A reporter from Colorado asked White House spokesman Jay Carney how President Obama justifies "lavish vacations" and golf trips, and whether he plans to cut back:
Bringing up high unemployment in minority communities and government furloughs, the reporter started, as well as "millions of Americans unemployed, and family budgets that have been cut. How does the president justify lavish vacations and a golf trip to Florida at taxpayer expense? And does he plan to cut back on his travels?"
Carney responded, "I can tell you that this president is focused every day on policies that create economic growth and help advance job creation."
UPDATE: Here's the full exchange:
Q All right. I wanted to follow up on this young woman’s question about the high unemployment out in places like Colorado, all around the country, especially in the minority communities -- exceptionally high unemployment. And when there is government workers who may be furloughed, millions of Americans unemployed, and family budgets that have been cut, how does the President justify lavish vacations and a golf trip to Florida at taxpayer expense? And does he plan to cut back on his travel?
MR. CARNEY: I can tell you that this President is focused every day on policies that create economic growth and help advance job creation. We have presided over the past three years over an economy that’s produced over 6.3 million private sector jobs, and we have more work to do. And this President’s number-one priority is growth and job creation. When you come to --
Q But it’s not working in the minority communities.
MR. CARNEY: Well, the fact is unemployment has come down. It has not come down nearly enough. And what we need to do is embrace policies that advance job creation, make secure the middle class, and create ladders of opportunity for those who aspire to the middle class. We certainly do not need to embrace economic policies that shift the entire burden of deficit reduction onto senior citizens, middle-class families, Medicaid recipients. The proposal coming out of the House would slash Medicaid by a third.
Q But it doesn’t affect inner-city jobs.
MR. CARNEY: It doesn’t? You don’t think it does?
MR. CARNEY: People who depend on Medicaid to help take care of their kids who are disabled. People who depend on Medicaid to take care of their parents who are in nursing homes. People who are not in the middle class but aspire to it, who depend directly on Medicaid. I think you need to examine what the Medicaid program actually does.