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Obama Has a Nice Plane – “O-Force One”

Barack Obama has better-than-usual accommodations on his campaign plane.  Allison O’Keefe breaks the news on this important scandal for CBS News:

Allison Davis O\'Keefe CBSBarack Obama’s new campaign plane is nothing short of grand. Well, for the candidate that is.

Obama’s section of the plane rivals that of any first class. Recently the front cabin of the Boeing 757 was retrofitted to install four individual chairs that resemble La-Z-Boys. They are free-standing and made of plush leather with pockets on the sides. There is also a booth which seats four for a meeting or a meal.

His chair has his name and campaign logo embroidered on the back top — “Obama ‘08” on one line and “President” underneath. To one side is a small table stacked with newspapers ready for the candidate’s arrival. The table of the booth is always covered in snacks and cheese and is where Obama spends most of his time during flights meeting with staff and sitting for the occasional interview.

So, he’s into leather?  And Lazy?  And what kind of cheese is he eating?  Probably something French.

“Typically the candidate’s cabin is like business class — roomier and less chaotic than the staff and press areas, but still short of the accoutrements of a pro team’s charter,” says Politico’s Mike Allen, a frequent campaign flier.  After looking at a few photos of Obama’s cabin, Allen quipped, “Air Force One may seem a tad claustrophobic.”

Hah!  Good one!

Except that, um, looking at the photos, these look like pretty standard first class seats, albeit with fewer other seats in close proximity.  And it is, after all, his plane.  It’s not absolutely unreasonable for a candidate who has raised half a gazillion dollars in campaign contributions to splurge on creature comforts in order to arrive at his campaign stops a bit fresher.  Indeed, that would seem to be a great advantage.

CBS/Allison Davis O\'KeefeIndeed, the only thing that struck me as even mildly scandalous about all this is that Obama had the temerity to emblazon his chair with “President.”  It’s a wee bit premature for that.  But, then, I looked at the photo of said seat:

That looks rather like a campaign bumper sticker.  Perhaps it should have a “For” in there but nobody who has seen campaign posters before is likely to conclude that he’s giving himself a promotion.

Story via memeorandum.  Photos by CBS/Allison Davis O’Keefe.  Annotations mine.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. [...] Obnoxious. James Joyner calls it mildly scandalous. I wonder what the plane does for his carbon [...]

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  2. [...] Obnoxious. James Joyner calls it mildly scandalous. I wonder what the plane does for his carbon [...]

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  3. [...] Obnoxious. James Joyner calls it mildly scandalous. I wonder what the plane does for his carbon [...]

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  4. sam says:

    Well, evidently there ain’t no “plane gap” between the two candidates:

    For McCain, Airliner Interior as Campaign Motif

    The more deluxe accommodations of the plane, which will seat 95 and was paid for by the campaign, will be far different from the less grand Straight Talk bus with alternator problems that the campaign turned to after it nearly ran out of money about a year ago, and even from the Jet Blue charter that his campaign has used in this campaign.

    There will be 10 first-class seats up front for Mr. McCain and his guests, as well as a telephone and a fax machine. The journalists who will sit in the back, behind the Secret Service agents, are promised electrical outlets.

    And mindful of the lighting issues that have kept Mr. McCain from holding many news conferences on the old plane, the new area will be television-ready. It will be wired for microphones, have specialty lighting and have room for a television camera.

    Nothing in the story about snacks and cheese, so maybe there is some catching-up to do in that area.

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  5. Bithead says:

    Normally, I’d not give the complaints about this plane to be worth anyone’s time. But as Glenn points out this morning:

    I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANY GREENHOUSE TALK FROM OBAMA as long as he’s flying this airplane … Also no complaints about corporate fatcats

    Rather like a pol campaigning on moraity getting caught in a sex sting, it’s his positions on such matters that makes this plane newsworthy.

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  6. Anderson says:

    Right. In order to campaign credibly, Obama should refrain from air or ground travel and address everyone via video link.

    Now let me go find some Pepto to deal with the comment-induced nausea.

