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Your tax dollars at work. According to Dale McFeatters, a commentator for Scripps Howard News Service, the British press is "entranced by the sheer size of President Obama's traveling entourage."

On arriving at the G20 summit in London, Obama was accompanied by 500 staff including 200 Secret Service, six doctors, the White House chef and kitchen staff and the president's own food and water. In addition there were 35 vehicles, four speech writers and 12 teleprompters, the presidential helicopter, Marine One, and a fleet of identical decoys to carry him from Stansted Airport to central London. Among the vehicles was the limousine known as the "Beast," which is reinforced with ceramic and titanium armor, carries a tear gas cannon, night-vision and resistance to chemical and radiation attack.

McFeatters suggests "when we're trying to project a more restrained, humble image to the world, the president's huge retinue could be scaled back to something less than the triumphal march from ‘Aida.' "

Obama has said he will cut $100 million from the federal budget, which actually represents one-fourth of 1 percent. Perhaps it was the cancellation of the trip to Poland.

Gerald A. Diettert, Missoula

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