"On Saturdays and Sundays, America in the year 2009 does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some 50 years ago. This is truly sad." -- AG Eric Holder
US President Barack Obama swept First Lady Michelle Obama off to a Broadway show -- to honor a promise made in the heat of his gruelling 2008 campaign.
The Obamas flew to New York, not on the iconic presidential jet, but aboard a small military plane -- still dubbed Air Force One with the president aboard -- for a meal in Manhattan's West Village and a night at the theater.
Republicans however immediately seized on the trip, accusing Obama of enjoying himself at taxpayers expense, as ordinary Americans battle the economic crisis and another iconic US firm, GM, struggles for survival.
Obama, in a statement issued through a spokesman, said: "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 epitome of glamour, the Obamas earlier left the White House aboard his Marine One helicopter.
At Andrews Air Force base outside Washington, they boarded the plane, the president in a smart dark suit with no tie, and the First Lady in a black cocktail dress and heels.
After landing in New York, they helicoptered into Manhattan and motorcaded to the Blue Hill restaurant, before heading to the Belasco Theater and the Broadway revival of the August Wilson play "Joe Turner's Come And Gone."
Obama's Republican foes however tried to make political hay out of the president's date night.
"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 Republican National Committee said in a statement.
The White House could not immediately put a price tag on the president's trip.
According to the still-free-speaking-not-yet-politically-correct Chinese news service, Xinhua, "The play is about black America in the early 1900s..."
Post-racial president, my a--. If the First Black President and the First Black First Lady want see a play about "Black America" and thus remain "voluntarily socially segregated" (within this nation of cowards) ...
I don't see why typical white people should have to pay for it.
Ordinarily, I wouldn't even conceive of making such a statement, but don't forget, the First Black Attorney General has "urged"
... Americans of all races ... to have a forthright national conversation ... to discuss aspects of race which are ignored because they are uncomfortable....
"It's a question of being honest with ourselves and racial issues that divide us," Holder told reporters...
"It's not easy to talk about it. We have to have the guts to be honest with each other, accept criticism, accept new proposals."