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  7. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Looks like the Obama apologists here have a valid explaination for any and all of the first partial term Senators actions. I believe B. Hussein may be just a little premature in his self elevation to the position which he aspires. Just may be an indication of the character of this empty suit. Seems he is quite willing to spend other peoples money on himself. Since Obama has left such a sparce paper trail of votes where one could get some indication where he stands on issues and just maybe what he has mind when he talks of change, on is left with making that judgement from his past associates and mentors. Obama is and was comfortable amongst those who would have been subject to hearing in front of the now defunct House committee on Un American activities.

    Anderson, do you plan to join Obama’s special volunteer civilian security militia (shortened to special security or SS)?

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  8. Wayne says:

    From the pictures it looks like Obama is the only seat with the President logo attach to it. If so it would show him as being presumptuous and the color blending as intentional. If I’m mistaken and it is on all the seats then I would chalk it up as probably an unintentional error.

    I don’t think anyone think it is reasonable for Obama to take commercial flight and transportation. His presumptuous style like naming his planes O-force one does give insight into his personality. Now Al Gore travels and lifestyle is something else entirely and is hypocritical.

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  9. Bithead says:

    Right. In order to campaign credibly, Obama should refrain from air or ground travel and address everyone via video link.

    No. By voice only… and only by way of union-run telephone companies. (Smirk)

    Underalistic? Sure!

    But, isn’t that the sacrifice Obama and his supporters are asking everyone ELSE to make to ‘save the planet’? Damn those rich folks, anyway. How is it seen as unrealistic, then for HIM to do what everyone else is supposed to be doing?

    What we’re dealing with is Obama is being hyocritical, here, or maybe what they’re asking US to do is unrealistic, too, huh? I eamn, those are your choices. Which will you have?

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  10. Michael says:

    But, isn’t that the sacrifice Obama and his supporters are asking everyone ELSE to make to ‘save the planet’?

    Um, no. I don’t recall Obama or anybody else saying we shouldn’t be traveling on jetliners.

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  11. Jim Henley says:

    The principle here is very simple:

    White candidates act presidential.

    Black candidates act presumptuous.

    It’s not a hard rule to absorb.

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  12. Bithead says:

    Um, no. I don’t recall Obama or anybody else saying we shouldn’t be traveling on jetliners.

    Al Gore, call your office.

    White candidates act presidential.

    Black candidates act presumptuous.

    I don’t recall anyone accusing Reagan of acting presidential prior to his swearing in, do you?

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  13. Bithead says:

    Oh, before I forget… Can you actually play the race card at this stage? The rules on this thing keep changing…

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  14. Jim Henley says:

    I don’t recall anyone accusing Reagan of acting presidential prior to his swearing in, do you?

    You don’t “accuse” candidates of acting presidential. You compliment them for it. You accuse people of acting “presumptuous” – which is to say, “presidential, but we’ve decided to act like that’s bad.”

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  15. Bithead says:

    Is creating your own seal presidential?

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  16. Jim Henley says:

    Is creating your own seal presidential?

    Haven’t given it any thought.

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  17. Wayne says:

    “Black candidates act presumptuous”
    Yep, any attack on Obama is a racist attack. Never saw that one coming, “sarcasm”.

    Being in charge and not blaming others, having a even demeanor, and many other actions can be traits that is considered Presidential.

    Having phony presidential seals, naming your plane whatever-Force One and acting like you have already been elected are being presumptuous.

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  18. Beldar says:

    Henley, I would have thought that sort of race-baiting was beneath you.

    Apparently not.

    It’s a really, really slimy practice. I hope you’ll re-think it.

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  19. Jim Henley says:

    It’s a really, really slimy practice.

    Not really. I have wondered if it can be rewritten as:

    Republicans act “presidential.”

    Democrats act “presumptuous.”

    I’d like to go that way. Problem is, I recall a ton of media chatter in re Clinton, Gore and Kerry – hell, back to Dukakis – about whether they seemed “presidential enough” during their campaigns.

    You do have to work really hard not to recognize that, traditionally, candidates have been esteemed for “acting like they already have the job.” It’s always been taken to bespeak the confidence necessary to convince the American people they can trust the candidate with the job. Now, suddenly, it’s supposed to be a bad thing.

