Karl Rove’s American Crossroads group is planning to “make a star out of” the $1.1 million armored bus President Barack Obama is using to travel across the country by featuring it in attack ads ahead of the 2012 election.Such an ad would undoubtedly be a bit awkward for the eventual Republican presidential nominee, who’d be using an identical $1.1 million Secret Service-owned bus on the campaign trail by the time American Crossroads said they’d run the ads next fall.
It also puts the conservative organization in the position of attacking Obama for the Secret Service’s decision to purchase two protective vehicles they say provide better security than campaign buses retro-fitted with protective armor, which they’ve “never been fully comfortable with.”
In an email to Politico’s Ben Smith, American Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio said the group considers the bus a soft political target. American Crossroads Chairman Mike Duncan said it was “obscene that Barack Obama’s billion-dollar campaign is chiseling hard-working American taxpayers for a million-dollar campaign bus.”
“We’re going to make a star out of Obama’s million-dollar campaign bus because it symbolizes his presidency: politics instead of results, a huge waste of taxpayer dollars, and a long ride that leads nowhere,” Duncan said.
TPM was the first outlet to report on the new Secret Service buses back in April. The agency has emphasized that the vehicles aren’t only for the campaign trail — they say the multipurpose vehicles will come in handy whenever one of their protectees travels into a rural area.
If Republicans really believe the White House purchased the vehicles specifically for Obama to use on his bus tour this month, they’ve giving his reelection team a heck of a lot of credit for foresight. The contract with the Tennessee company which customized the vehicles was signed over a year ago, on July 15, 2010.