On October 4, Barack Obama visited Newport News, Virginia, on the north side of battleground Hampton Roads. It was a great venue, on the banks of the James River, framed by the Victory Arch where soldiers coming home from both World Wars first stepped off the troop transport onto American soil. But it was a city park on the edge of downtown, and accomodating 18,000 people on a Saturday morning meant closing all the streets in the area with every spare policeman they could find, many on overtime.
The problem is that it cost the City $30,000, but the Obama campaign only paid $4,693, a reimbursement for bottled drinking water for the crowd. And according to the local paper, the Daily Press:
“It’s unlikely that the city will go back to the Obama campaign to ask for more money. “We never indicated we would charge for security,” Morgan said. “We provided the support like we always have.”
Compare Obama’s visit with a visit a week later (Monday, Oct 13) by John McCain and Sarah Palin to Virginia Beach, just 20 miles away on the other side of the James. The Republicans rented the Virginia Beach Convention Center for $20,000 and paid extra to use a satellite parking lot and the shuttle to it.
There’s no estimate of how much Virginia Beach spent for security and support personnel. It’s a larger city with 817 sworn officers — the second-largest police department in Virginia. They were able to meet the demand with available on-duty personnel and paid no overtime. “It generated revenues,” said Courtney Dyer, general manager of the Virginia Beach Convention Center. “We treated it like any other event. It was business like usual.”
If Obama creates a $20k unfunded cost on cities while campaigning, what’s he gonna do if he’s elected?