President Obama is set to visit Jamaica in April, the Jamaica Observer reports. The newspaper reports, “Obama is scheduled to attend a meeting in Kingston on April 9, after which he will leave for Panama to attend the Summit of the Americas that will be held over April 10 – 11.”
PRESIDENT OBAMA ON COLOMBIA TRIP: President Obama seems to be caught up in another controversy, this time for telling a panel at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena (site of the prostitution scandal rocking the U.S. Secret Service) that part of his job there was to scout out locations for a future vacation with First Lady Michelle Obama.
Um, that’s just two days after he gave a sharp response to Larry Conners, news anchor at KMOV in St. Louis, who asked him about Americans who “get frustrated and even angered when they see the first family jetting around to different vacations and so forth.”
President Obama told Conners: “But the fact of the matter is, I think if you look at my track record, I’m raising a family here,” said Obama. “When we travel, we’ve got to travel through Secret Service and Air Force One. That’s not my choice. I think most folks understand how hard I work and how hard this administration is working on behalf of the American people.”
Well, I would say that Obama was trying to be funny in his response in Cartagena, but on a serious note, they have taken 16 vacations and that sends the wrong message, considering that we are still grappling with high unemployment and foreclosure rates, as well as high gas prices. I am sure other presidents and their families have taken a lot of vacations and it may be a little hypocritical to just call Obama and his family out, but if the economy weren’t in such dire straits, then I suspect most people wouldn’t care.
WHITE HOUSE EMBARRASSMENT: Twelve U.S. Secret Service agents have been sent home from Cartagena, Columbia, where they were sent to provide security for President Obama’s trip to Summit of the Americas, over a prostitution inquiry, for misconduct at Hotel Caribe. President Obama is in Columbia for the summit, which is a gathering of 33 of the region’s 35 leaders to discuss economic policy and trade. Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said the accusations relate to at least one agent having involvement with prostitutes in Cartagena, the Washington Post reports. Ronald Kessler, author of In the President’s Service, said it’s “the biggest scandal in Secret Service history.” He also said, “One of the agents did not pay one of the prostitutes, and she complained to the police.”
This is a tremendous black-eye for America. It should be noted that the scandal broke before President Obama had arrived in Columbia. The Secret Service agents recalled were part of an advance team that had gone to Cartagena ahead of Obama’s arrival to secure the hotel. It’s a shame that these agents couldn’t seem to go to Columbia strictly for business and not to take advantage of the legal prostitution industry. I would venture to say, this isn’t the first time this has happened. It’s the first time the news broke.