President Obama is once again sending tingles up peoples legs by being a leader you can believe in. He jetted off in Air Force One to a retreat with democrat leaders in Williamsburg, 150 miles away. Perhaps this was a statement to the elites on Wall Street, or a message to the global warming crowd. Why not burn a few extra thousand gallons of jet fuel while your limo's and entourage ride below...after all he did win. This is a very important meeting on the $1,000,000,000,000.00 stimulus package and making a statement is at times needed. I hope the republicans that are not invited to the party get the message.
Suffice to say, President Barack Obama likes his new ride.
Before taking off Thursday on Air Force One for his first trip as president, Obama told reporters traveling with him that the plane is "spiffy" and showed off his new crew jacket with his name stitched on it.
"What do you think of this spiffy ride here? It's not bad," he said to reporters sitting in the back on the plane.
The helicopter ride from the White House to Andrews Air Force Base also got the nod. "Very smooth, very impressive," Obama said, adding that the view is "spectacular."
Obama jetted off to a House Democrats' retreat in Williamsburg, Va., in hopes of pushing his economic rescue package through Congress. The massive blue-and-white specially outfitted 747 makes a statement wherever it goes, especially on the commander in chief's maiden voyage.
"He's saying that he's willing to go anywhere and talk to anybody in order to get a recovery and reinvestment plan that moves this economy forward," press secretary Robert Gibbs said.
On departing from the White House to Andrews Air Force Base, Obama broke from tradition as he boarded Marine One, the presidential helicopter, on the South Lawn. He seemed to stun the marine standing at attention by reaching out to shake his hand. The marine obliged, shaking the president's hand before returning to a steady salute.
At the Air Force base, Obama climbed up the stairs and headed straight on the plane, with no wave to observers below.
Before Thursday's trip, Obama said he had been a guest on the 747 with former President George W. Bush and flew on a smaller jet that serves as a presidential plane from Chicago to Washington in the days before his inauguration. But it was not known as Air Force One, since he had not yet been sworn in.
As for other recent presidents, George W. Bush's first flight as president may sound familiar. Two weeks after his swearing-in, and following the bitter 2000 recount battle, he went to a resort near Pittsburgh to talk to skeptical Democratic lawmakers. The subject was his tax cuts.
For Bill Clinton, the first flight was to Detroit for a televised town hall meeting, a format seized on during the 1992 campaign. Calling on the first questioner, Clinton said: "I suspect this is going to be about, well, 'It's the economy, stupid.'"
In 1989, Bush's father, a former Navy pilot, took his first Air Force One trip as president to the Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia. Long before his son's notorious "Mission Accomplished" speech, Bush spoke on an aircraft carrier — about wasteful military spending.
Ronald Reagan, at 69 the oldest man to assume the presidency, took a more leisurely approach. His first out-of-town trip was by helicopter to a restful weekend at Camp David in Maryland. His maiden Air Force One trip was to California — and a restful weekend at his ranch in the Santa Ynez mountains.
Presidents invariably reveal their personality on board.
The garrulous Clinton would restlessly roam the jet, chatting with aides and reporters or sitting down to play hearts. The younger Bush usually stayed put up front and hardly ever saw the press compartment; aides had warned him offhand remarks there could cause trouble.
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