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But when the president hit the road Tuesday for a two-day fundraising tour to pack the party coffers, he also was racking up a $265,000 partisan bill for just one leg of the trip, according to a watchdog group -- part of which taxpayers, regardless of party affiliation, will have to pay.
Obama started out in Las Vegas, where he stumped that night for state Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. On Wednesday night he was to attend a two-tiered donor dinner for the Democratic Party in Los Angeles.
But sandwiched between political appearances, Obama squeezed in some quick public remarks on energy, ironically before burning fuel to Los Angeles, at Nevada's Nellis Air Force Base. It was a key stop, because it gives the entire trip an air of official legitimacy and allows the White House to write off part of the trip under rules governing travel, said Pete Sepp, vice president for policy and communications at the National Taxpayers Union.