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  20. BeldarBlog says:

    Beldar has no fault to find with Obama’s special airplane chair…

    I was among those most mocking when it came to the Great Seal of Obama. But I don’t have a particular problem with Obama’s special chair on his campaign airplane, as shown in this CBS photo (which I’ve enlarged and enhanced to make the printing on t…

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  21. Beldar says:

    Jim, what’s slimy is injecting race where it wasn’t, with the accusation that race had already been injected by others, and that they’d done so because they were racists.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t have a problem with the chair, and I have gone on record saying that. But I would have mocked the Great Seal of Obama if it had come from anyone, of any race, creed, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, geographic location, blood type, or zip code. It was eminently mockable, without regard to race.

    I make fun of John McCain, too, for that matter. He’s done lots of things that are eminently mockable. I think it’s to his considerable credit that he “gets that,” and engages in a fair amount of self-mockery even on subjects that might be politically sensitive ones (e.g., calling himself “older than dirt”). I’ve seen evidence that Obama has a sense of humor that can be quite droll, but it seems to be in short supply when the target is himself.

    I’m pleased, though, that your follow-up response to my comment left out any mention of race, and went to party labels instead. Both parties mock the others’ candidates — always have, always will. That’s not racist, it’s political.

    Finally, I don’t dispute that there are some genuine racists still out there (e.g., the guy who was peddling the “Black House” buttons at the Texas GOP state convention). They should be called out and humiliated.

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  22. Wayne says:

    Both sides have to deal with appearing Presidential while not appearing presumptuous. Bush had to deal with it his first Presidential election.
    http://www.slate.com/id/1006371/
    Even after he won he had to deal with those calling him presumptuous.
    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0011/10/ip.00.html

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  23. anjin-san says:

    McCain’s only road to victory is to drive up Obama’s negatives. They are going to attack him from one end or the other no matter what. If he did not look presidential, that would be the attack angle. Since he does, this is.

    There was a McCain attack ad ready to go if he had visited that hospital in Germany. None of it is about issues, they just want to take Obama down any way that works.

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  24. Bithead says:

    Haven’t given it any thought

    Try.

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  25. anjin-san says:

    Is creating your own seal presidential?

    A classic example. If McCain talks about the issues, he loses. So instead, we are discussing crap like this.

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  26. Bruce Moomaw says:

    Bits: “No. By voice only… and only by way of union-run telephone companies. (Smirk)

    “Unrealistic? Sure!

    “But, isn’t that the sacrifice Obama and his supporters are asking everyone ELSE to make to ‘save the planet’? Damn those rich folks, anyway. How is it seen as unrealistic, then for HIM to do what everyone else is supposed to be doing?

    “What we’re dealing with is Obama is being hypocritical, here, or maybe what they’re asking US to do is unrealistic, too, huh? I mean, those are your choices. Which will you have?”

    Well, no, Bits. What Gore, Obama, etc. (including McCain, if you catch him on alternate days) are saying is that we need to REDUCE the amount of fossil fuel we’re using — not to “save the planet” (which has survived much worse), but to save ourselves a lot of unnecessary misery from the coming magnified CO2 greenhouse effect, with us making a net gain from the trade-off if we do it right. (I have to say that I’m getting tired of explaining to an adult things that most 12-year-olds already understand.)

    As for Obama running his entire campaign by video link: EXCELLENT idea — provided, of course, he can get McCain to go along with it. Bets, anyone?

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  27. anjin-san says:

    But, isn’t that the sacrifice Obama and his supporters are asking everyone ELSE to make

    Can you show us where Obama asked people to give up air travel?

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  28. Bruce Moomaw says:

    Let me add that I agree enthusiastically with Beldar and Bits: slapping that bumper sticker (which is what it is; you see them all over the place, and of course that’s why it includes that “’08” rather than just calling him “President”) on the back of his plane seat is an absolute OUTRAGE, and should become a major issue in this campaign.

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  29. Bruce Moomaw says:

    Ah. My apologies to Beldar; I missed the fact that he’s only raising hell about the fact that Obama has appeared a few times with something behind him vaguely resembling the Great Seal (which, you know, must be intended to trick OODLES of people into thinking he’s already the President). And Beldar was also quite right to say it was “slimy” for Jim Henley to accuse Zeldorf and Wayne of “racism”, given that their own comments were slimy for entirely non-racist reasons.

