Who pays for a presidential visit?

Who pays for a presidential visit? »Play Video
President Barack Obama waves as he arrives for a rally for Oregon gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber, left, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

PORTLAND, Ore. - Many KATU viewers contacted the station after President Barack Obama’s three-hour visit Wednesday and asked: Who foots the bill for a presidential visit?

In the broadest sense it is divided into two categories: Costs that are clearly political and costs that go along with just being the president.

Take Air Force One, for example. It flies where the president flies and for whatever the reason.

The same is true about the security surrounding the president.

The presidential limousine flown in for the occasion, the local and state police and the fire and medical teams in the motorcade are what security demands when the president is on the road no matter who it is or why.

Those are the fixed costs, if you will, and apply whether a president travels as commander in chief or commander of his party.

The political costs, however, are another thing entirely.

Under White House travel rules taxpayers must be reimbursed for airfare, food, lodging and other expenses for whatever portion of a trip is political.

For Thursday night's trip, the costs of renting the Oregon Convention Center, the lighting, the food and any transportation and lodging costs for White House staff would be paid for by the Kitzhaber campaign or the state Democratic Party.

The city of Portland is totaling up its costs for Obama’s visit and will consider billing a portion to the campaign.

In 2003 Portland tried billing the Bush-Cheney campaign $116,000 for security.  That bill was rejected.

This is a bipartisan issue and in looking back at news stories over the years, whether the president is a Republican or a Democrat, the question about who pays for such trips always comes up.