Obama taking first Air Force One trip as president

From the AP:

Obama taking first Air Force One trip as president


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama embarked Thursday on his first trip aboard Air Force One, jetting off on a quick hop in hopes of pushing his economic rescue package through Congress.

The run to a House Democrats‘ retreat in Williamsburg, Va., is a telling choice for Obama’s first trip outside the Washington area.

“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.

For the short flight, Obama took the traditional blue-and-white 747, not one of the smaller jets that fill out the presidential fleet. Air Force One, with its history and distinctive markings, makes a statement — especially on the commander in chief’s maiden voyage.

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.

Some White House staff members slipped out of the West Wing to catch a glimpse of Obama’s first Marine One takeoff.

At the Air Force base, Obama climbed up the stairs and headed straight on the plane, with no wave to observers below. Gibbs said the president had enjoyed the chopper ride. “He said, `Pretty smooth,'” Gibbs said.

Before Thursday’s trip, Obama had been on a smaller jet that serves as a presidential plane, when he flew from Chicago to Washington in the days before his inauguration. But it was not known as Air Force One, as that designation applies to any plane the president is on.

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.


Check also:    

Obama Goes Airborne Today For First Time As President, CBS

Obama Leaving The District For The First Time, RealClearPolitics


Judge Refuses to Delay a Case at Guantánamo

First crisis of the Obama Gov’t… (the economic crisis started before he was even elected).


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration hit an unexpected rough patch on Thursday in its plan to give itself time to decide how to prosecute Guantánamo detainees.

A military judge in the case of one of the best-known terrorism suspects declined an administration request to delay an arraignment scheduled for Feb. 9. The decision differed from rulings by two other military judges in the war crimes system at the prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, who last week granted requests filed by military prosecutors for four-month delays so the new administration could study detainees’ files and its legal options.

The unexpected move brought confusion at the White House and the Pentagon, and added a new legal tangle to the already confounding challenges of the Obama administration’s effort to move in sharply new directions on detainee issues.  (NYT, Read more)


You can also read the story at:

Guantanamo Judge Denies Obama’s Request for Delay (Washington Post)

Obama bid to suspend Gitmo proceedings hits snag (Associated Press)

Meet Col. Scott Turner, the pilot of Air Force One

President-elect Obama and Col. Scott Turner - January 4, 2009 (AFP/Getty Images)

Everything you could want to know about the pilot of Air Force One, Colonel Scott Turner:  

Obama tours Air Force One

From the Washington Post:

By Garance Franke-Ruta
Now making the rounds comes this segment from a forthcoming National Geographic TV series “On Board Air Force One,” set to begin airing on Jan. 25, in which then-President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 4 boards one of the planes that will serve as Air Force One once he is sworn in as president.

The episode shows Obama greeting Col. Scott Turner of the Air Force at the start of his “first official flight as the new pilot,” according to the narrator, who also notes that Air Force One gets new pilots when presidents change. The trip took Obama to the District from Chicago.

“Good to see you. You’re the pilot of Air Force One?” Obama greets him.

“Yes sir, it will be my privilege to serve you,” says Turner.

“You know, I’ve got to say, you’re out of central casting. You’re exactly what I want the pilot of Air Force One to look like. You look like you know how to fly. You look like Sam Shepard in The Right, ‘The Right Stuff’,” Obama says.

Technically speaking, both National Geographic and Obama play loose with presidential terminology on the show. Air Force One is the moniker for any of the Boeing 747s that carry U.S. presidents. But since Obama had not been sworn in at the time of the flight, it was likely given a “special air mission” label for the occasion. Now that Obama is president, however, the term will apply to any of the Air Force jetliners he travels on.

The show jumps from his entry to Obama ordering his first meal on what will become one of his presidential planes. “I’ll see how you guys do a burger,” he tells chief flight attendant Reggie Dickson, ordering it cooked “medium-well,” with cheddar cheese, dijon mustard, lettuce and tomato. And he asks, “If you have, like, salad or some vegetables or something.” When the Dickson asks, “No fries or anything like that?” Obama replies, “Oh, I’ll still take the fries.”

“Yes, sir,” says Dickson, then laughs.

What is Air Force One

An intro to the Presidential Plane, from WhiteHouse.Gov:


No matter where in the world the President travels, if he flies in an Air Force jet, the plane is called Air Force One. Technically, Air Force One is the call sign of any Air Force aircraft carrying the President. In practice, however, Air Force One is used to refer to one of two highly customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft, which carry the tail codes 28000 and 29000. The Air Force designation for the aircraft is VC-25A.

Air Force One is one of the most recognizable symbols of the presidency, spawning countless references not just in American culture but across the world. Emblazoned with the words “United States of America,” the American flag, and the Seal of the President of the United States, it is an undeniable presence wherever it flies or docks.

Capable of refueling midair, Air Force One has unlimited range and can carry the President wherever he needs to travel. The onboard electronics are hardened to protect against an electromagnetic pulse, and Air Force One is equipped with advanced secure communications equipment, allowing the aircraft to function as a mobile command center in the event of an attack on the United States.

Inside, the President and his travel companions enjoy 4,000 square feet of floor space on three levels, including an extensive suite for the President that features a large office, lavatory, and conference room. Air Force One includes a medical suite that can function as an operating room, and a doctor is permanently on board. The plane’s two food preparation galleys can feed 100 people at a time.

Air Force One also has quarters for those who accompany the President, including senior advisors, Secret Service officers, traveling press, and other guests. Several cargo planes typically fly ahead of Air Force One to provide the President with services needed in remote locations.

Air Force One is maintained and operated by the Presidential Airlift Group, part of the White House Military Office. The Airlift Group was founded in 1944 as the Presidential Pilot Office at the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. For the next 20 years, various propeller driven aircraft served the President. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy became the first President to fly in his own jet aircraft, a modified Boeing 707. Over the years, several other jet aircraft have been used, with the first of the current aircraft being delivered in 1990 during the administration of President George H. W. Bush. 


The most powerful people in the world (2) – Answers


You tried ’em, you guessed’em, and one of you got it right first!

Young lawyer Marcelo Sarsur, from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, named first and correctly all 12 people depicted in our earlier post, and he gets a first-class ticket to Air Force Obama! Congrats =)

Here’s what he told us:

Gates, Chu, Rice, Gibbs, Jones, Obama, Clinton, Holder, Geithner, LaHood, Emanuel and Napolitano. There!

 Comment by Marcelo Sarsur | 11 11UTC January 11UTC 2009 |

A few minutes later, Vinicius Tavares, also from Belo Horizonte, tried, but he got one wrong:

1- Robert Gates
2- Steven Chu
3- Susan Rice
4- Robert Gibbs
5- James L. Jones
6- Barack Obama
7- Hillary Clinton
8- Eric Holder
9- Tom Daschle
10- Ray LaHood
11- Rahm Emanuel
12- Janet Napolitano

Number 9 (first in the third row) is not Daschle. It’s Timothy Geithner, soon-to-be Treasury Secretary (that’s a lot of “y”s in a same sentence, I bet mineiros like that).

Even the President-elect couldn’t manage the task!

Holy Christ! Only one missing!

 Comment by Nogueira | 11 11UTC January 11UTC 2009 |

That’s a comment by Pedro Nogueira, who will play the title role.

As for me, well… I can’t stop thinking James L. Jones is an awfully similar name to James Earl Jones

Imagine having Darth Vader for National Security Advisor!