WASHINGTON, May 30 (UPI) -- GOP officials chided U.S. President Barack Obama for attending a Broadway play Saturday but the White House said Obama was keeping a campaign promise.
The president and first lady Michelle Obama flew to New York from Washington on what a White House press pool report called a Gulfstream-type plane, rather than one of the larger craft that serve as Air Force One, Politico reported. Plans called for the couple to dine at the Blue Hill restaurant before attending a performance of the late playwright August Wilson's "Joe Turner's Come and Gone."
The production is nominated for six Tony Awards, including best revival of a play.
In a posting on its Web site, the Republican National Committee contrasted the Obamas evening out with General Motors Corp.'s fight for survival and the broader economic turndown.
"As President Obama prepares to wing into Manhattan's theater district on Air Force One to take in a Broadway show, GM is preparing to file bankruptcy and families across America continue to struggle to pay their bills," the GOP said. "Have a great Saturday evening -- even if you're not jetting off somewhere at taxpayer expense."
RNC spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said if Obama wanted to go to the theater, "isn't the Presidential box at the Kennedy Center good enough?," Politico reported.
During the flight to New York a spokesman for the president read a statement saying the trip was intended to keep a campaign promise Obama made to his wife.
"I am taking my wife to New York City because I promised her during the campaign that I would take her to a Broadway show after it was all finished," the statement said.