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Senator calls Clinton travel costs 'excessive'

By JANET MOORE/CNN

September 21, 1999
Web posted at: 5:48 p.m. EDT (2148 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Republican senator Tuesday said taxpayers are being taken for a ride over President Clinton's travel expenses.

Referring to a newly released General Accounting Office Report, Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho called the extent of the president's travels not only "excessive" but "almost abusive."

The report detailed the cost of President Clinton's 1998 trips to Africa, Chile and China. The study reports these trips cost at least $42.8 million, $10.5 million and $18.8 million, respectively.

The White House defended the trips and said the "president believes that it is money well spent."

Craig said Clinton holds the all-time record for presidential travel -- 186 days abroad to 59 different countries, averaging 27.6 days of overseas travel per year.

"A large share of the money used to pay for these trips comes out of our national defense readiness, which the president has cut to the bone," Craig said.

White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart said there are unique costs the U.S. president faces wherever he goes to maintain his physical security and to provide communications that allow him "to handle any crisis".

Calling Craig a "prolific" traveler, Lockhart added that "we know how to manage money" -- and pointed to budget surpluses the United States has had in the last two fiscal years.



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Tuesday, September 21, 1999

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