Rep. Steve King tells Newsmax that he understands why President Barack Obama needs a vacation. But the “cumulative effect” of all of the president’s travels, in addition to his multimillion-dollar, taxpayer-funded Christmas vacation to Hawaii, doesn’t play well in the heartland, the conservative Iowa congressman says.
“He’s the president of the United States and he needs a little time and a little relief. It looks to me like they’ve done a lot of traveling around the world and spent a lot of money — taxpayers' money — traveling,” King said during an exclusive interview with Newsmax.
Obama and the first family have taken more trips to more exotic locations than any other sitting president that the five-term congressman can recall.
“He’s played — what, 90 rounds of golf? — something like that since he’s been president,” King said. “If you add that all up, it’s not just this trip to Hawaii, it’s the cumulative effect of it all.”
Last week, the Hawaii Reporter estimated the cost to taxpayers of the president’s latest 17-day Hawaiian vacation to be more than $4 million in heightened security, communications, and travel expenses for White House staff.
King also criticized Obama’s stance on the payroll tax-cut extension issue.
“For the president to sanctimoniously declare that he is going to keep Congress in Washington, D.C., over Christmas if we don’t agree to his proposal on the payroll-tax holiday extension and the unemployment extension benefits, all the while he’s delaying his 17-day vacation to Hawaii — I thought that was hypocritical of him,” King said.
As the Obamas play in the Hawaiian sun in Kailua, Oahu, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is spending her Christmas vacation nearby at the exotic Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka'upulehu in Kona, which also makes Pelosi look out of touch with the heartland.
“Just down the road a little ways is Nancy Pelosi in her $10,000-a-day retreat for Christmas,” said King, who took issue with Pelosi’s attempts to relate to the Occupy movement.
“She’s for the 99 percent, but she’s clearly ensconced in the $10,000-a-day,” King said. “Only the 1 percent can even walk in there [Pelosi’s hotel] unless you’re cleaning the toilets.”
While Obama’s approval ratings have climbed back to positive territory in recent weeks, King said the president still can be defeated in the 2012 election.
“I believe that for a lot of reasons,” he said. “The economy is terrible, and his economic policies have contributed to our economic decline. They haven’t solved the problem. They’ve contributed to it. If we had done nothing, our economy I think would have recovered by now.”
King predicted that Obama will have another fight on his hands to raise the national debt ceiling by $1.2 trillion, but that Congress ultimately will be powerless to stop the president.
“We need the American people to weigh in on this. They’ve sent 87 new freshmen Republicans to Congress in the last election because of Obamacare, because of debt and deficit,” King said. “We’re going to need another wave election if we’re going to find the will in Congress to get this spending under control.”
King said he believes Obama will succeed in increasing the debt ceiling to some extent but that action is critical to avert economic disaster. “Europe is on the verge of collapse, and the United States can very well go down with Europe,” he said. “We’ve got to send a strong message that we are going to get to a balanced budget quickly — perhaps not within a year — but within half a decade in my opinion. I don’t think we have much longer than that.”
American liberty itself is at stake in the 2012 election, the Iowa congressman said.
“This is a destiny election and I think the American people need to hear that from their Republican nominee consistently. If they can articulate that well, Barack Obama will be a one-term president and we will have restored some constitutional liberty here in America and some more economic vigor,” King said.
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