Even if the White House paid the government the price of a first-class ticket for all of them, it would still be a bargain. Why? Well, the next time you fly first class, see if you can get the government to throw in a free helicopter to take you to the airport or get the airline to furnish a cargo plane to fly your car to wherever you visit -- just a few of the perks the president gets for his first-class ticket.
White House officials are never able to compute just how much all of that costs, at least not when they're in the White House. Somehow that does not seem to be a problem, though, when they're out of office. For example, when then-first lady Hillary Clinton was using a government plane to campaign for the Senate, Republicans said it cost about $35,000 an hour to fly the plane and pay for all the people needed to support it. You won't get them to confirm that figure these days.
Politicians don't often lie, but if they told the truth about campaigning on Air Force One, they'd say, 'Look, one of the perks of being president is that you get to stick the taxpayers with a big part of the bill for campaigning and we all do it.'