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Americas

Obama keeps promise to Michelle with Broadway date

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-05-31

US president Barack Obama honoured a promise on Saturday that he had made to his wife Michelle in the heat of his gruelling election campaign last year - to take her to see a Broadway show in New York.

AFP - US President Barack Obama swept First Lady Michelle Obama off to a Broadway show on Saturday night -- to honor a promise made in the heat of his gruelling 2008 campaign.

The Obamas flew to New York, not on the iconic presidential jet, but aboard a small military plane -- still dubbed Air Force One with the president aboard -- for a meal in Manhattan's West Village and a night at the theater.

Republicans however immediately seized on the trip, accusing Obama of enjoying himself at taxpayers expense, as ordinary Americans battle the economic crisis and another iconic US firm, GM, struggles for survival.

Obama, in a statement issued through a spokesman, said: "I am taking my wife to New York City because I promised her during the campaign that I would take her to a Broadway show after it was all finished."

The epitome of glamour, the Obamas earlier left the White House aboard his Marine One helicopter.

At Andrews Air Force base outside Washington, they boarded the plane, the president in a smart dark suit with no tie, and the First Lady in a black cocktail dress and heels.

After landing in New York, they helicoptered into Manhattan and motorcaded to the Blue Hill restaurant, before heading to the Belasco Theater and the Broadway revival of the August Wilson play "Joe Turner's Come And Gone."

Obama's Republican foes however tried to make political hay out of the president's date night.

"As President Obama prepares to wing into Manhattan’s theater district on Air Force One to take in a Broadway show, GM is preparing to file bankruptcy and families across America continue to struggle to pay their bills," the Republican National Committee said in a statement.

The White House could not immediately put a price tag on the president's trip. But US leaders, due to the tight blanket of security that follows them everywhere they go, never travel on commercial aircraft.

Earlier, on the weekend before he heads off on a major trip to the Middle East and Europe, Obama was seen cheering on the sidelines at his daughter Malia's soccer game.

Date created : 2009-05-31

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