On Thrusday’s “AC360,” Anderson Cooper debunked the false story about the supposedly enormous price tag for President Obama’s ten-day tour of Asia, and slammed conservative politicians and pundits for spreading the myth.
Cooper opened his show by promising to refute “a made-up story about the president of the United States.” He stressed that it was “not [my] job to defend the president,” but that there were plenty of real things to criticize President Obama about without resorting to falsehoods.
The notion that Obama’s trip to India and other Asian countries will cost $200 million a day and will involve the deployment of 34 Navy ships sprang from a story published by the Press Trust of India on Tuesday. In that article, “a top official of the Maharashtra government privy to the arrangements for the high-profile visit” used the $200 million figure.
Cooper said that this was pretty thin material with which to attack Obama.
“We have no idea who this person is, no name was given,” he said. “It was an anonymous quote — the conduct Sarah Palin has recently been railing against. Some reporter in India wrote this article with this figure in it, no proof was given, no follow-up reporting done.”
The story spread throughout conservative circles, and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was even asked about it at Thursday’s press briefing. Cooper played clips of pundits such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Michael Savage harshly criticizing Obama for supposedly wasting taxpayer funds on his trip during a time of austerity.