You probably read that article from yesterday's New York Times about the management of image in the Bush White House (this is the link, though as I type this the whole Times site seems to be down). I want to put up a couple of numbers, for comparison. First, there's this from a USA Today story about Bush's Top Gun stunt on the Abraham Lincoln:
Staff members for Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, calculated that the visit delayed the ship's arrival in San Diego by at least a day and cost as much as $1 million in extra fuel costs, plus $100,000 in additional sea duty pay for the crew.
Now, from yesterday's Times article (I'm typing from the print edition):
The president's image makers, Mr. Bartlett [White House communications director Dan Bartlett] said, work within a budget for White House events allotted by Congress, which for fiscal 2003 was $3.7 million.
So if Obey is right, this stunt ate up 30 percent of the year's budget for events like this in one day.