The State Department has spent $70,000 in taxpayer money to buy copies of Barack Obama’s book Dreams from My Father. One embassy in Indonesia spent more than $3,800 buying copies of Obama’s other book The Audacity of Hope. Again, all with taxpayer money — all while Obama profits from the purchases.
But hey, it most be common place to buy books written by presidents to hand out as gifts and put in libraries, right? Nope. A search by the Washington Times of the federal database found no examples of the State Department purchasing books by President Clinton or President Bush. And most copies of Obama’s books were purchased in the months following his inauguration.
The State Department defends the waste of taxpayer money:
But State Department spokesman Noel Clay said the book purchases followed regular government procurement rules. He said diplomats have long used books as a way to help broker talks on important foreign policy matters.
“The structure and the presidency of the United States is an integral component of representing the United States overseas,” Mr. Clay said. “We often use books to engage key audiences in discussions of foreign policy.”
He also said books are purchased to stock the State Department’s “information resource centers,” which he said are located around the world and provide books about the U.S. covering issues such as culture, history and values.
“We also provide key library collections with books about the United States,” he said.
Ah, so that’s why they’re buying books by President Clinton, right? He was a popular two-term president who has since established a major charity and joined with other presidents — including President Bush — to raise money for disaster victims. Surely his book could provide insight into the United States, our values, and to engage key global audiences — many of which still love Clinton.
And yet…nope. Instead the State Department is spending tens of thousands of dollars buying copies of political and childrens books written by Barack Obama — a part-term president with low job approval, little in the way of accomplishments, and unlikely to be reelected. Funny how his books are supposed to provide value but Clinton’s or Bush’s aren’t. How convenient.