KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Markovich: What do President Joe Biden and Sammy Sosa have in common?

May 14, 2024, 10:40 AM | Updated: 12:36 pm

biden sammy sosa...

President Joe Biden turns as reporters ask questions as he arrives at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Friday, May 10, 2024, in SeaTac, Washington. (Photo: Alex Brandon, The Associated Press)

(Photo: Alex Brandon, The Associated Press)

I was recently in Chicago where the hotel next to mine was charging $55 to have your picture taken with baseball’s steroid-era slugger Sammy Sosa.

During President Biden’s weekend campaign visit to Seattle, I was told a picture with the president would cost me a minimum of $25,000. That got me thinking. 

There were no blocked freeways. No airport shutdowns. Not even a blocked hallway preventing me from moving around the picture taking of Sammy Sosa.

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Yes, there’s a difference between Sammy Sosa and the leader of the free world. But the purpose of the picture is important.

Planes at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac) were halted from taking off and landing. Interstate 5 (I-5) was blocked for close to an hour during 5 p.m. rush hour, all while the president chit-chatted with high-ranking Democrats on the tarmac with everyone else waiting.

The president was motorcaded to and from events both downtown and on the eastside just so people could get a chance to have their picture taken with him for money – campaign money.

Sometimes there’s an official reason for a presidential visit. Campaigns use this to offset the cost of moving the president from point A to point B, so they’ll include a campaign visit. It costs nearly $200,000 an hour to operate Air Force One, according to the White House.

But this weekend, there was no official reason for the president to be in Seattle. It was just a campaign stop to earn money for his re-election. And think about the thousands of people this visit inconvenienced, let alone the comparisons to the pro-Palestinian protesters being charged with the unlawful blocking of the roads entering SeaTac airport a while back.

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Maybe the president should sign a treaty next time he comes to Seattle to justify some of the inconvenience to all of us.

Or bring Sammy Sosa along – there’s an extra $55 he could earn.

Matt Markovich is an analyst and reporter who often covers the state legislature and public policy for KIRO Newsradio. You can read more of Matt’s stories here. Follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email him here.

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Markovich: What do President Joe Biden and Sammy Sosa have in common?