find in there. Which NBC personality will show up first?


BOLLING: Greg, which member of "The Five" would most likely to be there?

GUTFELD: I don't understand the joke. Could somebody explain it to me?

BECKEL: Have you had a colonoscopy?

GUTFELD: Yes. I had it once. But I don't have any memory of it.

BECKEL: I have it twice a year.

GUTFELD: Really?


GUTFELD: No details.

TANTAROS: OK, enough. People are making dinner at home, Bob.

PERINO: When Rush said he couldn't think of a classy way to say it, I thought to myself, I always think about Bob when I need something classy to say.

BECKEL: You do? Well, good. That shows what you think. That is what happens when you marry a Scottish guy.


BECKEL: I want to see this lovely Tea Party person.

BOLLING: A Tea Party, you call him a heckler, I call him a questioner.

BECKEL: Oh, a questioner, yes.



RYAN RHODES, TEA PARTY ACTIVIST: When you're talking about civility -- how is your vice president calling us terrorists?

OBAMA: Sir, sir, look --

RHODES: I would like to understand that.

OBAMA: OK, OK, I'll explain that right now. He, he did not call you guys terrorists.

RHODES: He said we were acting like terrorists, hostage takers.

OBAMA: No, no. What he said was for us to be willing to take the economy to the brink was irresponsible. And it was.

OBAMA: He was objecting to us almost defaulting.

RHODES: Then why didn't somebody pass a balanced budget amendment? It's simple. We can pass that and nothing else.

OBAMA: It doesn't sound like you're interested in listening. It sounds like your --

RHODES: But you aren't listening either.


BECKEL: Well, I will tell you something -- the president of the United States better get used to that because that's a coordinated effort by the national Tea Party groups. They will be every place he goes. And they'll have these little people standing there yelling out these same talking points at him.

Getting use to it, Mr. President. It's not the way it should be.


GUTFELD: You didn't care when did it.

BECKEL: Except to wait for a tea time on the fourth hole.

TANTAROS: This is supposed to be a listening tour, Obama's listening tour to the people, and he said you're not listening to me.

BECKEL: Would you listen to the Tea Party?

TANTAROS: He needs bionic hearing aid.

BECKEL: Can I bring up the Tea Party for a second?

BOLLING: You did.

BECKEL: No, I didn't. I'm sorry.

TANTAROS: He needs bionic hearing aid. If he can't figure out by now what the people have been saying for the last two-and-a-half years.

BOLLING: What's the Tea Party -- what's your beef with the Tea Party, Bob?

TANTAROS: Go ahead, Bob.

BECKEL: I'm going to wait until the next segment because then I want to bring up a poll that shows what you think about -- what the people think about the Tea Party as opposed to you people.

BOLLING: All right. We're good.

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