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The talk show appearances usually require presidential travel, which dovetails with Mr. Obama’s status as one of the most-traveled presidents in history. The National Taxpayers Union released a study that found Mr. Obama trails only George H.W. Bush among postwar U.S. leaders in the amount of travel.

“Furthermore, President Obama’s tendency to take more trips that are shorter in duration, make him likelier (after adjusting for obvious factors like inflation) to have bigger bills (air travel, security detail, planning) than his predecessors,” the NTU report stated.

The watchdog group said the full cost of Mr. Obama’s travel is “difficult to pin down” because of “opaque reporting by government sources on such expenses.”

“As it stands now, taxpayers are shelling out untold millions with little opportunity for oversight,” said study author Michael Tasselmyer. “No matter who is in office, Americans should have the facts they need to have a rational conversation on the merits and affordability of a chief executive’s journeys.”

While in California on Wednesday, Mr. Obama addressed Marines who have borne the brunt of combat in Afghanistan. He said hard fighting remains but the “core” of al Qaeda is nearly defeated.

“This is still a hard fight,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s still tough, and we’re still needed.”

The president, whose claims that al Qaeda is “on the run” are being questioned because of reports of another plot by the terrorist network, said U.S. troops have nearly finished the job in Afghanistan. More than 320 Marines based at Camp Pendleton have been killed in theater.

“Because of you, the 9/11 generation, we are accomplishing what we set out to do,” the president said. “The core of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on the way to defeat. We are going to make sure that Afghanistan is never again a source of attacks against our country.”