Taxpayers' union criticizes Obama for overseas flights

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The National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) is criticizing President Obama for taking more international flights on Air Force One than his predecessors did during this point in their tenures.

Obama has taken 31 international trips on Air Force in his five years as president according to the taxpayers' group, compared to 28 and 27 by former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton respectively.

The analysis comes as Obama is spending the week in Europe and the Middle East, including a visit Monday to the Netherlands.

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The NTUF said Obama's foreign trips have taken up more days of his presidency than either Bush or Clinton's, with the current president spending 119 days abroad, compared to 116 for Bush and 113 for Clinton.

NTUF Policy Analyst Michael Tasselmyer said the president's trips were proving costly to U.S. taxpayers.

“Our latest update confirms the costs associated with Presidential travel are growing as the President takes more frequent, shorter, trips on an airplane that is costing more and more to operate,” Tasselmyer said in a statement.

“Certainly international diplomacy is a very important duty of the President, yet taxpayers footing the bill deserve access to as much information as possible to inform the discussion on costs and benefits for our chief executive.”

The taxpayers' union estimated that Obama's foreign trip would cost $6.6 million, based on an estimated cost of $228,288 per hour of flight for operating Air Force One.

The White House has defended Obama's travel after previous criticisms by arguing that his trips are in line with other presidents' travel.