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  30. Beldar says:

    Mr. Moomaw: Your apology is accepted. But I’m not raising hell, I’m poking fun, at the Great Seal of Obama. And he only used it once. And it was in front of him, not behind him. You really do need to work on your reading comprehension, friend.

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  31. Bruce Moomaw says:

    Evidently so does Mr. B, regarding his own blog entries. To quote that passage in which he was “poking fun” at Obama’s “seal” :

    “Legal, But Offensively Cocky: It’s a free country, and that freedom includes the right to engage in political expression that is crass, tasteless, and irredeemably cocky.

    “Us God-loving, bitter, clinging gun-owners in the fly-over country have an expression for the kind of arrogance required to appropriate the seal of a public office to which one hasn’t quite yet been elected: ‘He’s dang sure gotten too big fer his britches,’ we’d say.

    “In response to which, someone might ask: ‘Can you folks usually find a way to deal with young fellas who’re too big fer their britches?’

    “To which the answer — which I’m sure is spoken confidently and frequently on at least the West Texas prairies of my own birth, and perhaps elsewhere — is surely: ‘Vero Possumus!’ Which, out here in fly-over land, roughly translates to: ‘You bet yer road-kill possum butt we can!’ (I’ll spare you the photographs of the possums, with or without the surrounding seal.)”
    _________________________

    Glad that Mr. B. took it so light-heartedly — particularly since Obama’s “seal” consisted entirely of the eagle with the arrows and olive branch, but without calling himself “the President” or including the slogan “E Pluribus Unum” or the shield with the stars and stripes on it. So, which aspect of Obama’s “seal” was that infuriating to him? Maybe the eagle should have been featherless? (And — for the trillionth time — why does the GOP feel the need to jump up and down hysterically on this utter crap? Shouldn’t they be devoting themselves to something more outrageous, such as the Stars and Stripes on Wonder Woman’s undies?)

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  32. Bithead says:

    A classic example. If McCain talks about the issues, he loses. So instead, we are discussing crap like this.

    So evidence of a fairly twisted, meglomanical personality isn’t a valid issue?

    Can you show us where Obama asked people to give up air travel?

    So, jet planes are OK… just not SUV’s and keeping our themostats at 72, right?

    Well, no, Bits. What Gore, Obama, etc. (including McCain, if you catch him on alternate days) are saying is that we need to REDUCE the amount of fossil fuel we’re using — not to “save the planet” (which has survived much worse), but to save ourselves a lot of unnecessary misery from the coming magnified CO2 greenhouse effect, with us making a net gain from the trade-off if we do it right. (I have to say that I’m getting tired of explaining to an adult things that most 12-year-olds already understand.)

    The adults, on the other hand, know that the entire gospel according to Gore is a pile of mule fritters. And Obama thinks so too, apparently, else he doesn’t figure such calls apply to him… only to the little people…w ho betweenn eating cake, apparently sould ride bikes wherever they go.

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  33. Bruce Moomaw says:

    Right. That includes the adults who wrote the IPCC and most of the recent articles on the subject in the likes of “Science”, “Nature” and the climatological journals.

    And, no, Virginia; the scientific anti-AGW strategists don’t believe in forcing people to ride bikes. What they ARE talking about is trying to develop anti-AGW technologies — in the form of non fossil-fuel energy-production techniques, energy-conserving technologies, or ways to pull CO2 back out of the air and sequester it permanently in solid form — that won’t cost more to humanity than they’re worth. Be kind of nice if you actually read a few articles on the subject before shooting off your mouth; but then, after scanning your site last night and running across your straight-faced historical proof that the Democratic Party has always been the party more sympathetic to Southern white racists even since 1964, I’m inclined to forgive you for your reading difficulties.

    Alas, we don’t — quite yet — have more energy-efficient and less CO2-emitting jetliners (although the aerospace companies are working on them busily; see Aviation Week) — which is why I wouldn’t be upset to see Obama switch over to televised campaiging if he could persuade McCain to follow suit. As I say, I wouldn’t hold my breath, since McCain keeps changing his mind on alternate days, for no detectable reason, as to whether or not he actually believes in AGW and thinks that something should be done about it.

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